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 Zen Has No Morals

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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:27 am

First topic message reminder :

[Admin note: this topic was split from the "Some Fundamental Problems With Zen Practice" thread. If anyone has trouble accessing the paper via the link please let us know]

I have just finished a more in-depth paper on this issue which is now available on the web:

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/Zen_Has_No_Morals.pdf

I look forward to any comments!
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:31 am

Sara and Chisan:

The thesis of my paper is that there are some fundamental problems with current Zen practice in the West, since the two teachers I studied demonstrated a remarkably similar range of abusive and manipulative behaviour over several decades. I suggest several factors why this might be, including Zen's lack of morality, Japanese authoritarianism, impossible ideals, the institution of dharma transmission, excessive emphasis on enlightenment and cultic tendencies.

To take up just one example here: once a situation of cultic devotion comes into place, the teacher can do or say essentially anything he wants. The student will always be able to rationalize it away, thinking that her own ego is the problem, or her lack of understanding, etc. In this respect, it is actually totally irrelevant whether the Precepts are taught or not. Everywhere you look you can observe examples of spiritual teachers practicing exactly the opposite of what they preach.

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:02 pm

Oh please.
That's like saying Leonardo DiCaprio is responsible for the blind adoration of his fangirls.

You know celebrities get treated with the same spotlight;

All their personal behavior scrutinized, each action interpreted and re-interpreted as having some important meaning, "what a [banned term]! How dare they break up with such and such".

It's paparazzi nonsense.

It's someone's own responsibility to not be blinded by someone else's charisma and positive achievements.

Inspired, is one thing, but blinded in a fangirl squee is quite another.

It's not Leo DiCaprio's fault for not living up to the expectations of his fangirls, and neither was it RM Jiyu's.

Being thrown off center by things we want and like is just as off center as when we avoid things and hate on things we don't like.

In both cases it's the responsibility of the person who is doing the clinging/aversion.

It rests squarely on their shoulders.

I'm not some "victim" of Koshin being off-center.

I blinded myself. That's my responsibility. He gets his own karma. I was chasing after ideals and got the consequences for that. He is what he is. A flawed human being. I was deluded. -Me. And it was my acting on my delusion that got me in trouble. People with issues are everywhere, -that is humanity, it's our own fault if we ignore our own intuition. Not other people's.

I don't buy this one-sided victim stance one bit. It's simply not true. There are no victims in Buddhism, just consequences.

Most people's complaint about Jiyu-Kennett on here is basically that she wasn't a flawless person like they imagined an enlightened person "should" be.
That's just their own ideals. It's not her fault for not living up to their idea of perfection. She often said "don't suffer from the notion that this will make you anything other than a human being."

They were fairly, and honestly warned. And often.

There was no deception.

The only deception is what they did to themselves.

Imagining that monks don't get angry, or greedy, or deluded.

They are training, not perfect.
They are training to work on that, those aspects in themselves, not saying they are perfect, flawless human beings simply because they've had a kensho. Goodness knows I'm not.

Peace friend,

But quite frankly these things that people are saying on here is/are rediculous.

The responsibility for dealing with our own suffering lies on our own shoulders. That's a basic tennant of Buddhism going back over 2500 years to Shakyamuni Buddha's time, with the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha's do but point the way. That's all.

Our training, and our suffering, is our own responsibility. Not our Teacher's, not other Sangha member's, our own.

There are no victims here.
Our Teachers help at best. That's all they do; answer questions, as best they can, and point the way, as best they see it.


In Gassho,

Sara H


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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:45 pm

Thank you Sara, for confirming my hunch about you. It's always interesting to watch how people join the forum here and what ends up shaking out.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:54 pm

Hi Sara,

How well did you know Jiyu Kennett or Eko Little? Did you live at Shasta?
Mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:50 pm

Sara you are of course right we are only ever responsible to others and for ourselves. The 'I was only following orders' defence in all its myriad forms and shades does not hold. But if your going to be strict about it, as you seem to want, then you must apply it both ways. Using your Leonardo DiCaprio analogy. He is not responsible directly for his fangirls but he is responsible to them for his actions towards them. Zen teachers are not responsible directly for their followers beliefs and actions. They are responsible for their own beliefs and actions and these, in the case of JK, etc., are what may be questioned here. If someone sets themselves up as a teacher, and JK certainly did that, then they take on the responsibilities of a teacher towards those who they convince to follow them. I feel that JK fell short of this. Not just a failure to live up to the standards, no one ever does that but a more active turning away from the standards whilst still publicly espousing them. Such things are always difficult to pronounce on because it is always a matter of opinion and I don't doubt that yours differs from mine. However I was there at the time and many of those who were are here on the forum and seem to be of a similar view, some more so some less. In fact of the early followers of JK the great majority are here not in the OBC. It does not do for the leader to say they followed me it is their responsibility, that would be same as the argument often put forward by abusers that it was the abused fault because they allowed, even wanted, to be be abused. And in the context of a number of western Zen teachers abuse does not seem to be too strong a term. The abuser is responsible for the abuse, and the teacher is responsible for the teaching and to the taught. The taught are responsible for how they react to the teaching. But I'm very sad to say that now despite her many fine qualities I feel that on balance JK was an exploiter, not a sexual or physical one, but a spiritual one, which can be just as harmful but more difficult to demonstrate or prove. The teaching does not just lie in the words of a teacher but also in their actions and in particular their treatment of their followers, and ex-followers too.
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:39 am

Hi Sara,

Though I can see where this is going, I'll ask one more question.

