OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:58 am

Bodhi Manda Zen Center Board, Letter of Apology

Dear Bodhi Sangha,


It is time—long past time—to break the silence around the wrong and harmful conduct of Joshu Sasaki Roshi.

We, the Board of Trustees, write now to offer the heartfelt apology of the Bodhi Manda Zen Center. This apology should have been made many years ago, and would have been more meaningful if it had been made while Joshu Sasaki Roshi was alive.


Joshu Sasaki Roshi sexualized his relationships with many of his students, in and out of sanzen, in many and various ways, over many decades. His conduct was shameful and harmful, an abuse of power and an abuse of faith. It caused harm to many, and egregious harm to some women.


We do not presume to apologize for Joshu Sasaki Roshi.


Some people knew—not all, but a little—and they turned away their eyes. Joshu Sasaki Roshi discouraged discussion, and it was not discussed. Silence allowed the conduct to continue and the harm to continue, and made the harm worse. Silence became secrecy, became cult-like.


We apologize because some of us were silent, too. The leadership of the Bodhi participated in that wrong. It did harm to ourselves, our Sangha, and our larger communities.


We are humbled by this knowledge. We are appalled at the harm. We apologize unreservedly.


We extend our hearts in compassion to those who suffered, who are still suffering.


To those who tried to speak, and were silenced, censured, reviled, and those who first spoke up publicly: we thank you and honor your truth and your courage. You were right.


We, the Board, must address these harms, and move forward. Our faith in the teachings we value, and our faith in each other, has been wounded. But we move forward.


Some of us did not listen. We are listening now.


Some of us declined to know about sexual abuse and the abuse of power. Now we are educating ourselves. We are learning how to support and protect healthy boundaries.


The leadership of the Bodhi did not promote discussion. Now we invite, welcome,encourage discussion.


The burden of the harm fell mostly on women, those who spoke up and were not heard,and those who saw, yet did not speak. Now we will not allow any of our sangha to be harmed nor will we disregard anyone who speaks.


The leadership of Bodhi has been secret. Now we are seeking ways to be transparent.


The leadership of Bodhi allowed authority to rest with one person. Now we seek a more inclusive and mutually respectful leadership.


We acknowledge that we do not have the answers. We trust that with openness, honesty,compassion and respect, the answers will emerge in collaboration with the Sangha.


Our apology is made in the heartfelt hope that with compassion, awareness and hard work on our part, and in the light of the true teachings we share, we can work together towards a state of harmony and forgiveness.


In deep Gassho,


John W. Killip, President and Trustee
Seiju Bob Mammoser, Treasurer and Trustee
Jundo Stephen Slusher, Secretary and Trustee
Melanie Van Amsterdam, Trustee
Karen Hershman, Trustee
Myoren Peg Froelich, Trustee
Jiun Hosen Ranger, Abbess
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:17 am

Comments on the above posting in Sweeping Zen:

[list=commentlist]
[*]
Mike Carter
September 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm

In some senses an apology is necessary, in another sense it’s just depressing and a bit sad at best. Power dynamics and group dynamics have been studied extensively. The Stamford Prison Experiment is iconic. We KNOW how groups of people will behave REGARDLESS of a priori intentions. We know (“The Guru Papers”) how absent the line is between cult and “spiritual community”. Wishful thinking WILL NOT prevent a ommunity becoming a cult. Thrre are no lessons to learn beyond humans are human.
[*]
1. Isolated community leaders by default will become “Gurus”
2. Isolated community members will by default seek to create a “Guru” figure
3. Community members will by default seek to resolve themselves of responsibility and assume a child-like state.
4. Structures and mahasangha can help to mitigate these traits.
5. Leaders seeking peer support – outside of their own sanghas – can mitigate these traits
6. Education can mitigate these traits – “Dokusan IS NOT japanese for fellatio”
7. Study the Stamford Prison Experiment and others – MOST adults will stop being adults at the FIRST opportunity. Don’t create that opportunity…..
8. If people are being harmed IT’S A CULT. Cult-like behavior HAPPENS IN A CULT.
[*]
The simplest choice is to not create a community. Historically many monks lived in isolation. Currently not all monks create Temples. If you don’t need money or students or spiritual status lots of these problems disappear.
[*]
It’s tedious to repeatedly to hear “How did we let this happen” from Zen Teachers. You let this happen. It ‘s that simple. It’s that depressing. WHY? Answer that koan and build a better future.
[*]Reply


  • Sean H. Thompson
    September 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Mike, That was one of the BEST comments I have seen on such topics.. Well done, and a good thing to contemplate. I agree with you, not that that changes anything…



[*]
Mike Carter
September 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm

How to start a cult: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mason/start-your-own-cult_b_3999121.html
[*]
It’s not complicated, it’s just a major buzz-kill.
Reply
[*]
Mike Carter
September 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm

And this: http://youtu.be/EBK5aKOr2Fw
It’s not complicated. REALLY.
Reply
[*]
Kristin urry
September 1, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Really another one, does it never end? Its hard to maintain respect for the practice when so many of us have gone through this….
Reply
[*]
Jushin
September 12, 2015 at 6:33 am

