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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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Anne



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:18 am

:-) I forgot to mention that the quotation above is from the Introduction, on page 2.

Also (as it has been bothering me) Sleep above does not represent unenlightenment, just someone dreaming of dogs barking up wrong trees (as I fancied a bit of a kip). (-:
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:30 am

Anne wrote:
If one means by "meditation" the formal practice of zazen, this cultivation is but one aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path. And if one expands the meaning to include the moment-by-moment samadhi of mindfulness practice, this still requires, for example, Right Intention and Right Endeavour for it to be within the fold of Right Mindfulness: perhaps being accustomed to accompany mindfulness with Right Intention* and Right Endeavour*, one does not think to name these latter factors but they must be present for practising with the right approach. I don't think it's accurate to say that the unspoken assumption in Zen Buddhism has always been that the meditation alone naturally freed the accomplished practitioner from life's moral quandaries.

Anne, thanks for laying this out. I think it's good to make the connection between Zen and traditional Buddhism clear for the record. As Chris documents some groups have the notion that Zen is its own thing and doesn't need to be bothered with such trivialities as the Eightfold Path.

By the way, is there really anything other than "stream entry"?
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Anne



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:46 pm

Isan wrote:
By the way, is there really anything other than "stream entry"?
Wouldst thou expand a little upon thine words, Master Isan? (-:
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Carol



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:42 am

Michael said "The interesting thing is what you asked why did people not spot Eko's behaviour."

Here is why and it relates directly to Chris' critique. If you read his article, Chris is NOT saying that Buddhism is amoral. He is saying that the two teachers he focuses on as examples were immoral and that they used their standing as Buddhist teachers to hoodwink others into thinking that they were above morality.

Of course they weren't. And of course the precepts are (IMO) the heart of Buddhist practice. I agree with Bill on this.

But Buddhism, at least as taught by the OBC, teaches that the master is a direct,lineal spiritual descendent of the Buddha. I took the precepts from Eko, although he was standing in for RMJK since she was ill. I looked in his eyes and said "I want to become a Buddhist." I received a fancy paper showing that now I was a direct descendant of the Buddha. I heard Eko lecture on the transmission of blood and he said, "look, people, this isn't just a symbol. This is REAL."

And I believed him.

One of the powerful things I have learned from Josh and from some of the books he has recommended is that the so-called ancestors are mostly fiction. But I didn't know that at the time and absolutely believed Eko. He (and by the same reasoning I) was a direct descendent of the Buddha. Fortunately for most ( but not all) of us, neither he nor Rev K abused us sexually or financially, but they could have. The tramsmission myth is that powerful.

So Buddhism isn't amoral or immoral, but the doctrine contains the seed that immoral and amoral people can exploit others under the guise of being masters worthy of unthinking, unquestioning obedience.
.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:05 am

Anne wrote:
Isan wrote:
By the way, is there really anything other than "stream entry"?
Wouldst thou expand a little upon thine words, Master Isan? (-:

Well, my comment was "off topic". I'll send you a PM :-)
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:10 am

Carol wrote:

Quote :
But Buddhism, at least as taught by the OBC, teaches that the master is a direct,lineal spiritual descendent of the Buddha. I took the precepts from Eko, although he was standing in for RMJK since she was ill. I looked in his eyes and said "I want to become a Buddhist." I received a fancy paper showing that now I was a direct descendant of the Buddha. I heard Eko lecture on the transmission of blood and he said, "look, people, this isn't just a symbol. This is REAL."

I suppose one of the reasons I didn't experience the OBC as some others here is that I had a much different context of experience when I made contact with the OBC. I had become by nature of experience a skeptic of sorts about all things labeled religious and requiring "faith" for any sort of efficacy. I looked on the ancestral line as useful fiction illustrating that Zen Buddhism relied more on what was taught by teachers than on canonical texts.

I read fairly widely about Buddhism, including much of the translated Pail canon, good, honest secular histories of Buddhism, and critics, including people like Batchelor, who had ultimately questioned even the basic tenets of Buddhism.

The monk did frown on and discourage "outside" reading, but I can't say I gave his opinion any serious weight. My conclusion was that if Buddhism had useful truth to offer, it was a robust one that could withstand honest, open questioning and inquiry. The monk did scold from time to time about the importance of "faith," but that made me think even more that he was not completely sure of his claims. What you know for yourself to be true does not have be bolstered by effort to believe it.

I was also a lay member of the congregation, where the dynamic is overtly and clearly that of voluntary and free association, without any traumatic impact of dissociation. You simply stop attending..
.
Quote :

One of the powerful things I have learned from Josh and from some of the books he has recommended is that the so-called ancestors are mostly fiction. But I didn't know that at the time and absolutely believed Eko. He (and by the same reasoning I) was a direct descendent of the Buddha. Fortunately for most ( but not all) of us, neither he nor Rev K abused us sexually or financially, but they could have. The tramsmission myth is that powerful.

The power of myth is remarkable, and we as humans seemed wired to chase both its enigma of meaning and beauty, even when we are aware that leads us to our own pain and destruction. It is an enchantment of sorts. This innate penchant for self-enchantment is one of the very useful truths that lurks in Buddhist teaching. In an ironic way, the Zen enchantment, like most ones based in religion, shouts "Beware of all enchantments except this one. This is the one that will save you."
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:42 pm

Isan,

Would you please reconsider and post your reply publicly? I also wondered what you meant by it and have been going round with it trying to come up with my own interpretations, without much success.

Thank you

Brigitte
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:44 pm

breljo wrote:
Isan,

Would you please reconsider and post your reply publicly? I also wondered what you meant by it and have been going round with it trying to come up with my own interpretations, without much success.

Thank you

Brigitte

Brigitte, I can't answer for Isan, and I don't know if my take is what he meant, but if I had made the comment, this is what I would have meant by it:

Spiritual teaching is rife with paradox. One of the greatest is perhaps the most basic, and that is that we are all inherently one with, and nothing but, enlightenment itself--even when we don't know it. Spiritual practice is the process of continually returning home to where we always are, and always have been. That which is enlightenment itself is always just entering the stream.

It can be useful to distinguish between what sometimes appear to be different, relative, 'stages' in training. But if we come to believe that 'we' are enlightened, that 'we' have 'arrived', then we have only just re-concretized our separate self--but in a form that wears a cloak of invisibility. When a teacher forgets that they are always just a stream entrant, and convince others accordingly, untold mischief can be perpetrated in the name of enlightenment.

I think that this is part of many of the issues we discuss on this forum in general, and this thread in particular.

So in this sense, and apart from relative level of experience, we are always 'beginers'. Enlightenment, awareness itself, is the stream itself; and we are always just entering.
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:22 pm

Thank you for that reply Kozan. Although there is that tendency to look for an answer so complex and complicated that it eventually ends up imploding upon itsself and being discarded alltogether because the brain just ends up in pure speculation anyhow, your answer seems practical, immediate and to the Heart and one I can understand, (I think Smile, so thank you very much, until perhaps when and if at all Isan has something else to say to it.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:56 pm

Hi Kozan,

" Enlightenment, Awareness itself, is the stream itself ; and we are always just
entering."

Is this not trying to make Enlightenment an experience ? A permanent
experience ? Every experience is in time and has to have a begining and an
ending.
in fact ? How can you be "one with" and nothing but Enlightenment itself " ?

Is not "being one with" a dualistic teaching and, " Nothing but Enlightenment itself a " Non Duality" teaching ?


If we believe that we are "Not Enlightened", then we are also re concretizing
but in a form that wears a cloak of inadequacy and limitation experienced as
suffering.

Do you think it`s possible to arrive at a description as to what `Enlightenment`
is ? Does it in fact actually exist ?

If we have all from the start been at "home", how can we be beginers ?

Or if you prefer,......

Is our body a bodhi tree, Our mind a mirror bright ?

Perhaps it`s all a case of misplaced identity.

Stan.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:39 pm

Hi Stan, you've asked some interesting questions. I will try to respond.

Hi Kozan,

" Enlightenment, Awareness itself, is the stream itself ; and we are always just
entering."

Is this not trying to make Enlightenment an experience ? A permanent experience ? Every experience is in time and has to have a begining and an ending.


I did not mention experience here; so I'm guessing that you are responding to something that my comment triggered for you.

Edited to add: I did use the word 'experience' in the sentence prior to the one you quoted above, in the context of 'relative stages' of training, and in contrast to that which is Awareness itself (i.e. the sentence you quoted above).

in fact ? How can you be "one with" and nothing but Enlightenment itself " ?

It's a paradox isn't it? The entire universe, existence itself, is nothing but empty immaculacy.

Is not "being one with" a dualistic teaching and, " Nothing but Enlightenment itself a " Non Duality" teaching ?

I think that "being one with" is another way of saying "not two". So, no, not dualistic. I think that saying "all is one" (depending on the rest of the sentence), is dualistic.

