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 Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:17 am

Everybody Knows – Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi And Rinzai-Ji
Posted by: Eshu Martin on November 16, 2012
By Eshu Martin
- posted on the sweepingzen.com website -- The truth shall set you free.......

Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the founder and Abbot of Rinzai-ji is now 105 years old, and he has engaged in many forms of inappropriate sexual relationship with those who have come to him as students since his arrival here more than 50 years ago. His career of misconduct has run the gamut from frequent and repeated non-consensual groping of female students during interview, to sexually coercive after hours “tea” meetings, to affairs and sexual interference in the marriages and relationships of his students. Many individuals that have confronted Sasaki and Rinzai-ji about this behaviour have been alienated and eventually excommunicated, or have resigned in frustration when nothing changed; or worst of all, have simply fallen silent and capitulated. For decades, Joshu Roshi’s behaviour has been ignored, hushed up, downplayed, justified, and defended by the monks and students that remain loyal to him.

Based on my own experience as a student and monk in Rinzai-ji from 1995-2008 and many conversations during that time and since, it seems to me that virtually every person who has done significant training with him, the Rinzai-ji board of Directors, and most senior members of the Western Zen community at large know about his misconduct. Yet no one to my knowledge has ever publicly spoken out. Certainly, as an organization, Rinzai-ji has never accepted the responsibility of putting a stop to this abuse, and has never taken any kind of remedial action.

For many years, I have struggled with my own part in this calamity; I have known but have not spoken out. I have watched the situations with Eido Shimano and Genpo Merzel unfold, and I have been overwhelmed by the courage of those brave Zen folk who have stood up to speak the truth, knowing that it would be painful, and would have very real repercussions in their lives, and in the lives of those around them. I have been reminded of the strength and courage that is required to speak the truth when it calls into question an individual of such high standing.

I have decided to come forward now because to allow this kind of abuse to go unacknowledged, when so many of us know it has been happening is, in my opinion, inexcusable. I will not be silent any more. I feel that to ignore the damage caused by Joshu Sasaki and the leaders of Rinzai-ji who allowed it to continue is both a huge disservice to those who have been abused, and a lost opportunity for all of us to learn from our mistakes. I feel obliged to speak the truth about this matter, insofar as I am able to know it. I believe that only by doing so is it possible for any healing to begin. I hope that I may be an example for others, so that they may find the courage to speak out about their experiences with Joshu Sasaki and Rinzai-ji. My hope is that by being accountable to each other, and working together, honestly and transparently, we will all be able to proceed more clearly into the future.

In February of 2011, I contacted several Rinzai-ji Oshos personally and expressed my hope that they would begin to address this issue. I received two responses; the first, from Eshin Godfrey Osho that said, “You ask that I make every effort to address the issue you see of ‘inappropriate conduct of Joshu Sasaki Roshi with female students’. This is exceedingly presumptuous of you… not being in the family I do not see you are in a position to expect it.” The second response was a brief reply from Koshin Cain Osho that promised a later response, which has never come.

My own personal relationship to Rinzai-ji has been rocky to say the least, and I am no longer a member of their organization. It would be easy to turn the spotlight onto my relationship with Rinzai-ji, and I fully expect that will happen. I am prepared to discuss openly what I know, and how I know it as we go forward. This article is an opening statement for what I hope will be a much broader conversation. I would like to keep the primary point in focus. Whatever conclusions are drawn about me, and my history with Rinzai-ji, it in no way changes the facts regarding Joshu Sasaki’s sexual abuse of students these many years. I hope that other more well-established members of the North American Zen community, who have also long known about Sasaki Roshi’s sexual misconduct, will step forward to voice their own concerns, so that I do not remain alone in speaking out.

It is my sincere hope that the Oshos and Directors of Rinzai-ji will talk about this issue publicly and accept responsibility for the personal and organizational shortcomings that have allowed this abuse to go on for so long. My hope is that the healing that has been denied to so many victims can finally begin.

All photos provided by Eshu Martin.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:34 am

What is the sound of One hand Clapping?

Not sure but with the other hand I'll feel your breasts

Great Teaching isn't it
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:36 am

If all the true stories come out about this, it will be an avalanche. Time to tell the truth, but i won't hold my breath.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:49 am

I think one of the problems zen has is the mystery that it has innocently created.

Zen poems and koans which are designed to point beyond our conceptual thinking by creating an questions that can not necessarily be answered in the normal way. This leaves unscrupulous teachers with a great opportunity to have something students do not think they have, and the gateway to abuse can be opened.

I believe real understanding comes with a great responsibility to be who you really are. So the real teaching is, who the person is and how they live,and hopefully how they manage to live in a real unfolding ,changing,impermanent life.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:56 am

Sorry I am dashing a bit as it is morning here and I have a lot to do.

I wanted to add to the above what I wrote that one should forget Sasaki Roshis clever words and wisdom, his personal teaching is his life what he does not what he says...personally if this is all true the wise old man has blown it
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:28 pm

Adding this - from the Tricycle website - posted sometime ago as part of a moderated on-line discussion about Scott Edelstein's book about Sex and teachers:

"Reply by Kuya Minogue on March 15, 2011, 10:11 pm
I've seen how sexual abuse of one member of a family affects all members of that family and reverberates in the generations that follow. Recently, at the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival I spoke with a disciple of Sasaki Roshi who told me that his teacher "got after the women" and then went on to say that the women should have grabbed Sasaki by the balls and punched him in the face - ie, that it was the womens' fault for the sexual abuse. I talked to another man at the same breakfast table who had left Mt. Baldy to practice with Daido Loori after a woman came running to him for protection from Sasaki. I was shocked - for some reason I hadn't known about Sasaki. In the rush of first and second generation American Zen teachers who have been exposed for this type of thing, I missed the stories about him.

Two hours after I heard these stories, I attended a session of the festival aimed at honoring and revering Sasaki. With great gusto, the speaker, a woman, repeated Sasaki's admonition that "Everything is Zen." (I assume they believe that this also includes sexual exploitation and sexual assault.) I was of course, disgusted. But what concerns me most is how deeply most of our American Zen lineages are tainted with the harm that flows from the abuse of power to get sex, to sustain addiction and to accomplish material gain. To hear a man who twice announced that he was an ordained Zen priest use the teachings to blame the women victims is to hear a distorted understanding of those teachings. I wonder -into how many other areas of practice does this poison seep?"

Reflecting on this quote: "Everything is Zen" -- that is one of those statements that on its face value is meaningless and absurd. Really? Everything is Zen? Every thing? Every action? It's all this "Zen" thing? But in the context of harm, abuse, a statement like that "Everything is Zen" becomes obscene. You can use it to mean that violence is Zen. Rape and sexual abuse, well that's Zen too. Killing someone - that's Zen - since well, there is no life or death. Violating someone's human rights? Sure, there is no self, so no one is harmed. That kind of pseudo-Dharma thinking is not the teaching of the Buddha, not sane, and is just an example of being poisoned by "Zen" thinking and attachment to mistaken notions of emptiness.

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:07 pm

Sasaki Roshi could certainly get banged up for this,the laws over here and I am sure over there are quite clear,apparently not like zen laws,if you sexually abuse someone you can go to prison,certainly if you are a serial sexual abuser.

I like the expression pseudo-Dharma as it seems a very apt expression,it seems incomprehensible that one can preach one thing and do another,but I have not heard his talks so I do not know what he talks about,he maybe is a prehistoric sort of man that does not know how to communicate and be with women,and he thinks it is OK and within the guidelines of Buddhism.I am sure that a lot of his students will either say they knew nothing about it, or somehow fudge the issue but how can you.

I can understand issues in life becoming very grey,I saw a lady of over 70 arrested outside the local supermarket for shoplifting,I felt awful about it,she did not have any money and she wanted food,I went to approach the police to say I would buy the food and let her go,one look from the police was enough,not my problem she was arrested and move away.She did do wrong and was arrested. I have not seen people starving in Africa or anywhere else,but I can understand them stealing food if they can find it.I can understand to survive we have to make difficult decisions sometimes. A teacher going beyond the boundries and sexually abusing disciples and then kneeling in front of an altar knows how to wear a mask but does not know the place that is beyond holy and non holy within themselves
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:48 pm

That which is true is greater than that which is holy.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:30 pm

A Zen Woman’s Personal Perspective On Sexual Groping, Sexual Harassment, And Other Abuses In Zen Centers
Posted by: Myoan Grace Schireson on November 21, 2012 - from sweepingzen.com

Myoan Grace Schireson


Eshu Martin has published painful allegations about Mt Baldy Zen Center and Joshu Sasaki’s abuse of women students. Rumors about Reverend Sasaki have circulated for decades, but until now, no member of that community has spoken up publicly. What is missing for many observers are the first-hand accounts of women. For a woman to speak up as the object of unwholesome sexual attention is a no-win situation. I was “groped” by a Zen teacher twenty years ago, I still have only told one close friend. I feel ashamed. And I know from experience what can happen when I have come forward.

As a 17 year-old college student, I narrowly escaped a rapist and I got away to call the police. When the police came to interview me, I described my assailant perfectly, recounted all parts of my thought process, impressions and the activity that had occurred with exact details. The comments made by the middle aged adult police officers, recording the attempted rape account from a strong and calm young woman were: “You’re not a woman, what is the matter with you, why aren’t you crying? He was lucky to get away from you.” I was further shamed and blamed and vilified. Even then I knew what they were doing was wrong, but I could find no means to say so. I just had to bear it.

For women to come forward and to report what happened, we need to make deep changes to a global primitive view of women: their need to be both desirable and at the same to be pure. Almost all the women I know, personally and as a psychologist, have experienced one form or another of sexual harassment—ranging from intrusive remarks, being ogled, offers to trade sex for job promotion, brief pats, grabbing, being pinned down, all the way up to violent rape. Women are blamed for men’s desire, even in Buddhism (see Diana Paul on Buddha’s description of “ensnaring women”). We hear expressions like “She was dressed to kill.” Women’s beauty is described as aggression towards men. And in short, we learn to live with it—in healthy and unhealthy ways.

I appreciate Eshu’s efforts and understand from some of the comments posted in response to his piece that many have had enough of this kind of news. Some protest that we have had enough reporting of this issue, and want it to stop messing with our ideas about Zen. When will it stop? Enni Ben’en (1202-1280) the original founder of Tofukuji, my teacher Fukushima Roshi’s temple said: “The Rock of Ages will some day wear away, but when will this suffering end?” Apparently, not any time soon; and while mountains may wear away through natural forces, suffering is only transformed through willing attention. Can we continue to look at this issue, to tolerate our discomfort, and to educate ourselves, our Zen sanghas and even our teachers? Rather than bemoan the outcome, can we lessen our predisposition to be fooled by teachers who act out in this way? Can we prevent rather than protest?

We need to study and understand how people become more susceptible to sexual and other misbehavior in Zen centers when they are supposed to be waking up to reality. There is a variety of reasons. In regard to some of the issues raised in response to Eshu’s piece: Yes, we let our defenses down to allow deep change, yes, we develop trust in our teacher, and yes, we are in a different world. Years ago, during a practice period in Japan with eleven other women, I learned just how confusing “foreign context” could be. Standing in the garden of a Zen temple with four other women, a Japanese lay visitor to the temple put both of his hands on my friend’s breasts, and squeezed them while muttering some non-recognizable Japanese. We were all momentarily stunned into silence and inaction while he smiled, squeezed and muttered away. Since I was the only one who spoke any Japanese, one woman in the group asked me: “What does it mean?” The question woke me up. I said: “It means the same thing in any language,” as I slapped his arms off of her chest and forcibly pushed him away.

Not only was there a culture barrier, but we had been instructed to be friendly to lay people since we were considered “nuns of the temple.” Was I allowed to do that or had I created an international Zen incident?

How much more confusing would it be to be groped as part of koan practice? A woman would wonder, what does it mean in a private interview with a Zen teacher? Does the groping test my ability to transcend our usual limitations? Does it mean no-self? Is it a koan? I would call this atrocious behavior disguised as Zen practice by another name. In an attempt to respect our sensibilities, I will suggest that this is the same name with which we usually refer to the defecation from a bull’s digestive tract which is used to fertilize plants.

Frankly, as some political candidates recently suggested in their distorted views on rape, women have plenty of opportunity to respond to being sexually molested. This can be neither “Special Karma”(as described in Merry White Benezra’s novel about practice with a sexually exploitative Zen teacher) nor a koan, not at a Zen center, and not anywhere else. When sexual misconduct occurs, it is actually a crime, not a Zen koan. And it is a cause of suffering that Zen teachers should not inflict on anyone. We have long addressed the potential psychopathology and character flaws of teachers who perpetrate such harm. And we have made statements to address this harm. I will continue to do so. The real work is creating an environment in which women can speak of the incident, and face their suffering with support and wisdom.