By now you know some of the stories you can never and will never repeat. Try to picture a man out in the open, in a community gathering, like a bridge club, doing the same things. He wouldn’t last a second. 100 percent of people would say “hey what the!?!?!” and stop it immediately.
You know this to be true, but you all say “it’s different”.
[*]This is the problem, in Zen. It is a big, big problem. Everybody thinks it’s different, so all kinds of abuses continue, everywhere. Nobody on the “inside” listens, nobody on the “outside” cares, and the entire Zen community makes excuses, for decades. Everyone teaching “nothing sacred” is blinded by the sacredness of his/her tradition. People can’t even hear — they all rush to preserve the shine of their robes.
[*]It isn’t the LEAST BIT DIFFERENT from a man running from table to table, grabbing crotches, fondling breasts, telling people to give him their winnings, repeating “stupid weak Americans!”, in a bridge club! Nobody would stand around, watching, misty-eyed, saying “he really is a great bridge player!”. Nobody would hush concerned voices by saying “You must not expect perfection from your bridge partner”.
What Mr. Sasaki was doing depended on secrecy, manipulation, and a purposeful intention to deceive. If you were witness to this, you would have seen a frighteningly malicious human being, making every effort to preserve the blind, devotional atmosphere you were a part of. The inherent secrecy of the Zen form ensures that those he wanted out are isolated, and the thick devotional atmosphere means nobody would ever listen to them, anyway.
That unhealthy atmosphere was exactly how he wanted things. It was his sole intention, and such intention is the mark of truly dark character. No decent person would even wish for such control over others, much less connive and deceive for it.
None of you can believe this. It is impossible, for you. You would never have seen what he was doing — you were exactly what he wanted around him. But this is really what he was doing.
Reply
[*]
Shodo
September 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Well said Jushin.
Here is a quote from a long-term Zen practitioner that I think is relevant…
“What became clear was that the edifice that I had held so dear for so many years– modern day Zen– had a way of producing and upholding, or ignoring, the most egregious of human character flaws– things that need very deep work, and very deep surrender, to let go of, heal from and move beyond. And while this was in the vast majority of senior students and teachers I had met over the years, there were, of course, many exceptions to this. But far from enough to deny the obvious: that most modern day formal, hierarchical practice causes far more harm than good. Far more. Which I don’t think is what the T’ang era masters had in mind. Yet what became clear was that the chances of someone being loving, present, engaged, selfless, joyous, pure, considerate, generous, helpful, awake, human and humane in action rather than word — were in inverse proportions to whether they had practised or more so, even heard of Zen.
And that was, luckily for me, the most utterly heart breaking mirror I’ve ever had to face.”
[/list]
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 916
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:30 am

I see this as an important step on what will be a long road of recovery.  Some of the comments are especially insightful.

For those interested in the original page see here:

Bodhi Manda Zen Center Board, Letter of Apology

http://sweepingzen.com/bodhi-manda-board-letter-of-apology/
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 62
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:43 pm

I wish that Zen students were more prepared to examine there own practices for cult leanings today than they were in the past....but I see little evidence of this.

Mostly I just see the human condition, wrapped in devotional armor, prepared to apologize for cult related mistakes of the past but quite unprepared to examination how those mistakes continue to be perpetrated by us today.
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 916
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:24 am

Howard wrote:
I wish that Zen students were more prepared to examine there own practices for cult leanings today than they were in the past....but I see little evidence of this.

Mostly I just see the human condition, wrapped in devotional armor, prepared to apologize for cult related mistakes of the past but quite unprepared to examination how those mistakes continue to be perpetrated by us today.

Agreed.  The comment above by Mike Carter is very articulate:

[*]
1. Isolated community leaders by default will become “Gurus”
2. Isolated community members will by default seek to create a “Guru” figure
3. Community members will by default seek to resolve themselves of responsibility and assume a child-like state.
4. Structures and mahasangha can help to mitigate these traits.
5. Leaders seeking peer support – outside of their own sanghas – can mitigate these traits
6. Education can mitigate these traits – “Dokusan IS NOT japanese for fellatio”
7. Study the Stamford Prison Experiment and others – MOST adults will stop being adults at the FIRST opportunity. Don’t create that opportunity…..
8. If people are being harmed IT’S A CULT. Cult-like behavior HAPPENS IN A CULT.

[*]

At the moment it seems that all some groups can do is eventually acknowledge that bad behavior has occurred.  If they could acknowledge the extent to which the system itself is flawed then Zen practice as they know it might cease to exist; perhaps that is what people are afraid of?
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 62
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:00 pm

@Isan
I understand why folks might fear to lose what they call a Zen practice.

I just wish that an entanglement of attachments, in the form of an ordinary tribal membership, wouldn't get justified away with a Zen moniker when in fact it represents the antithesis of a Zen meditation practice.
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless   

Back to top Go down
 
Letter of Apology from Bodhi Manda Zen Center - so late, but nonetheless
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Apology letter/note to my mother...
» 8. A Letter to the King of ‘Oman, Jaifer, and his Brother ‘Abd Al-Jalandi
» Letter of Intent
» Father's Love Letter to You
» Laying the foundation for a health center at a cost of 1.8 million dollars funded Indian in Kirkuk Editor: MN | SA Wednesday, 21 k 1 2011 20:53 GMT

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: The Reading Corner-
Jump to: