Because of Eshu Martin's recent essay on the Zen compendium Sweeping Zen -- "Everybody Knows -- Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi and Rinzai-Ji" -- and because the Blogger venue on which this blog appears makes it difficult to reach the end of a given topic and leave a comment, I am creating yet another Eido Shimano thread, Eido Tai Shimano (Cont'd) 4. It evolves, like the 3, 2, 1 and the original that preceded it, from a letter I wrote in 1982 and posted at the outset of these threads. That letter is reproduced here as well.
Eshu's article plus the landslide of comments it has elicited is relevant in its similarity to the malfeasances and depredations of Shimano and that similarity deserves to be noticed, I think.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
letter to Eido Tai Shimano
What follows is a letter I wrote in 1982 to Eido Tai Shimano, the chief
executive of Zen Studies Society in New York and Dai Bosatsu
Monastery in upstate New York. Mr. Shimano is a Zen teacher.
The reason for posting a letter of so many years ago is not to open the
old wounds that bled freely in their time. Nor is it to deny that Zen
Buddhism in America has made great strides when it comes to the
sexual and financial abuses that it has faced and continues to face
from time to time. Nor is it to suggest that I have not been a
hypocrite. Nor is it to elevate my own status as a rebel or nay-sayer
or promoter of some one true virtue. I too love Zen Buddhism both in
its directions and in its experiential truth.
I am posting it as a reminder that the past is or can be very much the
present and further that the 'scandals' that have occurred involved
very real and particular people and that those people suffered in ways
that are contrary to Zen Buddhist teaching. Not for nothing did the
teachers of the past make upsetting the sangha a no-no. Not for
nothing did they encourage repentance when it was warranted. And not
for nothing were they aware that in the human sphere, however
elevated and adored, the room for error was and remains a very real
November 1, 1982
The Rev. Eido Tai Shimano
New York Zendo
223 East 67th St.
New York, NY 11021
Dear Mr. Shimano:
Thank you for your creative letter of Oct. 19, 1982 with its equally
masterful enclosure of Oct. 21 to Mr. George (Jochi) Zournas. I must say
that as I began to read your work I felt some vestigial hope that
you might in fact clear the air, turn some metaphorical corner and
clarify what, over the years, has become murky with the stuff that
Soen Roshi has learned to call your “lies.” By the time I finished
reading your words, I was, of course, disappointed if not surprised.
“So much sitting, so many sesshins, so many dokusans…” and still Soen
Roshi calls you a liar. Could you tell me why? Is this perhaps another
encouragement to “bravely march on?” Coming as Soen Roshi does out of
a society that takes pride in indirection, still he uses this most
direct word, “liar.” Why? Coming as he does out of a discipline that
enjoins confession and straight-forwardness, he calls you a liar. Why?
Among the monks at Dai Bosatsu last summer you managed to plant the
idea that Soen Roshi was an alcoholic and/or senile. But why would a
senile alcoholic even bother to call you a liar? Politics, you say? –
because Soen Roshi wants Dai Bosatsu, to become king of the some
American Zen castle? If Soen Roshi actually did want Dai Bosatsu, why
not give it to him? Do you not owe him a great debt for his teaching,
perhaps as Torei felt he owed Hakuin? As a ‘true man without rank,’
with so many sesshins, so much sitting, and so many dokusans behind
you, surely you recognize that the toys of Zen Buddhism – the robes
and monasteries and power – are only dreams. Could you, a ‘Zen
Master,’ be fooled by a dream?
But this, of course, is not your understanding. Your understanding seems
to be that They are all out to get you – you who are blameless in
administration, honest in the dokusan room, pure and “fair” and
deserving of respect from those who support and make possible your
meaning as a person of rank. It is the questioners who are “insane” or
full of “intense personal hatred” or want Your zendo or want Your
monastery or hate you because you have money and they have not or don’t
understand the ‘Japanese’ group and you…you bear it all so remarkably
well, so staunch and patient. You are really very good at it:
masterful, if not the master.
Besides those Jochi George Zournas mentioned in his letter (those Others
who were out to get you), I would like to take this opportunity to
recollect some others, perhaps not quite so august, who have left our
own sangha. I am not now referring to those who left because they
moved or to those who made an easy personal choice, but rather to
those who left after some discovery in that beautiful zendo where
there is room for our lifelong practice. True, some left in anger or
confusion, but what was it they really discovered? Is it possible
they discovered what Soen Roshi called your “lies?” I really don’t
know, but I recollect them now and express my sorrow at their
leaving: Daishin Peter Gamby, Maishin Mike Sopko, Reimon Ray
Crivello, Genmyo Elihu Smith, Sojun George Seraganian, Bunyu David
Bogart, Roca Lorca Morello (all of whom were residents as Sho Bo Ji
with your blessings),Kanzan Bruce Rickenbacker (your monk who
memorized the whole of the Diamond Sutra), Daiko Charles Carpenter
(another of your monks), Shoro Lou Nordstrom (another of your monks),
Kozen Peter Kaufman (another of your monks), Jonen Sheila Carmen
(pseudonym), Wendy Megerman, Nennen Merry White, Toni Snow, Reishu
Jim Gordon, Shinso Merete Galesi, Ishin Peter Mathiessen, Jean Day,
Carol Binswanger, Jochi George Zournas, Wado Vicki Gerdy, Rinko Peggy
Crawford and Mushin Frank LoCicero. You will recall, or course,
that, over the years, the list has grown much, much, much longer and
is filled with people who did not show sufficient “skepticism about
rumors,” as you so quaintly put it.
How many of them came to you directly in 1975 and 1979 (when what were
humorously referred to as the “Fuck Follies I” and the ”Fuck Follies
II” were unveiled)? How many? Was it 10 or perhaps 20? Without any
exception I know of, each of those who came to you directly came in a
spirit of admiration and love, in hopes of clarifying a delicate matter
without public exposure. The situation: your manipulation of the
dokusan setting for your own periodic sexual satisfaction (seducing
women); treating lovers taken from within the sangha with contempt once
you had finished with them; and taking no candid responsibility for
your own behavior but rather answering direct, honest and caring
queries with, in one form or another, the line you used in a jam-packed
zendo in 1975: “It’s none of your business.”
The line of people outside your door is long, very, very long. In my
mind, they wait silently – the They and Them whom you so easily accuse
of insanity or intense personal hatred. A long line of crazy people
outside your door. What brought them there? Even crazy people have
their reasons, don’t you agree?