I also have some ideas about how women may play enabling roles when it comes to this kind of behavior with Zen teachers, and about the education women may need regarding aspects of their participation in sex and cover-ups within the Zen sangha. Our American practice is the first time men and women have practiced Zen under the same roof. The Zen training brought to America from Japan was designed to address men’s tendencies and not women’s delusions. Women are practicing a style of Zen that was generally designed to address men’s power issues. The Japanese teachers who brought Zen to the West had been trained by other men in all male monasteries. None of them had trained a group of nuns or had to deal with so much and so continuous a stream of sexualized transference from women students. They were unprepared to deal with this issue, nor did they specifically train their successors to deal with it. In many cases, these Japanese and Korean Zen masters and some of their successors seemed to revert to one of the classic privileges of male power—plenty of sex with plenty of women who happened to be their students. And women suffered the sexual intrusions silently.

How can we prevent this kind of thing from happening in Zen centers? In blunt terms, they can’t do this without us–perpetrators can’t behave this way without permission, cooperation, and silence from women and sangha members in general! If sanghas say NO, it can be prevented. It’s rarely a secret. Someone knows. For women in particular, we need to offer a supportive and kind community, AND we need to offer formal Zen training that addresses a potentially gender specific delusion to be pleasing or even seductive, to want to be desired. Some women seek power through being desired by a powerful man. I address the issue of women’s sexual agenda in my book Zen Women. Scott Edelstein addresses the root causes in Sex and the Spiritual Teacher. Peter Rutter describes the psychological dynamics in Sex in the Forbidden Zone. Let’s study up and get wise.

Everyone who comes to Zen practice is suffering with some delusion; this is to be expected. Some women may bring a particular delusion with them to Zen centers — that ingratiation and seduction are the only way they will ever matter or have power. Of course they bring their suffering into practice, but a Zen teacher needs to see the behavior as suffering and resist gratifying himself sexually even if she throws her naked body in his direction. This female quest for power through seducing a powerful man is a widely held cultural delusion, in my opinion, and one that we as teachers and sangha members need to notice, acknowledge, and address. Some women mistake this sexualized attention for “love”, and may value this imagined love more than they value the truth (or reality) and their own well-being. This response and the underlying needs it serves can be seen as a form of addiction. Women’s participation in sex with a teacher as “love” may be in part a cultural learning, and may also be associated with biologically determined factors pertaining to women’s heightened emotional relatedness, family learning, earlier sexualized trauma or other factors. This delusion needs to be investigated within Zen practice and addressed.

Another problematic role is that of a sangha’s female enablers; they may either participate in sex with the teacher themselves or may place the bulk of the blame on the women who do. These sangha women may have their own motivations, perhaps wishing to maintain an idealized and dependent relationship with the teacher, or to be his “favorite”. They may fall into believing the familiar stereotype of the evil seductress who brought down the great man. The woman identified as the seductress is banished and the Zen teacher is excused. We have recently seen some of the press coverage of the female vamp who led the poor Four Star General Petraeus astray leaning in this direction. Really? She tied him down and made him do it? Is it any wonder that women will almost never come forward? A woman who has had sex with a teacher is seen as a “fallen” woman and the cause of the problem.

But for me, immediately at the heart of addressing this ongoing harm, is the question of how sanghas begin to learn to set standards for teachers to “do no harm.” Sometimes this is a difficult call, but in the situation of groping, sexual molestation, sexual affairs with students, spreading venereal disease, and even generating children in this way, we are not in a gray area regarding harm. We need to do far more to educate sanghas about their role in creating a healthy process and a healthy environment for Zen practice. Fifteen years ago one of my students voiced his reason for leaving Sasaki and Mt Baldy where he had lived for an extended period. He said “It is one thing for a teacher to make these mistakes; it is a bigger problem for me that the sangha does nothing. I cannot abide with that.” And this is the dynamic that perpetuates the problem; those who can’t stand it leave (in silence or without public protest), and those who accept this behavior, stay and support the teacher. As others have said, we need to speak out even when there is some risk. I applaud Eshu Martin for doing so at this time and note the extent to which the internet is making it easier for people to speak out and harder for perpetrators to hide.

While teachers who behave this way may technically offer Zen, it is not a wholesome practice and the cumulative effects are unacceptable and incompatible with Zen awakening. As a community, I believe we need to say so, and we need to offer specific education to sanghas and sangha members to prevent and address this unwholesome accompaniment to Zen teaching. We can do more to educate and prevent this harm that has become all too common at Zen centers. I am looking forward to a statement from Rinzaiji that promises to address the harm and begin the healing, but our focus should be on all Zen practice places and our own responsibility to see deeply into our own behavior and delusions.

Abbess Myoan Grace Schireson is a Dharma teacher in the Suzuki Roshi lineage empowered by Sojun Mel Weitsman, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center. She has also been empowered to teach koans by Keido Fukushima Roshi, the late abbot of Tofukuji Monastery in Kyoto, Japan. Grace is the head teacher of the Central Valley Zen Foundation and has founded and leads three Zen groups and a Zen retreat center in California. Grace is also a clinical psychologist who has specialized in women and families. She has been married for forty-four years and has two grown sons and four grandchildren.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Lise am I allowed to say ''kick him in the goolies'' about the guy who squeezed the ladies breast.I mean it in the nicest possible way.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:19 am

This is the latest from Sasaki Roshi's group and this post is form the sweepingzen website. It sounds like they are responding somewhat like Shasta did around Eko. Convening a gathering with an outside mediator / facilitator - which is one positive aspect since hopefully that person will ask and insist upon a certain level of honesty. However, this group does sound aloof, rigid and secretive, so we shall see.

FROM THE SWEEPING ZEN website.... (I have bolded a section i thought is key here - that is true of many cultic groups)

Announcement: Rinzai-Ji Responds To Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct By Joshu Sasaki
Posted by: Adam Tebbe on December 1, 2012


If you’ve not been following this story, Eshu Martin of the Victoria Zen Center recently wrote a November 16, 2012 piece here at Sweeping Zen which alleges that his former teacher, Joshu Sasaki roshi of Rinzai-ji, engaged in decades of sexual abuse with female students. On November 24, the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors announced publicly on its website that they were looking in to the matter. Since that time, one woman has come forward publicly with her allegations– The Reverend Shari Young of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, California.

Yesterday (11/30/2012), Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser, Osho (of the Albuquerque Zen Center) sent out a letter addressed “To whom it may concern,” on behalf of Rinzai-ji Oshos. It is unclear what role the Board of Directors, the body in charge of governance at Rinzai-ji, will now have in the direction being taken.

According to Seiju’s letter, representatives of the Board (not the Board itself) will be invited to participate. Incidentally, Sweeping Zen was not sent this letter at all, despite having been the “websites” where the allegations initially emerged and despite having formally requested comment from the Oshos. This website has never received any official communication from Rinzai-ji as a whole since the story broke. This is not uncommon or even surprising really, as they’ve generally not responded to any past inquiries for interviews or biographies (Koshin Christopher Cain being an exception in that latter regard, someone who I enjoyed talking to in our interview).

To be perfectly honest? Rinzai-ji has been one of the most secretive groups I’ve attempted to cover here in my three years of work at the website. The Oshos do not respond to any of my inquiries, including the latest here asking for a statement from them (the irony is that we’re again the source that let’s the public know what’s going on, yet they refuse to address us). I had once called their main office and, while the conversation was polite and while I was told my message requesting more participation would be relayed to others, I never heard back from anyone. It always struck me as very odd, as there are very few other organizations I have ever encountered with such a seeming distrust for outsiders. In my opinion, the Oshos saw Sweeping Zen as potentially dangerous due to our autonomy. My take? I do always grow suspicious when organizations act this way, as they are also the ones you typically hear the stories about when the recording ends.

From where I stand, this mistrust of outsiders and tendency to try and control the message and facade — at all costs — is a huge part of the dysfunction we see in various Zen organizations. Although there are certainly familial aspects to the layout of Zen training, these Zen centers are not viewed as such. They are viewed as tax-exempt public entities who, frankly, should be more than happy to engage the public, and publicly. That is their demographic, isn’t it? Is it not the public they work with daily? Members of the public? Is not transparency and openness the basic cornerstone of trust? I do not feel we get that here from Rinzai-ji, nor have I ever. Take that or leave it, for whatever it is worth to you.

I feel we need to hear more from individual Oshos. This wall has to come down someday, don’t you think?

Anyway, the letter reads as follows:

To whom it may concern,

The oshos of Joshu Sasaki Roshi are deeply troubled by the allegations of
 abuse involving some of the students who have practiced at our centers.

In order to thoroughly address this matter, on the weekend of January 5-6, 
2013, the Mount Baldy Zen Center will host a meeting for the oshos of our 
community together with an independent, professional facilitator trained in
 addressing such matters. We will also invite representatives of the Mt.
 Baldy Board, the Rinzai-ji Board, as well as members of the ordained sangha
 to attend. This meeting will be the necessary first step to clarify within 
our organization what is an extremely difficult and complex issue. We 
welcome any suggestions or comments that sangha members might have regarding 
this meeting and the issues to be discussed. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Please email us at mbzcoffice@gmail.com.

We bow deeply with folded hands for your patience and understanding as we
 attempt to deal with what is a matter of crucial importance for our 
community.

On behalf of the Rinzai-ji Oshos,

Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:08 am

Why not call in the police to investigate
What we have talked so much about is the need for openness and honesty,to me these are the backbone of spirituality, and certainly zazen.
The desciples that knew and did nothing have to be accountable.
You can not 'not tell the truth for the benefit of the truth'

Back to 1976 JK would have been far wiser to say exactly what happened rather than some of what happened the lotus book should have told everything rather than selected,she knew she would have lost face if she had mentioned Bodhidarma and Jesus, disciples and Jews and Germans
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:21 am

In general, most of this kind of alleged sexual behavior is not criminal, per se. It becomes criminal when underage kids are involved. But between adults, when no one is alleging "rape", it could be a civil sexual harassment case - but the victims have to come forward and pursue this, find a lawyer - and it must be relatively current for a case to move forward - not something that happened many years ago. It is a lot of work to bring a lawsuit and can take years in the courts. In the U.S., in an office setting, when you are an employee, there are clear laws about sexual harassment and many lawsuits are filed every year. It is a huge issue. However, in a religious organization, when the people are not employees, but come for retreats or are residents, the laws are less settled. The cases with the Catholic Church involved tens of thousands of underage boys - so that is a different story. And most of those cases were way past the statue of limitations, so the cases were mostly civil, but is costing the Catholic Church billions of dollars to settle.

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:38 pm

I am not sure of the actual facts,but over here I think 5 people, radio djs and celebrity people have been interviewed and some charged for sexual offences dating back to the 60's and 70's. This is related to the Jimmy Saville inquiry.We do not know the actual facts of the charges. There has even been a member of parliament investigated for sex with minors,and he is dead,He was well respected as an MP. Men have come forward with allegations of what happened years ago,apparently the police knew about it and did nothing.
Sasaki and the Oshos have to be accountable if you knew Josh 40 years ago I can not believe the Oshos did not know. I think Lenard Cohen was Sasaki's attendant for a few years,I wonder if he has come out and said anything.
I think all these revelations,will actually only be good for Zen Buddhism,because people have stood up rang a bell and said no that is not the right answer
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:01 pm

Josh what is the view in the States of Buddhist teachers being celibate? I think a lot of the zen teachers are married over there.
What would the view be if a Zen priest was not married but lived with a different sex partner, and also the view if they lived with a same sex partner?
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:59 pm

Chisan and Josh
I have read your last query Chisan but will leave it with Josh.
I want to.give you both some information from my professional and personal perspectives.
In the uk there are laws that relate to.harrassment.The wording of the relevant act doesn't refer to.sexual acts as such,but the act is used to inhibit the activities of people who could be sex offenders.
The anti-harrassment act 1997 cites that it is illegal to pursue a course of conduct that puts another personinfin fear of violence.You can see the link I expect:if someone in a position of perceived power and influence uses that power and influence to.coerce someone into performing a sexual act ,and the victim co-operates out of fear and intimidation,the offence would fall into the category of harrassment,with the sexual.acts being the instrument of the harrassment rather than the content.I am passionate about the prnciple that the law relating to.these matters is well known.and understood so I hope I.have explained this clearlyRape in.uk.is described as penetrative sex.If a perpetrator coerces or forces other sexual acts,they can be shown to have committed offences because those acts would have put someone in fear of violence.
This is at the core of sexual offences against children and minors.
I dont know anything about similarities/differences in US legal.system.

Hope this is useful.Any queries/criticisms welcome.This stuff is my work at the moment so they would help.a lot!
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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:07 pm

The Sexual Offences Act 2003
You can read this on the CPS website.

The CPS is better than me at explaining the law but I am.working at it...
I would like to know about equivalent legislation in US .