If we believe that we are "Not Enlightened", then we are also re concretizing but in a form that wears a cloak of inadequacy and limitation experienced as suffering.

Well said.

Do you think it`s possible to arrive at a description as to what `Enlightenment`
is ? Does it in fact actually exist ?


I tend to think that 'enlightenment' may be one of the most problematic words in Buddhism. I only used it here in response to the traditional formulation of the stages of training and enlightenment, in which 'stream entrant' is one. Enlightenment, or awakening, as kensho experience, is a rediscovery of that which is, the ground of awareness, the source of existence, which we always are and have always been. That which is experienced transcends existence and gives rise to it. Therefore, 'enlightenment' does not 'exist'; it is that which transcends existence. This paradox is no problem, because your own awareness remains undivided from that which is Awareness itself.

The problem with the word 'enlightenment' I think, is that in addition to awakening, it has also come to imply some kind of permanent human perfection.

If we have all from the start been at "home", how can we be beginers ?

Because 'beginners mind', or 'first mind', is the attitude of remaining soft, flexible, and open, in contrast to 'second mind', which is described as "hard and set". Remembering that we are already home requires the mind of a beginner.

Or if you prefer,......

Is our body a bodhi tree, Our mind a mirror bright ?

Perhaps it`s all a case of misplaced identity.

"...misplaced identity." Good way to put it!

Stan.


-Kozan





Last edited by Kozan on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:26 am; edited 2 times in total
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:25 pm

breljo wrote:
Thank you very much, until perhaps when and if Isan has something else to say to it.

Kozan really has echoed my thoughts. I've always been intrigued by the depiction of stages since it implies a linear process, whereas we all seem to learn different things at different times and in no standardized order. In particular when the stone will strike the bamboo is completely unpredictable and doesn't imply the maturity needed for teaching. I feel this is somewhat relevant to the thread in that it can help explain how masters can have IT while behaving far worse than ordinary people who make no presumption of knowing or teaching anything. This can only go on for a while though - the consequences of bad deeds accumulate and eventually such persons are brought down.

Since we cannot know where we are and what remains to be done I figure all there is is stream entry...
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:27 am

jumping in here. For those who are interested in a non-Zen and more Theravadan and linear approach to Buddhist practice - that includes the four paths, the various jhanas, the ten fetters, a very detailed "technical" model of practice and stages and experiences, -- and i am NOT promoting this - just sharing..... you might take a look at Kenneth Folk's work.... He has many videos and instructions where he talks about the various stages and experiences

This is his main website:

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/

and you can go to the video section and there are many videos where he addresses these topics. He has a series where he talks about the Seven Stages and so on.

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/videos
http://youtu.be/gqYUNHrLFq0

I also posted something about Daniel Ingram's approach in the book / reading section early on. These are clearly non-Zen approaches and not based on sudden experiences and much more linear and systematic.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:44 am

On page 43, Christopher wrote wrote:
Zen is not in fact immune from its prescriptions. As one student has put it: "we Zennies have to stop thinking of ourselves as special."
Each religious 'camp' has perhaps its own peculiar inner ways of 'going wrong', even if their outer ways look pretty similar. I quite like Chris' catchy "Zen is not [...] immune from its prescriptions." Thinking about it, I would probably word it as something like "Zen is not immune from misprescription of its medicines." It would probably be good to have a handbook of "ways to go wrong", then certain wags could try out every one of them...I hope I will be far away! (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:54 am

Hi Anne !

I don`t think it would be a handbook....more of a check-list !

"far away" ? You can run but you cannot hide.

Keep well,

Stan.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:24 am

jack wrote:
The power of myth is remarkable, and we as humans seemed wired to chase both its enigma of meaning and beauty, even when we are aware that leads us to our own pain and destruction. It is an enchantment of sorts. This innate penchant for self-enchantment is one of the very useful truths that lurks in Buddhist teaching. In an ironic way, the Zen enchantment, like most ones based in religion, shouts "Beware of all enchantments except this one. This is the one that will save you."

Human beings have a powerful need for "story". When we discard one myth in favor of another we need to look carefully at what we're doing and why. What do we find inadequate about the current myth and what does the new myth promise?

Carol wrote:
But
Buddhism, at least as taught by the OBC, teaches that the master is a
direct,lineal spiritual descendent of the Buddha. I took the precepts
from Eko, although he was standing in for RMJK since she was ill. I
looked in his eyes and said "I want to become a Buddhist." I received a
fancy paper showing that now I was a direct descendant of the Buddha. I
heard Eko lecture on the transmission of blood and he said, "look,
people, this isn't just a symbol. This is REAL."

And I believed him.

One
of the powerful things I have learned from Josh and from some of the
books he has recommended is that the so-called ancestors are mostly
fiction. But I didn't know that at the time and absolutely believed Eko.
He (and by the same reasoning I) was a direct descendent of the Buddha.
Fortunately for most ( but not all) of us, neither he nor Rev K abused
us sexually or financially, but they could have. The transmission myth
is that powerful.

Regarding the myth of Zen Buddhism I believe it is irrelevant that the transmission lineage is not literally/historically true. The essence of the lineage is true, ie that the teaching has continued to appear throughout time and we are all the direct descendents of the Buddha. It doesn't matter that it's not possible to draw a straight line through a list of human descendents. The transmission is infinitely more robust than that. It has nothing to do with a particular religious organization and is not invalidated by the bad behavior of monks. In other words Carol, I feel that the later shenanigans of Eko do not invalidate your experience of receiving the precepts. The human preceptor is only a proxy.

Enlightenment is in a way the internalization of myth - ceasing to rely on the myths of religions and cultures, and experiencing the unfolding of our own personal myth through recognition of IT.
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:41 am

Isan said:

Kozan really has echoed my thoughts. I've always been intrigued by the depiction of stages since it implies a linear process, whereas we all seem to learn different things at different times and in no standardized order. In particular when the stone will strike the bamboo is completely unpredictable and doesn't imply the maturity needed for teaching. I feel this is somewhat relevant to the thread in that it can help explain how masters can have IT while behaving far worse than ordinary people who make no presumption of knowing or teaching anything. This can only go on for a while though - the consequences of bad deeds accumulate and eventually such persons are brought down.

Since we cannot know where we are and what remains to be done I figure all there is is stream entry.


Nicely stated Isan, thank you for explaining what you meant, and from the little bit I think I understand about Buddhism in regard to the stages, it is not a linear process, ever, but that's only my perspective.
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:07 pm

Thought I'd just add a link here to some amazing recent pictures of the Zen Studies Society. Despite everything, Eido Shimano was still invited back to preside over a ceremony, and even to rename the ZSS monastery:

http://genkaku-again.blogspot.de/2012/08/welcome-home-eido-shimano.html
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:17 pm

Christopher Hamacher wrote:
Thought I'd just add a link here to some amazing recent pictures of the Zen Studies Society. Despite everything, Eido Shimano was still invited back to preside over a ceremony, and even to rename the ZSS monastery:

http://genkaku-again.blogspot.de/2012/08/welcome-home-eido-shimano.html

Painful and mind boggling, but thanks nonetheless for the update.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:27 pm

I posted the essay linked below from the Sweeping Zen website -- elsewhere on this site - that talks about this. It really shows how easy it actually is to lock people into a big story - that they will stick with - almost no matter what, even if there is no evidence to support the story -- or tons of evidence that negates the story. In this case, it's the story that Shimano is fully enlightened, a Zen master and so on, the story that everything he does and did is somehow great teaching. What nonsense.

http://sweepingzen.com/forgiveness-by-genjo-joe-marinello

Of course, this happens in so many religions, doesn't it. Sad commentary on human nature.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:44 am

Christopher. In the Shimano case the sexual part of what he did was well known by zen students and teachers all over USA in 1974. It was not hidden. There are no excuses of that kind for those who knew.

Thank you Josh for all you've posted of Zen's dark history. I am seriously depressed.

Carol, thank you for your post, I relate totally to the power of the chanting of the ancesters every day at throssel. Now i see its all a mind-control lie to "big up" the abbot!

I spent time enough at throssel hole to see that the master had ultimate spiritual authority, and his master kennet had even greater authority. All obeying daddy or mummy really isnt it.

There is a huge difference between adults and children. Adults are equal and have choice, children are smaller and have no choice. The Shimano's didnt rule through physical force, so every person in the community had choice. Every person was part of the "scene". There were games within games from everyone's childhood and past lives being played out by all concerned. To just blame Shimano for this is frankly missing most of it.

And here's something that the whole zen teacher community of america can feel ashamed about if they dare be honest. It has been known by the Zen Teachers of Japan and America for 40 years what Shimano and his wife were up to. And it wasnt "affairs" they were doing. it was victimization, physical abuse, and mental and emotional cruelty. A total and utter mess.