In my paper I categorize eight types of behaviour typical of Shimano and Zernickow. They are:

Inability to deal with criticism reasonably, favouring formality and extravagant accoutrements in their practice, blaming the student's own ego to deflect accusations, hypocrisy, using group dynamics in their favour, controlling the flow of information to students, self-aggrandisement, and autocratic leadership of their organizations. I never studied with Kennett but I suspect that many of the people here who did would impute to her many of the same characteristics as well.

So do I understand you correctly that the students were solely at fault for staying with such teachers for so long?
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:38 pm

No victims? In religious communities, in churches, anywhere?
I understand the concept - in its ideal form, I suppose.

Jimmy Saville - read up on the current BBC scandal. He molested over 300 underage girls. They aren't victims? I think they are. Common sense here. Power can be abused and people can be harmed and manipulated.

The Catholic Church -- literally hundreds of thousands of boys were molested and the Church covered most of it up, rationalized it, demonized the victims. I say they were victims and many were psychologically traumatized. Their fault?

In the case of these intense spiritual communities with authoritarian leaders / priests / gurus / "perfect masters" - where you are told that they can take you to enlightenment, where you are told over and over again to surrender, not listen to your rational mind, bow and just say yes, where the guru is essentially god or the living buddha, it creates a very distorted field. Yes, you can leave anytime, but most people become like children. They really want to get the grace and teaching of the "master" and are told if the master tells you to jump off a cliff, just do it - don't think, just jump. Any hesitation, resistance is just your ego and if you really want IT, jump.

And they are told that leaving is a terrible thing to do, only losers leave. At Shasta, Kennett frequently vilified people who left - no right speech there.

In these situations, there can be all kinds of abuse - and there was a great deal of that at Shasta from Kennett - verbal, emotional, especially as time went on. I was there with her sometimes ten, twelve hours PER DAY. AT first, of course, we were told her behavior was all some grand Zen teaching, but it became clearer and clearer that this was NOT the case at all. I stopped drinking the kool-aid, and yes, took full responsibility for my life and got out. Good for me. And many other people did the same thing.

Many spiritual groups - many Zen groups - have serious moral and ethical issues - and they need to be faced openly and honestly from a western point of view. Silence is not golden and the Asian approach of never speak out doesn't work. and I do not follow any precepts that say you cannot criticize teachers, authority figures, or groups that are abusive. I say speak out. Right now, go to the sweepingzen.com website and see the discussion unfolding around the Sasaki Roshi situation - or go and read back on the site what happened around Genpo and Maezumi. Beyond the sexual charges, there are many issues around group-think, hypocrisy - and all the things that Chris pointed out. Shasta was only one example and there are so many others. Just a reminder: when I ran my support project Sorting It Out, I saw something like 1,000 people who had left various spiritual groups and gurus, so i became very familiar with the shadow / cultic side of so many groups and teachers.

The Zen sect, especially in Japan, through the war years, has huge shadows around the abuse of Dharma teachings. Some of the leaders have admitted this finally, but there is mostly denial and rationalization -- and they have NOT faced this. And Zen in Japan is dying out and the most of smaller temples will disappear and the bigger ones are becoming nothing more than museums.


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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:55 pm

Jcbaran wrote:


Jimmy Saville ...... He molested over 300 underage girls.


Jcbaran wrote:


He molested over 300 underage girls.

Jcbaran wrote:


He molested





Did he?

Until some actual evidence surfaces I'm assuming that it's JUST as likely that lots of people are cashing-in (ie payments by media organisations for scandalous stories and prospective compensatory payments by the BBC/hospitals) on a dead person's inability to take retaliatory legal action.

I will set the probability at a cursory 50/50. wink
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:31 pm

This is a huge scandal at the BBC. He was at it for 40 years and ran a foundation for children, so had access to lots of kids all the time. Many people have been fired or resigned and some people have been arrested and may go to jail. Look up the latest news on this - and on the cover-up and corporate culture of the BBC. Saville is dead, so he is beyond human law.

When someone is in power like this, who feels he is immune to accountability and is getting away with it, they tend to become quite addicted to their behavior and do it as frequently as they can. The media is reporting "as many as 300 kids." - 200 kids have already been identified by the police, and they are looking into 400 possible victims now.

You are right though, some people may come forward who were not abused, but what is also true that so many people do not speak out, are ashamed or don't want to relive any of it, so they would prefer to stay silent. It is well known that many rape victims never go to the police or speak about it out of shame, and so much child abuse stays hidden or comes out many years later.

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:16 pm

Some one who I sit with told me that paedophiles think they are normal,and think that the kids want them to touch them etc,and they tend to misread signals,for example,if a girl smiles politely the pedophile would think she fancys him sexually. In his capacity of running homes for mentally impaired or unbalanced people he looked after some pedophiles
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:31 pm

Read Julia Scheeres, A Thousand Lives. This is the story of Jonestown where nearly 1,000 people literally DID drink the Kool-aid because Jones told them to. OK, so many were adults responsible for their decision, but many were children who were given the Kool-aid by their parents. How can anyone say there are no victims? That's right up there with "legitimate rape."
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:55 pm

Christopher Hamacher wrote:
So do I understand you correctly that the students were solely at fault for staying with such teachers for so long?

No,

What I'm saying is that there is a middle ground between blaming the other party entirely, and saying oneself is totally blameless,

And the other extreme of saying that oneself is totally to blame, and that the other party bears no responsibility.