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:10 pm

Thanks Maisie what exactly does

with the sexual.acts being the instrument of the harrassment rather than the content.

mean
Thanks
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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:08 pm

I mean that the harrassment act covers behaviour that puts someone in fear of violence.So in a sense that behaviour doesnt have to be explicitly sexual.
If a teacher like one of these "buddhist"types coerced or persuaded me to do something and his behaviour made me feel intimidated I could invoke the harrassment laws.So the sexual.behaviour might happen but it wouldnt be the cause of my calling the police.
I dont have to prove rape,I can say I am being harrassed.These things tend to be part of a pattern.Good policing would involve building a case over time.Or taking reports from a number of victims.
Does this make my meaning clearer?
Thanks for the feedback.
I really want to.get better at this!
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:58 pm

When I was doing Sorting It Out, I probably talked to a few hundred women who had sex with their guru / master. Those that are into sleeping with their students - and I don't mean just having a few affairs over the decades, but who are really into using their students as their sexual playground / playthings - are very good at seduction and manipulation and in creating an atmosphere and big story that having sex with the guru is divinely fabulous, will bring you closer to the eternal, God, enlightenment. "Let me teach you tantra" was a line that many gurus used. Even some of the gurus who were famous for being celibate created a story that included turning their female disciples into consorts, divine lovers. Some women totally bought the story - at least for a while, others felt manipulated or taken advantage of fairly quickly. But no one ever felt threatened or felt as if there would be any kind of violence. The gurus were good at breaking down a person's defenses, slowly getting closer. And in so many of these scenes, devotion to the guru is paramount. You are supposed to give him your heart and soul -- they don't include "body" in that list -- usually - but the path is often based on worshiping your teacher as the living Krishna or Buddha or Jesus or whatever. So many women do get enchanted by this romantic / religious story and want to be as close to the teacher as possible, and want to serve him, etc. You get the picture.

Now, could there be some basis for lawsuits - after a person leaves, with a little creative legal work, I am sure there could be. There have been a few in the U.S. that were settled out of court. Beyond the normal claim that the guru and his organization created hostile environment, a good lawyer might be able to make a case of some form of mind control, but not sure that has been established in law. I am sure there are many cases and legal issues around the extreme Mormon cults where underage girls become wives, multiple wives, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:12 pm

another point... one of the reasons that groups respond like Rinzaiji just did or like Shasta did around Eko's behavior - by having a meeting of the top people, calling in an outside adviser, asking for people to come forward in confidence -- is because many small religious organizations are terrified of lawsuits. One major lawsuit against some of these groups could tie them up for years and potentially shut them down. If board members knew and the leadership council knew what was going on, they all could be brought into a lawsuit. And if there were multiple lawsuits, well that could be the end of an organization -- not to mention the terrible publicity and word of mouth and more info and stories pop up on the web, new people stop coming, fundraising dries up. Also lawsuits, besides costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, include depositions under oath, so every one is deposed, must tell the truth, under oath and all kinds of stuff could then start coming out. The light of day can seem very harsh to organizations that have engaged in denial and cover-up for decades. They have never experienced being accountable or even "telling the truth" - since they live in these isolated bubbles of their own creation - and they feel untouchable, beyond and outside samsara somehow.

So these days, groups that are accused of some form of sexual misconduct / harassment quickly try to proactively respond, even reaching out to find some of those that may have left and could potentially sue or speak out loudly. I am speaking in general terms here, not specifically about any one group. They go into damage control - in one form or another. Some of it can be quite sincere while other aspects of damage control is only designed to silence potential people from speaking out and to prevent bad press or web postings.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:22 pm

I think what maisie is saying is like a prelude to plea bargaining,we can't get the rape to stick but we will the harrassment.
i am not sure of the details but I think that out of all the women who are raped there are very few convictions, i think but do not know less than 50% of women go to the police,and then it is not always so easy to prove,to balance it out some women cry rape when they regret having consenting sex.
i was a witness to a woman being thumped in the face so hard be bone broke and a long splinter came out her nostril,I was the only witness,the couple were a couple and the lady could not face sending him down for 3 to 5 years so they sorted out their differences during the trail.
I think the police would find it hard to convict a guru whose victim used to guru worship.
Sticking with Sasaki,I find it hard to believe that if Josh knew 40 years ago others did not. I remember Maezumi coming into the zendo and to a stilled sanga apologize for his drinking and say he was going to stop ,or say he would drink at weekends, this would happen again and again,and I think people would say 'Isn't he great he is being open about it' and then he would gradually get worse as there was no check,no one knew how to say stop yur behavior. Now with Genpo he apologized but just like Maezumi he still carries on with the Big Mind,they get away with their behavior
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:10 pm

Josh
Thank you for the explanation.
I agree that these groups are frightened of lawsuits-or any kind of accountability.
I am going to research the underlying legal status of victims in the US.
If you could add anything about this I would be grateful.
I believe there are efficient responses to domestic violence incidents in some states.
I guess a victim might have a hard time asserting that occurrences at a temple/zendo were "domestic".
Mmmm....in uk it is possible to obtain an.injunction against an "associated person"I feel like I need to know much more.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:14 am

Sasaki Archive: Anka Burai Rick Spencer On Joshu Sasaki
Posted by: Anka Burai Rick Spencer on December 7, 2012


(Note from Josh: I bolded one paragraph here. This sentiment, this story - that if you have a problem with the guru / master / roshi, it has nothing to do with him or her, it is just all about you. This is toxic delusion and an excuse for all kind of abuse. In this case, it is especially reprehensible and absurd. And it was no different as Shasta with Kennett or Eko - based on the mythology that the master is essentially free of any ego, so anything you see that is not pure light is just your own projection. FALSE.)

A new letter has been posted to the Sasaki Archive, maintained by Kobutsu Malone, Osho, who also maintains the Shimano Archive. This email was sent to Malone and was written by Anka Burai Rick Spencer of Puerto Compasivo (a part of the Everyday Zen Foundation). Here is the email:

I practised with a Rinzai-ji affiliated group for approximately 10 years in the 1980′s. I hesitate to call myself a student of Joshu Sasaki since I only saw him in sesshin 2 or 3 times a year or less. I was never a resident at one of his practise centres. I would see him for a week of sesshin when I could, and that was it. I was never sure if he even remembered who I was from one sesshin to the next. For people like me, he seemed distant, elevated, untouchable.

I don’t remember the year, maybe 1989, when our centre received an open letter that a female student had written to Sasaki and then mailed to several Rinzai-ji affiliated zen centres. It was a highly emotional rant on how she could no longer tolerate his groping her and his pulling her hand into his robes for his own excitement.

I was stunned. I had no idea this was going on. Then I heard that it was a common occurrence, that “Everybody Knows…” and I began to hear a whole range of stories. Some women said that they became stronger because of his abuse. I also heard a story that one woman hired a Japanese translator to confront him with her pain because he refused to acknowledge her when she confronted him in English. Apparently he refused to acknowledge the translator.

After this scandal, there were some assurances that Sasaki would be brought in line. Apparently a list of behavioural guidelines was drawn up for him. This is what we were told to reassure us that something would be done. I stayed with my practise group hoping that there would be some healing. I didn’t want to abandon my practise family just because times were difficult.

One response was that women students who went to practise with Sasaki were warned that he might behave inappropriately, and that this was not to be seen as a necessary part of his teaching.

I wrote a personal letter to Sasaki expressing my concerns and telling him that I did not feel I could sustain my affiliation with Rinzai-ji if I didn’t feel certain that women would be safe with him. I never received a reply although one Osho did ask me about what I had written.

A woman returned to our practise centre after sesshin at Mt. Baldy and described how wonderful she felt when Sasaki gave her a big hug at the end of sanzen. This was about a year after the letter denouncing Sasaki had been received. I no longer had confidence that anything would change, and I left the group.

More than once I heard ordained members of the Rinzai-ji sangha say, “If you have a problem with roshi’s behaviour, it’s your problem.” The implication was that Sasaki had no problems. If you thought he did, that just proved your own lack of understanding.

This was “old news” in the 1980′s. It’s very sad.

Anka Rick Spencer

About Anka Burai Rick Spencer

Anka Rick Spencer (born 1947) finally began to discover in the early 1980′s that Zen is a practise and not just a topic for study. He attended his first sesshin with Joshu Sasaki Roshi in 1982 and continued practising for several years in Vancouver, B.C. with a group of of Sasaki Roshi’s students. Rick first met Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 1995 and received lay ordination from Norman in 2000 just before his first trip to Mexico. That was the beginning of the happy process that brought Rick to live and practise in Mexico. Rick received priest ordination from Norman in 2004 and Dharma transmission in 2011. Since 2005 Rick has made his home in Puerto Vallarta where he is resident priest of the Puerto Vallarta zen group, Puerto Compasivo. He also visits other communities in Mexico to support and encourage people and groups interested in the practise of Soto Zen in the Everyday Zen family style.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:36 am

The intriging part of the story for me is Aasaki hugging a girl after sanzen.
It hit me because I had a dream last night about 2 men giving each other a hug. Not a sexual hug just a friendship hug,one man was OK the other not so sure but he overcame any issues and hugged.It was all about friendship.
Is it right for a zen teacher to hug a disciple after sanzen, I can not honestly say,I have never experienced this I have only experienced very formal.

Crossing lines is very difficult as situations change and I feel it is the responsibility of a priest to act accordingly. Sodos for me work best when they are completely formal,and correct,and demanding for everyone including the priest the teacher.

Ikko Roshi was it seemed always totally demanding ,actually he was not, his depth of zazen,and strength of practice was greater than mine,I had to up my level,up my practice,it was actually a demand I made on myself.

So sasaki broke through barriers that we place and society places on us, this is good thing however in this zen practice of ours the teacher should be helping us to higher ground,it is not a game,it is not half measures,it is real the reality of it is the reunion of our hearts is right for us where we want to be,and also very demanding on our lazy selves.

Sasaki cutting through barriers can not be taken out of context with the groping,the sexual touching or assault, no one has a right to breach these human personal private ares of our selves.For a teacher to abuse this aspect of normal living shows that real practice ceased a long time ago,the beautiful demands of zen,the right living.right thought, right practice of the Buddha,has been ignored, the footsteps of the Buddha,lead to our hearts,our hearts know the right way and are most demanding and exacting,the price a teacher has to pay is to try and live in the highest way,that is how Zen is taught not with empty words and wandering hands that lead people astray and pervert the refinments of a wonderful religion
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:05 am

I really like this use of the internet and sweepingzen has done a great service by posting this and sharing this response. The issues . allegations that Rinzaiji and Sasaki Roshi face is not a private or personal matter. The allegations are serious - 50 years of sexual conduct against women. People who claim to be "zen masters," who promote themselves as enlightened teachers are accountable, not only to their immediate community, to the to the wider world. So let the truth come out as fully as possible, shine the light, see what is true and real and go beyond wishful thinking and Zen mythology and blind obedience to tradition or stature or rank. What is true? What happened? What is common sense? How were these women affected? Will this organization tell the truth to themselves and to the "outside" world?

I love this idea that there is a witnessing council, so this behavior can't be swept under the rug, wiggled out of, denied, rationalized, minimized.

http://sweepingzen.com/witnessing-council-for-the-rinzaiji-community/

Witnessing Council For The Rinzaiji Community
Statement from the Witnessing Group


There has been much discussion among American Zen teachers about recent allegations of long-standing sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki, abbot of the Rinzai-ji centers. A number of teachers have indicated that they would like more information about what, if anything, has happened. They are also concerned that the information be gathered by people who are not affiliated with Rinzaiji, and who have professional training and experience both in witness-sensitive interviewing and in the complexity of the issues surrounding clergy misconduct.

In this case, three of us — members of the American Zen Teachers and Soto Zen Buddhist Associations — have come forward as a Witnessing Group to listen to the concerns of survivors and any affected students or teachers, in order to gather information regarding allegations pertaining to Joshu Sasaki in an organized, confidential, and compassionate manner.

Each of us has experience in the field and has been consulted about such matters in the past (see details below). We are willing to make ourselves available to listen to anyone who wishes to speak to any side of these allegations. After gathering pertinent information the Witnessing Group will formulate and issue a simple finding that assesses and evaluates the presence and/or extent of misconduct and abuse.

The confidentiality of all who provide information will be respected.

If any Zen teacher wishes to offer support to the formation of the Witnessing Group by adding his/her name below, please send an e-mail privately to Chozen at chozen@greatvow.org.

Those who sign will receive a copy of the findings. The announcement of the existence of the Witnessing Group, along with the names of supporting teachers will be posted on Sweeping Zen. We are hopeful that we will also be provided with space on Sweeping Zen to post our findings.

In gassho,

Jan Chozen Bays Great Vow Zen Monastery, Clatskanie, Oregon chozen@greatvow.org
Hozan Alan Senauke, Berkeley Zen Center, Berkeley, California alans@kushiki.org
Myoan Grace Schireson, Empty Nest Zendo, North Fork, California grace@schireson.com

Past experience in the field of clergy misconduct, conflict resolution and healing from trauma

Jan Chozen Bays began investigating issues of clergy misconduct in 1984 after revelations surfaced at a number of Zen centers including Zen Center of Los Angeles. She studied misuse of power and clergy misconduct in Christian, Rajneesh, Hari Krishna and est communities. She and her husband were the first Buddhists to take the Faithtrust Institute’s training on clergy misconduct in 1994, and subsequently presented this training for different Buddhist communities including Spirit Rock, the Western Buddhist Teacher’s conference, and individual sanghas in crisis. Marie Fortune, Yvonne Rand and Chozen conducted a weekend retreat for survivors of abuse by Buddhist and Hindu teachers in 1997. Chozen, Yvonne Rand and Alan Senauke have fielded many calls regarding clergy abuse in the Buddhist community. Chozen has written articles including “What the Buddha Taught About Sexual Harassment” for Tricycle magazine, and “Can This Practice Be Saved”, published in “Safe Harbor”, a pamphlet sent to all Zen communities in the US to help them develop ethical guidelines and procedures for dealing with allegations of clergy misconduct. She has consulted for the Faithtrust institute and appears in their video training “A Sacred Trust.” She has worked for 26 years as a pediatrician specializing in child abuse evaluations, including allegations of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and domestic violence, including male victims of female perpetrators. She is trained in both Soto and Rinzai traditions, and has completed a Rinzai koan curriculum. She and her husband serve as co-abbots of Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon.