Look! There’s Merry White. Remember her? She was the one who sent a
letter to the Board of Trustees in 1979 outlining without rancor your
sexual blackmail. It was she who wrote: “Personally, I found his (your)
seductions very distracting and jarring during the first Kessei…I
wonder now if I would not have been a better student in the long run
without it. ... And last year (1978) during my second stay at Dai
Bosatsu, it hurt me that he treated me very distantly for quite a
while. When he warmed up, it became sexual again. That kind of
either/or situation made it very difficult for me (or, I would think,
any woman) to be his student. You want his attention and his help, and
that, I think, is how it begins. He takes this emotional opening-up,
which is normal and right in a spiritual student-teacher
relationship, as a sign of sexual readiness.” Clearly the Board of
Trustees, your Board of Trustees, took the only possible sane action
by never fully discussing the matter and by issuing a letter, signed
by Korin Sylvan Busch stating, “we affirm our confidence in Eido
Roshi and his leadership of our sangha.”
And there’s Jane Smith (pseudonym)! Remember her? December 24, 1977,
Room 1100A at the Statler Hilton after dinner at Mama Leone’s. Remember
how the board of Trustees covered that one when Jochi and Korin, at
whose instigation I can only guess, spread lies and rumors about Jane –
how she was only dreaming of an affair with you? And how even Jane
was drawn into the lies and told them on herself because she believed
the truth would be harmful to you and to Zen practice in America?
She was the same one who commented later in front of witnesses that
“he (you) never even said thank you.”
And Carmen!… But of course you will recall this and much, much more.
On and on and on it goes down that long, long line. Person after person,
Bodhisattva after crazy Bodhisattva, each of them willing their
suspicions to silence. How is it possible they were so willing, so
stupid? Perhaps it was because many people begin their spiritual
practice with the understanding that the ascendancy they have previously
granted to their emotions and intellect is the source of much
suffering. Because of that pain, they were willing to set aside their
own emotions and intellect (to the extent possible), and to be as
faithful and obedient as possible. Perhaps they counseled themselves
that intellect and emotion are more delusion. And perhaps they trusted
that your emotions and thoughts were not based in delusion. This
trust, however misguided, was surely human and understandable.
Unfortunately, it was and is open to manipulation and deceit. There
are many I know, myself among them, who practiced with you and were
grateful to you, until, a little at a time, they began to wonder. In
their wondering, they came to you in their twos and threes and tens,
not even caring very much that you took lovers on the side, but
curious about a wider pattern of contempt and manipulation. No doubt
you saw them as insane people out to take your toys. Well, they didn’t
get them, did they?
To some you said your Japanese heritage and samurai code of honor kept
you from understanding or responding to these puritanical
“barbarians.” Isn’t it odd for a so-called Zen Master who has lived
in America for 20 years to claim he understands neither his students
nor his environment? Isn’t such a person in the wrong line of work?
No doubt it is equally insane to suggest that a real Japanese man
would know something of discretion and that a true samurai would not
exhibit contempt and dishonesty towards those in his own circle of
Of course it was more difficult to use this line on Dr. Tadao Ogura, the
psychiatrist who offered to act as arbitrator in the present
upheaval. He was the one who suggested taking three “impartial”
observers from the sangha with him when he listened to the direct
testimony of those involved. The group would then have reported to the
Board of Trustees, your own Board of Trustees. Perhaps he too was
one of the insane ones, the ones who had to be stopped. And stopped
he was when Korin Sylvan Busch, at whose instigation I can only
guess, let it be known that three “impartial” sangha members could
not be found.
The long line outside your door does not say these things. They are
silent. They are gone. It is I who say them, I, Kigen. I take
responsibility for saying what I have said and doing what I have done. I
have company, but I take responsibility for myself. I am one of
Them, those Others whose fault it all is, one of the ones who
supported you well, offered you gratitude, did his best to practice
the Zen Buddhism of the Patriarchs, lied or remained silent for you
on numbers of occasions, lied or remained silent to myself about you,
endured and perpetuated your deceits, and,
It is out of that insanity that I also offer you my most sincere and
honest thanks. I offer thanks without irony or sarcasm. You have taught
me well and I am grateful. Besides the mechanics of Zen Buddhism, you
have also taught me what a Zen Master is not – a teaching worthy of a
true Zen Master. Although your teaching lacked the creative clarity,
the nurturing of the Buddha Dharma, and the straight-forwardness of a
truly enlightened man, still I say your teaching was fine. As I
value my life, my Zen practice, so I value this teaching.
This is a time for potential new beginnings – yours, mine, the sangha’s.
Always new beginnings. I pray now and will continue to pray that
each of us may one day face death with strong, even breaths and
perhaps a small smile of true understanding.
Thank you and goodbye.
It was during that same time period that I heard perhaps the sharpest
rebuke I have ever heard in my life. At one point, Soen Roshi was
talking face to face with Mr. Shimano and discussing the reported
disharmony Mr. Shimano played a role in. Mr. Shimano offered his
responses. And Soen Roshi reportedly said sadly, "Now it comes -- dead
PS In keeping with the other Shimano threads, I will delete any post using the nickname "anonymous." This is to allow others to respond to or refer to other posts more easily.ReplyDelete
Hi Adam, thankyou for your post..I admit I am still surprised but perhaps because I do not know the extent and truth of what happened, it does not seem in parallel to me. For Sasaki, I saw what I saw and learnt what I learnt -- I can only speak from that perspective, and I have done so on Sweeping Zen. I am sorry for my attack on Adam Tebbe because I know he means well at the end of the day, and to that end, I apologise. At the same time I have spoken - from my view - very honestly on what I have seen in my limited tenure and how Roshi behaved with me, what he taught and there was that sense of certainty behind it. And of course I believe in the efficacy of genuine Zen guidance and practice -- how can I not? It's effects have been undeniable, even though I would still deny them today..and yet..so I still care about that..the practice, the organisation that I know has a heart of practice foremost.ReplyDelete
But -- OK -- if it is true, then Sasaki may have made errors. And if that is so, I am sorry -- on behalf of Sasaki, I am also sorry. In any case, I welcome the discussion and your opinions and perspectives on the matter as I said consistently also. If there was any real wrong doing, then I apologise on behalf of him to those hurt.
