Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eido Tai Shimano Roshi

This is an open letter to Eido Tai Shimano Roshi:

Dear Tai San,

There are many reports of your abuse of women published on the web which indicate that you have been involved in breaking the precepts over a period of more than 40 years. I would like to urge you to come forth and make a statement in response to these accusations.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Aitken

377 comments:

  1. I for one would like to support this suggestion. With mixed emotions, I have been complicit in this effort (http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2010/02/eido-tai-shimano.html) and readily acknowledge the icky and somewhat off-topic nature of the revelations so inescapably woven into a Zen practice beloved by many.

    But I think that a Zen practice without honesty is like a car without tires ... it ain't goin' nowhere, no matter how shiny it looks.

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  2. I'm sorry, Goddammit!

    It was all that breath counting, it drove me nuts.

    Cordially yours,

    TS.

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  3. Wow! It's a big step to challenge a colleague publicly, Roshi. Well, I think on the whole it's good to bring the issue of Zen teachers abusing students out into the open.

    I'm slow to rise to anger, but when senior students of disgraced teachers tell me that what their teacher did to female students was actually a "teaching that the unenlightened women somehow didn't understand", I tend to give them an tongue lashing they don't easily forget ...

    Good on you, Roshi!

    palm to palm
    Mary

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  4. Dear Aitken Roshi,
    In considering how to help those the sick abusers, I also wonder how to help their victims.

    The classic literature is not shy about condemning deluded, or harmful teachers. Zen texts are full of laments about students "misled" or "exploited" by false teachers. Obvious to those paying attention, students are still being misled and exploited.

    Many Buddhis leaders have failed (or waited too long) to speak up, though there have been positive moves in recent years.

    While deluded and exploitive "teachers" deserve compassion and help, we also need to be more aggressive in helping students avoid being victimized in the first place. Buddhist leaders could help reduce the problem by:

    1. When leaders become aware of deluded or harmful teachers--stand up and speak out.

    2. Assertively encourage students to become familiar with the classic literature (sutras, shastras, Zen records etc.). When a teacher's words/deeds diverge widely from the classic texts they can move along. The knowledge of too many students based almost entirely on contemporary writings.

    3. Talk and write about the meaning and nature of "enlightenment." Because of its "overstated" position in the early decades of transmission to the west, the term has largely dropped out of the conversation. "Enlightenment" is often substituted with "practice" (even when it is not accurate), avoided, or denigrated. I often hear it refered to as "The 'E' word...", as if the mere mention of it will cause the "Stink of Zen" to permeate one's being. Consequently, the condition the term denotes is obscure to students, mysterious, even supersitious. Unfamiliar with its meaning, students do not know how it applies to the reliability of teachers.

    "Teachers" that lead students astray from the path due to their own delusion may be as harmful as "teachers" that sexually and financially exploit students. Both have potential to cause genuine students to turn away from the path-- and thus liberation.

    Finally, from the classics:

    When I was journeying, I didn’t choose communities on the basis of whether or not they had material provisions; I was only concerned with seeing whether their perception indicated some capacity. If so, then I might stay for a summer or a winter; but if they were low-minded, I’d leave in two or three days. Although I called on more than sixty prominent teachers, barely one or two had great perception. The rest hardly had real true knowledge—they just want your donations.
    Teachings of Zen, Thomas Cleary

    [students who were] genuinely seeking to study the Way ...were unfortunately being led astray by some false teacher so that the correct understanding of the Truth was needlessly being kept from them.
    Shobogenzo, Bendowa, Rev. Hubert Nearman

    There are people who teach living beings for the sake of fame and profit, without comprehending the characteristics of the ultimate Dharma. They do not recognize relative degrees of depth and shallowness in [their pupils’] capacities and causal affinities. They give their seal of approval to everyone, to people who seem enlightened but are otherwise. This is most painful! It is a great disaster! Whenever someone seems illuminated and pure in their perception of mind, they immediately give their approval. These people are gravely damaging the teaching of enlightenment: they are deceiving themselves and deceiving others. People who use mind with such divergences [from the Correct Path] and present this appearance have not found Mind.
    Teachings of Zen, Thomas Cleary

    Peace,
    Ted

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  5. Shimano is unworthy of trust and has done great harm. Thank you Roshi for calling him to account. Will supporters around him at his center take action to stop him? Who will protect the unwary who are taken in by all the trappings? To the former students and associates who are speaking out now: keep on, and thank you.
    Marian

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  6. What excuse can justify remaining a student of such a man? My conclusion, the search for validation and credentials has replaced the search for Dharma. Titles bought and sold all in the name of Zen. The abuse has never been limited to just sexual, nor to just women.