Hozan Alan Senauke began addressing questions of sexual boundaries and power in the early 1990s when he was Executive Director of Buddhist Peace Fellowship. With the encouragement and advice of Dr. Peter Rutter, author of Sex in the Forbidden Zone, Alan began to consult with Chozen Bays, and Yvonne Rand, all of whom were regularly hearing from women and men experiencing abuse and isolation in western Buddhist communities. In the mid-90s Alan edited and BPF published Safe Harbor: Guidelines, Process, and Resources for Ethics and Conduct in Buddhist Communities. Alan has offered workshops and talks on ethical guidelines and processes in numerous Buddhist centers and sanghas. He has also been active as a consultant and as a writer in the creation of ethics and listening documents appropriate in scale and content for particular communities. Alan serves as vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center and is founder of the Clear View Project, developing Buddhist-based resources for social change.

Myoan Grace Schireson, a Zen practitioner since 1966, has been the president of the Shogaku Zen Institute since 2006 through which she has both mediated teacher-student conflicts and taught more than sixty Zen Sangha leaders about dealing with sangha problems. She has an MA in Organizational Psychology and a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She has specialized and led groups for women survivors of domestic violence and has, in her capacity as an organizational consultant, specialized in sexual harassment in the workplace and crises of leadership during times of transition. She has highlighted the historic roles and ongoing issues for Zen Buddhist women in her 2009 book Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens and Macho Masters and in a 2010 forum for Buddhadharma: “Making Our Way—on Women and Buddhism.” She has also published on integrating Western Psychology and Buddhism “Heal the Self, Free the Self’ in Buddhadharma 2012. She has been an advocate for a number of women from several Buddhist communities with the dual purpose of helping the women to heal and to eventually discuss the issues within their sangha. She was the co-facilitator, with Barry Magid, of the Sangha Stepping Forth project which was gathered to assist survivors associated with decades of alleged abuses by Eido Shimano. She is the founding abbess and head teacher at three Zen sanghas in the California Central Valley: Empty Nest Zendo, Fresno River Zen and the Modesto Zen Group where she and Tom Shogen Hawkins have also developed a Zen Recovery Group offering 12 Steps and Zen.

LIST of ZEN TEACHERS SUPPORTING the FORMATION of the WITNESSING GROUP (as of 12-8-12)


Teachers’ supporting the purpose of the Witnessing Group


Hogen Bays Zen Community of Oregon Portland, Oregon
Angie Enji Boissevain Floating Zendo San Jose, California
John Daishin Buksbazen Zen Center of Los Angeles Los Angeles, California
Nomon Tim Burnett Red Cedar Zen Community Bellingham, Washington
Gyokuko Carlson Dharma Rain Zen Center Portland, Oregon
Kyogen Carlson Dharma Rain Zen Center Portland, Oregon
Larry Jissan Christenson Portland Zen Center Portland, Oregon
Jundo Cohen Treeleaf Zendo Tsukuba, Japan
Norman Fischer Everyday Zen Foundation Muir Beach, California
Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin Houston Zen Center Houston, Texas
Patricia Shingetsu Guzy The Valley Sangha Woodland Hills, California
Elizabeth Hamilton Zen teacher San Diego, California
Taigen Henderson Toronto Zen Centre Toronto, Canada
Les Kaye Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center Mountain View, California
Myozan Dennis Keegan Moon Water Sangha Montclair, New Jersey
Karin Ryuku Kempe Zen Center of Denver Denver, Colorado
Michael Kieran Honolulu Diamond Sangha Honolulu, Hawaii
Taigen Dan Leighton Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Chicago, Illinois
Barry Magid Ordinary Mind Zendo New York, New York
Alfredo Daishin Malagodi Centro di meditazione Hui Neng Rome, Italy
Genjo Marinello Choboji Seattle, Washington
Debra Seido Martin Empty Field Zendo Blachly, Oregon
Mary Mocine Vallejo Zen Center Vallejo, California
Ejo Mc Mullen Eugene Zendo Eugene, Oregon
Wendy Egyoku Nakao Zen Center of Los Angeles Los Angeles, California
Pat Enkyo O’Hara Village Zendo New York, New York
Josho Pat Phelan Chapel Hill Zen Center Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Zuiko Redding Cedar Rapids Zen Center Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Soeng Hyang Bobby Rhodes Kwan Um School Providence, Rhode Island
Anne Seisen Saunders Sweetwater Zen Center National City, California
Anka Rick Spencer Puerto Compasivo Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Gentei Sandy Stewart North Carolina Zen Center Pittsboro, North Carolina
Sally Jiko Tisdale Dharma Rain Zen Center Portland, Oregon

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:55 am

Good one
I am also very pleased to see my old friend

John Daishin Buksbazen

listed here you know him too I believe Josh he wrote a great book to forget the self
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:26 pm

Some Reflections On Rinzai-Ji By Giko David Rubin - taken from the sweepingzen website
By Giko David Rubin
Download this document from the Sasaki Archive
See also: 1997 Letter to Joshu Sasaki


Giko David Rubin

I began Zen practice in High School. I spent two weeks at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center between my freshman and sophomore years of college. Then I first met Denkyo Kyozan Joshu Roshi in 1980 when I was nineteen years old. I did my first sesshin a few months later, was ordained by him in 1983, and made an Osho by him in 1999. Between 1995 and 2007 I translated for well over 2,000 hours of public and private dharma talks and meetings. I probably spent more than that number of hours helping to transcribe and correct the translations. Since 2007 I have been in protest and not participating in Rinzai-ji, although I’ve had a few private meetings with Joshu Roshi.

I am writing because I care about Joshu Roshi and the community. I would like to help in any way I can to bring about healing through honesty. To the best of my knowledge and ability, I will describe how Joshu Roshi, and the community that supports him, has tried to deal with his sexual activity with his female students, and how the inability to do that skillfully seems to have led to a diminishment of his teachings and the practice.

This is a snapshot of my own failure to understand the situation I was (and to some degree am still) in, to care about it enough, and to act skillfully. I offer this to the collage of Rinzai-ji, and the bigger collage of Zen in the West at this time. I ask forgiveness for my failings. I feel that in order to keep the clear loving connection between Joshu Roshi and me I must confront him about this pattern of behavior that seems to cause him, and those around him, suffering.

I believe Joshu Roshi is a great Zen teacher in many ways. I say this from my long personal experience with him, as well as my experiences with other Zen teachers. He holds up a beautiful liberating universally healing ideal. We all can experience living, transcending life, dying, and transcending death, fully. We all can experience salvation and liberation.
Joshu Roshi could genuinely offer that ideal, that experience, because, I believe, he could, at times, truly manifest it, and he could recognize it in others. Joshu Roshi also has the ability to sometimes know exactly what a student is experiencing without having to be told.

This is quite remarkable, and I believe gives his students a feeling they are in the presence of someone with extraordinary spiritual power. As a young man I sat in zazen and felt my hand spontaneously open on my outbreath, and felt my sphere of consciousness expand with it. Then on the next in breath my hand unwillingly closed to a fist. The next time I saw Joshu Roshi, I bowed in silence as usual, and sat up. At once he looked me in the eye, open and closed his hand, and said, “Now you can be a Zen teacher.” How could I not feel this man knew me better than anyone could? I believed I could I trust him completely.

And yet. Over a long period of time I have come to understand Joshu Roshi has many sexual encounters of various kinds with his students, many of whom are married.

I hope this description is striking some sort of beautiful balance between not saying too little and not saying too much. But. I’ll probably miss that balance.

Especially important to me is to be clear that when I say “Osho” or “Inji” I am not implying that all Rinzai-ji Oshos or Injis acted similarly. That is very far from the truth. I would like to emphatically emphasize I am only speaking of my own experience with a relatively few people. I beg you to not paint all Oshos, senior students, or Injis with the same brush.

Please, if you know someone associated with Rinzai-ji, or hear someone is, do not assume you know what he or she did or thought after reading this account.

From many stories I was told by men and women, and from my long experience translating, I believe Joshu Roshi sometimes used the way he spoke in sanzen, and even in teisho, to coerce women into giving him sex. He implied that resisting his advances was resisting the cosmic activity itself. He also implied surrendering to his requests for sex may lead to the experience of absolute cosmic unity. He punished some women who would not capitulate to his demands by giving them little or no attention. He coerced women by saying, “This is the only way I can teach you,” “You should overcome your ego,” “If you don’t have sex with me, you are not manifesting one true nature,” “You say ‘my body,’ but that is the thought of your incomplete self,” “You are the only one I ever touch,” “You have the best energy.”

Joshu Roshi’s Zen, in my experience, both affirmed the individual, imperfect self, and the manifestation of no-self, both. However, regarding this issue of his own sexual activity, he almost always demanded negation of the self, no boundaries between himself and his female students, and dismissed the other person’s individuality. This also carried over into his demands of male students to not think about or talk about his having sexual relations with his students.

The argument that his teishos were sometimes sexual coercion is harder to make, but I feel it is true. He went through a phase when he repeated often that following one’s instinctual impulses is the same as following the Dharma activity. I don’t think he really believed that deeply. He also would sometimes emphasize the idea that “resisting the unification of expansion and contraction was egotistical” so adamantly that I, knowing whom in the audience he was trying to persuade to allow his sexual advances, could no longer serve as his translator in good conscience.

Some senior students and Oshos, although they knew about his pattern of trying to initiate some sort of sex with his students and especially his Injis, encouraged new students to become his Inji, telling them it was special, an honor and a great opportunity. Then when the new Inji complained about his sexual demands sometimes they were told they should give themselves to him completely.

At this point I don’t claim to have anywhere near a perfect picture of the facts. However, I have heard the experiences of forty two women, either from them directly or their husbands or boyfriends:

• Twenty-three of those are no longer practicing with Joshu Roshi and had negative experiences, and many of those have shared their bad experiences with other Buddhist sanghas.

• There was one report to a crisis hotline, one police report, and once I witnessed a woman confronting Joshu Roshi in front of his wife, saying “Try touching me now when your wife is here!”

• Fourteen of the forty-two would probably say they are still Roshi’s students, nine of them obviously are.

o Of those, two told me their sexual encounters with Roshi were fantastically helpful, healing some sexual problems.

o Five others say only positive, though not so effusively glorious things.

o Six other women still practicing with Roshi (or at least saying they are his student) express more of an “I’ve put up with a lot” attitude.

o Five others had very short, one time encounters, all of whom said they rebuffed Roshi’s advances with a slap, a laugh, or by changing the subject.

• Eleven out of the forty-two told me in detail how Roshi repeatedly grabbed at them despite their saying “No,” sometimes dozens of times in one day, over many months, and sometimes many years. Two of those told me they were pushed to the ground.

• I have also had extensive conversations with two Japanese monks who, for their own reasons had researched Joshu’s history in Japan. They told me Joshu Roshi has biological children in Japan who were not openly acknowledged as his when they were children. I have since met one of them, and I read an email from another. The monk told me that in Japan his sexual activity was a big concern within Myoshin-ji.

This is an extremely unscientific “survey,” for which all of the information was randomly and freely given, and 90 percent of the information was obtained after 1997. It is very clear that nobody really knows anything close to everything, and the people who know the most aren’t talking in public. It is hard to say exactly what happened because there has not, as of yet, been an open, honest, caring and respectful investigation into what has happened over these 50 years of Joshu Roshi teaching in North America. Any attempt to extrapolate from my description and guess at the full extent of the activity must factor in many things. It is very common for women to remain silent about these difficult experiences, even with their close friends. Almost all of my information comes from Roshi’s later years, when his activity had decreased significantly. It makes it very difficult to guess, if not impossible.

Each individual story is important for the people involved, and some stories are very complicated. A woman can honestly say she experienced great learning from having sex with him. Some can honestly say they experienced Joshu Roshi as an eccentric but charming old man who flirted a lot. Everyone’s experience is true for them. This doesn’t mean that everyone who had an experience with Joshu Roshi has a clear view of the bigger picture.

It took me a long time to become conscious of these things. Although I had one or two experiences in my early years of practice that, if I had been more able to hear, could have brought Joshu Roshi’s sexual patterns into the light clearly, I was firmly in denial for a long time, and I never talked about it. When I think back on my experience standing on the Mount Baldy main path in the early 80s, when I was shoji, listening to a woman ask for advice about Joshu Roshi fondling her in sanzen – it is like my mind was a vacuum. I don’t remember saying one word in response. I had at least one other experience like that. It was not until years later, in the summer of 1997, as some women I knew well started telling me about it when I started to hear it.