Take care and thankyou as always for your kind and genuine stance on things, as much as you can muster.
gracious me there's actually a part 4 to these sagas.. well keep it going then.. metta and in due respect ain't for me to judge anybody or anything anyway..ReplyDelete
Glad you've revived this thread, Genkaku. For better or worse, you let the chips fall where they may.ReplyDelete
By contrast, over on ZFI's "omerta" thread, Genjo's latest post was "moderated". As Genjo is not an out-of-control ranter, I can't imagine what he might have said that required editing, but evidently that's the sorry state of affairs on that forum. It was bad enough when moderators deleted entire posts without explanation or notification--but editing others' posts with no indication of what was changed and why it was necessary to change it is over the line. Shall we next discover that our ZFI posts are being reworded? (I would ask the moderators myself, but, well, you know, they don't cotton to having their decisions questioned.)
Genjo must have wrote something that's true, so naturally it was moderated.ReplyDelete
Thank you for bring back the Shimano pages even though they were never halted just buried by blogspot's format change.
Speaking of change for the worse, any idea what has happened to the Blogspot search utility?
A while back there was a search bar near the top of the blog page that would be able to search all entries concerning, say, "Eido Shimano." That search bar is gone and has been for some time now.
Now if I want to find an entry and don't remember the title, I have to use http://www.google.com/advanced_search
There I enter my search words like "Eido Shimano" in the first box and then, to search your blog specifically, I enter "http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/" in the box labeled "site or domain:" about two-thirds down the page.
Robert -- I don't know what to say, partly because I am a computer doofus and partly because the little search box you refer to is still visible from where I sit.ReplyDelete
I just don't know ... sorry.
I am glad to learn that you didn't deactivate the search feature. Now I have to see why you get the search box and I don't.
My first suspect is the anti-tracking softwareI I installed. This s/w has resulted in unexpected results in the past.
Have to leave on Google+1 in order to get the search bar on top of the page. I can still block other data collection services that Google uses to spy on users of your Blog.
I hope whatever you have done suits your purposes. I haven't a clue how to stop snoopers ... but since I don't have a lot of money and the blog's impact is modest ... well, I guess it's about as good as it gets at this end. :)ReplyDelete
!!!HEY WHO TOLD YOU SO!!!
Try to tell people what's what in Zen and you get a chorus of people calling you an angry malcontent, as if it is COMPLETELY UNFATHOMABLE to all that you might be trying to help people.
Speaking of "I told you so", way back on this thread I remember making the point that Shimano offered dokusan three times a day, which I considered to be a warning sign that something might be up. And - thanks to the searchable Archive! - here's the response I got from a Shimano defender, which in retrospect is laughably touché:ReplyDelete
"This is really childish criticism. He makes us go to dokusan so he can be glorified, bowed down to and worshiped? Mt. Baldy has 4 times a day dokusan--mandatory. Sasaki must be really in need of attention?"
August 25, 2010 12:22 PM
The following was brought to my attention on the Shimano Archive (http://shimanoarchive.com/NEWindex.html) today ... a statement from Myoshin-ji as regards Eido Shimano's lineage:ReplyDelete
"Myoshin-ji has received many inquiries regarding its relationship with the Zen Studies Society in New York ever since the publication on 20 August 2010 of an article in the New York Times regarding the behavior of the Society's former director, Eido Shimano."
"On the occasion of establishing the Zen Studies Society, Eido Shimano stipulated that the Society was to have no relation to Myoshin-ji or any other branch of Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism. As far as Myoshin-ji is concerned, all along it has had no connection with Eido Shimano, his activities or organizations, including Dai Bosatsu Zendo and all affiliated Zen Studies Society institutions, nor is Eido Shimano or any of his successors certified as priests of the Myoshin-ji branch of Zen or recognized as qualified teachers."
I stated my opinion here: http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2012/12/eido-shimanos-lineage.html
Shimano wanted no connection to Myoshin-ji from ZSS's inception, why is it a surprise then that he, or any of his successors, are not Myoshin-ji certified priests? In their own words, "it has had no connection with Eido Shimano."ReplyDelete
So the question of Shimano's own successors and his Lineage is a moot point; whether they are authorized or authentic--regardless-- Myoshin-ji has had nothing to do with this.
How about a letter from Ryutaku-ji?
Bio -- I thought Ryutaku-ji was a Myoshin-ji franchise.ReplyDelete
If that is so, then the same applies to Ryutaki-ji.ReplyDelete
He apparently didn't want any connection to institutional, Japanese Zen. If as they have written, "on the occasion of establishing ZSS Eido Shiamano stipulated.... no relation with Myoshin-ji or any other branch of Japanese Zen Buddhism", then why would his name or any of his successors appear on any Japanese Zen institution's documents?
I interpret this letter from Myoshin-ji as acknowledging Shimano as neither authentic nor as not authentic. Just a guy teaching zazen to anyone who wanted to learn and practice it, albeit, with tax-exempt status.
Some reminders from the Shimano Archives currently at 813 documents.
1. In 1982 Shimano and the ZSS Board formally reaffirmed that the organization was completely independent of the Rinzai hierarchy.
.... [U]pon motion duly made and seconded, it was RESOLVED that the Zen Studies Society acknowledges and declares Eido Tai Shimano Roshi to be the founder, and the first and present abbot of Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji and New York Zendo Shobo-ji; and Soen Roshi and the late Nyogen Senzaki to be honorary founders; and that Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji and New York Zendo Shobo-ji are and will remain independent from any other Zen Buddhist organization here or abroad.
2. References to actual lineage charts in the archive.
Ah well... back to searching for the living buddhas with 82 major and 80 minor physical characteristics.Delete
Bio -- For all I know you are right ... but I have my doubts. On what basis would Shimano find a money-paying audience in Japan as he did before his notoriety caught up with him)if not through implicit and explicit connections to established and respected institutions? Were American Zen teachers given a similar welcome in Japan? How did he come by that sexy Shinto hat or work up large bank accounts with Japanese backers? Was all of this and more like it because he was such a terrific guy wearing a Zen patch on his sleeve?ReplyDelete
I just find it very hard to believe that the claim to being a free-standing Zen teacher was anything close to the truth. Shimano is and claims endlessly to be Japanese. The Japanese are into group-think. My sense is that he worked his connections when it suited his purposes and asserted them at times when they did not in fact exist. A good businessman who took the gaijin to the cleaners, both literally and metaphorically.
I suppose I could make a better case for all this be combing the Shimano Archives ... but to be honest, I haven't got the energy. Lineage, by whatever definition, is central to the Zen Buddhist ethos and mythos. That lineage asserts connections. When the connections are broken or contradicted ... what becomes of the status of lineage?
I dunno ... think what you like.