So what did the Zen teachers of america do about it when they found out, when women came to them, when it was made totally clear what the Shimano's were up to? They didn't do nothing. Oh no. They actively publically supported Shimano. For 40 years! The Japanese were no better. Soen "roshi" was told by a woman many years ago what Shimano did to her, so Soen leapt into action by refusing any contact with that woman again.

None of that is enlightened behaviour, its not even decent behaviour, its the stinky fear of following the herd, keeping your head down, not rocking the boat, its the behaviour of frightened children. Of spiritual children.

Until the internet and The New York Times article, when they were shamed by public exposure to suddenly acknowledge the truth, and say what a bad boy Shimano is.

As Martin Luther King said


“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it”
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:04 am

WHY did everyone let Shimano/Eko/Gempo/etc etc happen?

I have been asking myself this question for 30 years. I have been asking it because I have seen the same supportive loyalty for an “abusive” leader in my life and other walks of life. I have seen it in other Zen monasteries, the Catholic church, in Thai Buddhist monasteries, in the world of psychotherapy, in families and in society in general throughout history. For me this issue is not one of cults, but one of humanity itself.

The best answer I have found so far begins with the Milgram experiments begun at Yale in 1961, where they discovered how conditioned we are to follow orders.

It continues with my learning from psychology that our relationship with our parents and family dynamics when we are infants and young children is what predominantly forms our relationships as adults. For me, if a spiritual community is formed with an authority figure, then that community will take on the dynamics of a family. The authority figure will take on the role of mum or dad, and the members of the community will take on the role of small children. As the above evidence shows, the chances of those in the community playing out extremely painful and unresolved childhoods on each other are very high. If the community members have no knowledge or willingness to open to family dynamics or their own and others childhoods, then they will unconsciously act out of their childhoods. In family dynamics, small children have overwhelming loyalty to the parent, and the parent is seen by the child as perfect, and incapable of doing wrong. Therefore the child obeys, keeps quiet, feels they have to put up with it and blames themselves , “It’s not mum or dad’s fault so it must be me. I’m the bad person”. And older siblings act out parental behaviour and their own pain and rage on their younger siblings.

Then we have the legacy of history. In recent history this means for me the two world wars. The horror and scale of man’s inhumanity to man and the effect on the psyche of a whole generation was never dealt with afterwards, except that the trauma was not to be shown in public, but instead hidden inside. This meant the only outlet possible for the horror was in the privacy of the home.

Dr. Bernado research states that 60% of children see violence in the home. Adult retrospective studies show that as many 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). Some studies suggest these figures to be conservative. Most sexual abuse is within the child’s circle of family and friends. All severe child abuse in my experience has been perpetrated by mother, father and close relatives. See:

http://www.theadvocacycenter.org/adv_abuse.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/child-sexual-abuse-four-steps-america-must-take/2011/11/27/gIQAk5op4N_blog.html

There is research to show that with people seeking alternative medical treatment or spiritual help the figures will be far higher.

Put all this together, and for me we begin to see what’s going on.

If early childhood issues are not opened to and allowed out, then no way is any letting go of “ME” at any deep or core place going to happen.

By not looking at our childhood emotions, we are by definition acting out of a terrified self and obeying in fear.


I'm going to slightly go against some other things I've posted in saying this, unless one lets into the light of awareness the children inside, and lets them be here fully, one is not going to let go of the ego any time soon. If I am so frightened of children that i have to lock them away inside, if I am unable to start loving a child, then I'm not really even in beginners compassion classes yet am i. Yet the whole Zen tradition says nothing about this. Not a word. For centuries. Oh dear. In all my time at throssel, not a word. Can't you just feel the repression. The lack of love. Centuries of it.

Here's a truth about enlightenment. You can't go out sideways get a kensho and expect anything to change in who you think you are. To let go in any meaningful way of who you think you are you have to go DOWN. Into who you were taught to be. And keep going down, until you meet the infant core. Then you can let go of who you think you are and find who you really are. Thank you Ramana maharshi. No thanks to my Zen teachers, or any of my Thai buddist teachers, or my tibetan teachers etc etc. Oh dear.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:21 pm

Those Misbehaving Zen Monks
Posted on: Aug 24th, 2012 - Sweeping Zen Website

By Myoan Grace Schireson


Recent disclosures about the sexual misconduct of Ken McCleod at Unfettered Mind (see http://patriciaivanconnections.blogspot.ca/) and Fusho Al Rapaport of Open Mind Zen (http://sweepingzen.com/sexual-controversy-surrounds-open-mind-zen) point out how much help Buddhist teachers and their sanghas need to develop a wholesome practice in the West. While it may seem shocking to Westerners that Buddhist teachers could stray so far from Buddhist precepts and vows by exploiting students for sexual relationships, apparently this behavior is nothing new in the Japanese Zen tradition. But not all cases of this kind of unethical (and in some states illegal) behavior are the same. Some teachers – like Genpo Merzel and Eido Shimano – appear to be incorrigible after many decades of repeated abuse. There’s a good argument that they should be prevented from teaching, although there are as yet no clear mechanisms to do so. Other teachers may be helped by rehabilitation.

Since the problem seems to be so widespread, it’s useful to consider how and when teachers can be rehabilitated, how to educate sangha members, instruct Boards of Directors, and develop ongoing resources to further Buddhist teacher training and rehabilitation. We need to acknowledge that if teachers’ emotional needs and development are overlooked, they will be more likely to continue to misuse students to serve their needs. We need to stop pretending that meditation will resolve all human appetites at every level of interaction.

Regarding the history of consistent misconduct by Zen monks, as early at the 16th Century the Confucian scholar Ito Jinsai (1627-1705) remarked: “When meditating in isolated forest groves they [Zen priests] might seem to be awe-inspiring men of great character, but when they returned to society they grew confused and wild and were of less worth than ordinary citizens.” He reasoned that this was because they forgot or were disengaged from society while meditating and succumbed more readily to temptations when they re-entered. His pointed observation suggests that throughout history, people have noticed that the awesome power of Zen practice can be misused even by accomplished practitioners. Spiritual power does not automatically inform and transform emotional and social behaviors.

I reason that the priests Jinsai described gathered too much spiritual power without sufficient social and emotional integration, honest feedback, and skillful supervision. Their spiritual power, developed through meditating in monastic or isolated circumstances, was not completed under the watchful eye of a seasoned teacher who corrected their character flaws. Nor were they supervised later by a wise, fully educated and mature sangha. The description of “awe-inspiring men” applies to the magnetic or charismatic energy developed through meditation. We can imagine this “awe-inspiring” quality was palpable to onlookers just like the charisma attributed to Richard Baker, Eido Shimano, Dennis Genpo Merzel and other Zen teachers accused of misbehavior but credited with having strong spiritual energy.

Charismatic teachers accused of misconduct belong in the rather large historical category that Ito Jinsai described hundreds of years ago. Spiritual energy is attractive just like physical beauty and charm. For more on this subject, read Scott Edelstein’s Sex and the Spiritual Teacher. And not all offending teachers are the same. For example, Eido Shimano has been confronted about his predation decade after decade. Despite these confrontations, his bad behavior continued. After a New York Times article highlighted his abuses, Shimano (in an unpublished letter) denied the facts of his misconduct and recanted an earlier public apology. Shimano’s behavior seems incorrigible (at least in a human lifetime). The same appears to be true of Genpo Merzel, who has been confronted over several decades for sexual and financial exploitation. Even though Merzel apologized and promised to cease teaching as a Zen priest, he has not kept this promise. Both Shimano and Merzel seem incorrigible and should be identified as unreliable resources to prevent further harm to students.

On the other hand, Fusho Al Rapaport has acknowledged his offenses, undergone the scrutiny of his White Plum lineage peers, consulted with mature practitioners, stepped down from teaching and sought psychotherapy. I truly hope he can have an authentic rehabilitation and become useful teaching Zen again, but only time will tell if he will follow through with the necessary depth to change his patterns. If we had more thorough instructions for teachers, sanghas and their governing boards, and if we had well developed rehabilitation programs for all concerned, we might be able to offer specific treatment programs to restore health to these teachers and sanghas. Now, it seems all we can do is point out the wrongdoing, and extend sincere best wishes for the healthy resolution of their situation until or unless they appear incorrigible.

People who have suffered at the hands of misbehaving Buddhist teachers need to be heard, helped, and healed. We as Western practitioners should not take these current failings as unique to our Western culture or our personal failings. The misbehavior of Zen priests and the cover-ups by their communities are less related to our specific Western shortfalls and our current culture and more connected to the universal dark side of human power and spiritual energy. Just as useful drugs can be misused and create dependencies, the same can be said of acquired power and spiritual energy.

