The period placed at the end of any sentence is a fiction in real life, but it felt something like a period on a long and arduous sentence today when the Shimano Archive published festive pictures of the Aug. 12, 2012, ceremony outside the new, $100,000+ sanmon gate at Dai Bosatsu Monastery in upstate New York.
Over the years, the Shimano Archive collected almost numberless documents attesting to the fact that Eido Shimano, once abbot of both Dai Bosatsu and its New York affiliate temple, Shobo Ji, had lied, manipulated, and abused the organization of which he was the head, Zen Studies Society. Besides employing his position as abbot as a means of seducing and abusing his students over a 40-plus year period beginning in the mid-1960's, Shimano managed to evade all responsibility and elude all accusations. Victims of his depredations were silenced in a variety of artful ways, mostly with the connivance of the board of directors of Zen Studies Society. Then at last, the pressure applied by the Shimano Archive and elsewhere forced the board to take 'action,' which it did grudgingly and with little or no intent to be fully transparent. Shimano stepped down or retired or was pushed out with a $90,000+ per annum retirement package that included other perks ... but there were loopholes. A financial audit was promised, but has yet to be produced two or more years after the promise was first announced. Wound-healing meetings were held at Dai Bosatsu, the very venue in which many victims suffered at Shimano's hands ... and everyone but the victims seemed to come away healed.
Decades of depredations, manipulations and lies. The details go on and on. And finally some push-back. The topic grew older and older and the ardor and rancor diminished. And then, on Aug. 12, 2012, there is was -- the opening of the sanmon gate with the assemblage dutifully smiling. It was the status quo ante -- a return to the times when Shimano was adored and protected and elevated and could do no wrong. The object lesson of his sociopathic activities might be imagined in the fire that backdrops both him and the latest lineage holder at Dai Bosatsu, Sherry Chayat, in one picture. And the sign over the sanmon gate might be taken as a nose-thumbing rejoinder from Shimano, reading as it does, "Hounzan," meaning "Male phoenix bird cloud mountain. "Fuck all my detractors! I'm baaaack!" Shimano conducted the ceremony giving Dai Bosatsu its new Dharma name: Hounzan Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji. He bestowed the new name after he was largely barred from participation in Zen Studies Society business by the board. Yes, indeed ... Eido Shimano was baaaaack.
And so history slides into history.
Welcome home, Eido Shimano!
|Sherry Chayat and Eido Shimano|
|Eido Shimano and whisk -- the center of attention|
|Gathering at the $100,000+ sanmon gate at Dai Bosatsu Monastery Aug. 12, 2012|
May all those who value their Zen practice (or other spiritual efforts) at least familiarize themselves a little with the cautionary tale of Eido Shimano as it appears in the Shimano Archives and elsewhere. What is right and good and true has every capacity to become wrong and foul and false..