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  7. It's interesting how gullible we are in the West - someone like Eido has "roshi" after their name, acts in a selfish and hurtful manner and yet people still go to that person for "training" or make excuses for this behaviour.

    What a pity. Maybe in time we'll grow up.

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  8. I wonder whether we are gleaning as much sustenance as we could from this ongoing chapter in the American Zen story. Is there not more here than the necessary condemnation of a teacher who has stepped perversely outside of his responsible position as a representative of the true dharma. That dharma includes the vagaries of the human condition, and teachers one and all carry with them the tendencies inherent in this condition which we all share. Might we not look at how our practice exhalts the teacher and promotes this figurehead as a patriarchal source of the dharma who is beyond the human frailties that are so apparent in ourselves. What is this need to set this figurehead so high, to assume that the mythical is embodied in human form. Is it really that crucial to our own surrender? As practitioners who uphold our present structure of Zen we are to be held to account for who and what we support. This ongoing saga should illicit deeper contemplation if we aspire to have our practice grow and flower!

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  9. Seems to me as though there is a total lack of forgiveness floating here. Is it honest to chant "To separate what we like from what we dislike is the disease of the mind", and continually harbor anger over the past? Is Eido Roshi the "only" Zen Master in our country who has crossed the line? Have these begged for forgiveness? What about all the treasures Eido Roshi has offered? Where is the recognition and appreciation for that? It seems to me a more constructive response, especially from Zen practitioners, would be to wonder how we could offer help and support, offer an open heart to Eido Roshi.
    Eshin Brenda Shoshanna

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  10. "It seems to me a more constructive response, especially from Zen practitioners, would be to wonder how we could offer help and support, offer an open heart to Eido Roshi."

    It is interesting to think that such open-hearted efforts had not in fact been made ... again and again and again and again and again over so many years. And interesting to inspect the ways in which Mr. Shimano has benefited again and again and again and again from those with open hearts. Even those who are not Zen students might agree that the treasure of the sangha is not something to manipulate or squander on twinkling tinsel.

    Anger is something any of us might recognize in ourselves -- recognize and investigate. But just because anyone is angry does not mean they are implicitly mistaken. Being afraid of anger is like being afraid of love ... a sad state of affairs. Investigation of facts, rather than fancies, tends to put to rest both the quivers of anger and the warm-fuzzies of what passes for compassion.

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  11. Professor F. BagginsJune 6, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Please Doctor, do not assume that Eido Shimano is not forgiven, or that those who pursue the path of transparency are angry.

    Separating what we like from what we dislike may be in one sense a “disease” of the mind. Nevertheless, when you go to buy fruit at the Korean’s don’t you examine your selections? Don’t we all separate what we like from what we dislike – all the time? Why does Mr. Shimano wear exorbitantly expensive gold brocade and not denim? Is not the castigation “there is a total lack of forgiveness floating here” something you dislike about others? Do you not imply that an abundance of “forgiveness” is preferable Doctor?

    It is easy to castigate other people for failure to “forgive” – the words are easy any way. Is it not possible that Mr. Shimano is forgiven but not excused?

    We may be faced with someone’s transgression that we forgive and move on – everything is fine. Later that person makes the same transgression, again we forgive and move on – everything is fine. Even further down the line the same situation arises… in time we begin to get the idea that we are dealing with a pattern and that perhaps forgiving and moving on is not doing either party any good. We might come to the conclusion that we are willing to forgive but that our forgiveness does not imply excusing and the abdication of responsibility. We are not faced with a situation so simple that we can just “forgive” and forget, to do so is Pollyannaish and an exercise in avoidance.

    In order to forgive, by necessity we must first know what we are forgiving. Once we know, we need to progress through a process that may eventually bring us to being able to forgive, this takes time. It also involves insight, critical thinking, discriminating awareness, and for those personally invested – the ability to stand back from emotional attachment.

    For many people, even long term followers of Eido Shimano, for decades there was no comprehension that there was anything to forgive. It was only very recently when the documentary material became publicly available that people were given the information needed to enable them to gain a clear perception of the nature of the problem. We can’t forgive what we don’t know.

    Over the past forty-six years dozens and dozens of people in positions of power were aware of various situations and repeatedly, systematically obscured, suppressed, and deliberately kept the truth from students in close proximity to Mr. Shimano. This was done out of perhaps “good” intentions and perhaps equally out of fear that the truth would incur change in the status quo and threaten their own position in the eyes of Mr. Shimano and other students within the hierarchical structure of the organization. A thorough study of the available documents reveals that we are not faced with merely sexual misconduct in this case, nor are we faced with a single transgression or even multiple transgressions in a short time frame. There are events and occurrences that indicate that deception and obfuscation are the modi operandi of the organization. Reading the archive necessitates asking questions about the “culture” of the organization, so we are faced with another layer that needs to be examined before we can really see things clearly and precisely as they are.

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  12. Thank you for your thoughtful and wise response. To begin to respond, the hierarchy that you mention in the organization, those who were close to Eido Roshi was never a constant. Many, many left, sooner or later. Many tried to publicize these facts and undertook all kinds of action. And the zazen practice, our true teacher, that which we return to endlessly, went on and on.

    Secondly, what you say about forgiveness is certainly valid on one level. We can forgive and also choose not to stay in a toxic situation, there is certainly wisdom to that. This kind of forgiveness is conditional based upon the individual's confession of wrong doing. . based upon the individual doing as we wish. And yet, to me, Zen practice goes beyond the practical, psychological response to our distress. There is also unconditional forgiveness available - a great act of love, in my view. This is the forgiveness offered by not being willing to focus upon the darkness in an individual. This does not mean not seeing it, but not making it primary, not making it all of who the person is. This is seeing beyond the personality into the core of who we all are. I believe it is similar to the forgiveness Christ offered and tried to teach. He said to the woman, "Go and sin no more." But if she did sin and returned, I believe he would have forgiven again.
    Perhaps the best way to describe this is to share what happened to me when I learned about Eido Roshi's affairs. It was three or four years after I'd been practicing at the NY Zendo, many years ago. I was shocked, stunned, couldn't eat or sleep for several days. Besdides myself, I talked about it to a dear sangha member, Kushu, (no longer alive). We were up at Dai Bosatsu Mountain. I said to him, "How can this be? The Zen practice here is so profound, the zazen so powerful, the teisho's incredible...the dokusan piercing. I don't understand it. I loved Eido Roshi so much, and now this!!" Kushu's answer was very straightforward and simple. It changed my life.
    He said, "You only think you loved him. But you only loved your dreams about him. When you can see not just your dreams about a person, not just what you want him to be, but all of who he truly is, and still love him, then you're doing something! That's love."
    That became my life koan. I returned home from the mountain that day forever changed. That is my practice....to see everything about a person and still love and accept them. Eido Roshi has shown great, great patience with me, and with others. Our zazen practice is hard. We all fall down over and over. Doesn't he deserve great patience as well?

    Deep, heartfelt gasshos to all,
    Eshin Brenda Shoshanna

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  13. We have received an anonymous comment implicating another teacher as abusive. It is not our practice to publish such a comment without some substantiation. A link to reliable information would be helpful. Thank you for your understanding. -tom aitken

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  14. I am very grateful that Robert Aitken has chosen to speak out on this subject of sexual abuse - and the abuse of power by authority figures in the Zen community.

    Many years ago I used to visit the San Francisco Zen Centre and listen to the public lectures given by Baker 'roshi' -which definitely inspired my interest in Zen practice. However, when I read about the long history of sexual abuse and the abuse of power which Baker had enacted over many years - I truly despaired for Zen in America.

    Moral relativism has been the most destructive force of the last 50 years in the United States.
    We all know that it is wrong for a school teacher, or a university teacher to have sex with his students, because it is an abuse of power - of one in authority over a weaker person.

    The Buddha's teaching, as I understand it, had no doubts about moral and ethical precepts, which is exactly why rules of conduct for monks and nuns were laid down and followed over many centuries.

    Sex is dynamite - and sexual abuse ruins lives, causes jealousy, suicide and even murder.

    The unethical and immoral behaviour of religious authority figures is not confined to Buddhism. Far, far worse sexual abuse has been enacted in the Catholic and Protestand churches of Europe and America - where priests have raped thousands of little children over many decades.

    Jesus, in response to a question about 'forgiveness' said that God would forgive all sins, but for anyone who abused a child and turned him away from God - there would be no forgiveness. I think the exact quote is where Jesus said: "It would be better for such a man to tie a millstone around his neck and throw himself into the deepest abyss".

    Until the American Buddhist community cleans the shit out of the stables - the stench will continue to pollute all its Zendos.

    Deep thanks to Robert Aitken for speaking out.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Robert Burke)

    Graham
    Scotland

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  15. I first went to NY zendo on 67th Street 35 years ago. After the first years there, I began to hear the stories about the Roshi. I had left another Eastern religion organization because of their lusty attachment to purity, so, at first, these stories did not bother me. I accepted it. I must say, I was young, and did not view it then as abuse. Though it was easy to see many did and actively campaigned to do something about it. Years later, sitting in on a board of directors vote to remove the Roshi--the majority voted not to. We went out to dinner and toasted, "we won". I feel bad when reading the recent letters posted on line of women who became involved with the Roshi when they had expected spiritual counseling, mature guidance in their zazen practice, and not, manipulation for sexual pleasure. And then told to lie and deceive others so that the pleasure could continue. And then all the anguish that results from this, the pain and confusion. Surely not the Buddhas way. Can anything good come of this? DId anything good come of this? The Rosh's legacy will not be a thriving community of monks and nuns dedicated to the propagation of the Budhha Dharma--which it could of been had this weakness not controlled his entire life, for they were many, inspiring and committed people that made up NY zendo and DBZ. Its my hope he will speak to this issue if his pride will let him. Let us pray.

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  16. In response to the pressure of the current publications on the internet, The Zen Studies Society has published an "updated" version of their "ethical guidelines" beginning with The Ten Precepts on their website.

    There is nothing new or "updated" about the Precepts... and these have been ignored, even laughed at and treated as "simpleminded" by Shimano for decades. His public teaching, "There are no morals in Zen" is a prime example. The Precepts, particularly "refrain from sexual misconduct" and "honor honesty and truth," have been macerated by Shimano throughout his career. There is little hope that posting some list of "guidelines," even with a lawyer's input in the drafting process, is going to somehow "fix it" and make "it all better now." The guidelines did not stop a Shimano Dharma heir not long ago from convincing a woman to leave her husband and small children to become his "student" and relocate to Dai Bosatsu, nor did they stop him from initiating a sexual liaison with the woman while in residence at DBZ.

    The "updated" guidelines state that, "The Zen Studies Society is a community based on trust and respect." This has historically not been the case at all, as the Shimano Archives amply illustrate. The reality has always been that students are expected to trust and respect Shimano and by extension, his wife, but that trust and respect has never been reciprocated. Students have always been considered "expendable" and the road to Dai Bosatsu Zendo is lined with the "bodies" of good and dedicated people unceremoniously discarded by Mr. Shimano. Mistrust, even paranoia has emanated from the Shimanos as can be seen in the archived documents. We need to bear in mind that there are orders of magnitude of anecdotal information available from former ZSS people illustrating the toxic culture of the organization that do not appear in public, as these observations are not substantiated by documentary evidence.