We need to correct our view of spiritual teachers—having spiritual power is not a sufficient criterion to lead a community; we must also demand ethical conduct and mature development in our Zen teachers. We need ways to assess and develop emotional, social and moral health in our teachers. Currently, Shogaku Zen Institute is attempting to offer this training for the benefit of developing sangha leaders—whether lay or priest. All members of the governing bodies or Board of Directors of Zen centers, groups, and communities should also be trained to understand their role in acknowledging and correcting wrongdoing. After covering up for Eido Shimano’s sexual predations for decades, the current Zen Studies Society Board has yet to offer arrangement for financial support to students who have been harmed. Instead, the Board is attempting to provide $90,000/annually to Shimano. Currently, we see the ZSS Board of Directors trying to find ways to include Shimano, to offer him teaching venues like leading the Sammon Ceremony, and proposing to convert the Guest House at Dai Bosatsu Monastery to its own separate non-profit organization so Shimano can “teach” students onsite. Apparently, the Board would like to allow Shimano access to vulnerable students on their own property while absolving ZSS of responsibility for any harm he might continue to commit. (The disclosures on Jorakuan retreat house are in the Shimano Archive: http://www.shimanoarchive.com/13index.html at present; # 609 and # 618. Clearly, the ZSS Board does not understand its responsibility to the Dharma and to the well-being of its students.

We need to acknowledge that spiritual power and charisma, like physical beauty or other forms of power, can create an unwholesome infatuation and relationship. This can occur with students who later become Board members and ignore their responsibilities to protect the sangha. Instead, they follow their own cravings to serve the charismatic teacher. Regardless of gender or sexual preference, both men and women may become infatuated with the charismatic spiritual teacher. A student may experience that s/he is being fulfilled and personally enhanced by the relationship with this powerful person.

Sometimes Dharma students will tend to misuse the teacher’s energy as an instant fix to his/her own perceived inadequacies or insecurities. Just as a drug can enhance the user’s sense of well-being and diminish anxiety, a teacher’s energy can serve that same purpose—instantly. In the same way that a person becomes addicted to a drug, a student can become addicted to a teacher’s energy. While this may be temporarily useful in establishing the teacher-student relationship and a healthy respect for authentic practice, a wholesome teacher-student relationship encourages the student, as quickly as possible, to develop his/her own awareness, spiritual power, and ability to stand on his/her own two feet. The unethical teacher misuses the student’s dependency, and is reluctant to let the student grow out of it. Instead, the teacher uses the student’s idealization as narcissistic supplies, and cultivates adoration, submission and loyalty to ensure the continued provision of this unwholesome diet. How much more damaging is this unwholesome relationship when these students acquire positions of leadership? The manipulative teacher tends to then surround him/herself with a protective layer of enchanted student leadership. Furthering this dynamic, students are dependent on their teacher’s approval to gain empowerments in Buddhist practice.

We need to develop strong, discerning and principled sangha members to govern Zen organizations. Education for all concerned – sangha members, board members, teachers – is an essential preventive. We now know that it is not just offending teachers that generate harm, but also the very people who have fallen under the teachers’ sway. They are the ones who build protective organizational structures around the teachers, guarding and facilitating the teachers’ influence in the name of protecting the Buddhadharma.

The tendency to idealize and become addicted to (unwholesome) spiritual teachers is widely shared. Every human being has suffered emotional loss, and every one of us comes to Buddhism (to some extent) for healing. We would be wise to put warning labels on Zen teachers and Zen sanghas and keep them well posted as a way of pointing out tendencies that may need correction. Education can help students identify unwholesome behaviors and encourage them to make concerns public. There have been cases in which a few students have spotted misconduct and unwholesome behavior but left without “spilling the beans,” making these concerns known.

Through education we can encourage witnesses and survivors to come forward. We also need to provide venues—such as Sweeping Zen– for reporting misbehavior and abuse, and to provide consulting services to answer the many questions such situations arouse. We need to create and offer training to prospective Board members who need to protect the sangha first and foremost. We need to create peer support for Buddhist teachers, who otherwise may need too much emotional nurturing from their students. We need to offer emotional and ethical training to potential teachers. There are several teaching principles built into Zen Buddhist practice (ie loyalty to teacher and sangha) that may be mistakenly applied to inhibit a sangha whistle-blower, and we need to educate Zen sanghas to the deeper meanings of the Buddha’s teaching in order to protect the community.

In Buddhism we teach people about right speech. Right speech does not mean we do not report ethical breaches. It means that when we report, investigate or publicize such problems, we do so with sincere intent to protect the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We do not talk about these breaches to gossip or to build up our ego. In Buddhism we also teach loyalty to the teacher. This loyalty cannot exist above the principles of compassion and honesty. If a teacher may be harming a sangha member, we need to ask the community to examine the problem. We need to understand that this will be a painful process, and the process may bring up previous family trauma and loss in ourselves and others. The community may not appreciate our efforts and may not even survive the ensuing scandal. Nevertheless, not harming others is a vow we all must strive to uphold in every situation. We all have responsibility to stop harm. Finally, we vow to honor the sangha, and at times of conflict, we may wonder if we might be doing the sangha harm by raising conflictual issues. At such times, it would be wise to seek counsel from another experienced teacher or senior practice leader outside of our own community. Sadly, many Zen teachers and practice leaders are now experienced in teacher misconduct and the resulting sangha dynamics of confusion and cover-up. We need to establish more widely known Buddhist resources to counsel those who are witnessing or experiencing (potential) misconduct.

It is also important to teach Buddhist practitioners the facts about our tradition since it appears that we have unrealistic expectations of Buddhism. Many Western hippies first met Buddhism in the 60’s when their values—spiritual awakening, communal living, functioning off the grid, and rejecting mainstream conformity—seemed to be well matched and naturally embodied by the newly arrived Zen teachers and their teachings . The 60’s social values seemed to affirm Zen Buddhism as a perfect religion. Zen appeared to be untainted by corruption, materialism and conventionality, a virtue that 60’s seekers could not find so easily in their own Western religions. A religion based on meditation, moderation and accepting responsibility for one’s own suffering seemed entirely promising, but sadly, people are people, and people in power are not perfect. Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.

Buddhism has a long history of authentic practice and a long history of corruption, child sexual abuse in monasteries, war-mongering, and personal financial gain through accumulation of sangha resources . Along with all the Buddhist saints, you can read about these behaviors in Japanese history (Zen at War by Brian Victoria, and Lust for Enlightenment by John Stevens). Through information, study and honest self-examination we may come out of our clouds and dreams about Zen practice, we may be more able to actually define, identify and establish a more wholesome and nourishing Western Zen. For now, we must follow the Dalai Lama’s instructions to first inform the misbehaving teacher of his/her wrongdoing and then publicize the centers and teachers that condone a teacher’s misconduct. For future prevention, we must develop clear ethics standards, training resources, peer support and community consultation services. Humans being who they are, we can count on our continued attraction to charismatic teachers and some of them misusing their position as teacher.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:42 pm

Hi Kozan,

I`m sorry to have not replied earlier but I have been very pushed for time so, my Forum time has been
very limited. I`ll try to remedy that now.
In the spirit of airing differing views for the sake of clarification, I would like to elaborate further on the
topics that have been raised. I enjoy debating all things Buddhistic and the spiritual paths. I think that
it`s become a bit of a hobby ! So, call me mister `picky` but..........

Kozan.
" Enlightenment, Awareness itself, is the stream itself ; and we are always just entering".

Stan.
Is this not trying to make Enlightenment an experience ? A permanent experience ? Every experience is in time and has to have a begining and an ending.
Kozan.
I did not mention experience here; so I'm guessing that you are responding to something that my comment triggered for you.

Edited to add: I did use the word 'experience' in the sentence prior to the one you quoted above, in the context of 'relative stages' of training, and in contrast to that which is Awareness itself (i.e. the sentence you quoted above).
Stan,
I agree that you didn`t use the word `experience` but, "and we are always just entering" (the stream), is in
fact experiential, dualistic. It involves a doer, enterer, and an action. Action is within the world of Karma.
Also, "always just entering" I would suggest is something that has never been seen or experienced to give
it validity. I would suggest that that is just an idea. In fact, why would we want to be just entering `Always`
and not actually enter and abide ? Whether the stream actually exists or not in reality is another matter.

in fact ? How can you be "one with" and nothing but Enlightenment itself " ? Which one is it ?

Kozan
It's a paradox isn't it? The entire universe, existence itself, is nothing but empty immaculacy.

Stan.
Have you ever seen an entire universe ? Where is the only place you can find anything ? It has to be `in`
awareness where everything else is seen/illumined. There is nothing outside Awareness. It is why reality
is said to be `Non Dual`. All our so called kenshos, epithanies, insights, `heart feelings` and teachings tell
us this is so. The word `empty` to me signifies no separate self. Accent on separate. So in that way, Yes,
the universe (the total of all objects), is free of separate self and the `universe` appears within us, Awareness,
so we are and always have been free of all objects.
If we can just get over that little matter of identifying ourselves as the body/mind, then all will be rosy !