Actually, both sides do bear some responsibility.

It's not the case that one was totally "innocent" and the other "guilty".

And, I think playing it off as that narrative, is disengenuine, to say the least, and is unhelpful to actually adressing the real problem.

In Gasshō,

Sara H

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:11 am

And, I think I might add,

That I think the reason people are so upset, or just don't talk to people on here,

Is that the OBC has taken great strides to take care of their own responsibility.

But I don't think people here have done the same thing in admitting their own mistakes.

It's kindof a one-sided narrative, and I don't think people with the OBC feel that people here are willing to meet them halfway.

What do you expect, but an absense of OBC presence, when people here are comparing them, good people, to Jim jones?

That's not the kindof narrative that brings the sorts of results that people here want.

And I think it's that kindof extreme behavior, that keeps any more reasonable conversation from taking place.

It's kindof extreme.

And, quite frankly, hurtful I think.

In Gasshō

Sara H



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:43 am

Some good points here Sara. But I think that what you are doing right now is the same thing that you are blaiming some of our members for doing.

You seem to be leveling a judgement against this forum, as if your judgement had an objective basis in reality. In fact, this Forum presents a wide range of opinions about the OBC, ranging from extremely critical to extremely supportive. Some of us integrate both.

No one here has compared Jim Jones to the OBC. Josh, who posted the information on the history of Jonestown, specifically made the point that he was NOT proposing a correspondence.

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:01 am

Kozan wrote:

You seem to be leveling a judgement against this forum, as if your judgement had an objective basis in reality.

I think you're doing harm.

I base that opinion based on watching this forum for over a year now, as well as watching people's reactions to it who link to it on other Buddhist forums.

You're essentially the only OBC voice on the web, and I think that's extremely one-sided and judgemental.

When I watch someone who has had no negative experience with the OBC turn away from practice from what they read here and say so, when those people involved may have had nothing to do with what people say here, I think you are doing some harm.

Your own members have said you're shooting Jiyu in a barrel.
And that no-one would look well under the microscope you are holding over her idiosycracies.

It would be one thing if this was a private forum and only members could see the content, but millions of people have access to this and some of the things people have said on here are simply not true.

Your TOS say that no personal attacks are allowed, but the majority of this board is a personal attack on Jiyu-Kennet.

That's not fair to her.

She's not even alive to defend herself.

And the vast majority of the OBC bear no resmblance to what you've described them as on here.

And Kozan, you dodged the point.

Where is your own responsibility for your own choices, and decisions being stated on here?

In Gasshō,

Sara H

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:28 am

Sara, I will try to state this as clearly as I can. I've said many times before, on this forum, that I consider RM Jiyu Kennett to be my teacher, and that I have enormous respect, and gratitude for her teaching and support. This does not prevent me from recognizing her shortcomings--or the harm that her behavior has done to others. Nor does her legacy of harm diminish her legacy of good.

The failure to recognize and acknowledge both sides means that RM Jiyu's deep insight will remain entangled in her unacknowledged shortcomings (which we all have), and will continue to go unrecognized within the wider Buddhist community. Not only would this be a great shame, but it will likely result in a continued withering of the OBC sangha, at least in the US.

By moving beyond the fear that so many exhibit, when confronted with this issue, we can, I believe, recognize that there is nothing to fear, and no one to blame. We can embrace the fear, and heal the misunderstanding, within our collective OBC culture.

By doing so, EVERYONE benefits--you, me, the lay sangha, and the monastic sangha--and both current and former members.


Last edited by Kozan on Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:35 am

As this thread and Christopher's article make clear, this issue cuts across the world of Buddhism today. I believe that it is up to us to get it right. Denial is not a viable strategy.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:48 am

:-) I think that, as individuals on this forum, we should recognise that we may be doing harm (or at least some) even though we may aspire to doing good.

Whether we like it or not, our public role on OBCC is somewhat similar to that of a teacher, and there are various declamations on this forum that will strike some people as inappropriate. We may hope there is good and benefit in our posts, and at least in some places on the forum: others may not agree. Having taken it upon ourselves publicly to evaluate others' teachings and methods, we have entered the same fray.

Fortunately people are allowed to come on the forum to challenge without automatically being booted out of the camp...a concern for many posters has been authoritarian teaching styles/systems, their origins and related effects -- not just as some (most notably monks and official lay disciples) have previously experienced in connection with the OBCC (whose present teachers may well have moved beyond this) but also as sometimes associated with teachers in other Zen/Buddhist lineages. People posting here are largely polite to other posters, but this rule has sometimes been waived in commenting on others: I don't mean here simply by speaking out -- which I think is a proper thing to do -- but in style. Of course, in making this comment I may offend someone and be setting myself up for complaint!... ;-)
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:41 am

Anne I do think that there is a difference; their is no master here. I like to think that OBCC acts more like a loose sangha than a religious institution. There is no religious hierarchy enforcing any kind of orthodoxy, it is true that some of us have criticised the teachings and methods of various 'teachers', but often they have been defended by others and the criticisers criticised. There are rules here but they are rules of manners not belief and are only lightly policed. I like to think of OBCC as a kind of Buddhist pub; we all sit around and natter, anyone reasonably behaved can join us and we free to come and go whenever we wish and express whatever views we wish. Of course we have a Buddhist bias which is why I likened us to a sangha, a group of friends with roughly like minds, exchanging views, letting of a bit of steam and helping each other when we can. As an example I could quite easily start a thread equating the Buddha with the Christian devil (I don't in anyway think this), it might cause a stir but if it was seriously put forward it would not be band. If it was put forward just to be gratuitously offensive then it might.

