As noted elsewhere on this blog, "Wednesday morning is the 8th of December, and the sun will rise in Manhattan (theoretically) at 7:07 A.M. Those who wish to be on the sidewalk at the Zen Studies Society at 223 East 67th Street will be welcome." The rally hopes to draw attention to the sexual and financial depredations of Eido Tai Shimano.
Dec.8, by some reckonings, marks the day on which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. It will also mark the day on which Mr. Shimano will allegedly retire after 50 years of teaching in the U.S.A.
During that time, Mr. Shimano received much membership help in constructing and maintaining Sho Bo Ji, a New York City Zen temple, and Dai Bosatsu Zendo in upstate New York. During those same 50 years, he was also responsible for sowing confusion and sadness and pain within the same sanghas that created the zendos Mr. Shimano led as abbot.
His sexual manipulations of students were brazen enough so that even The New York Times took a somewhat timid interest. They also led, largely through the efforts of Robert Aitken Roshi and the Rev. Kobutsu Malone, to the creation of the Shimano Archive, an extensive collection of documents detailing painful circumstances to which Mr. Shimano has never seen fit to respond directly and honestly.
Wednesday's rally aims to underscore the desire to redress the unethical wrongs of 50 years and to remove (as suggested by the Faith Trust Institute***) any connection between Mr. Shimano and the two Zen centers he has led. The suffering Mr. Shimano sowed may never be repaired, but those rallying hope to emphasize the fact that there is no need to prolong or repeat them.
PS. This entry is an announcement with what I hope is relatively fair background. It is not an invitation to open yet another Eido Tai Shimano laundry list ... a thread which already exists here.
*** Recommendations were made by the Faith Trust Institute to Zen Studies Society in a Sept. 2, 2010, confidential memo that was later read at a sangha meeting. FTI is "a national, multifaith, multicultural training and education organization with global reach working to end sexual and domestic violence." FTI is an independent organization that is not connected to Zen Studies Society. The recommendations were:
Eido Shimano must end his tenure as Abbot as soon as possible. As long as he remains in this role or in any other official capacity, the integrity of ZSS is compromised.· If there are students who wish to continue to study with Eido, they may do so on their own but not under the auspices of ZSS.· Eido Shimano should make a full public apology acknowledging his misconduct and his regret for harm done to ZSS.· Conduct a formal financial audit for the organization. Issue a summary audit report available to the Sangha members.· Consult with your Zen colleagues who have gone through major restructuring to address misconduct issues, e.g. ZCLA, to help with by-laws revisions and restructuring.· Read Marilyn R. Peterson’s At Personal Risk: Boundary Violations in Professional-Client Relationships.