Yes it is a paradox but, only in the standpoint of duality. I believe that our training is the working with all
the paradoxes until there is only knowledge. Self knowledge.

Is not "being one with" a dualistic teaching and, " Nothing but Enlightenment itself a " Non Duality" teaching ?

Kozan.
I think that "being one with" is another way of saying "not two". So, no, not dualistic. I think that saying "all is one" (depending on the rest of the sentence), is dualistic.

Stan.
I don`t follow how "being one with" is not dualistic language ? One with anything must make at least two ?
The word "with" alone denotes that. When I said "All is one.", there was no "rest of the sentence". It was a
stand alone statement. All is One....there is no more than One. One is all there is. I don`t follow how that is
seen as `dualistic` ?

If we believe that we are "Not Enlightened", then we are also re concretizing but in a form that wears a cloak of inadequacy and limitation experienced as suffering.

Kozan.
Well said.

Stan.
Do you think it`s possible to arrive at a description as to what `Enlightenment`
is ? Does it in fact actually exist ?

Kozan.
I tend to think that 'enlightenment' may be one of the most problematic words in Buddhism. I only used it here in response to the traditional formulation of the stages of training and enlightenment, in which 'stream entrant' is one. Enlightenment, or awakening, as kensho experience, is a rediscovery of that which is, the ground of awareness, the source of existence, which we always are and have always been. That which is experienced transcends existence and gives rise to it. Therefore, 'enlightenment' does not 'exist'; it is that which transcends existence. This paradox is no problem, because your own awareness remains undivided from that which is Awareness itself.

The problem with the word 'enlightenment' I think, is that in addition to awakening, it has also come to imply some kind of permanent human perfection.

Stan.
Yes, I agree. Enlightenment is definitely a problematic word. I wonder how many people who started their
search years ago still believe that it`s a possible goal for them. Were they ever even clear what the goal was ?
In fact, did their teachers even know what it was ? I know when I started, I was obsessed with the goal of
complete liberation....whatever it was !
I don`t equate kensho as Enlightenment. To me it is an Experience...emphasis on Experience of
Enlightenment in a momentarily clear and purified mind. It is an experience in time so it has an ending.
It carries knowledge. Knowledge of who we really are. All experiences are for knowledge or understanding
or what`s the point of experience ? The only trouble is, like all very powerful sense experiences, they feel
so awe inspiring and wonderful, that we just let go and go off with the blissful aspect. The mind `swoons` as
it switches off...just when you don`t need it to. Understanding is nearly always assimilated much later over
time if at all. Usually we don`t end up much further down the road and pick up an addictive desire for more
mind blowing experiences. Always looking for the `big one` that makes the permanent experience of
enlightenment. or so I`m told ;-)
My own view as to what Enlightenment is is, the permanent unshakeable knowledge that " I am Awareness".
There are two provisos as anyone can say that they are enlightened. The doer, seeker, experiencer has to
be canceled as the primary identity. The vasanas, compulsive overpowering desires have to be rendered
powerless.

The funny part is, as we`re after the knowledge/understanding and not just experience without meaning,
kenshos are not strictly speaking necessary for enlightenment. Nor is any supposed `mystical` experience.
Many, possibly more people, come to understanding without huge non dual experiences. This is because
experience and knowledge are really one. However, the understanding has to be gleaned from the
experience. It is knowledge in the end that finishes the job. some people call it wisdom.
Experience is changeable whilst knowledge is permanent. It is not memory based.
From what I have seen, the majority of teachers will not say that there is no permanently satisfying and
fulfilling experience. A lot of them just plain don`t know and for a whole lot more, it`s good for business.
Endless striving and dependance on the teacher for followers. I`m not saying this is universal.

You said " This paradox is no problem, because your own awareness remains undivided from that
which is Awareness itself."
I would say that your "That which is awareness itself" is who you really are. Your true identity. The
paradox is only for the `Kozan` identity....the ego identity.

Stan.
If we have all from the start been at "home", how can we be beginers ?

Kozan.
Because 'beginners mind', or 'first mind', is the attitude of remaining soft, flexible, and open, in contrast to 'second mind', which is described as "hard and set". Remembering that we are already home requires the mind of a beginner.

Stan.
Yes, this is true from the standpoint of the seeker. From the standpoint of the self/ Awareness, No one ever
began. Only when the seeker has finaly returned home and rediscovered his/her true self, can Enlightenment
be seen for what it truly is. Another story on the way to the self.

Kozan, I thank you for your kindly put views and allowing me the opportunity of expressing my views.
Perhaps it`s just as well that I don`t have much free time at the moment ...I know I go on a bit !

With best wishes,

Stan.
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:32 pm

Hi all,

Here are some updates on the two teachers examined in my paper, Eido Shimano and Klaus Zernickow:

Shimano's followers in exile are still trying to find suitable venues for him to teach. So far he's led a sesshin in Turkey and one (apparently) in Switzerland, and recently they almost got him into the Providence Zen Center. See http://sweepingzen.com/update-eido-shimano-to-lead-sesshin-at-providence-zen-center-in-2013. This even though Shimano specifically promised in 2010 that he would no longer teach anywhere. Also, his successor Sherry Chayat has now finally admitted that he was a lying sociopath, and her own credentials have been declared "null and void" by another leading Zen teacher. See http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20121021_Chayat_Shore.pdf

As for Zernickow, earlier this year he filed a lawsuit against one of his main detractors for libel, but he has now chickened out at the last minute and withdrawn the claim, citing "the higher teachings of Buddhism". For the rest of us in the real world, however, this is a clear sign that he was afraid of the truth actually coming out in court, and one has to conclude that the allegations against him were essentially correct.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:55 pm

thank you Christhopher.....and why does that not surprise me?
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Stan and Kozan,I can relate to what you have written.

Stan. For me, Kensho is an out the side experience. Enlightenment is an out the bottom total change. Please see my last post for more on this.

Christopher. Re Jeff Shore's comments to Shinge, there is the stink of arrogant bullying zen here. I don't know how much Shore studied and lived with Shinge etc but he is playing games, as they all have for 40 years.. it is not just ZSS who were dysfunctional, the whole of Zen USA was for 40 years. See my above posts for reasons why. Shinge needs help, not more Zen "transmission" lies.

She's genuinely asking "help! and am I a transmitted zen teacher or was it all a lie?"

Well having been in a kind of similar kind of place to where you are Shinge in some kind of a way 20 years ago, I'd say "good luck with all the Zen coward arrogant zen "masters" who're floating around trying to stick their knife in but saying nothing about their own culpability in the Eido 40 years. And good luck sifting through and allowing yourself to open to your own child within.

Martin Luther King said

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in
it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without
protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

I have studied with totally dysfunctional teachers who did good as well as bad, who were good for me though bad for others. My brother studied/lived with Genpo for 3 years, and has many good things to say about his heart and teaching. Affairs are not neccessarily a crime, just more dysfunctional grist for the mill. All is perfect after all..... If in doubt about this just read Stan and Kozan rock'n'rollin' above.

The cult of Zen has totally lost it in the USA, as the last 2 years has shown. Lineage is a lie, so all transmission is by definition a lie, yet they still believe it. I am still shocked by Zen USA's inability to look at their own culpability, so arrogant! I believed the transmission as per Throssel Hole daily rant-chant until this good forum enlightened me. DOH!

Sitting is good, someone who has fallen out the bottom passing their experience on is good, but hey i fell out the bottom 27 years ago, and the last 5 years of my life have been an emotional mess.. but at least I'm not pretending to be an enlightened Zen Master...

God I'm in a "Sickoftheirlies" rant
Forgiveness David, forgiveness... sunny
NO rant rant rant rant rant..... rant.
Forgiveness again david, flower
But I want to rant rant rant. Evil or Very Mad

Sorry folks it'll be out of my system soonish.... hopefully...
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:10 am

David,

I agree to some extent with you. I myself probably wouldn't have taken as strong a tone as Jeff, and it is of course easy for him to do so now that the scandal has reached the point of no return. The Zen community would obviously have been better served by such words say five years ago, when Eido was still at the height of his popularity.

As for the transmission mythology, well that's another kettle of fish. I also don't buy into the hype, but perhaps Jeff was just using the jargon that is familiar to Chayat, since she began the conversation by inquiring into Eido's "authentic" lineage. But there's definitely lots of room for discussion there.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:36 pm

david. wrote:
The cult of Zen has totally lost it in the USA, as the last 2 years has shown. Lineage is a lie, so all transmission is by definition a lie, yet they still believe it. I am still shocked by Zen USA's inability to look at their own culpability, so arrogant! I believed the transmission as per Throssel Hole daily rant-chant until this good forum enlightened me. DOH!