Ah yes, Lineage. My sense of the ancient line of teachers is not so literal. I feel a strong "connection", intimately at times, with all who had gone before me and were devoted to this practice as a way of life. So, lineage to me is a more abstract; nonetheless, very real concept to me, but not an unbroken line of successors one after the other beginning with old Shaka. I can chant any lineage at any dharma group's meeting and feel the same way; a lot of strange names of people unknown to me but with the same inclination to devote their lives, time and energy to practice.ReplyDelete
Re Shimano: He loves the culture he comes from with a terrific pride, that doesn't mean he wanted an overlord telling him what to do from 12 thousand miles away. As far as working connections when it suited him and asserting them when they don't exist--I can believe that, but so what? That's what many people do.
Get some rest Genkaku. This has been the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.
Thanks Bio. Rest seems like a good and kind suggestion.ReplyDelete
"That's what many people do" is an interesting observation and clearly true. Does that mean I can excuse myself as long as "many people" do the same?
Based on Koku's kindly factual lineage additions above, it seems that not only did Eido Shimano cut himself off from the family that raised him, but the family that raised him cut itself off from him.ReplyDelete
So it seems Denko was right ...
"A monk or nun will become a priest upon completing 1000 days of formal training in a monastery. The monastery as well as the priest will have records of that.
A "qualified teacher" will be designated as such by his teacher in a public ceremony (or several), and several documents will be presented to this now designated "qualified teacher". Eido Shimano went through such a ceremony, as is well documented. His Dharma Heirs went through such ceremonies, and that is well documented as well."
1,000 days of training, a couple of ceremonies and a certificate or two and anyone is free to sell Zen trinkets as an authentic Zen teacher.
And here I thought McDonald's had a good grip on how to run a franchise.
Interesting point. However, McDonald's has extensive training, a vastly larger staff, and relatively and, its seems, absolutely far fewer ethical problems of the sexual and financial nature.ReplyDelete
I feel sorry in a compassionate way for Sherry Chayat and Joe Marinello. Both obviously have come to now realize that Shimano (and Genki) were scoundrels. How they justify their time devoted to such rotten fruit is truly a dance of shadows and re-direction. Sherry and Joe are now living an impossible dream as was written in the front page of the first edition sutra book of the Zen Studies Society, attributed to Chester Carlton. Such irony now,after all these years , as I look at that page and see the true meaning it portend.ReplyDelete
Here is a missive from Jeff Shore to Roko Sherry Chayat. It can be read without segmentation here:ReplyDelete
Otherwise, in segments, here it is:
JEFF SHORE I
An Open Letter to Sherry Chayat, the Zen Studies Society (ZSS), and
Other Concerned Persons
I trust your health is holding up despite present difficulties. As you know, I have met Eidô Shimano, visited Dai Bosatsu, and also met you at your center. But I discovered the details of this situation only because you asked me to check why Shimano was not listed on Sôen Nakagawa's lineage chart. Looking into the facts has been one of the most shocking and disturbing things I have ever done. But I have no ax to grind in this sad and shameful affair. Many have been hurt, including you. So what I offer is not in any way a personal attack, but is directed to those like you in leadership and teaching positions in an organization that has long been centered around a seriously dysfunctional teacher. May this statement, in some small way, promote healing on all sides.
First let me respond to your persistent concern: to check on the details of Shimano's certification. I have done what you requested and have confirmed that Shimano is NOT listed on Sôen Nakagawa's lineage chart. Since Sôen Nakagawa has passed away, we cannot ask him why he took the actions that he did with respect to Shimano. But what is clear is that the Myôshinji establishment (from which Shimano's purported lineage derives) has with one voice repudiated any connection with Shimano or his successors, explicitly stating that neither Shimano nor his successors are certified as priests or recognized as qualified teachers. The statement, in Japanese and English, can be found on the official Myôshinji website:
It's heartbreaking, yet undeniable: you and many others have been duped. Plain and simple. With or without "credentials."
In Rinzai Zen Buddhism, completing formal practice, including the koan curriculum, is only a first step to becoming a qualified teacher. At least as important is a further maturation of character in compassion, virtue and personal integrity.
The sad fact is that some people misuse the koan system. As in any religious institution, there are those who can manipulate it for their own ends, without going through any real inner transformation. Then they use their position and power for self-serving purposes. Their lack of virtue and integrity, however, is a clear sign that they are unfit to teach.
A teacher of Zen Buddhism is not a special being exempt from ethics and allowed to play by his or her own rules – that is how a dangerous cult operates. Zen teachers are people working with students who are wondrously and vulnerably opening themselves up. And like teachers of every kind, a Zen teacher has a duty to do everything in his or her power to nurture and protect the student in this delicate process. Shimano has breached this duty, causing terrible harm to innocent people, to ZSS, and to Zen Buddhism. It's clear; no more hemming and hawing.
JEFF SHORE IIReplyDelete
Unfortunately, what has happened at ZSS is not an isolated occurrence. Zen in the modern world is rife with half-baked and downright bogus teachers, some coming from Japan. While I appreciate the Myôshinji statement mentioned above, I do not assume that Japanese Rinzai Zen is pure and flawless, and that Shimano is a terrible aberration of it. Shimano IS a terrible aberration of that institution; but he is also a product of it. May we all reflect on how this disease arose – and how it could continue to fester for so long. And, going forward, may we all take this opportunity to humbly look into own hearts and under our own feet, then take the necessary steps so Zen Buddhism in North America and elsewhere can get turned in the right direction. That is what we can shape now and so what I'd like to focus on below.
There are many related issues, and I do not claim to have the answers. Others more knowledgeable and capable than me have already written about these issues. So let me just mention some things to consider here:
First, where the main teacher in an organization brings his or her deep and abiding dysfunction into the heart of the teaching, two things follow: (1) the teacher selects people for leadership positions based in part on their ignorance or acquiescence to the dysfunctional behaviors; and (2) the teaching is ruined.
Where this situation occurs, and the dysfunction is uncovered, people in leadership roles leave or are forced to leave. They do so because, even if they were well-intentioned individuals and their hearts were in the right place, they either acquiesced to, or remained blind to, the teacher’s depredations. Either way, they have failed in their leadership roles. Once new leadership is in place,
the task is not yet done. Issues remain: What is being done to guard against future dysfunction and are their grievance procedures?
Concerning who will now teach: if the dysfunctional teacher is not legitimate, as is the case with Shimano, can his successors be considered legitimate? Who is qualified to make this determination and on what basis? Teachers should sincerely ask themselves:
• Am I really qualified to teach? What criteria do I use to determine this? In the teaching of my dysfunctional teacher, how can I separate what was genuine from what was selfish manipulation?