On a separate issue I have been thinking about your question about can an 'enlightened' person past a certain stage go backwards into unenlightenment. This really needs a more extensive answer than I have time for now, the short answer though in my view is yes, but I'll expand on it latter.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:05 pm

Just my two cents.........

Enlightenment is From.. the person and not For.. the person.

Is there consensus at all, regarding what an Enlightened person is ?

The Buddha said that the teaching is like a raft to enable us to reach the
`Other shore` and then the Tool which is the raft is laid down.

At which point do seekers become finders ? An agreed definition of
Enlightenment would be very helpful when allied to a discussion of the said
Enlightened person.


Last edited by Stan Giko on Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : wrote)
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:37 pm

Hi Sara,

Glad to see that your tone has now changed from "there was no deception" to "both sides do bear some responsibility." Perhaps eventually you will see that in many cases the responsibility for exploitation does in fact lie fully with the teacher.

In any case, for 2500 years the Buddhist party line has been that the teacher could do no wrong per se. It is perhaps understandable that the current narrative might tend, to certain ears anyway, to go too far in the other direction in dissipating the myth. I do find it interesting, though, that most of the people blowing the whistle seem to be in their 60s and 70s: they've been around the block often enough to recognize abuse when they see it.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:55 pm

Mark wrote:
Anne I do think that there is a difference; their is no master here.
:-) Hi Mark! Yes I do agree.

Sara wrote:
When I watch someone who has had no negative experience with the OBC turn away from practice from what they read here and say so, when those people involved may have had nothing to do with what people say here, I think you are doing some harm.
In this sense, people are taking note of what is expressed on the forum -- some of which is people's efforts to describe their experiences as best they can, and some of which includes related enquiry, views or theories about those experiences -- even if the atmosphere is 'publike'. Though our intentions are not mischievous, I think you would agree that if distorted or mistaken stuff goes out, we are still responsible in the sense that we dunnit and dunnit publicly, like journalists. Thus (as has cropped up in other threads) our good intentions do not, alas, ensure that no harm is done. However, I don't know that there's any escape in life from being in this predicament...even by saying nothing. Whatever you do, thirty blows... ;-)

I look forward to your 'expansion' on going backwards into "unenlightenment" (as Stan says, probably a good idea to clarify terms as part of this). (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:57 pm








How many enlightened asses can comfortably find space on the head of a pin?
I have a hard enough time coming up with a finite definition of a being, much less burdening that poor suckers journey with the mystical forces of enlightenment.

Is there a tipping point on the path to the cessation of suffering where a compilation of skandas roll helplessly towards a finish line?

All first person testimony's welcomed here with a description of what that pin seat feels like.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:31 pm

I think this forum and sweepingzen.com and a few others on the web are extremely valuable. For the first time, people can share their experiences and feelings, can argue and debate. There is no longer only ONE TRUTH, one story.

Harm is caused by silence, by ignoring and ignorance, by saying nothing in the face of abuse or spiritual and emotional brutality or tyranny, no matter how small. Free speech is messy and imperfect and sometimes people are too careful and sometimes they over state and sometimes they are even angry, outraged. They are no longer following "the rules". As I have said, I have urged people on this board to be honest, open, candid, not try to be spiritual or holy or Zen and get rid of that Kennett ghost sitting on your shoulder - if you had one. Just share your experience and feelings and insight.

For many people, this is scary and uncomfortable and there is fear. It is a bit messy. There will be disagreements. We remember things differently. Because Kennett is dead, we are supposed to keep quiet or be polite? Why? From my experience, she caused a great deal of harm to many people, a lot went on at Shasta that should come out in the light of day and be openly discussed, debated, challenged, integrated.

Now, anyone can come on the forum and read or participate and anyone can ignore it. If some people read this and then decide to go to Shasta or not go, that's their decision. If they decide not to go because of what is said here, where is the harm? They did some homework and made a decision. There are plenty of other teachers and centers and traditions. People make their own choices and I see everyone as adults.

When I first started Sorting It Out, there were many times when I was attacked - for harming the Dharma - both from Buddhist and Hindu circles. The first time, i was giving support to a number of women who had been sexually molested by a well known Zen teacher who also an alcoholic. With this teacher and at this center, there was a severe culture of blaming the victim and denial. And when these women started talking about what had actually happened to them, they were vilified -- no surprise - and I was told that I was hurting the Dharma by giving them support and comfort, and by talking about these issues openly. By hearing about this, people might turn away from Zen, not seek out the teaching at that Zen center, have doubts about Buddhism.

And I thought long and hard about that and made a clear decision. The great harm was silence. The great harm was denial. Who was hurting the Dharma here? All of what these women said was true, by the way. It all came out later. So my decision was to encourage open, honest, direct communication. Let it all come out and deal with it, one way or the other. And if some women decided not to go to that center, because of what that teacher was doing, I had no problem with that. No problem at all. What kind of Zen was he teaching, anyway? Any precepts or rules or grand stories that encouraged silence and acquiesce to abuse, i was no longer interested in following. Right speech is speaking out and telling your truth.