A little harsh I feel. It will always be possible to distort and misuse teachings, and arrogance and unwillingness to take responsibility are universal human failings. That the transmission lineage is not historically accurate does not invalidate transmission. It means we have to move the basis of our beliefs out of the material and see teachings as parables/fingers pointing at the moon, which in fact is what they are. By taking the whole zen package literally many of us effectively created a Buddhist fundamentalism, which is highly ironic given that Zen is predicated on the personal journey. The Buddha gave us the answer long ago for dealing with all of this. He said be lamps unto yourselves.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:23 pm

Christopher Hamacher wrote:
Also, his successor Sherry Chayat has now finally admitted that he was a lying sociopath, and her own credentials have been declared "null and void" by another leading Zen teacher. See http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20121021_Chayat_Shore.pdf

Chris,

Can you explain who Jeff is and what gives him the authority to tell Sherry Chayat that her credentials are "null and void"?
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:00 pm

Dear Isan,

Jeff Shore (http://beingwithoutself.org/jeff/) is an American Rinzai teacher of long standing and also a teacher at Hanazono University in Japan, which is affiliated with the Rinzai school. So although there is no umbrella authority in Zen, and what Jeff says is not the law, his words do carry some weight. Especially since he was very categorical in his statement.

One would have to expect some kind of official response from Chayat about where she now stands.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:04 pm

Reading Jeff Shore here:
http://beingwithoutself.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/sourceofzenwhotransmitswhat.pdf

he still buys into transmission , while exposing the lie of it. Very confused. Without transmission who is to say if someone is a "Zen Master" or not? So why is Jeff taking on that presumptious role with Shinge?

With many prominant Zen masters in USA having dubious transmission even by Zen standards, as we all know, it is just beyond belief. Even Shasta turned into a dysunctional unenlightened place with a manipulative, confused, power-grabbing confused woman in charge, followed by a lying, self-protecting, sexually trapped man in charge, and everyone else pretending not to know... Ie everyone at Shasta has been playing out their childhoods without looking at them. Very unenlightened behaviour, and a bit of a laughing stock if the newspapers ran with it.

The whole Zen teaching community knew in 1973 what Eido and his wife were up to. I agree with Martin Luther King, so 37 years of shame for Zen USA to own up to. But to own up is to acknowledge their lack of enlightenment. I have stood up to similar things, it isn't that difficult if you've done basic work on your attachment to mummy and daddy.

Lets call spades spades here shall we? Soen was well aware of Eido's behaviour from the start, but still transmitted him at a ceremony Shinge herself witnessed. Soen was a [admin delete]. When many years ago told by a woman what Eido had done to her, Soen responded by refusing any more contact with that woman. Unenlightened [admin delete].

Watch the Zen wolves gather. The ZSS is a stunningly wealthy Center, that many a Zen "Master" will lust over. Japan Zen, being the political animal it is, will doubtless try and grab a slice. I'm sure one of Soen's drives for siding with Eido and his wife for 40 years were the power and glory and posession of ZSS.

Attacking Shinge is just aggressive bullying behaviour. To do so when your not there to see what she's doing is plain rude. Love is LISTENING.

Shinge has obviously struggled and made mistakes since 2010. She has been rude and offensive to Genjo Marinello, who has given good advice on steps forward. However it is clear from her emails to Jeff that she is stuggling big time, and open to admitting it and asking for help. Good for her.

I wouldn't wish the "help" he's giving her on anyone.

If Soen did transmit Eido, and she knows he did cos she was there, then she is as qualified as anyone else in the lie that is Zen transmission.

See

http://www.shimanoarchive.com/html/NEWindex.html

for more on the disgraceful silence of the USA Zen teachers for 40 years.

No enlightenment there, just cowardice and loyalty to mummy and daddy.

Get honest Zen Teachers of USA.


Last edited by Lise on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Rule 6 violation / name-calling)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Interesting David your views,you do seem to want to see and maybe be a part of an uncorrupted Zen religion,maybe an uncorrupted religion generally speaking, and i assume an uncorrupted world. i don't blame you at all.
I think one of the problems we face is the concept of what actually is passed on.I think you have been critical of perhaps authority and power being passed on, people benefiting in these ways through religion, or so called religious practice. I dont think we help matters by also thinking that enlightenment is passed on,this can't be so either,but practice can be passed on. This actually is the least favorite of all the concepts of what is passed on,because it is the most difficult. To make things worse the passed on practice is not someone elses practice that is willingly obeyed,it is ones own practice of awareness of the 'right' way to be. It is hard to be honest and live like this but that is the heart of zen, so even though I use different words i agree that when we practice in the right way the issues you mention simply do not arise,when we do not practice or practice in the wrong way we and life are full of all the issues you mention. If only David it was as simple as that
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:51 pm

Hello Michael. My practice for 30 years has been to try and name and allow into awareness and own up to and express "me" in all my subconscious desperation to be loved, my searching for love in all the wrong places, my relationship with my mother and father. Part of me has been set free and dissolved, and more of me is still holding on, acting out, and underneath terrified. Those around me know this, because I tell them, and they sense it anyway, so why hide?

What I have issue with is a whole group of people who set themselves up as authorities to dictate to others what is good, what is spiritual, and then are revealed en masse to have acted like small children in an abusive family for 40 years. And now they keep pretending they are authorities who can dictate to others what is good and spiritual.

I wouldn't mind if they all owned up, but they haven't. As the shimano website says, there is a deathly silence.

It's not just the Buddhist community where this is rife. It's in all walks of life. I know of far worse. However, at age 18 I put my faith in zen Buddhism as a way of finding out the TRUTH about our human condition. So for me I believed in the transmission, in the zen master as having obtained true seeing, and that if he could I could. This is an essential core of Zen. Without it there is no Zen Buddhist core of any value.

So I jumped in to practice with all my might, and have obtained some true seeing. The price of true seeing is that when I look I see.

One thing I have learned is that martin Luther King is right. If a person does not stand up and step forward, in a deep sense they lose any hope of spiritual progress. I don't believe in blame, but I know that Naming is essential to practice.

After 30 years of doing my best to practice I have learnt that letting go of where we hold is not as easy as zen masters pretend. I have to be willing to be a terrified child again, not pretend to have got somewhere by zen practice. Too many zen teachers are revealing themselves to be spiritual children for it to be a coincidence. I was lucky, I went to my child inside, cried and screamed for 4 years, hit the core pain of a 1 month old baby who's mother abandoned emotionally, screamed it out and fell out the bottom of myself to find myself to my amazement floating in a space full of love. That space has stayed for 27 years and is the truth.

Where in zen does it say you have to go through the inner core of the child you are to be set free? Where in zen is the roadmap for the journey I took? My zen teacher Daishin Morgan (who I still have a lot of respect for) was next to useless in this, giving me 5 minutes of his time in 5 years, and refusing to talk about my opening.

Where in zen right now is there any talk about the TRUTH that all these zen teachers are acting like terrified children clinging on desperately? Underneath they must certainly believe they are terrified children.

There is no "practice" to be passed on. If you are afraid to face your inner child, and lock it away inside, you haven't even started beginners compassion class. Compassion starts by letting children be here, as they are. Letting the child inside into awareness, as they are.

I have worked so hard and failed so much to be a better person, to help others, to be more kind, more compassionate. I have done so without a badge or status, with little praise or acknowledgement, with no support for 30 years. I have sat with so many other people in pain, sometimes for many years. Sometimes I've helped, often i've failed in their eyes and they have walked away. Always when this happens I look as best I can at what I did and try and own up to myself. To name what I did.

I expect zen teachers if they have any kind of understanding of compassion to do the same. And I am very disheartened that apart from a few notable exceptions they seem not to understand this at all.

I do not think I am the only one to feel this way

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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:12 am

:-) Related postings on a Zen Forum International thread...
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&p=136099
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:31 am

Thanks for the link to the ZFI thread. I also have a few posts on there, back before I quit that forum entirely. It's nice to reread my prediction that Shimano's lineage was essentially dead. Finally, two years later, the rest of the Zen community seems to be coming around to that conclusion, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:52 pm

david. wrote:
Reading Jeff Shore here:
http://beingwithoutself.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/sourceofzenwhotransmitswhat.pdf

He still buys into transmission , while exposing the lie of it. Very confused. Without transmission who is to say if someone is a "Zen Master" or not? So why is Jeff taking on that presumptious role with Shinge?


Get honest Zen Teachers of USA.

In:

THE SOURCE OF ZEN: WHO TRANSMITS WHAT? Lineage & Transmission in Zen Buddhism

Jeff Shore writes:

The living transmission-lineage in Zen is precious indeed, as we have seen over and
over in this presentation. The cult surrounding it is a veritable Pandora’s box. This we have
also seen. Freeing ourselves from sectarian rivalries, dogma, and superstitions surrounding
transmission legends, we can join hands not only with other Zen Buddhists, but also with all
Buddhists, indeed with all humanity. For humanity clearly and decisively awakening to no-self
is the basis. This is not a matter of accepting some Zen or Buddhist dogma; it is reality
awakening to itself. Here, all things transmit, and are transmitted to all things.