• Does my training in a dysfunctional environment preclude me from teaching? Am I in need of counseling? Some things to watch for: Am I the victim of a cult mentality? Do I feel blind loyalty toward my teacher? Do I rationalize the teacher's abuses and manipulations because I believe the teacher is "enlightened"? Would I adopt that standard as a teacher?
• How will my role in the dysfunction affect my ability to reach and teach all in the community? Some things to watch for: Did I enable it or otherwise tolerate it? Am I part of the problem? Do I need to apologize for my actions and make amends? Do I have the trust of the whole community, including those who were harmed or who have left the community?
• Why do I want this position? Is there some desire to maintain it for my own sake? Do I proactively respond to dysfunction to eliminate it and address its painful consequences, or do I take half-measures after the fact, hoping to protect my position until the storm blows over?
JEFF SHORE IIIReplyDelete
Organizational leaders and students should be sensitive to these issues in determining the merit of a teacher. Finally, please consider whether the organization is doing all it can to disclose what has occurred and to take responsibility by meeting the needs of any victims. These include: those directly abused; those who acquiesced or ignored the depredations; those forced to leave the organization because they refused to accept what was going on; and even the dysfunctional teacher. All need to be cared for.
It seems to me that these issues need to be seriously addressed for a healthy Zen Buddhist organization to go forward with authenticity, competence and compassion. For yourself and for all who have been damaged, it is not too late to make a clean break from the sickness, to really start the healing process, and to do what can be done to right the wrongs. When you have sincerely inquired into these issues, Sherry, I invite you to publicly respond in a way that could begin real reconciliation for all sides. I, and many others, await your response with an open heart.
Let me end by repeating my sincere apology to you. Sherry, I should not have let our earlier messages be made public. You were right about that and I was wrong. My apologies for any grief it caused you. I did not intend to hurt you in any way. I was trying to prepare you for what was inevitably coming. To make amends, I requested that the thread be removed from the Archive Site. Unfortunately, it appeared elsewhere on the internet, so the Archive saw no point in not including it in its record and eventually put it back up, despite my protests. Since I have no connection to the Archive or to any other site where the email thread appears, there is little more I can do about it now.
May we all be stirred to examine our own faults – and strive to correct them.
Gasshou (palms pressed together),
Note: For those unfamiliar with Shimano & ZSS, there is a mountain of material available. See, for example:
zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz!!ReplyDelete
Posted elsewhere on this blog, but added here way of newsworthiness:ReplyDelete
On Jan. 3, 2013, Eido T. Shimano filed a $2-million-plus lawsuit against Zen Studies Society in the Supreme Court of the state of New York (http://shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20130103_Shimanos_vs._ZSS.pdf). The suit, which demands a jury trial, seeks to retrieve money and artifacts which Shimano and his wife Aiho claim were wrongfully withheld by the society.
With the support/donations of a willing sangha (community), Shimano helped to build Zen Studies Society starting in the mid-1960's. ZSS now has a New York City center (Shobo-ji) and a monastery in Livingston Manor, N.Y. (Dai Bosatsu). In the decades since Shimano helped to shape ZSS, he has been was widely accused (see the Shimano Archive -- http://shimanoarchive.com/ -- among others) of sexual and fiduciary improprieties, which may now make it into the light of day in a courtroom.
It is not clear at the moment whether ZSS will fight the Shimano suit. As the suit itself makes clear, ZSS is not only disinclined to pay the Shimanos under their rich pension package, but is also seriously strapped for funds, whatever their inclinations may be. It is hard not to speculate that in order to fight the lawsuit, ZSS might be forced to sell one or both of its properties and thus, in effect, destroy the institution itself.
Zen in America ... and you thought "Dallas" was gone forever.
LETTER FROM ZEN STUDIES SOCIETY PART IReplyDelete
Dear Sangha and Dharma Friends,
The Zen Studies Society Board of Directors would like to provide you with an update on several significant issues and challenges currently facing the Zen Studies Society.
As most of you are aware, we asked Eido Shimano Roshi, the Founding Abbot of the Zen Studies Society, to resign from the Board in July of 2010 after a student revealed an affair with him. He acknowledged that breach of our ethical guidelines, and the Board duly reported the sexual misconduct incident to our insurance company. We also asked Eido Roshi to retire as Abbot of the Zen Studies Society; he did so in December 2010, and Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi was appointed Abbot on January 1, 2011.
While we fully acknowledge and are deeply saddened by this incident and allegations of other ethical breaches on Eido Roshi's part, we do remain grateful for his visionary work in founding New York Zendo and Dai Bosatsu Zendo and for his five decades of inspiring teaching. We wanted to provide appropriate care for our teacher and his wife, Aiho Yasuko Shimano, after their retirement, and we trusted that we could come to a harmonious and reasonable agreement with them on a retirement pension. We have since tried in good faith to negotiate a retirement settlement with a succession of five different attorneys representing the Shimanos. Progress has been quite slow, and we have been required to keep these discussions confidential.
Then on January 3 of this year, through their newest attorney, the Shimanos filed a multi-million-dollar public lawsuit against the ZSS. We are profoundly disappointed in the court suit, but will continue to seek a settlement that supports our non-profit financial responsibilities appropriately. Litigation is a very expensive process; we intend to finance a defense that protects the mission and well-being of the ZSS in a manner guided by Board Best Practices and non-profit standards.
As a result of this filing of a public lawsuit, confidentiality has been lost. We are now able to share more information on how we have moved to address Eido Roshi's ethical misconduct and negotiate our financial responsibilities to him. The details about the lawsuit and the history of our financial negotiations with the Shimanos are as follows:
The lawsuit filed by the Shimanos in January of this year charges ZSS with discontinuing to pay them according to a Deferred Compensation Agreement (DCA), which Eido Roshi presented to the Board in December 2010, when he was about to retire. Although the DCA had been written in 1995, it wasn't signed until the year 2000 (by then-Vice Abbot and Board President Jiro Fernando Afable). No financial planning to support the agreement was done, and no funds were ever put aside for it by former Boards that were led by Eido Roshi.
The DCA called for a pension of 70 percent of Eido Roshi's and Aiho-san's final year of salary, plus ongoing housing costs, life insurance, housing insurance, health insurance, phone, and utilities. The DCA mandated a four percent annual salary increase, and we anticipated that the annual costs other than salary would increase proportionately, if not at a higher rate. One of our projections showed DCA expenses would exceed $1.8 million dollars over the first fifteen years (starting in 2011). The DCA is for life, though, so the duration and total payments could not be known with any degree of certainty.
The Board made monthly payments to the Shimanos during 2011 and most of 2012, while attempting to restructure the unfunded DCA into something more manageable. In 2011, direct payments to the Shimanos and other costs associated with support of the DCA totaled $98,534.57. Note: Sangha donations were not used for those payments; they have been used only for operating costs at our two facilities. During this period, we communicated to Eido Roshi on numerous occasions our concern regarding the lack of funding for the DCA.
LETTER FROM ZEN STUDIES SOCIETY PART IIReplyDelete
In addition, there are serious issues concerning both the validity of the DCA and whether it is appropriate to make payments under the DCA when Eido Roshi may be liable to the Society for actions he has taken that have harmed the Society.
In August 2012, we were advised to discontinue pension payments to the Shimanos until a settlement could be reached through legal negotiations. We are continuing to pay their health insurance premiums.
In December of 2012, the ZSS Board advanced a proposal for binding arbitration to decide a fair settlement. On January 3, 2013, the Shimanos rejected arbitration, and brought a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the Zen Studies Society that includes a demand to pay the DCA in full as well as actual and punitive damages regarding their claim of ownership of buddhas, gongs, scrolls, and other items required for daily practice at the ZSS's centers.
We wish to share additional information about how the ZSS Board has addressed Eido Roshi's ethical misconduct:
In September 2010, the ZSS Board turned to the Faith/Trust Institute (FTI) for professional guidance in responding to Eido Roshi's sexual misconduct. In early September of that year, FTI led a meeting with Eido Roshi and the Board, as well as with the Sangha and the Board, at New York Zendo Shobo-ji. Their recommendations were: 1) that Eido Roshi end his tenure as Abbot; 2) that any students who wished to study with him could do so, but not under ZSS auspices; 3) that he make a public apology acknowledging his misconduct and his regret for harm done to ZSS; 4) that a formal financial audit for ZSS be undertaken; 5) that new ZSS leadership consult with Zen colleagues who had gone through similar restructuring to address misconduct issues; and 6) that the Board read Marilyn R. Peterson's At Personal Risk: Boundary Violations in Professional-Client Relationships. All of these recommendations were followed (see below for a progress report on the audit process).
Regarding Point 3, Eido Roshi did send an open letter of apology to the Sangha following the FTI meetings in September. However, many members had left after the 2010 announcement of the teacher-student affair, never to return. ZSS fundraising and sesshin attendance were badly affected by the negative publicity involving that most recent incident and the accompanying renewed attention to past allegations of sexual misconduct.
In December 2010, Eido Roshi wrote a letter to The New York Times that accused Mark Oppenheimer, the journalist who wrote an article about the teacher-student affair that Eido Roshi himself had previously openly acknowledged, of “obtaining his information from second and third-hand sources.” In this letter, Eido Roshi stated, “the opinions expressed therein are neither factual nor backed up by proof,” adding, “I have not resigned because of these false accusations.” His letter to the Times, while not published there, found its way to the Internet, resulting in a further deterioration of the ZSS's reputation in the Buddhist community at large and in a huge wave of letters to the ZSS Board (many in the form of open letters published on the Internet) calling for Eido Roshi's immediate removal.
As a result of these developments, Eido Roshi was asked not to participate in sesshins at DBZ or Shobo-ji, and the Board established a restricted access policy for him: visits were to be made only when necessary, and required a formal request and approval as well as supervision by a Board member or designated person. We did not wish to put any student at risk, and furthermore we had been advised that his unsupervised presence would be an insurance liability for the Society.
In May 2011, Board members held a meeting with Eido Roshi mediated by the founder of An Olive Branch to discuss allegations of sexual misconduct and a way forward. The Board wished to acknowledge problems and address them. Eido Roshi refused to work further with the Board on this topic.
LETTER FROM ZEN STUDIES SOCIETY PART IIIReplyDelete
At the end of August 2011, Shinge Roshi hosted an Open Sangha meeting, facilitated by An Olive Branch, at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. The goal was to address openly all concerns and issues, acknowledge past failures, and to seek Sangha feedback on how best to move forward. A historical timeline of ZSS events was presented, developed, and discussed. Attendees had the opportunity to bring up any and all issues of ethical misconduct. During this meeting many instances of affairs between Eido Roshi and his students over the years were referenced.
In October 2011, Shinge Roshi wrote an open letter of apology, saying, “In the weeks since our Sangha Weekend facilitated by An Olive Branch, I know we have been feeling deeply saddened by what we heard. I want to express my sorrow for those harmed by affairs with their teacher, for the many who have suffered feelings of betrayal and disillusionment, and for the ensuing bitterness and divisiveness that have occurred”
In January 2012, new members with professional non-profit experience joined the ZSS Board. Three facilitators from An Olive Branch led the Board in a Non-Profit Best Practices weekend retreat at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in August 2012, and in an all-day Mission, Vision, Values retreat at New York Zendo in October 2012.
In addition, regarding current ZSS finances, ZSS board representatives met with Citrin Cooperman, an audit firm, in October 2012 to review ZSS financial procedures for 2011 to ensure that ZSS employs Best Practices in its accounting processes. We have retained Citrin Cooperman to conduct an audit of the 2012 books. We are also working closely with Veris Consulting, a specialist in non-profit accounting, on improving our system and procedures. Additionally, during the past two years the Board has engaged Goetz Fitzpatrick, LLC and the Law Offices of Eric Grannis to ensure that the Board maintains the highest fiduciary standards.
The events of these past few years have caused serious blows to our ability to raise the funds necessary for the continued operation of our temples. As a result, even discounting the financial liability of having to defend the Society from the Shimanos' litigation, we are now considering whether the sale of assets may be necessary. Please be assured, however, that we are doing everything possible to insure that our centers will weather these challenges and go on to a bright and vibrant future.
Despite our present difficulties, there is great enthusiasm for the practice at both New York Zendo Shobo-ji and Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji. We just finished a dynamic and restorative Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Sesshin at Shobo-ji, with 30 participants. Many of the 33 students who participated in December's Rohatsu Sesshin at DBZ said it was one of the best they had ever attended. We had an excellent group of fifteen residents during our last training period at DBZ, with three ordinations; nine students will be receiving the Precepts on the last day of Holy Days Sesshin this April.
We humbly request the continuing support and counsel of the Sangha. We will keep you updated as we continue to do our best to uphold our ethical, administrative, and fiduciary responsibilities to the Zen Studies Society.
We wish you good health and happiness in the New Year. May 2013 bring a peaceful resolution and ever-deepening practice.
Let True Dharma Continue!