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:03 pm

I agree with Josh ,this forum has enabled me to say things I was not allowed to 30 or 40 years ago. The internet has changed communication,and actually people can be exposed much easier. In fact the only place where criticism of JK was Josh with sorting it out and International Times where we were on the front page! I helped write it with Mike Lesser.Personally I then let it go but with help from Bill Picard refocused on zazen which I sill do now with different connections.
I feel we have had some good arguments,little bit of controversy, quite a bit of fun,I still laugh at Todd And the post about Myozen has been read by more than 10000 times,that post has been full of direct communication forming friendship and bonds,and should we not have been doing that all those years ago
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:43 pm

I wrote:
People posting here are largely polite to other posters, but this rule has sometimes been waived in commenting on others: I don't mean here simply by speaking out -- which I think is a proper thing to do -- but in style.
Josh wrote:
Because Kennett is dead, we are supposed to keep quiet or be polite? Why?
:-) Hi Josh! If your comment is in response to mine, I was actually thinking of Chisan's calling Trungpa and possibly Maezumi (I'm not checking my facts here) a name or two (he did fill parts of it in with dots or similar) somewhere on this forum. (-:

:-) Chisan, sorry for dragging your name through the mud. I never intended for this to see the light of day. uhoh


Last edited by Anne on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:50 pm

actually wasn't referring to your post, Anne. Maybe I should have said "overly polite" or deferential. Sometimes outrage is totally appropriate, at least in my universe. Sometimes, strong critical response is very needed, no beating around any bushes.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:25 pm

what did I call Trumpa and Maezumi?
i would be interested to know
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:38 pm

I really would like to know what I said that was incorrect,maybe I have to apologise.
Was it something to do with the excessive alcoholic behavior or the sex with minors,I think I may have been a little aggitated.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:10 pm

One of the problems with talking about people like Maezumi and Trungpa is that if half of what has been reliably reported is right anything that you can truthfully say is impolite at the very least. Are Eko's actions anything other than those of a pervert?
Josh said:
Quote :
I was told that I was hurting the Dharma by giving them support and comfort, and by talking about these issues openly. By hearing about this, people might turn away from Zen, not seek out the teaching at that Zen center, have doubts about Buddhism.
How often in various guises have we heard this before. It is correct only if the Dharma is separate from the truth; the truth cannot be hurt. It can hurt, but surely no one who is not going to make themselves party to abuse, perversion and paedophilia will criticise the victim rather than the perpetrator, that would be to really harm the truth and the Dharma.

I also strongly agree with Josh that sometimes the only decent response is outrage.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, I come not praise these people but to bury them. How many have had their lives destroyed by these people. But we and their victims must remain silent because they are all honourable men.

If Zen and the Dharma die out in the west and people shun it will it be because some have talked out truthfully and sincerely questioned matters? Or will it rather be because Zen has become festooned with abusers, perverts and paedophiles who as often as not hide behind their position whilst their congregations and those in position to deal with the matter draw a veil over it and excuse the inexcusable. Who is really damaging the Dharma and the truth?

I don't know the piece that Chisan was talking about but I do know that IT was taking a good look at Trungpa as early as 1973, see the link below. But he still managed to pull the wool over many peoples eyes for many more years.
http://www.internationaltimes.it/archive/index.php?year=1973&volume=IT-Volume-1&issue=147&item=IT_1973-02-09_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-147_006
(WARNING - IT, International Times, was an underground paper that was designed to be offensive and often managed it. Visit at your own peril!!)
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:59 am

Thanks for the link,It reminds me of the headline First Into Europe with a photo of Adolph standing in the back of a popular car,there was a court injunction as it may have effected sales. I dont think the IT offices could be found!
With the current situation, I think 39 years ago IT cut through the superficial,and mental barriers and said this is not right here, i think this is what is happening a bit now it is not a criticism of Buddhism it is a finger pointing at a distorted moon seen through rose colored glasses. This should really be day 1 first koan,'give me another answer tomorrow'
But then isn't that where we all are anyway,it is the thoughts of reality that create a sham paradise island.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:18 am

I am dashing a bit but responding to
Are Eko's actions anything other than those of a pervert?
I believe the answer to be I believe his actions were those of a pervert
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:21 pm

mstrathern wrote:
If Zen and the Dharma die out in the west and people shun it will it be because some have talked out truthfully and sincerely questioned matters?

Can truth be damaged by truth? That becomes an oxymoron of sorts.

Truth is "what is", independent of whether or not it's perceived, hidden, or denied. The laws of physics don't change a bit depending on whether or not we understand or teach them correctly. They cannot be damaged.

Connecting what is being taught with the teacher is problematic for religion, but not so much for science. It doesn't matter whether or not I learned relativity from Dr. JK or Einstein. Nor was JK's moral character a factor, as long as his defects did not make him teach false physics. But even if JK had taught falsely, there were both other teachers and experiment itself to correct the distortion. Becoming a devotee of Dr. JK was almost entirely irrelevant. No scientific rituals were necessary to understand or explore what he taught.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Female Episcopal Priest Speaks Out About Joshu Sasaki
Posted by: Adam Tebbe on November 25, 2012 - from sweepingzen.com


From Sweepingzen: While we are unlikely to draw your attention to every instance of a woman coming forward regarding allegations of sexual misconduct in the unfolding case of Joshu Sasaki, we will report on these earliest cases, as readers have been asking for them. The Reverend Shari Young of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, California contacted The Reverend Kobutsu Malone with the following correspondence.

Visit: http://sasakiarchive.com/
We have her permission to republish:


STATEMENT FROM SHARI YOUNG:


I was a student of Roshi from age 19 until about 23, and was Shoji at Cimarron Zen Center. I attended his first sesshin in the US at Cimarron and first Rohatsu, which was at Mt. Baldy.