Seems like Jeff knows the difference between the inner experience and the outer structure. Within meditation there's no problem, however using the transmission as the sole basis for validating the Zen hierarchy is very problematic because it is so fragile/unreliable. Someone may do good training and yet not be able to stay in the teacher's good graces. On the other hand why should a monk's credentials become "null and void" if their teacher is discredited? There needs to be a group of people who can look at these matters more impartially, but for that we will have to get past the wild west phase where everyone is doing their own thing and not answerable to anyone else. I know nothing about Sherry Chayat, but doesn't she deserve a hearing in front of seniors and peers, and not just a blatant confrontation?


Last edited by Isan on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:55 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : bad spelling and blinding insights)
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:24 am

Well said, Isan.

(And I love your stated reasons for editing the above ;-).
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:51 am

There is a recent post on SweepingZen.com by Genjo Joe Marinello where he speaks to the issue of dharma transmission. He also has some specific things to say about the situation at ZSS which clarified things for me. See here:

http://sweepingzen.com/dharma-transmission-2

He writes:

As for my view of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) and Shinge’s position in
regards to Eido Shimano, I have made my opinion abundantly and
repeatedly clear, for an overview see:

http://www.choboji.org/PMN114.pdf pages 8 & 9


Interesting that Faith Trust Institute was involved!
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:38 am

Posting the essay from the Sweeping Zen website -- that Isan refers to. Makes it simpler for some people to have everything right here to read:

Dharma Transmission
Posted on: Oct 23rd, 2012


Recently I’ve read with much interest an email exchange between my Dharma sister, Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi and Jeff Shore, professor of Hanazono University in Kyōto, a Japanese Rinzai lineage affiliated university, where he has taught since 1987. For anyone associated with Eido Shimano Roshi or any of his five Dharma Heirs (I am the last of these) this will be a must read.

(See: http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20121021_Chayat_Shore.pdf

The Shimano Archive reported some time ago that Eido Shimano was not listed as a Dharma Heir under Soen Nakagawa Roshi in an official Japanese Rinzai lineage chart. After exploring this matter for myself I concluded in 2010 that “Apparently, Soen Roshi… gave Dharma Transmission to Eido Roshi, but failed to record it properly in Japan. I believe he did this because he was so angry with Eido Roshi for not stopping his bad behavior.”

(See: http://www.choboji.org/PMN104.pdf Plum Mountain News, V17.4, page 7)

My deep interest in Zen training began with a conversation with Osho Diazen Brian Victoria on the UCLA campus in 1975 (Daizen went on to write Zen at War where he talks about the “moral blindness” of Japanese Zen.) He sent me to learn zazen from Thích Thiên-Ân at the College of Oriental Studies in LA near ZCLA. After graduation and my move to Seattle, I began sitting with Glenn Webb Sensei and the Seattle Zen Center. This group invited Osho Genki Takabayashi to be its resident teacher in 1978. I was at the airport to greet Genki when he arrived in Seattle and apprenticed with him for twenty years until his retirement. However, even though Genki Takabayashi claimed to be a Dharma Heir in the Japanese Rinzai lineage, his claim is NOT sanctioned by the hierarchy in Japan any more than Eido Shimano’s.

Where does that leave me and all Dharma Heirs linked to Eido Shimano? We are all not recognized by the hierarchy of the Japanese Rinzai lineage. Does this disturb me very much? Not really; I am now in the good company of many sister American lineages such as the Philp Kapleau line. For a great review of issues surrounding Dharma transmission see the following essay by my good friend Bodhin Kjolhede, head of the Rochester Zen Center

(See: http://www3.telus.net/public/sarlo/Ykjolhede.htm#kjol

Also take a look at an excellent essay by Dale Wright, which explores how sanctioned masters fall short

(see: http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Philosophical/Satori_and_Moral_Dimension.pdf

Gempo Yamamoto Roshi, who I still think of as my Dharma Great-Grandfather, likened our adult sense of a separated ego identity as feeling as though we are stuck in a really narrow box; we might think of it as a crib. When we’re stuck inside our personal identity, it’s like we’re stuck inside our infantile idea of self. However, when we have some “awakening” we realize that the box has no lid and we step out of it. I suppose one could call it attainment but all we’re doing is stepping outside of our own box of our infantile idea of self. Zen Master Rinzai refers to this as “obtaining the Dharma.” Whether we call it “obtaining,” “attainment,” “realization,” or “enlightenment,” all we have really done is step outside of the box of our infantile idea of self. That’s it!

It is as though we are mostly little baby Buddhas who live a lot of life in our cribs. When we step out of the crib, living outside the box is so simple. And, when we find ourselves back in our cribs, living inside the box feels narrow and difficult. We all have a lot of growing up to do to learn how to live outside our cribs. First we need to step even briefly outside of the box, get that open-hearted feeling, and let in the truth that we are one with Kannon (Bodhisattva of Compassion) and the Tathâgata, then the real work begins when you come back to your crib.

Before we can more consistently live out of the box we must clean out the stinky karmic baggage we have collected since birth. This may take as long to clean out as it took to collect. Zen practice is initially all about pushing us out of the box, which is helpful and grants us for a time a very wide perspective. However, it is difficult to connect with a sense of emancipation and unconditional compassion for very long. Sooner or later we discover that we have once again returned to the box of our own making.

Most of us have deep resistance to working with our karmic baggage. In some cases we can become so resistant to working with our baggage that we repress our own history. If this happens we may come to believe we have no [banned term]. A big mistake! It is great to step outside the box and make a heart connection with Kannon, but our real work begins when we are able to look at ourselves clearly, becoming deeply motivated to face our faults and clean up our poor behavior. If through difficult purges, many dark nights of the soul, our own intestines become relatively clear, our great vow will motivate us to begin clearing the baggage of the collective unconscious. This is truly the deep work of Zen practice. On this point my “Dharma Father” Eido Shimano, my “Dharma Sister” Shinge Roko Chayat and I have a lot of work to do. In this light, I’m exploring an association with Joan Halifax and Bernie Glassman and will be attending the Zen Peacemakers retreat this November at Auschwitz in Poland

(see: http://zenpeacemakers.org/events/bearing-witness-retreat-at-auschwitzbirkenau/

As for my view of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) and Shinge’s position in regards to Eido Shimano, I have made my opinion abundantly and repeatedly clear, for an overview see: http://www.choboji.org/PMN114.pdf pages 8 & 9. Shinge claims that she “will not hide behind delusive chains,” that “the smoke and mirrors.. must be cleared away” and that “the reason we are in such a mess is that we believed in a manipulative sociopath who was anything but a true man without rank.” This being the case it seems to me the first step would be to repudiate her own erroneous actions of support for Eido Shimano. A start would be excluding him hence forth from stepping foot on ZSS properties, and refusing to pay him a penny more in compensation while he continues to teach in any venue.

Both the positives and negatives arising from my association with Genki Roshi and Eido Roshi have proved to be great catalysts in my own unfolding and development, and I believe they have served similarly for others. That they are not approved “Roshis” in the official Japanese Rinzai lineage is of little consequence to me. I derive my own confidence in having no attachment to rank or position from my own hard work. I have no need of a title, and I have nothing against accepting a role/title to assist in others’ unfolding. I hope to pass on the best of what I’ve learned in my more than three decades of Zen training, along with many necessary cautions. If I succeed in serving others in this way, I will be most blessed.

What is of great consequence to me, and all those waiting for real recovery at the ZSS, is that the Shimanos continue to be supported and honored by Shinge and the ZSS board, while those taken advantage of, over decades of abuse of power, are essentially abandoned by the organization. In my opinion, victims NOT support of the Shimanos should be given highest priority. Shinge and the ZSS board have as yet failed to sufficiently publicly repudiate and distance themselves from Shimanos or admit their organizational culpability. They are still caught in their own hall of smoke and mirrors. For my part I will continue to press for support for victims and will never hide the fact that my “Dharma Father,” Eido Shimano has demonstrated repeatedly that he is a narcissist of the highest caliber, who stands somewhere between Jerry Sandusky and Lance Armstrong. All three men have talent, but they, and their supporters, are in such denial that they have little or no idea of the harm they have done and continue to do by proving themselves incapable of real remorse or restitution.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:22 am

If there is no lineage, there is no transmission.
If there is no transmission there is no authority.
Just one person's word against another.

Look at all the Great Masters fall on their moral swords.
As they blame others.
No clear seeing there.
Just confusion and pain.