The Zen Studies Society Board of Directors:
Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat, Abbot
Soun Joe Dowling, President
Shoteki Chris Phelan, Vice President
Shinkon Peter Glynn, Treasurer
Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz, Secretary
Hokuto Dan Diffin
Tamon Jeff Hovden
Genno Linda King
Interesting.... Possession is nine-tenths of the law, so he's gonna have to prove every single item. (Can you imagine his alleged "donors" consenting to come into court to testify on behalf of the greedy little piggy asshole?)ReplyDelete
This whole thing could have been avoided if the Board had manifest some balls and FIRED him instead of "Retiring" him...
Poor, poor, roshi we all love him sooo....
It will be interesting to see just how aggressively this suit is contested. One can't help but wonder if the whole issue is not just a cover to allow Eido to take possession of the ZSS again. But I was more intrigued by the reference to "their claim of ownership of buddhas, gongs, scrolls, and other items required for daily practice at the ZSS's centers." Required for daily practice? Makes one wonder just what the "practice" really consists of. American Zen Buddhism all too often seems obsessed with issues of real estate, costumery, and theatrics. Is there any other point here?ReplyDelete
A letter from Merry White Benezra (Nennen)to Roko Sherry Chayat [Roshi] has been posted on the Shimano Archive. Benezra is a former student of Eido Shimano's. Chayat is one of Shimano's Dharma successors and current abbot of Dai Bosatsu Monastery and the Shobo-ji Zen center in New York City.ReplyDelete
I would post the letter -- a good one -- here in toto, but it's in pdf format and I haven't got the energy to switch it into a compatible format.
From: Merry Benezra ReplyDelete
Date: Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 7:15 PM
Subject: Response to Dear Sangha and Dharma Friends letter
February 8, 2013
Roko Sherry Chayat
New York Zendo Shobo-ji
223 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10065
I was a resident at Dai Bosatsu Zendo from July 1976 (including the opening kessei) to February 1977, and again from January to September 1978. My experiences with Eido Shimano are novelized and recorded in my book, Special Karma, a book I hope you will have a chance to read.
I have been following the unresolved scandals caused by Eido with some interest; in fact, it was the New York Times article in July 2010 that caused me to put my book into publishable form and get it out into the world.
The opening kessei in September 1976 followed on the heels of the "Fuck Follies" of Christmas 1975, in which Eido lost many students and swore to keep his hands off any new students he might teach, were he allowed to stay on. Based on this promise, the ZSS Board of Directors allowed him to continue as the spiritual leader of NY Zendo and Dai Bosatsu.
Yet, when I arrived at DBZ a mere six months later in July 1976, Eido was sexually involved with a resident student, Sxxxxx Jxxxxx Lxxxxx. By September, he was relentlessly propositioning me (the subject of my book). When I returned to DBZ in January 1978, he was sexually exploiting three new resident students. So much for the useless promises of a sexual addict.
And it is my understanding that the Board was made aware of Eido's ongoing sexual activities and lies around this time. Inexplicably, the Board permitted him to continue.
I am writing to take exception with the ZSS Board's recent Dear Sangha and Dharma Friends letter, which you co-signed and which says, "we do remain grateful for [Eido's] visionary work in founding New York Zendo and Dai Bosatsu Zendo and for his five decades of inspiring teaching" and therefore "wanted to provide appropriate care for our teacher and his wife, Aiho Yasuko Shimano, after their retirement."
Eido's nonstop sexual predations over decades and decades have caused harm that cannot be counted. Harm to the women he lied to and abandoned and slandered after enjoying them, and harm to the cause of Buddhism in America. This man does not have anything owed to him. Can it possibly be that his ZSS contract does not have certain provisions, exceptions for fraudulent misrepresentation on his part?
Shouldn't "inspiring teaching" be available to sincere students of Buddhism without the rest of it—the sexual wheedling, the astonishment at being dumped by an enlightened being, the excruciating outcome of being labeled mentally ill if one speaks up?
Will you sell off Dai Bosatsu, turn it into an upscale spa with vegetarian nouvelle cuisine, to ensure that an unrepentant sexual predator has a nice retirement?
Don't his victims deserve more peace of mind than this? Reparations? Do you have a sense of justice?
And does it not strike you as somewhat ironic and telling that our Zen master, someone we were supposed to believe had gone beyond distinctions and preferences, needs $2 million to continue his wretched existence?
To be very frank, the behavior of the Zen Studies Board has, for so many years, struck me as a kind of cult. I don't know you personally, but I must say that your active participation in this game of imagining the emperor has clothes is disheartening, and it strikes me as destructive to the cause of Dharma in America.
Merry White Benezra (Nennen)
1926 Gamel Way, #3
Mountain View, CA 94040
The Shimano Archive has added a purported letter from Eido Shimano to the Zen Studies Society he is suing for $2 million-plus.ReplyDelete
The letter reads (in my view) like a lawyer-generated effort to pressure ZSS ... and make sure the suit is settled out of court so that "scurrilous" accusations do not have to be addressed or assessed in the light of day.
To the best of my knowledge, ZSS has made no formal (in court) response to the Shimano lawsuit, although that suit demanded a response within 20-30 days. The question that hangs in the air is, will ZSS choose FIGHT or FLIGHT by way of response?
Here is the letter allegedly penned by Shimano:
Correction ... ZSS has filed a response and it will be available shortly.ReplyDelete
Here is the ZSS court response ... the nitty gritty is about halfway down in "counterclaims:"ReplyDelete
The real nitty gritty is here: http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20130311_Plaintiffs_Reply.pdfReplyDelete
"4. With respect to paragraphs 31 through 38 of Defendants Amended Verified Answer and counterclaims, denies the claims set forth in paragraph 32 through 38, and with respect to paragraph 31 thereof, denies that Shimano Roshi had inappropriate sexual relationships with anyone."
Any word on the legal action?
I see that Ms. Chayat e is still staking out a position with roshi / dharma heir ranking on the Daibosatsu.org site despite the correspondence with Jeff Shore wherein she was informed that Mr. Shimano and his alleged heirs have no ranking in the Japanese Rinzai role books. I guess the whole "to do" with the posting of that email was actually showing her intention not to do anything about that information.ReplyDelete
FYI - ZSS has a Facebook Page
"Experience authentic Rinzai Zen Buddhism at the Zen Studies Society."