I believe groping and “showing me your breast” was first put to me as a way to break past my limitations of mind (my words not his). I felt he had enlightened mind, and I was so ignorant, that he must be right. It fell precisely into the” unequal power” model which I subsequently learned is usual in clergy sexual abuse.

I was a student when Gesshin was his assistant and her presence was part of it all. She was in the next room (behind a shoji screen) in Sanzen at Mt. Baldy and as I remember burst into the room (it’s been about 40 years since then … details a little fuzzy).

I packed up my car and left Cimarron Z.C. in the middle of the night one night….Roshi’s (persona) was too strong to confront in daylight.

I have become an Episcopal priest, ordained now for 24 years, but when telling of my Zen history always conclude by saying that if this had not happened “I would be a Zen priest today.”

Glad this is all coming out……

Shari

About The Author

Shari Young was raised in Southern California, did her undergraduate training at UCLA, and received an BA in Human Development (Education) from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. For 3 years, she trained in the Rinzai Zen tradition with Sasaki Roshi . Her M.Div. is from CDSP in Berkeley. She has served as Chaplain at Cathedral School for Boys, Vicar of St. Aidan’s Bolinas, and Associate Rector at St. James, San Francisco. Her ministry emphasizes creativity, spirituality, children and youth, inclusiveness, community, compassion, and social responsibility. She brings a wealth of experience as pastor, preacher, teacher, and priest. Her husband Bob Hartnett is a rock & roll video director, and their son Matty a student at Del Mar Middle School, entering 8th grade next fall.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:56 pm

Thank you Josh for posting. You will all be pleased to hear I am now attending anger management courses,and find it a little hard to read these posts due to a brown paper bag placed over my head,however I am making progress and can now count up yo 8 out of ten before I say.
This guy is a @@<>$£* joke,this is nothing to do with the Buddhist teachings,nothing to do with zen and the beautiful art of realization of inherent self nature.This is all to do with hiding a distorted ego behind the true way which has been handed down to us
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:10 pm

"show me your breasts" -- sounds like an out of control high school kid -- not a supposed "master" of Zen..... I wonder what would have happened if he asked all the men to pull down their pants? Oh, well that happened in a bunch of other groups by other "masters"..... silence is not golden. It took this woman almost four decades to talk about this.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:39 pm

I do not know too much about sexual abuse,however one of my girl friends who is in her 20s was raped by her dad when she was 12.We have talked very freely about it,and the trauma has continued as she has tried to come to terms with it.She has been celibate for a time,sexual for a time with young guys old guys and women,the only consistent aspect has been there has never been any involvement with her partners,her life will never really be back on track,as her innocence was violated by someone he adored and trusted.
This and the other so called masters have no idea of the harm they have done to trusting people. Unfortunately victims like Shari Young take a long time to come forward,as they most probably are scared and do not feel people will listen and help,and they also are scared of repercussions as their self esteem is at a low ebb
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:38 am

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:11 am

read the blogs Saaki roshi could go to prison for this if anyone complains
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:43 am

No thanks , or do we have to read these links/blogs in the name of ...???? truth.. knowledge.. understanding ?
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:22 am

Nicky I did not mean read the blogs as some instruction I meant I have read the blogs.If it is unpleasant or disturbing,please dot feel you have to be involved in this aspect of the forum. Teachers that have used our innocence and ignorance.. I believe it is a great sign that as painful as it may be we are saying a loud NO.

We are all small people,we are not giants of the Dharma but we have stood up and said 'Not the right way,and I am not going there'. Hopefully some us will say 'This seems the right way and I am going to try to practice it'

That to me sounds like true zen
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:09 am

Chisan , yes ,
Fine .
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:03 am

This video is from Adam who runs sweepingzen.com. He speaks for 20 minutes about his reasons for sharing the Sasaki accounts, how important it is to speak out, and so on. This is actually an excellent discussion on accountability, why he publishes this material, how it can help people, and how these conspiracies of silence only harm students.

Really worth watching:

http://sweepingzen.com/come-share-some-sewer-water/

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:58 am

Good video,I think the days of silence have gone. When said anything about sexual abuse it made it easier for abuse to happen
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:15 am

Just posted this in the READING section, but it also relates to this conversation. From James Ford:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/

A Few Random Thoughts in the Midst of Zen’s Various Sex Scandals
November 28, 2012 By jamesford


I find myself heartsick.

Together with my Unitarian Universalist life, Zen sits at the center of everything that matters to me.

The cascade of issues around sex and sexual misconduct are multiplying like those proverbial rabbits.

I went back to look at what I had to say about Genpo Merzel, Eido Shimano and Joshu Sasaki in my 2006 Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen. It was of course pretty much all written a year or so before the publication date. So, a while ago. I made no reference, I see, to the various scandals attached to Mr Merzel’s leadership in Maine and France prior to his returning to America and setting up shop in Utah. With the Venerable Shimano I noted that from his time in Honolulu there “began what would be lasting allegations of improprieties…” With the Venerable Sasaki I noted “there have been allegations of improprieties with students.”