That is when I first suggested to Joshu Roshi that he have a monitor present in sanzen and no longer have female Injis. He was furious. He slammed his teacup on the table so hard the cup broke, and later called for his Inji to come check his blood pressure. That fall a small group of residents of Mount Baldy, none of us Oshos at the time, got together and talked, and wrote a letter to Joshu Roshi about his sexual conduct. I think there were about 12 of us who worked on the letter. In the final version my ideas of sanzen monitors and no female Injis were taken out, because the majority felt we should take a more respectful, less demanding stance. My intent then was to have Joshu Roshi and the community face the problem, so we could all keep practicing together in a healthier way. I did not have the intent of closing down Rinzai-ji, or forcing Joshu Roshi to stop teaching. I thought it possible for him and us to face his problem, and for him to keep teaching – with some modifications and outside help.

He was very angry upon getting even the much toned down letter, and presented his students with a simple choice, “Either I admit these things and then of course I would have to resign, or I can keep teaching you.” The vast majority of students took that seriously and rallied around him to keep teaching. I still regret I could not persuade people to call his bluff.

After that, even though he still had private sanzen time and female Injis, things did change at Mount Baldy. Some monks were much more open with women students about Joshu Roshi having a tendency to act sexually towards his students. For a time they no longer tried to claim it was teaching, or deny it, but instead counseled people on how to deal with it. Monks would take women aside, even before they had ever met Joshu Roshi in sanzen, and explain he had some sort of sexual touching problem. “We couldn’t stop it, but here’s what you can do if it happens. Firmly saying “No” right off the bat has worked for many women…” Things like that. This seemed absurd, but on the other hand it was probably helpful to some extent.

I still tried further to convince him to change his behavior. I had several long conversations with him about it. I think it is accurate to say I spent more than five hours, over quite a few meetings, pleading and arguing with him to get help with his sex problem, as I called it. I wanted very badly to figure out some way to stay. I loved Joshu Roshi as a teacher, and had studied Japanese hoping to someday translate for him. I had always been happy about my choices to become a monk, translator, and part of this community. Then it was as though the feeling I was part of something beautiful was crumbling. When I tried to talk with him about my concerns he seemed truly unreasonable. This man I considered not just sane, but a wise elder, began presenting me with something that seemed somewhere close to insane, and now felt I could not continue in good conscience.

During our conversations he said all sorts of things. “I am like a doctor. You wouldn’t be angry if I touched your wife’s breasts or vagina if I were a doctor examining her.” “Ok, maybe I have a sickness, but I will be the leader of all those with the same sickness!” “My hand just moves. It’s will-less (ishinashini).” He tried to explain the origin of his sexual patterns: “When I was young I didn’t know anything about sex, and I was a virgin for a long time. Everyone respected me then. The first woman I was with had to show me how to do everything. I didn’t even know women had a good feeling when their breasts were touched. It was seeing the American soldiers walking with Japanese women after the end of World War II that piqued my curiosity. I wanted that too! Then, after I started, I couldn’t stop. I wanted more and more.”

I feel my experience during this period, when Joshu Roshi and I were often vehemently disagreeing, is evidence that unquestioning obedience to and reverence towards a spiritual teacher are not requisites for a productive relationship with that teacher. In fact it may be harmful to the student and the teacher’s development. Outside of sanzen and my translating for him we were often fighting. I think it is accurate to say we both strived to improve our work in sanzen and during teisho, and the content of both did not suffer.

Finally, a few days after I had talked with him for many hours in a hotel room in Austria, he said, “Your idea is right. Thank you for showing me my way is sometimes not good. Thank you for getting angry.” We came to agree his sexual behavior is a “bad habit,” (kuse in Japanese), and he said he would stop. He also talked about bad habits in teisho, and about how we sometimes hurt people because of them, without admitting in detail what he was referring to. He publicly chanted the sange (repentance) chants several times during teisho, although he didn’t specify in public why he was doing sange. I was content to stay and continue translating for him. There was a feeling in part of the community that we who confronted him had succeeded in changing his behavior. A few people thanked me. People said his behavior changed in sanzen, and privately he convinced me he had changed. Even now I still believe he made an effort at that time to change his behavior.

Ten years later, in 2007, more women came forward and said Joshu Roshi had been sexually pressuring them during the period I thought this behavior had ended. I was told by his Injis that Joshu Roshi had never stopped, only slowed down. I was told, “He played you. He tricked you.” (When I heard the new accounts I realized I actually suspected Joshu Roshi had never completely stopped. There had been evidence, for instance, women re-adjusting their robes while leaving the sanzen room. I simply didn’t allow the evidence to come to full consciousness.) The trust I had felt was damaged. I tried to defend my position to my friends and family. I told them I believed he was a very good Zen teacher, but I did not think he was trustworthy about anything to do with his own personal behavior in the realm of sex. It was a hard sell.

In 2007 Gentei Osho initiated a discussion about this issue. Eshin Osho also wrote a very strong letter to Roshi about it. This culminated in a meeting of the Osho Council of Rinzai-ji in December. I felt I had been very naive in the first 1997 attempt; specifically only working with a small group of students and directly with him. In 2007 we tried to involve the community of Oshos, and even, albeit informally, the board of directors. Instead of being more successful there was a lot more anger expressed towards Gentei and me. People were told not to speak openly because of fear of legal repercussions. Three women wrote very balanced eloquent letters about their confusion caused by Joshu Roshi’s sexual pressuring, and these were supposed to be discussed by the Osho Council. The letters, however, never got an official response from the Oshos. There was no movement towards openly acknowledging the pattern of behavior. At that time I still felt Joshu Roshi should continue to teach and not resign. I felt he should change his behavior, with professional help, and, as was my suggestion in 1997, have no female Injis, and a monitor in sanzen. However, in a nearly identical way as happened then, Joshu Roshi gave the same choice, either I will resign or I will go forward unconstrained.

After the meeting Joshu Roshi began calling people who wanted to discuss his sexual activity his “enemies (taiteki in Japanese). It seemed he was helping to form a party line; to criticize Joshu Roshi is blasphemy. To say he has a serious sexual problem means you don’t understand his teaching. If you are working to have Joshu Roshi face his problem and change then you don’t love him and should leave. The sentiment I remember hearing the most from other Oshos was some version of, “We must weigh the good of Joshu Roshi’s teaching against the bad. The good is incredibly good. He is probably the most enlightened person alive in this world. There is no way to stop the bad, only contain it. He will never change. The good, however, far outweighs the bad. If we try to guide Joshu Roshi towards changing his behavior he will resign and stop teaching, and all the good will be lost.”

I gave up trying to sway the community of Oshos. I am open to criticism about how I tried. I know I simply angered many people, which didn’t help. In the end I ran out of creative ways to be pushy. I then, in protest, stopped all participation with Rinzai-ji.

Over all of my years in Rinai-ji many people who I admired and who inspired me left the Rinzai-ji sangha. In certain instances I didn’t learn until years later it was because of Joshu Roshi’s sexual conduct. The choice I was, both implicitly and explicitly, forced to make, between silence and leaving the community, wore on me. I was also treated harshly by Joshu Roshi and his inner circle. Myoshin-ji style Rinzai Zen training, the tradition Joshu Roshi continues, IS often harsh. I was accustomed to that. In this instance I had to try to discern if the harshness was coming from compassion, or, as my common sense told me, fear and greed.

When I “came out” and raised my concerns about Joshu Roshi’s sexual conduct some Oshos told me I had no Zen understanding and should be beaten with sticks; I was an arrogant blind fool; I had “kindergarten understanding” and obviously had never passed even one koan. Joshu Roshi told me I would never get enlightened if I thought about these things. I was told by one Osho and one senior student I would be blamed for Joshu Roshi’s death if I tried to make him change his behavior, and that I would be responsible for ruining his legacy. “You are killing him!” was shouted at me more than once. Another Osho told me that Joshu Roshi had demanded I do a special repentance ceremony if I ever wanted to practice with Joshu Roshi again. When I asked the Osho if he had argued my case to Joshu Roshi, or even asked for an explanation he said he hadn’t. I was banned from coming on the property of one Zen Center, and banned from teaching at another. Joshu Roshi began calling me “attached to honesty,” and “bakashoujiki” (meaning “stupidly honest”) to others and to me.

This same sort of thing happened to other people, too. In many private meetings, Joshu Roshi began calling another Osho who had attempted to discuss the situation “crazy.” At the 2007 Osho meeting women who wrote letters about Joshu Roshi’s sexual activity were discredited as “seeking attention” or not realizing he was trying to teach them. Women who complained or asked for guidance were told things like, “Maybe you’re not ready for this practice,” “Joshu Roshi’s sexual touching is teaching,” “Why not let the old man touch your breasts? What does it matter?”

With some female students Joshu Roshi was more determined, aggressive, and angry. Those women were belittled by other women who had had an easier time keeping him at bay, “How can you not just repel him? He’s so old!” Another woman who complained was discredited. An Osho said, “She’s crazy. She takes antidepressants.”

It is important to point out the obvious, again. There is an amazingly wide range of behavior among Joshu Roshi’s Oshos and students. Some people who have been around a long time really didn’t know that much about Joshu Roshi’s sexual activity. Some people knew a lot and were instrumental in silencing people and working to retain the status quo. Some people knew a lot, but were very distant from Bodhi Manda and Mount Baldy, the two major centers. The extremely decentralized “system” of Rinzai-ji made it possible for some people, most of the time, to not have to think about, or even know about, Joshu Roshi’s sexual patterns. That much of the time we spend together is at silent retreats also contributes to the lack of knowledge. Each of us must decide how to take responsibility for our past actions. Each of us must decide how to make reparations. Each of us must try to understand why we acted the way we did.

And, further, I also would like to emphasize how difficult this is. We who know about Joshu Roshi’s sexual behavior and are longtime students, and almost always came to know about the sexual behavior slowly and circuitously, have a lot to digest. We all have found a wonderful teacher. Some of us feel Joshu Roshi had saved us from suicide, or some other very bad situation. Some of us feel Joshu Roshi’s Zen is utterly unique. Rinzai-ji is our spiritual home. Anything that feels like an attack on that is naturally resisted with an instinctual fighting spirit. It’s hard to give that up. It’s hard to be put in the position, (even if that position is only known or felt on a subconscious level, and even if that position isn’t really true), of either having to harm one’s friend or lose one’s teacher and spiritual family.

In 1997 I finally felt no longer in denial. In 2007 I felt that way again. And, again now. Each time I have felt sharply remorseful for my previous lack of clear understanding, paucity of love, and weakness of action. Now I feel that for Rinzai-ji to ever be a healthy organization it must clearly and publicly acknowledge that in significant ways essentially excellent Zen teaching and practice has been mixed with a culture of great dependency on one person. This dependency, and double standard, is in many ways antithetical to Zen teaching.

What can we do as members of this community, and the larger Zen community, to move forward and learn? I like Professor Batchelor’s description of “stream entering” being an important milestone (http://sweepingzen.com/buddhism-and-sex-the-bigger-picture/). I believe if both teachers and students realize that after some point, once you have the experience of samadhi and insight to a certain rudimentary degree (and exactly what that is, that is an interesting question), your practice is very much up to yourself.

Zen teachers often say a student should not be “attached to his own thinking.” This is good teaching. To experience merging into the great natural activity (the dharma activity in Joshu-ese) we need to replace our own thinking with the sound of the wind, the floating cloud, the flower opening, the sun blaring, the moon slowly rising, our own heart beats, our breathing. Further, the strong demand in Joshu Roshi’s Zen to do that completely and enter the Samadhi of no conflict, and further, to never be satisfied with the depth of our practice is commendable. There is a great humility in his sangha in some ways, at least as we face ourselves.

However, we do not need to replace our thinking with someone else’s thinking. We do not need to replace our past identity with a new identity as an obedient, good student to a Master.

And, also, even as we know our thinking is incomplete, we must keep listening to our own voices. Our own is the only voice we have. Even when, for example, we judge a teacher to be good or choose a practice to do, we are listening to our own voice. Zen practice that over-emphasizes a sort of hostility towards our own thinking is fertile soil for “denial.”

Perhaps we Zen teachers need to find a way to underscore the wonderful preciousness of our own thoughts, even as we teach how to transcend them. If we watch carefully how we know our own thoughts, and unify with them, that unification is no different from our unification with the sound of the wind, the smell of the incense.

Teachers with amazing spiritual gifts can also have serious psychological issues. We must, I believe, simply hold everyone to the same standards of not harming others, being honest, facing our problems, and so forth. The notion that a student should not question her teacher for fear of cutting off the spiritual connection between them is false.

I still feel somewhat “in the bubble” as my monk friend refers to being enmeshed with Rinzai-ji. Darn it! I do think Joshu Roshi manifests a wonderfully unique Zen, when he’s on his game. I do not want to rid myself of the simultaneous breathing, four phases, expansion and contraction, absolute large and small, up before 3am and yaza in the snow with the coyotes, manifestation of Zero – style Zen training I was raised on. On the other hand, the behavior of the inner circle of Rinzai-ji, including Joshu Roshi himself, where a culture of double standards and dependency was formed, partly around a pattern of sexual behavior people thought could not change, must, I believe, be called, (as Joshu Roshi liked to say), ge ge no ge. Lower than the lowest of the low.

The thing that I hope will be considered carefully is how it is possible for those two things to come to exist with each other.

About The Author

Giko David Rubin lives, practices, and teaches in Albuquerque New Mexico. He is a co-founder of Mountain Mahogany Community Charter School. http://www.mountainmahogany.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:12 pm

That seems to be saying2% of zen is fine,it is all you need,It is a little like 1939 Germany invading Poland is OK only sightseeing,if you think it is more you have problems,,you are not worthy step outside the circle.

Sasaki likes his students to feel they need him,he needs his students

He also implied surrendering to his requests for sex may lead to the
experience of absolute cosmic unity. He punished some women who would
not capitulate to his demands by giving them little or no attention. He
coerced women by saying, “This is the only way I can teach you,” “You
should overcome your ego,” “If you don’t have sex with me, you are not
manifesting one true nature,”

The basic flaw in Sasaki's teaching is he that he actually teaches duality..do something and you become one with your true nature,whereas Zen teaches us...Do nothing and realize your true nature.

I wonder how it would go down in court Sorry your honor my hand moved by itself...What a clown
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:04 am

Susanna Stewart: Letters to the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors and Oshos

This evening, Sweeping Zen was sent two letters by Susanna Stewart (wife of Gentei Sandy Stewart of the North Carolina Zen Center). She wishes these to be part of the public record on what happened at Rinzai-ji over the years. I’d like to thank Susanna for using her voice and I would also like to thank readers for their willingness hear her account.

Letter to the Rinzai-ji Oshos

December 19, 2012


To the Rinzai-ji Oshos:

(there was a long list of names which I deleted - which you can find on line if you are interested, but i was just tightening the posting)

I am attaching to this letter a copy of the letter I am concurrently sending to the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors. I believe I have stated my feelings clearly there and feel no need to repeat myself on the points I made in that letter. I do, however, have a few other things I would like to say to all of you.

I am encouraged that many of you will be attending the meeting in January, and that there is a movement to address this very deep issue with professional mediators. It will be a long and tedious process to give birth to the healing that is needed.

Now that Joshu Sasaki no longer holds power over you by threatening to stop teaching, I believe that many of you will be able to see your way clearly through this and begin to take responsibility for your own failures to deal with this situation. Please know that I am intimately familiar with the dilemma many of you have struggled with in trying to fully understand the situation and to find a way to end it. For those of you who have placed the responsibility on the women and refused to see this as anything but a “teaching, I hope that you can move past this and into a more compassionate awareness.

I have known some of you over the years and have great admiration for those of you who have refused to blame the victims, who have refused to veil Joshu Sasaki’s sexual misconduct as “teaching”, and who have understood that there are secular laws that apply to this issue. Our local attorney here, Liz Kuniholm, recently stated:

If a person who is in a position of power wields that power by physical force, it is rape. When a person in a position of power wields that power by spiritual force and implicitly threatens to ostracize another from a community, much less from God/Wholeness/Enlightenment if they don’t participate, it is rape just the same. She added that when an accounting for the acts is done, a woman’s neediness can never be a justification or excuse for the teacher’s acts of violence and exploitation. Exploitation of a dependent and less powerful person by a spiritual leader can never be described as serving a spiritual purpose. In fact, the more needy the spiritually dependent person, the greater the responsibility upon the mentor to respect and nurture that person’s boundaries and individual needs. The doing of good deeds in other spheres cannot overcome the evil inherent in any single act of using one’s power to serve a selfish, individual purpose. It is wholly the duty and responsibility of the spiritual leader to protect those who seek guidance from exploitation by anyone.

Cleary most of you have never fully appreciated the gravity of the situation.

Those of you who were complicit in this activity by enabling Sasaki with his sexual misconduct for decades would help bring forth healing if you at least made a gesture of contrition with your own personal public apology or by resigning.

The first sentence in Sasaki’s current form of apology states “Currently, I am suffering, but it seems that everyone else is suffering more.” Notice that he mentions his own suffering first. I hope all of you can do much better than that.

Those of you who know women who have stories to tell, please encourage them to get in touch with the any of the members of the Witnessing Council for support and confidential, safe sharing of information:

Jan Chozen Bays Great Vow Zen Monastery, Clatskanie, Oregon chozen [at] greatvow.org

Hozan Alan Senauke, Berkeley Zen Center, Berkeley, California alans [at] kushiki.org

Myoan Grace Schireson, Empty Nest Zendo, North Fork, California grace [at] schireson.com

You will be in my thoughts during the upcoming reconciliation process. It is my hope that all of you as well as countless women will experience the healing to which we all are entitled.

Susanna Stewart
Letter to the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors

To the Members of the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors:

Jeff Creek
Sam Landsberger
Leonard Cohen
Jack Williamson
Parham Yeshareem
Paul Karsten
Paul Humphries

December 18, 2012

In light of the recent unfolding of events regarding Joshu Sasaki’s alleged sexual misconduct, I feel compelled to address the matter in a letter to all of you.

As some of you know, I have been married to Sandy Gentei Stewart for 35 years. Prior to my meeting him, I founded the North Carolina Zen Center. I first became a student of Sasaki Roshi in 1972 and continued until 1985, when I could no longer continue my relationship with him because of my experience of his persistent abuse of power in his efforts to destroy our marriage. Sadly, I was no longer able to practice Zen formally – just to set foot in a zendo was more than I could bear for many years. It was a great loss to me.

I was appalled to read your posting on Sweeping Zen that implies this was all news to you: “Concerns have been raised about allegations of misconduct within the Sangha and our organization’s capacity to address these challenges.” Jack Williamson’s statement in an email to Rinzai-ji oshos past and present and the present Rinzai-ji Board of Directors sent December 8, 2012 that “no complaints concerning conduct have ever been brought before the RJZC [Rinzai-ji Zen Center] board” is simply untrue. I am shocked at this level of fabrication.

The Rinzai-ji board of directors was informed by my husband in written form in 1992, and again in the fall 2007, about Sasaki’s sexual exploitation of women. I also know that my husband over time has spoken with some of you at great length about the matter. The Board has either lacked the courage, wisdom, or is in utter ignorance of secular laws on this subject and has not served the Rinzai-ji community well. In my opinion none of you have any business being on the board of this corporation. You have also demonstrated your abject lack of understanding of the effect of Sasaki’s sexual misconduct on the lives of the women involved.

I myself have also been a victim of Sasaki’s unwanted sexual attention, advances, groping, and requests for sexual favors. I have loved Roshi and am grateful for many of his teachings, but it took years for me to become free of the enmeshment and the abuse of power perpetrated by him not just on myself but on my husband and our marriage. To put a stop to his perpetration of abuse of other women, there was a time when I gave serious consideration to filing a lawsuit, but the costs – financial, emotional, and time – were too extensive. The fact that it would have had to be filed in California rather than in NC also gave weight to my decision to not pursue the issue. The personal cost of bringing this kind of abuse out into the open, as well as the spiritual losses inherent in challenging a revered and powerful leader, are some of the reasons such abuse is allowed to continue for so long without consequence.

As I see it, the fact that all of this is unraveling now is not just because of Eshu’s statement on Sweeping Zen. It is because Sasaki has stopped teaching and no longer has power over his Oshos and other students by threatening resignation or expulsion. Most of them – with some wonderful exceptions – have also been guilty of not addressing this issue because they wanted to “finish their training” or because they felt “half baked” and wanted to gain further “spiritual fulfillment” or whatever. Probably some, like some of you, were just too lazy and couldn’t be bothered, were unwilling to see the truth, or blamed the victims for the abuse – a common response. Perhaps you were unwilling to upset the status quo.

Well, I am bothered. I call on all of you to resign. You have no business being on the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors – none of you. Do the honorable thing and let some new people deal with this. Your track record does not speak very highly of you. On your way out you could ask Sasaki to resign, since he has not even now, fully informed of recent developments, had the courage and prudence to do so on his own volition. I am aware that the Rinzai-ji by laws do not allow you to force the Abbott to resign, but you certainly can ask him to do so.

I have read that in cases similar to this no lawsuits have been filed when the offending principals (in this case, Sasaki, the boards of the various Rinzai-ji centers, the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors, and the ordained persons) have been forthcoming in admitting their mistakes and open to do whatever is necessary to facilitate healing of the victims.

I will be watching the developments closely. I am encouraged that the Oshos have agreed to meet with outside facilitators, but I know that it will be a long process before the necessary healing takes place. The Rinzai-ji Corporation and its board of directors clearly have exposed themselves to legal liability for damages of the victims as a result of Sasaki’s misconduct and the board’s failure to act.

Susanna Stewart
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:50 am

Good for you Susanna
When the disciples say they wanted to finish their training,that may well have been to stand up and say what is going on is not quite right.
This takes considerable guts, possible isolation, risk of discrediting.And maybe a complete turn around of view point of what actually training is and how one does this in a real unpropped up way
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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:53 pm

Chisan

I have to say your appearance alongside our own dear Queenie adds gravitas and impact to your important arguments!

But I will also add that I find the formation of the Witnessing Council for the Rinzai -ji very encouraging.Thank you Josh for posting this.

I have been considering all the links .I found Stephen Bachelor very convincing as usual.He has a clear unambiguous approach to preceptual dilemmas.

As for the notion that there is an ambiguity between "enlightenment" versus "humanity" that some contributors seem to need to wrestle with,I simply don't have any experience of "enlightenment"embodied in an individual.

I have done Zen training for forty years.By Zen training ,I mean "just sitting" practice.I have attendedmany retreats,and taken vows to follow the precepts.I co-run Lay Zen Retreats.We started these retreats because we saw a need.Five years later,they seem still to fulfil a need.

I have become a Child Psychologist.I have had three children,and lost a child to Cot Death.I have experienced the normal losses and sorrows that life brings to us all.

I have sometimes been helped by Zen teachers,and also by Quaker friends,christians Hindus and Muslims,and people who don't profess to have a faith.

In my experience the Teaching is life itself.

I have never met an "enlightened "person,and why would that be important in one's spiritual life? Ordinary people enduring,transcending,the ordinary tedium and disappointment of life,and glorying in its ordinary joys,surely that is what teaches?



As for some old pervert groping women and coercing them into sex because he has an easy source of victims,that is just sordid.And it needs to stop.

Yes,I have some theoretical frameworks for understanding the motivation behind this pathetic behaviour,but what I am interested in is how you put a stop to it,whether the law can be used,how effective this Witnessing Council will be.

Hopefully it will develop good models for risk management so that someone like this "roshi" doesn't get so many opportunities.

The three teachers described appear to have excellent credentials for leading this initiative.

Good luck to them.They have cheered me up.

Now I'm going to watch "Strictly Come Dancing".

Cos that's my kinda Dharma!!!!
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:33 am

I am reading some of the comments here with some dismay. Much blame and finger pointing, not much "sitting with". Let's start with sasaki. He is such a nasty man that his ultimate threat was "if you don't let me keep chasing women I'll stop teaching you." oooh scary. There's a clue here folks. Just stop and listen.

Then there is the now commonplace in zen "we all knew he was doing it, some of us complained, or blanked it, or tried to keep the status quo, or defended him, stood up to him for a while then caved to group pressure" etc etc.

And "he abused women who said no, who didn't say no, who were sexually aggressive themselves, some didn't abuse because they said no, because they walked away"

And the women are "victims but some aren't because they said no, walked away etc"

We cite laws and morality and what's really going on... Blah blah

Haven't we just heard it all before?

Just stop for a moment and listen.... Shhh... Listen....

When I stop and listen the first thing I hear is me being in a group with this going on for years, me finding out about it, bringing it into the open, supporting the "victims", being verbally attacked by the group then leaving the group. That's me "better" than 99% of zen teachers of the last 40 years, we're finding out.

But then I stop and listen deeper....

And I find my family growing up, my parents war, the treatment of my mum by my dad, my role as negotiator and defender amidst psychological and physical violence. Aah!

Then I listen to both things at once, the group I was in and my family.... And begin to feel and hear connections.... Ah.

Then i stop and listen deeper...

And reexperience dying in a 1st world war trench and being a Greek 2000 years ago who did the done thing at the time and had sex with my son as a child, amongst 50 or so lives I have remembered.

Aaah.

Then I listen a bit deeper...

And feel and reexperience the emotions of it all in full blinding ferocity as they sweep up from my subconcious, as I become loving enough to allow them into my consciousness, my awareness...

Scroll forward lots of the above for 5 years..... Lots of screaming begging and pleading...

Lots of acting out on those around me.... (oops I've just spilled the beans on what's really going on in the world, which is a bummer cos it means there ain't no victims oh no)

Then I unwittingly listen a bit deeper.....

And fall out the bottom of me, into vast space, into consciousness as everything interconnected, where everything is equally loved, the rapist, the killer, the "innocent" child, the dog poo, and know this is who I am.

Tic nit hand was right when he said please call me by my true name.

Aah.

Now if truth be told and i scroll forward to today, I'm still fallen out my bottom, and I still go to bed at 1am cos I'm a child at the top of the stairs sitting there wide awake listening hoping my parents don't kill each other as they keep saying they will.

This means I'm still acting out on my world just as the Sexual predators and all of u out there are. Let's carry on blaming, and acting out...

and every once in a while let's stop and listen to what's really going on and name it for what it is

Kids in the playground.

If past lives and falling out my bottom are true and real, as the Buddha and me say, then we're all perfectly safe and everything is perfect as it is.

If they're not true then be afraid, be very afraid. Ha ha ha

Burp

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:41 am

Oh, and from a human point of view, I'm feeling depressed and haven't sat much the last 3 months.

It's not the Sexual predators, they've been doing it clearly, loudly and in everyone's face for 40 yrs etc.

It's all the rest of the zen teacher crowd who knew about it and did nothing, and are still showing no understanding at all as to why they did nothing. The reason is clear from what I've said above about myself.

Zen practice at a fundamental level is seriously flawed. If I can't be honest enough with myself to allow the child inside to be here, I'm in beginner's compassion class, aren't i

It's almost xmas eve and I'm alone, so for my child inside the pressures on. Maybe that's part of my depression, and my wondering why noone stops the violence at home...

Ah, there you are david, I'm here, I'm listening, I'm with you, all the space in the universe is with you, not trying to change what is, more just gently allowing a child in distress to have a voice... how does that feel being alone and under so much pressure?

Aah....
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:52 am

How do you put a stop it? By embracing it.

This was daishin morgan's answer to mokugen when she threw her heart straight at him once when I was there.

Blew me away he did that day

For me who's been trying to rescue the world (my brothers sisters and mum from my dad) since I was very small

I can still feel it blowing me away
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:29 pm

I think humans beings are just matrix's of attachments afloat in a sea of compassion, tenderness, empathy, benevolence, sympathy and wisdom.

One either loosens one's hold on attachments or one doesn't.

Whatever aids in the softening or dissolving of attachments lowers us deeper into this sea while that which hardens or solidifies attachments, raises us out of it. Today, that's what seems to make sense from my zafu..

The actions I find most disturbing on this thread is the sanctification of attachment by Masters who proport to be about there transcendance.

Another transmission of compounded delusion that will creat suffering for years to come.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:22 am

Thought to post this here. Sometimes you can just look at the behavior of a leader of a group - and drop the religious or spiritual stories -- and just focus on what he/she actually did. It may certainly not be the whole picture, but there is value is just looking at what happened in the face. Set aside any titles, robes, holy stories, beliefs, assumptions, rationalizations, excuses ..... what did he do?

Men’s Morals Are Malleable
http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/men-morals-are-malleable-41954/
January 3, 2013


Considering the purchase of a used car, but unsure whether the seller — who assures you the car runs like a dream — is trustworthy? New research suggests an easy way to increase the odds you’ll get the product you’ve been promised:

Buy it from a woman.

When it comes to negotiating a deal, “Males more readily justify moral misconduct by minimizing its consequences or otherwise excusing it,” write Laura Kray of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Haselhuhn of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their study finds “a robust pattern by which men are more pragmatic in their ethical reasoning at the bargaining table than women.”

“Men’s competitive behavior, more so than women’s, appears to be motivated by situational threats to their masculinity,” the researchers write in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. “When men feel like they have something to prove or defend against, they become more aggressive and competitive.”

In four experiments, the researchers attempt to pinpoint the psychological factors underpinning this ethical gender gap. The first featured 115 undergraduate business students (55 men, 60 women) who read a scenario from an ethics column published in The New York Times Magazine.

The person in the moral quandary in the column very much wants to buy a piece of property, tear down the house that currently occupies it, and build a new one. “The problem is that the elderly couple who have lived there for more than 40 years love the house and assume I will maintain it,” the correspondent tells the ethicist. “If I reveal my plan, they may refuse to sell me the house and land. Am I ethically bound to tell?”

Participants rated the degree to which they felt the prospective buyer was morally obligated to tell the sellers what he or she intended to do with the house. They then completed a “masculinity implications” scale, in which they expressed their agreement or disagreement with such statements as, “Negotiations are part of a man’s world” and “Negotiators require masculine strength to prevail.”

Overall, men were more comfortable with the buyer concealing his intention to the sellers. Tellingly, “Males’ sensitivity to the masculinity implications of negotiations lowered their ethical standards,” Kray and Haselhuhn write.

This sensitivity to avoid being a wimp also encouraged egocentric thinking. In a subsequent experiment, men, but not women, found they could more easily morally justify falsifying the existence of a competing offer if they did the falsifying than if someone else did. That’s about as pure a measure of situational morality — a.k.a. hypocrisy — as one can imagine.

In another experiment, the researchers looked at “ethically questionable negotiating tactics,” such as making false promises or misrepresenting relevant information. They found that men, but not women, “demonstrated a consistent pragmatism to their ethical reasoning,” by saying they were willing to cut ethical corners when it was in their interest to do so.

Feeling pressure to prove themselves in such give-and-take settings, “men, but not women, become more lenient in their ethical standards,” the researchers conclude.

It is worth reiterating that the participants in these experiments were business students. Previous studies have suggested business majors have higher levels of self-interest and lower ethical standards than their peers; it’s not certain such a decisive gender divide would be found in the population as a whole. Then again, business students generally go into, well, business, making them the people we tend to negotiate with. So if you’re in the market for a pre-owned Prius, a good place to start might be Mary’s Motors.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:40 pm

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 11:43 AM EST

Will justice finally be served for Jimmy Savile’s victims?
Police issue a [banned term] report on an "unprecedented" sexual abuser. Is this enough for his victims?

By Mary Elizabeth Williams


British entertainer Jimmy Savile was a singularly appalling monster. The world knows this now. But is that enough justice for his victims?

When the television and radio presenter died at age 84 in 2011, he was widely regarded as a beloved icon, a man with an OBE and a knighthood. But generations of men and women who’d crossed paths with him in their childhoods held a different image. Last fall, ITV aired the searing documentary “Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile,” a detailed investigation into years of predatory behavior – behavior that Savile’s position as a children’s entertainer gave him all but free rein to indulge in. And, along with the revelations of his victims, there was clear message that his actions were no secret.

“Exposure” told the tale of five women who claimed Savile had molested them when they were in their teens. The show unleashed a torrent of other victims who’ve come forward since. Police have put the number of accusers at 450, but the eventual one may rise closer to 600.

The Savile case has become a massive criminal investigation and an escalating embarrassment for the BBC, which was not only Savile’s home but just last fall was accused of spiking a 2011 “Newsnight” investigation into the long-simmering rumors about Savile’s behavior.

After a three-month police investigation, a report issued on Friday, titled “Giving Victims a Voice,” depicts a man with a “vast, predatory and opportunistic” track record with victims as young as 8 – one his country’s justice system failed repeatedly to stop. It’s a scathing, shocking account of over 50 years of sex crimes: “214 offenses, including 34 rapes,” mostly girls, mostly underage, though little boys and grown women were not immune. The report concludes Savile “was one of the U.K.’s most prolific known sexual predators,” one whose crimes are “unprecedented in the U.K.”

Yet Savile went to his grave not in the jail cell he richly deserved, but as a happy old man, just shy of 85, a man whose funeral was attended by thousands and whose legacy was “affectionately” feted by the network that had been his home. And now, the nation is figuring out what to do about those he left behind, the lives he cavalierly played with. That’s why the report acknowledges that “as Jimmy Savile is dead there can be no criminal prosecutions against him and the testimony of his victims cannot be challenged in the courts. However it is this lack of criminal proceedings — and justice for victims — that has contributed to the MPS and NSPCC view that the information contained in our joint report should be put into the public domain.” And it continues, “This is why the report is entitled Giving Victims a Voice – we hope that those who suffered as a result of Jimmy Savile’s actions can take some comfort that information based on their accounts is being published … We are therefore referring to [the accusers] as ‘victims’ rather than ‘complainants’ and are not presenting the evidence they have provided as unproven allegations. For a variety of reasons the vast majority of his victims did not feel they could speak out and it’s apparent that some of the small number who did had their accounts dismissed by those in authority including parents and carers.”

Compared to what he did, and did for such an appallingly long time, to hundreds of individuals, it’s a slight recompense. But it’s more than his victims ever had before. It’s recognition that what happened to them was real and it was wrong, no matter who turned a blind eye or covered it up to maintain the fiction of a lovable star at the time. In the meantime, police investigation into six other possible fellow abusers is continuing. As police commander Peter Spindler says, Mr. Savile “cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims.” And it’s the closest thing to justice they’ve got.
Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:59 pm

Independent Witness Council releases findings & Rinzai-ji Oshos apology

Posted by: Adam Tebbe on January 11, 2013


(Note: To access all this material, go to sweepingzen.com and sasakiarchive.com - I include links to the pdf documents. I also cut and pasted the first pdf document on authority. --JB)

There is quite a bit of news to report on this morning today for everyone interested in the story of Rinzai-ji and the allegations of sexual misconduct that have emerged against Joshu Sasaki. First, I’d like to point everyone to the report released by the independent Witness Council for the Rinzai-ji Community that was released to the Sasaki Archive very early this morning. It has four parts to it, which I will link to here below.

Independent Witness Council for the Rinzai-ji Community Report

1. On Authority
http://sasakiarchive.com/PDFs/20130111_On_Authority.pdf

2. Council Outline
http://sasakiarchive.com/PDFs/20130111_Council_Outline.pdf

3. Summary Findings
http://sasakiarchive.com/PDFs/20130111_Summary_Findings.pdf

4. Redacted Index

http://www.sasakiarchive.com/PDFs/20130111_Redacted_Index.pdf

The Osho Council of Rinzai-ji has also released a public statement of apology today, an encouraging sign. You can find a copy of this here. It is dated January 11, 2013.

http://sasakiarchive.com/PDFs/20130111_Open_Letter.pdf


Open letter to our fellow practitioners and the American Buddhist community


Recently there has been the allegation of long-term sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, as well as the inability on the part of the senior practitioners to appropriately address the problem.

Sadly, we cannot deny these accusations. This issue has been a sore on the body of our Sangha for decades, and we are eager and relieved to finally open it to the light of day.

The Rinzai-ji community of practitioners has struggled with our teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi’s sexual misconduct for a significant portion of his career in the United States. Senior members of our community have made several earnest and serious attempts over the years to correct this problem. Ultimately, these attempts failed. Our hearts were not firm enough, our minds were not clear enough, and our practices were not strong enough so that we might persist until the problem was resolved. We fully acknowledge now, without any reservation, and with the heaviest of hearts, that because of our failure to address our teacher’s sexual misconduct, women and also men have been hurt, women and men who trusted us with their Zen practices, and whose trust we failed to honor in a fundamental way.

Joshu Sasaki Roshi is no longer teaching. Senior members of our organization have been busy the past year crafting a document that outlines how our community will move forward without him. A key portion of this document is being dedicated to an ethics policy to ensure that the kind of misconduct that we failed to address properly in the past will not occur again—and will be dealt with properly and swiftly if it does. Although we sincerely believe that Sasaki Roshi’s teachings have helped a great number of people, and we are profoundly grateful that he brought us this deep and meaningful tradition, clearly we have been doing something fundamentally wrong if harmful behavior could continue for so many years.

It is our deepest and sincerest intention that in directly addressing the issue here, we can begin to contribute in some small way to the larger discussion in American Buddhism about how to manifest the dharma without deceit, dysfunction, unhealthy power imbalances, inappropriate sexual relationships, and, ultimately, the heartbreak that results from all of the above.

Most importantly this means reaching out to those who have suffered from this problem, and doing everything we possibly can to help them heal. As the first step on a long road, we are forming a Bearing Witness Council that will confidentially receive the stories of the women who are hurting, and work with them to move toward healing. (Information about this will be available soon on this site)

Furthermore, as practitioners tasked with teaching the dharma, we must take a look at ourselves, and the way we relate to each other, and at the question of power in our community, with fresh and unyielding eyes. It is our profound and immediate responsibility to make sure that this problem never happens again in our community. Our job now is to face our failures with humility and a firm commitment to change, and as a start, we bow our heads low in apology and ask for the forgiveness of those whom we have hurt over the years through our neglect.

Nine bows,

The Osho Council of Rinzai-ji

On Authority by Alan Hozan Senauke with Jan Chozen Bays and Grace Myoan Schireson


When ongoing questions of misuse of sexuality or power unfold in a spiritual community, it is rarely a matter of one person’s actions. Reading through the painful and heartfelt accounts documenting Joshu Sasaki’s sexual relationships with students at Rinzaiji down through the years, we see how, knowingly and unknowingly, the community was drawn into an open secret, and people’s ability to practice the dharma suffered. Despite individual and collective attempts to address boundaries, repentance, and rectification, these behaviors appear to have continued over more than four decades. We have reports that those who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed, or otherwise punished.

Understanding that our practice is to bear what is unbearable and not to turn away from reality, how could this be so? We suggest it has something to do with a view of spiritual authority and “enlightenment” that we in the West have created in the name of Zen. To be fair, this is not just a problem of Zen. It arises in various Buddhist communities, and more widely in other religious congregations. We are unfortunately susceptible to enthrallment, which is hardly "seeing things as they really are." There are certain problems that may arise when one sees a teacher as comprehensively enlightened and fails to deal with the certainty that he or she, like oneself, has a shadow or deluded aspect. We imagine that “enlightenment” is separate from or outside of ourselves. The community may attempt to protect the teacher, the seeming embodiment of enlightenment. If we hold such a model, it is often impossible to recognize or admit that there has been an abuse of power. We fear the loss of our enlightened teacher and thus the opportunity to become enlightened ourselves.

In the “Kalama Sutta” (AN III, 65 in the Pali Tripitaka) Shakyamuni Buddha offers the Kalama clan clear standards for discernment of what is wholesome and unwholesome. This teaching has been described as “the Buddha's charter of free inquiry.”

"Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise…nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.” Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are without blame; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them."

The collective integrity of the early sangha depended on the individual integrity and spirit of free inquiry held by each monk, nun, and community member. Twenty-five hundred years later we would be wise to value this standard. Enlightenment is not a commodity or an end state that justifies unwholesome or harmful behavior. Realization is an ongoing activity. As the Buddha said, “These things are good; these things are without blame…these things lead to benefit and happiness.” We need to return to common sense. We can consult with our own hearts, with our friends, and — hopefully — with our teachers. In the midst of our passion for practice when someone says they’ve been harmed we need to stop and listen carefully. Beyond all lines of authority, devotion, and enthrallment with the dharma, the essence of the Buddha’s precepts is to see that we are fully accountable to each other. Teacher and student stand on the same ground. One may see more deeply or more widely, but all beings are equally Buddha. As Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, we must try to prevent harm to anyone.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:03 pm

If you are interested in continuing to track this unfolding situation, the key place where everything is posted is the "Sasaki Archive"

http://sasakiarchive.com/
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:17 pm

Good work again Josh. It is heartening to see an honest and open attempt to face up to the mistakes of the past; even if it is rather late in the day.

I see that they quote from Kalama Sutta:
Quote :
In the “Kalama Sutta” (AN III, 65 in the Pali Tripitaka) Shakyamuni Buddha offers the Kalama clan clear standards for discernment of what is wholesome and unwholesome. This teaching has been described as “the Buddha's charter of free inquiry.”

Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor
upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon
surmise…nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk
is our teacher.” Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these
things are without blame; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and
observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them

What might be added to this forever growing list is 'nor upon an ethics committee, nor upon rules and regulations'. But we need to be careful, I don't think that the Buddha was advocating complete disregard for all these things. Rather that they are not absolutes. They are advisories which should be listened to and considered for guidance, but not taken as Holy Writ. In the end we have no outside Truth to lean on, we have to stand on our own feet and stand by our own judgement. Having nothing absolute to lean on means we will inevitably fall over occasionally; but then we have to pick ourselves up and freely admit our mistakes, learn from them and move on.

As a related aside, I was listening to a UK radio program discussing reactions to the recent Connecticut school shootings. They played a gun lobbyist rant on how the Second Amendment guaranteed the right to bear arms and nothing in the world could take that away. At that point a British comedian wryly commented.. 'perhaps the clue is in the word "amendment"'
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:39 am

I also find the letter from Rinzai-Ji refreshing and straightforward, especially when compared to the perennial stalling by Shimano's group. The Zen community is clearly learning that, nowadays with the Internet, business as usual is no longer an option. Though let's wait and see whether the good words turn into action.

One thing I find remarkable in the Witnessing Council's Summary Findings is that, despite assaults by Sasaki warranting one complaint to the District Attorney's Office and another to a Date Rape Crisis Centre, "almost all respondents expressed their affection and admiration for Joshu Sasaki and their gratitude for his teaching." This is a major issue to get to the bottom of.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:09 am

Christopher Hamacher wrote:


One thing I find remarkable in the Witnessing Council's Summary Findings is that, despite assaults by Sasaki warranting one complaint to the District Attorney's Office and another to a Date Rape Crisis Centre, "almost all respondents expressed their affection and admiration for Joshu Sasaki and their gratitude for his teaching." This is a major issue to get to the bottom of.

Can you say more about what you're referring to Chris? Is it the cognitive dissonance?
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Christopher Hamacher



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:02 pm

Yes, I call it cognitive dissonance. The problem is that the students themselves probably honestly don't see it that way, but rather feel that they did in fact learn something from him, despite the date rape, as it were.

From my own experience I don't think we can dismiss this attitude offhand as crazy, though. We need to get to the bottom of what people think enlightenment is, whether it can be only "partial", and whether what such teachers are offering is even worth striving for. Has there ever been any master, anywhere, who releases such feelings in people but who hasn't also been abusive? I found the biography of Shunryu Suzuki interesting, for example. He was evidently an excellent teacher in every respect, yet this only came at the expense of his being a terrible husband and father.
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:13 pm

a few thoughts. First, this is a very small "sampling" of the women he undoubtedly had some kind of sexual contact with. 50 years, more than 10 sesshins per year, how many women are we talking about? We have no idea how active he was, but it could have been in the hundreds and many of them probably walked out of Zen and did not look back. Many more may eventually come forward if they are googling "SasakI" and find all this stuff... but many may never speak out.

Also, these experiences can be complicated in the minds of these former students. Sasaki was clearly a powerful, charismatic kind of teacher - and they had these very intense sanzen sessions with him - a very mixed bag. I found this with many of the people I talked to when I was doing Sorting It Out - even those women who felt they had been sexually abused or taken advantage of - in many groups - still praised the spiritual practice or some aspects of the teacher's insights / wisdom. I used to call what people go through when they leave groups as spiritual indigestion. A lot of internal wrestling goes on. I agree with Chris, you can't dismiss any part of our experiences... and at the same time, we need to digest what happened and dig deeper into what is / was going on - what is useful and what is not, what are the stories / myths / fantasies and what is really going on. Black and white thinking doesn't work. That in no way excuses predatory and unethical and abusive behavior. Everything needs to be openly faced and digested -- and that's where wisdom lies.
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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:15 pm

Yes Josh I agree.

I have just re- read Giko David Rubin's article from Sweeping Zen.

He has obviously tried to be dispassionate and thorough,and to stick to known facts throuigh first hand accounts.This is very helpful.Because he is trying not to be biassed,and is honest about his emotional state,I imagine this will contribute to the work that needs to be done in the organisation.

I too have listened to many accounts of abuse,through my work in probation service community development and psychiatry.The theme that you mention and that David Rubin incorporates,this theme of collusion with the abuser,feels more to me like sleepwalking.I am not disagreeing with your "indigestion" ananlogy,just pursuing one of my own.

One of the newspaper straplines on the Saville scandal said that he had conned a whole nation for years.We were all "sleepwalking"?

I couldn't stand the bloke myself.He was ugly in all ways,a weirdo.But,and I expect many of his detractors would say the same,I did not speculate about his private life.If asked at the time when he was on tv a lot,I might have said something like "I wouldn't (have sex with him) ,he's creepy".But I wouldn't have thought that he might be raping and abusing girls.Why?It is odd.I thought he was odd and creepy.The corollary is that he is sexually weird.Yet I didn't really really think it.So I denied my true responses.In a way,what I am saying is that I "knew" what he was,but I didn't name my knowlege.

Maybe David Rubin is doing the same thing.He just won't cut this daft old man down to size.He goes all the way to the wire,even writes to the strange old man who he is "sleepwalking" alongside.Even talks to others and takes action,tries again and again.But he doesn't wake up to the fact this is just another sad weirdo who fears intimacy hates and fears women,and lacks empathy attachment and emotional warmth.The person that does this kind of thing is essentially a psychopath.No,so far,he hasn't killed anyone.But he has exploited and emotionally damaged many.This is a kind of murder.And psychopaths,according to Cleckley,and Hare and Neumann,aren't all murderers.But they do all fail in the simplest human task,of loving and being loved .They exploit others and ruin lives,for no reason at all except that they don't know how else to live.

The excitement his old " zen master" generates in David ,and the starnge perverse loyalty he elicits -very scary.

What is that excitement all about?

Perhaps I can help myself understand with an anecdote that has just come to mind.

I was talking to someone about Throssel.She said(I can't remember anything else about the conversation)," I used to think that there was at least one place in the world where I was safe and that was Throssel".I nodded in agreement.

I believe we each told ourselves this infantile story ,the story about the place that doesnt exist and never will,the place that is immune from the laws of the universe.And we had ourselves believe it ,because we didn't want to grow up and face disease old age death and natural and unnatural disaster.

Maybe the excitement generated in his followers by this horrible little man is related to that sense of denial and escapism.

And the sense that we can displace that fear of reality into another person ,he will keep peddling his myths to us and keep us immune from reality,not just about the groping and the coercion and the rape,but also about our transience and frailty.

Well I still feel this guy has done some good work.He just needs to go that bit further and drop all the enlightened master nonsense.



Thank you Josh

Good work you too!
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:29 am

It is not possible to teach zen in a non dysfunctional way.

We all have the conscious and non-concious parts of ourselves.

The non-conscious me is very large indeed.

In a battle between my consciousness and non-conscious the non-concious pretty much always wins.

We play out our childhood non-conscious in our adult lives.

The vast majority of the non-concious is there by the age of 7.

60% of children see violence in the home.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. In the vast majority of cases it is familiaral. Some say the true figures are 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys.

Familiaral means by someone familiar to the child, usually the father, grandfather, uncle or brother. Most often the father. It can begin when the child is just a few months old.

It has been said 1 in 2 women who see a complementary medical practitioner have been sexually assaulted as children. I would guess that in Buddhist communities the figure would be at least that many.

In the home the child sees the parents as gods, perfect, to be obeyed, to be loyal to.

The child is trained to not to talk about what really happens at home, to bury it in the sub-conscious.

We act out the ways our parents taught us in groups that we enter as adults. We take on the roles we spent the first 18 years of our lives being indoctrinated in.

We all talk about what's happening in our adult world as causal, as we have been well trained to not talk about our non-conscious childhood world.

The issues of adulthood are generally far easier to talk about than the hidden sub-conscious indoctrination and hidden traumas of childhood. Even in severe adult trauma it is how we deal with the trauma that is the most important thing, and we always deals with it the way our parents taught us to.

The only way the subconcious patterns and traumas can be changed is by bringinging them into consciousness with an attitude of love and understanding.

In the zen community I see a lot of confused people talking very superficially about what's going on in zen groups (families) and virtually no willingness to bring into awareness what's really going on.

Of course past lives play a huge part in all this as well, and take away the "blame" aspect of of all this even more. Just think how big the sub-conscious must be if we have lived past lives. We are all playing out past lives in a huge synchronistic dance.

If we are not willing to bring our "dysfunctional" child inside into awareness we are just locking him or her up, and turning our backs and walking away.

We can only love another person as much as we love the child inside ourselves.

Welcome to beginners compassion class.

Or as the Buddha put it, welcome to the wheel.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:23 am

David -- i think you hit a key point. It is all about willingness to bring into awareness what's really going on - in our lives, with our relationships, families and with all these zen communities. It is so much simpler to believe big holy stories about the lineage, the "master," the history, and so on......
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:36 am

jumping back to the Sasaki situation, want to recommend a documentary film that was just nominated for an Oscar.

The Invisible War
http://invisiblewarmovie.com/
http://youtu.be/ECOqpv45tIo

You can watch the film in the U.S. on iTunes or Amazon video for a few dollars. Not sure about the UK. Very strong and disturbing film about sexual abuse in the U.S. military - and how the military mistreats women, covers up the sexual abuses, and so on. As I watched the film, I saw many parallels with the Sasaki and Shimano situations.... and what that said to me was that so much of this kind of abuse of power whether it is in the military or Catholic Church or with Jimmy Saville at the BBC or with these Zen teachers --- it is really the same animal, the same dance. Different rationalizations, of course. They tell various stories to pretend what's happening is OK, holy, just the way things are.....to weave this web of myth and illusion and self-protection, bubbles of enchantment, prisons of beliefs.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Everybody Knows - finally this comes out -- from Sweeping Zen   Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:28 am

Jcbaran wrote:
David -- i think you hit a key point. It is all about willingness to bring into awareness what's really going on - in our lives, with our relationships, families and with all these zen communities. It is so much simpler to believe big holy stories about the lineage, the "master," the history, and so on......

David and Josh, I think that you have both touched on what I consider to be the crux of the matter: bringing dysfunction into awareness in order to heal and transform the causal dynamic that perpetuates existential misunderstanding, dysfunction, trauma, crisis, and suffering.

We all go on at length about both familial and institutional dysfunction--as well we should! And yet, until we get down to the root causal dynamic of existential crisis, I do not believe that healing and transformation are possible.

I have come to believe that this is a huge issue that traditional Buddhist teaching neither addresses (specifically), nor understands.

As our personal and global existential crisis continues to escalate, I would propose that we must understand the root causal dynamic of existential misunderstanding, external failure, trauma, and crisis, before we can accurately understand the nature of its healing and transformation.
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