A Chapter from a published book - Scandals in Emerging Western Buddhism by Sandra Bell
I don't think I posted a link to this chapter before. I searched for it on this forum but couldn't find anything. This essay focuses mostly on Trungpa and SF Zen Center. The book SHOES OUTSIDE THE DOOR is the definitive book on Zen Center and Baker and what happened.
What is interesting to me here is Baker's response to the reaction of his students to his behavior. He can't understand why people are upset. He lacks any kind of basic empathy or self-awareness. I am not talking here about some highly awakened empathy - he lacks the basic emotional intelligence you would want in any kind of boss or leader or friend. This is a clear example of the pathology of the mini-meglomaniac - who sees all the people around him as "less than" - as dolls in his ego's doll house. They don't matter. He doesn't understand them and is not interested in understanding them. Only he, the great one, the enlightened one, the master of the doll house matters.
He also says, "It is hard to say what I have learned as it is to say what happened?" Really. Is that true? It is hard to say what happened? Why is it hard to talk about that? There is a whole book about what happened. Many people at the SF Zen Center opened up and talked about it - and they learned from the experiences. It is not hard at all actually. You just have to be willing to chose to stop believing in storybook zen, in the fiction and chose to see and speak the truth... as best you can. You just have to stop believing in the enchantment, the one true story .. and then communicate and let yourself speak, feel, hear, respond. It is responsibility - the ability to respond. This is only hard when you are locked into the story - then, i would actually agree with Baker - it is not only hard... it is impossible - to see or say the truth.
And so it was with Kennett. It was impossible - in her realm - to say what was happening - to speak the truth - as long as you lived in her distortion field, played by her rules, and kept your blinders on. and so it was with Eko ... or Shimano.... or Sasaki. I have quoted this before -- the rules of checkers only apply on the checker board. Of course, the master of the doll house will tell you the rules are divine commandments, pure rules, perfect.... but walk out of the field.. and the rules no longer apply - unless you schlep them with you. If you start questioning, wondering, the whole game falls to dust and the "divine rules" are seen for what they are... just something to believe and something to put down. Without these stories, who are you?