No doubt I could have done better…

While there have been various other scandals small and large around sex. I think of Walter Nowick, caught up in allegations of sexual improprieties with people of the same gender, and who retired from formal teaching at that time, a long time ago now. And of my own teacher John Tarrant, where I see not a predator, but rather someone who simply refuses to be bound by conventional and what I’d call Professional boundaries. I would add here the number of teachers who’ve given Dharma transmission to their spouses or partners – at best to my mind a very messy thing. In addition I can think of several teachers who have been tangled in an affair that appears to suggest a pattern of behavior. And, drawing upon my observations of what has happened in the life of Unitarian Universalist clergy, is that prior to looking at all this and a shift to a gender egalitarian clergy, it was fairly common in the middle of the twentieth century for male clergy to have second marriages with subordinates, religious educators, church secretaries and musicians.

As I think of all these people and the multiple circumstances of their lives, I find I’m extremely dissatisfied with much of the tone, as well as the very broad brush with which all matters touching upon sexuality and sex are being covered. With Merzel, Shimano & Sasaki we have long term patterns that most would see as exploitative. But, there’s much more going on, and it is quite complicated.
Stupid humans…

I was privileged to see Scott Edlestein’s Sex and the Spiritual Teacher while still in galley. I thought it thoughtful and useful. And I felt I saw a real problem. He attempted to outline a sense of male sexuality that opens men to inappropriate sexual behaviors. There was, however, no accompanying chapter on women. I suggested at the time that either an accompanying chapter be written, or that the one on men be deleted. I thought in fact if that second chapter was written it would show the first chapter was rather arbitrary and probably pretty far off the mark. Like most of my brilliant suggestions, my friends decided to take a pass, and published the one chapter.

Now, first and foremost. I think there need to be bright lines regarding sexual conduct between teachers and students on the Zen way. My own community Boundless Way addresses this in what I consider a compassionate and yet clear way. (For a link to the Boundless Way Ethics Code, go here)

That acknowledged and I hope underscored, I have some serious problems with the current conversation.

With my own broad brush I would say that what passes for a conversation about sexual ethics has moved from a “man-centered,” and dare I say it a patriarchal stance, to a “woman-centered” view. I’m up for corrections.

And of the two I certainly prefer the “woman-centered” over the “male-centered.” Also, I’m using scare quotes for these two stances because I know there are problems with this dichotomy. It could also be called libertine and puritanical, but I think human sexuality is really a part of the deal and so my male and woman with the scare quotes. I hope this is something those who are able to really study these matters will and give us some grounding for the conversation.

It will have to be something that starts with a generous acceptance of the fact we are animals with natural sexual urges.

Within that reality we might also be able to say that sexual attraction involving power differentials is itself a pretty natural thing. A point that simply is not part of the current conversation.

And, of course, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it is necessarily good for everyone.

Similarly societal rules are arbitrary. They are mainly about what is the best for the most people. To get too emotionally involved in the rules as something inherently moral or good rather than simply useful is, to my way of thinking, very dangerous.

The bottom line as I see it, is starting with what is.

As best we can perceive that what is.

And knowing, always knowing, even our best efforts are going to be compromised by all sorts of things, blind assumptions, our individual sexuality, oh I suspect the list is very long…

Still…

If we have a vaguely accurate start with that what is, well, then maybe where we will end up will in fact be healthful and helpful.

And I hope even as we’re stuck with fixing an airplane in flight, we will engage all of this with a modicum of humility, of generosity, and care.

For all parties.

And for the tradition, which I believe, with all my being, brings great gifts to us.

Two cents early one morning.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:40 am

Very sensitively written James. My 2 cents is

Buddhism can not be taught and passed on under a cloud of inappropriate sexual misconduct
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:28 pm

Now, first and foremost. I think there need to be bright lines regarding sexual conduct between teachers and students on the Zen way. My own community Boundless Way addresses this in what I consider a compassionate and yet clear way

To view the Boundless Way website:

http://www.boundlesswayzen.org/

To download the Boundless Way Policies and Procedures document:

http://www.boundlesswayzen.org/Policy%20and%20Proc%207.12.doc
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:28 pm

:-) Hi Chisan!

Sorry to have kept you waiting...I've been rather busy with other stuff.

Here is the one on Trungpa...
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t537p300-myozen-delport#9460

...You are in the clear on Maezumi (I checked the post I had in mind)...but I owe you an apology, Chisan, about something I had forgotten when I mentioned your esteemed name above...

When I first wrote "People posting here are largely polite to other posters, but this rule has sometimes been waived in commenting on others: I don't mean here simply by speaking out -- which I think is a proper thing to do -- but in style", I actually first thought in more general terms of various posts where (accurately or not) my impression has been that the author might be going in for some form of mental effigy bashing/stabbing...but these sorts of things are laborious and elusive to pinpoint in analysis. Then I remembered about the Trungpa thing, which looked at now could be more-or-less anything beginning with b. However, when I responded to Josh's post, I'd forgotten about the other stuff until a while after I posted. My apologies for the lapse. (-:

Additional thoughts: I think "pervert" may be a 'snaggy' word in that (like calling someone "stupid") it can sound like a summation of that person's entire life...that all they do, say, think is perverted. Also, it may have become somewhat loaded in ordinary speech, a vehicle again for mentally cutting that person off. Of course, someone who really doesn't care if they hurt others in their pursuit of egocentrism, who has no wish to be empathetic, will already have done plenty of "cutting off" others intentionally. (I don't suppose the latter was really Eko's intention; personally I wonder if his phone activities were carried out with the belief that others might find them as illuminating as he did...I think perhaps he found himself in a quandary, emerging wobblingly from decades of belief in Jiyu's teaching that sexual enjoyment must inevitably be at odds with deeper insight into not-self. If he had been stuck there for a long time (and I think this was the case), he might have believed others must be similarly stuck and thought he was helping liberate them also!)
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:18 pm

