This blog is not meant to become a kind of yellow press, and I am not much interested in denouncing certain Zen-teachers or methods of practise, just because they do things different from me.
Said that, the meanwhile well documented abuse of (mainly female) Zen students by their teachers has to be made public, in order to protect future potential victims. And the question may be asked, what kind of Zen, what kind of Zen-community or Sangha and which kind of leaders backed up those cases going on over decades. What is their understanding of responsibility?
Instead of repeating what is already widely published and discussed, below a few links for further reading considering the case of Eido Shimano, just to mention this one:
- “Sex Scandal Has U.S. Buddhists Looking Within” (New York Times, August 20, 2010)
- The Aitken-Shimano Letters
- The Shimano Archive
- “Compelling Reasons Why Eido Tai Shimano, the Abbot of The Zen Studies Society Should Step Down as its Spiritual Leader”
Some worth reading comments on the situation:
- A letter from Joan Halifax
- Discussion on the “Zen Forum International”
- “Some Fundamental Problems With Zen Practice” by Christopher Hamacher
And eventually Eido Shimano’s letter of resignation can be found here.
Case closed? By no means! Just guess who will lead in August 2012 what is proudly announced as “the first international Rinzai Zen Sesshin ever held in Turkey” ?
It is our responsibility to prevent such obviously insane people from causing further harm, and it is our responsibility to continue teaching and practising a Zen, which supports our life and is free of abuse.
One promising step in this direction might well be to consider if it is not worth completely giving up the game of calling people “Roshi“, running behind (those who have) a “Dharma Transmission” and being blinded by names and titles … and instead focus on a teacher’s integrity, and last but not least, quality of teaching.
Zen is based on personal experience and the encounter and transmission from heart to heart 以心伝心 (i shin den shin) between true humans without a rank 無位真人 (mu i no shin nin). This is the “lineage” I follow, not any officially acknowledged yet insane “heir of Buddha”, who destroys his students.