I could not help but notice what appears to be a Herpes labialis like blister on Ms Chayat's lower left lip when looking at the pics on http://www.facebook.com/ZenStudiesSociety. One can only ponder this active herpes marker on Ms Chayats' lips as direct indication of a virus invasion from a prior contaminant source of either the type 1 or more insidious type 2 with concomitant genital lesions.ReplyDelete
Printed elsewhere, but thought I would tack it on here as well:ReplyDelete
Having been run out of town on a rail provided by the Shimano Archive [http://shimanoarchive.com/index.html] and other tar-and-feather appreciations of his sexual and other depredations, Eido Shimano apparently enjoyed a return to grace May 10-15 during a sesshin (retreat) at an undisclosed "country mansion" participants dubbed "The Hidden Zendo." [
Judging by the perfumed recounting of the event in the link above, the dozen participants were well pleased and duly grateful to Shimano and his "most distinguished career as the founder/builder and Abbot of the Zen Studies Society." The fact that Shimano is currently suing Zen Studies Society [http://sweepingzen.com/eido-shimano-is-suing-zen-studies-society-in-new-york/] for $2 million and is being counter-sued for a similar amount and the history on which those suits are premised ... well, as the fictitious and flummoxed TV news commentator Emily Litella used to say, "never mind!"
An authentic Rinzai Zen teacher...
Selflessly giving of himself ...
Kindly consenting to guide the footsteps of others...
Overseeing the propagation of the True Dharma...
At a "Hidden Zendo"...
With "The Rinzai Zen Sangha" ...
I no longer have the energy to reprise the dismal facts.
I no longer have the energy to ralph.
The best I can do is remember American humorist and social observer Will Rogers who said,
There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
As the flames of the Shimano business dwindle into collective forgetfulness, there is this selective mailing from Shinge Sherry Chayat to Zen Studies Society (do we call them?) members:ReplyDelete
Regarding what being a member of Zen Studies means, ZSS has posted the organization's revised By Laws http://www.daibosatsu.org/bylaws.html (seen 9/20/13; there is a copy already in the Shimano archive).Delete
If you are thinking that participation and empowerment would be high on the action list of a American Buddhist group trying to get beyond nearly 50 years of scandal and poor governance, this document probably isn't going to do it for you.
And, while chugging along on the above, I wrote this in email:ReplyDelete
"Talk about "The Ugly American!" What are we to say of a man who spends more than 50 years in a foreign country and yet claims, as circumstances require, not to understand the 'barbarians' among whom he dwells?"
Kinda reminds ya of a psychiatric inmate bemoaning how he is perceived by the wider community...ReplyDelete
Immediately after reading the below, I thought of the Eido scandal and wondered how much the victims suffered as compared to as Ms. Guieter says, "everyone else did"?ReplyDelete
"But Geimer, now 50 and author of a just-released autobiography called “The Girl: My Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski,” told the “Today Show” this week that she didn’t consider the incident as horrific as seemingly everyone else did."
makes me wonder what motivates the condemnation of sexual activity? As long as it is NOT ABUSIVE!!
Because it hasn't been about the condemnation of what you quaintly refer to as sexual activity. Does that help explain? I doubt it. Shimano supporters will always describe the situation with bland, moral neutral terms.Delete
"... she didn’t consider the incident as horrific as seemingly everyone else did."ReplyDelete
Don't know about you, but I think it's a good idea to understand / occassionally review the dynamics of seduction (seduction in it's widest sense.
Eido sympathizers spin the tale of his predation with revisionist lies. Read the Geimer transcript nowhere does she state or imply she "didn't consider the incident as horrific as seemingly everyone else did".ReplyDelete
What Geimer does state in transcript is "I knew it was a bad thing, I knew it was wrong" http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.phpstoryId=224125474
Ratzen -- Link doesn't work: "Page not found." Google turns up a story about a Geimer who got mixed up with Polanski, but there are no references I can find to Eido. Or are you saying that the words she applies to Polanski hold equally and universally true in the Shimano situation?ReplyDelete
There was a post to include Roman Polanski's rape of the 13 year old girl, Samantha Gailey aka Geimer as a study in female seduction - see Tirso de Molina September 29, 2013 post. This defense of sexual predation of an adult on a minor is unconscionable
THE ZEN PREDATOR OF THE UPPER EAST SIDEReplyDelete
Tomorrow -- or perhaps within seven days from then -- Mark Oppenheimer's book about Eido Tai Shimano and his 50 years of malfeasance will be published as an ebook by Atlantic Monthly Press (hope I got that right) and be available at Amazon: "The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side."
I have not read the book, but I understand that Oppenheimer, a New York Times writer, has managed to get corroboration for the fact that Shimano, as a 'Zen teacher,' had a string of much-veiled affairs over the years. Some of his paramours were deeply wounded.
The Zen Studies Society, under whose corporate umbrella Shimano operated and whose functions Shimano manipulated, was frequently complicit in denying or obscuring or flat-out lying about not just the affairs, but also the financial maneuvers Shimano made to his own benefit. "The Fuck Follies," as they were sometimes called, wrought havoc in the Zen community, but there was nothing droll about that havoc with its funny name.
What else Oppenheimer may have learned in his investigative travels I have no clue. Shimano's anointed malfeasance is hardly unique and it is hard not to wonder to what extent the wider Zen community might honestly acknowledge (as distinct from mealy-mouthed remonstrations and 'healing' ceremonies) any systemic difficulty.
I guess I'll have to read the book in order to find out.
New York Times writer Mark Oppenheimer's "The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side" hit the electronic bookshelves this morning. (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GMVTPYI/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_9PUGsb1YZMQSN)ReplyDelete
Here is the book description as offered by Amazon:
Nearly 50 years ago, a Zen Buddhist monk—fleeing a cloud of suspicion—arrived in Manhattan, penniless and alone. Eido Shimano would quickly build an unrivaled community of followers: Zen students he culled from the heights of New York society to form arguably the most prestigious Japanese Buddhist organization in the country. Authors, entertainers, and scions of vast fortunes, all questing for spiritual enlightenment, flocked to study and live in his spacious compound. But always there were whispers that things were not what they seemed.
With sexual-abuse allegations against Zen leaders in the U.S. now stunningly common, The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side examines a dangerously complicated corner of the tradition—and shows how aspects of Buddhist practice may actually facilitate abuse. Featuring exclusive reporting and interviews, the book is a powerful true story of secrets and sexual exploitation perpetrated under the guise of religion—and a cautionary tale of the dark side of Zen in America.
Here is Eido Shimano's latest public communication with what he describes as "the sangha." It was added to the Shimano Archive today.ReplyDelete
It feels a bit old and stale -- though it touches on the death of Joshu Sasaki and the litigation between Shimano and Zen Studies Society -- but I have no doubt it will play a role in the resurrection yet to come....