The truth has no morals.
Why?
Because it is not based on conditions.
It is beyond conditions, beyond morals.
To pretend otherwise is to be caught in duality.

Beyond conditions is all that exists.

The universe has spoken.

Burp
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:37 am

If it exists,...where is it ?


Stan
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:09 am

Perhaps in a way it's beyond morals, but the law of karma has a way of providing a reality check. To see truth as above the law of karma is its own sort of duality.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:42 am

What real use is `Truth` if we can`t live it in daily life ?

" With the Ideal, comes the Actual". more bad news....


Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:31 am

Christopher Hamacher wrote:
[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!

I have replied on this in other forums.

Zen very obviously has morals, in the form of the Precepts.

The Precepts, essentially are half of Soto practice.

The other half being Meditation.

Zen Master's are also bound by the Law of Karma.

Jiyu Kennett put it quite plainly:

" The Zen Master is not released from all future karma result-
ing from his actions as a reward for ascending the mountain ;
he is just as much bound by karmic consequence as is every-
one else. Should he commit acts that result in bad karma he
will enter real hell for he knows the joy of Union with God
from the visions and has turned his face away thus placing
himself in the same position as Marlowe's Mephistopheles
whose hell was not to see God. "

-Rev. P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennet, Rōshi, Page 51,
The Book of Life © 1979, Rev. P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennet, Rōshi, and Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy, Shasta Abbey Press

In Gasshō,
Sara H
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:37 am

Thank you for your comments, Sara. May I inquire whether you read my paper as a whole?

Obviously broader Buddhism does feature the Precepts. But as I wrote in the paper, Zen itself places relatively little emphasis on them. In addition to the sources whom I quote in the paper, my own experience confirms this as well. I studied with two different authorized Japanese teachers for over ten years, and not once did either of them even mention the Precepts, let alone "teach" them.

In any case, the fact that teachers like Kennett and Shimano did theoretically deal with the Precepts obviously shows that the problem of Zen teacher abuse runs much deeper than simply whether Zen "has" morals or not.

Incidentally, I personally don't find that Kennett quote plain at all. Referring to the joy of Union with God and visions of hell is actually pretty esoteric for my taste.

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:39 pm

Christopher Hamacher wrote:
Thank you for your comments, Sara. May I inquire whether you read my paper as a whole?

Obviously broader Buddhism does feature the Precepts. But as I wrote in the paper, Zen itself places relatively little emphasis on them. In addition to the sources whom I quote in the paper, my own experience confirms this as well. I studied with two different authorized Japanese teachers for over ten years, and not once did either of them even mention the Precepts, let alone "teach" them.

In any case, the fact that teachers like Kennett and Shimano did theoretically deal with the Precepts obviously shows that the problem of Zen teacher abuse runs much deeper than simply whether Zen "has" morals or not.

Incidentally, I personally don't find that Kennett quote plain at all. Referring to the joy of Union with God and visions of hell is actually pretty esoteric for my taste.


I'm sorry friend.

But that's just [banned term].

The OBC specifically places a great deal of emphasis on the Precepts.

For one, Jukai, is the Biggest, Longest, Most Expensive, retreat they do every year.

It's the biggest event at Shasta and Throssel every year. Financial part is worth noting as they offer retreats for free, so putting on a large event like that costs a great deal, and as they live on dana, the fact that that retreat is the one they put the most emphasis on, financially and otherwise, speaks volumes about their priorities when it comes to teaching the Precepts.

Then,

Every single book that Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett personally wrote, or co-wrote, (not including translated works of other past Masters like the Denkoroku, or Shobogenzo that the OBC translated and published), every single one discusses the Precepts, and, in some cases, more than once.

Starting with, the "Serene Reflection Meditation" booklet, that EVERY SINGLE PERSON receives when they go on their FIRST introductory retreat.

THAT booklet, that every new person gets, has not one, but FOUR sections on it. Clearly showing their priorities on the Precepts


-Serene Reflection Meditation, "The Precepts" page 66

-Serene Reflection Meditation, "Kyojukaimon and Commentary" page 71

-Serene Reflection Meditation, "Reading the Kyojukaimon and Commentary" page 84

-Serene Reflection Meditation, "The Ten Precepts Retreat: The Ceremony of Daily Life" page 88


Then there's the other books:

Zen is Eternal Life: Kyojukaimon and Commentary, p 211

The Lay Liturgy book: includes the Precepts at least twice, including an entire section on the Ten Precepts Retreat, and another one on the Precepts at Funeral Ceremonies.

-The "Monastic Office" book for monks also has this.

Then there's some interesting things on Morals and Ethics in other books:

Roar of the Tigress, Volume I: "Realizing that Actions have Consequences: The Law of Karma" p 110

followed by,

"The Precepts: the Everyday Actions of Buddhas" p 125

Roar of the Tigress, Volume II: (this is of particular note, because this book is geared toward advanced trainees)
"The Deeper Meaning of the Precepts" p 143

The Precepts, and the Consequences for our actions are also discussed at great length in:

-How to Grow a Lotus Blossom,

-The Wild White Goose, Vols I and II

-The Book of Life (this one discusses it at great detail)

Shasta, Throssel and the OBC also Publishes in the book "Buddhist Writings"

The Complete Scripture of Brahma's Net. Which is where we get the Precepts from.

As well as the Scripture of the Buddha's last Teachings.

And this hasn't even gone into Dogen's teachings.

It is also worth note, that nearly ALL of these books are available for FREE now. They offer them in hardcopy for free as long as they have stock at the Guest office in Shasta on retreats, and most, especially the republished ones are now available for free as downloadable PDF on Shasta's website.
-That is huge, they don't charge for their books.

And that is just "written" Dharma.

Dharma talks, are offered on these subjects all the time, at regular intervals.
With a HUGE emphasis during Jukai. Which, again, is a free retreat btw.
-There's been a whole series of talks on the Scripture of Brahma's net,
-Every individual Precept has been discussed again, and again, as individual Dharma talks and will no doubt continue to be done so.
Dharma talks, are available for anyone (not just local congregation members) for free download online on their websites.

Take a look at the Dharma section at www.shastaabbey.org if you don't believe this stuff is there and emphasized.

So,

CLEARLY,

-In Ceremonial, Shasta and the OBC places it's highest priority on The Ten Precepts Retreat.

-In Written Dharma, Shasta and the OBC places the Precepts as so important that they are in nearly every book they publish, and often more than once. Including the very first book someone gets at a retreat the first time they get there.

-In Dharma Talks, the topic is discussed at highly regular intervals several times a year, with a yearly scheduled emphasis during Jukai.
(I know this, because I used to live in Mt Shasta and be a Layperson there)

And nearly all their Dharma, especially their newer ones, as technology has advanced to .mp3's, is available online as a FREE download.
And so are their books, also for free, and their Retreats.

So, while I can't speak for other Zen organizations,

I think at least in the case of the OBC, the assertion that Zen has no morals or places no or little emphasis on the Precepts, (and also the Law of Karma) is clearly debunked.

The assertion that the OBC has no morals or doesn't emphasize them is, quite frankly, absurd.

With respect, perhaps you should check your information a little better.

In Gassho,

Sara H
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Dear Sara,

Thank you for your response.

You do in fact clearly debunk the assertion that the OBC does not teach the Precepts. Though I never made that assertion, I thank you for the information.

Two assertions that I did make, however, which you didn't address, are (1) that I suspect you haven't read beyond the title of my paper and (2) teaching the Precepts obviously doesn't solve the problem, since otherwise neither the OBC nor the ZSS in New York would be in the positions they are now. Any thoughts?

PS Do the vast OBC teachings on the Precepts say anything about using banned language on forums? Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:38 pm

I have read your paper actually.

And for number 2,

Your thesis, is that "the problem" is that they have no morals or ethics.

As I've demonstrated that they clearly do have, practice and emphasize morals and ethics,

Your hypothesis is incorrect.

So whatever the "cause" of the "problem" that you see is, it is not "lack of morals or ethics".

And because your paper is referring to all of Zen, and at least in the case of the OBC is demonstratively incorrect;

Your thesis is therefor, also incorrect.

Or perhaps you prefer the word, inaccurate.

Surely you are familiar with the process of peer-review. ; )

Regarding your final question, to the best of my knowledge, no, I don't believe that topic has ever been addressed. ; )

In Gassho,

Sara H
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PostSubject: Re: Zen Has No Morals   Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:20 pm

Chris I would be very interested in your views on basically what you have written about!
Why do you think disciples do nothing when the teacher touches students in a sexual way.
Do they feel the teacher is acting in accordance with what is being taught? I may be wrong but with now hearing of Sasaki Roshi I feel there will be a closing of ranks and a non answering of questions or no divulging info.
or do you think students do not think teachers personal behavior reflects the teachers own understanding.
I have a few more questions but I will start here
Thanks
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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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mstrathern
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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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