I have read the one about Trumpa I call him a b.. I think it is fair to assume I was calling him one of the two b words, apologies if there are more but I am limited to two. I think both apply,maybe you are right and I should not have called him a b on the forum.I think he was someone who used genuine insight for selfish means,I think he manipulated people,and wanted to treat all women like they were bar room girls whose primary function was to satisfy his sexual desires. personally I don't really want to be nice about it,I think he was completely out of order with the way he lived and taught.
Having said that ultimately I did swear.
Regarding Eko and me calling him a pervert, I admit that I am not sure what the right word is. In my view here you have someone who was well into power, kept everybody completely under control ,which is of course a sign of deep rooted fear, and fore bade everyone any sexuality,he meets someone he likes and does not know how to handle it. Here you have someone who has been a monk for 40 years and can not handle or know how to be close,how to be intimate.What do you do, weigh it up, examine your emotions,look into your heart and make a decision. There is nothing wrong in falling in love nor is there anything wrong in having intimate sex,but in his situation then there was something wrong in it. I maybe wrong I do not know, but I think he had great suppressed sexual desires,I think they filtered into his life. I may be wrong I do not know but my feeling is he too tended to view woman in a sexual way first,but actually that is fairly normal we do see people in all sorts of ways. I like to see femininity,maybe because I am not feminine at all. Woman sort of balance me somehow,but I see them as friends not bar girls,one has to be careful when entering a celibate life that one does not end up denying our humanity,and our natural need for human warmth and kindness. So here was Eko the next in line,Someone who saw his previous life as Jesus,an important person in the Kennett roshi scheme, he was picked to lead , he embodied her teaching,and he has to make a big human decision,the biggest real decision he has had to make,how does he deal with his humanity,his sexuality,his desires,because all of a sudden they are real not empty spaces,that he has disciplined himself not to touch,. he faces a real koan of honesty,we face these koans all the time but this is a powerful one, what answer does the real master accept,well the master always goes for honesty,always goes for integrity ,he does not mind if you leave or stay,but he wants the truth.Eko could not be honest,he could not say I love her I have to go,i feel he got knotted inside, sexuality was rearing up and he did not know what to do,no one to talk to ,no mates.He let himself down,there is no need for the real master to say anything, it works its way out,other people are hurt ,other people let down and angry. So pervert maybe not, unable to deal with real life in real situations,after 40 long years sadly maybe yes
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:39 pm

Anne said:

Quote :
Additional thoughts: I think "pervert" may be a 'snaggy' word in that (like calling someone "stupid") it can sound like a summation of that person's entire life...that all they do, say, think is perverted. Also, it may have become somewhat loaded in ordinary speech, a vehicle again for mentally cutting that person off.

I'm sorry I personally think that the word pervert exactly describes someone who acted as Eko has been described as doing. The Oxford English dictionary defines pervert thus: 'a person whose sexual behavior is regarded as abnormal and unacceptable'. I understand the concern that some will shut their minds and use a label like this to characterise the whole of a persons life. But I fear that any form of description is likely to have the same effect, viz: sexual misconduct, sexually inappropriate behavior, ... It is true that pervert carries a rather derogatory connotation but that, in my case, was meant. If he had been the local plumber acting like that to his female clients, I would find him sad, but still as like as not he would end up in court. The fact that Eko held a position of spiritual and moral trust and authority in relationship to his victims makes it much worse, not something to be skated over and brushed under the carpet (not that I think Anne is doing so, but some seem to be). Doing this victimises the victims all over again because they too have to be brushed under the carpet and their testimony skated over and disparaged. Whereas the in reality at the very least they need is to be taken seriously, listened too and counseled if they are to come out of it with with a minimum of scathing. Surely concern over the outcomes and impacts of this behavior must lie more with the victims than the victimser.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:34 am

Incarcerated
I imprisoned myself with thoughts of
Who I am
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:20 am

With the silly season bearing down on us, and the spiked egg-nog soon to flow, and keyboards/keypads always within reach, today's editorial comment is brought to you by Rule 6 Very Happy (see below).

I appreciate our forum members reflecting upon the issue of name-calling. When we avoid it on the forum, we're staying out of the muck just a bit better than if we give in to that. And, no small consideration to those of us in the cross-hairs, it's one more thing to minimise risk of legal action for what's said here.

Many thanks,
Lise

6. Be courteous. The following are not allowed: personal
insults/name-calling, racism, swearing, gratuitously offensive material,
personal attacks, and trolling (making controversial posts purely to
stir up an adverse reaction).
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:01 am

Yes I completely agree with you Lise,

However I must also confess recently to
trying to poison Mater Ko Zan in the 12th century
Putting Master Ko Zan in a hundred year long samadhi
Kicking someone in the****** for feeling the ladies breasts
and Personally attacking Anne and her organic pies on many occasions

You will be pleased to know, I will be booking my annual Christmas therapy courses early this year
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:35 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:


You will be pleased to know, I will be booking my annual Christmas therapy courses early this year



Book me too, maybe we'll get a discount. I could use some therapy!
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:44 am

:-) Despite never having made an organic pie, to the best of my recollection (except possibly during my time as a postulant at THP in 1974-5), I have been inundated with advertisements for Food Hygiene Certificate courses, and recently received an order for 5000 curried beetroot and brussel-sprout purée flans from the organisers of the local traditional Yuletide Pie-Throwing Festival...I know exactly whom I hold responsible! ;-)


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