    Given the history of the organizational culture of ZSS, it is difficult to imagine that any internal "committee" could be capable of impartiality, particularly in dealing with the transgressions of Mr. Shimano. The degree of absolute control of the ZSS Board of Directors that has been constantly maintained by Shimano and his wife for over forty years, is the primary root of the inherent dysfunctionality of the organization. Putting "ethical guidelines" into place under these circumstances is the equivalent of treating a deep abdominal knife wound with a band-aid or closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

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  17. ...and the "Updated Guidelines" of the Zen Studies Society are unclear about whether the process would address complaints against Eido Tai Shimano for events prior to June 2010. It seems that the only way the Zen Studies Society can correct its mishandling of past allegations is to allow a full investigation by a widely well-respected independent individual or group. Without that, this appears to be more of the same.

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  18. Whatever “full investigation” is conducted needs to be transparent, i.e. the results must be made public. The organizational culture is founded on deception, silence and opacity, so there is an inertial tendency to continue on such a course.

    There is no way to know if Mr. Shimano is even aware of the public postings of historical records and the on-going dialog taking place on the internet. It is possible that the ZSS Board and senior staff is deliberately keeping this information from Shimano for whatever misguided reasons. He does not go online himself, has no understanding of the Internet and his snail mail is likely being intercepted. It would be very easy for those in his inner circle to keep hiding the truth from him.

    There is no way that this can be successful in the long run, sooner or later he will find out, some student will clue him in or ask questions that will reveal the truth.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. The following just appeared on the Genkaku Again blog: (http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2010/02/eido-tai-shimano.html)


    Anonymous said...

    The international community of practitioners should be aware that the abuse at Dai Bosatsu Zendo is far from over. Barely two weeks ago, a young woman admitted to a two year long affair with Shimano. She was unaware of his long history of sexual misconduct. Shimano was just about to release a public statement addressing past allegations of misconduct and say that no sexual misdeeds had been committed on his part for almost 20 years. Then, this woman spoke up and told her story. Shimano has not denied this affair. The community is attempting to "retire" him. He refuses to step down. What will be done? Will this be covered up again? How many more women are to be exploited? Who else will be complicit in this half-century lie?

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  21. So, assuming there is a two-year affair - it had to take place at Dai Bosatsu. Are people supposed to wonder how such an arrangement could have possibly gone un-noticed by the DBZ staff? The operational staff, jishas in particular, could have not possibly not noticed that Shimano was involved in an affair. The DBZ culture dictates that The Roshi is granted the ultimate in “respect.” So staff members not reporting an on-going relationship between Shimano and a young student while being respectful of “the Roshi’s privacy” would be complicit and enabling in his expressly forbidden philandering in direct conflict with the ethical guidelines.

    This is the bind the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors now finds itself in, they are stuck in an organizational culture that has enabled Eido Roshi’s misconduct and lies for four decades and now that some transparency and clarity has ascended they are faced with having to publicly “fire” Eido Roshi. It is doubtful that this will be in any way “graceful” it is likely to prove “disgraceful,” particularly for Eido Shimano.

    Then again, he could just send them all away – and sit by himself until a new batch shows up, and begin creating his narcissistic “mandala” myths all over again. Board members can’t vote him out if they aren’t Board Members any more. The hell with the American people, DBZ is Eido Shimano’s private playground, it even has a very expensive dress-up box. “I’m the teacher - it’s my way or the highway.”

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  22. It's not too late for Eido Roshi to publicly repent and acknowledge that, though there may be no morals in Zen, deceiving others in daily life so that one can manipulate his students for pleasure has without a doubt led to harm, ill-will, and suffering for the many involved. He must see this. Acknowledge this! As the cart follows the horse, this kind of behavior resulted in what is now DBZ. The board needs to compassionately coerce him into a making a public confession. Or else have him kindly retire, for the benefit of the Dharma in the West. At first, such a confession will feel disgraceful and the Roshi will lose face. But much good will come of such action down the road, for the Roshi, the Sangha and the Dharma

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  23. He already did that in ’93. He did a public “confession” in a Zendo packed with people fresh off the street and a hand selected group of senior students. He droned on for forty-minutes, apologizing and swearing that it would never happen again. Throughout his “apology” his wife wailed in the background. In the entire performance, he never once stated what he was apologizing for…. More of this sort of charade is not needed.

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  24. Not very pulbic or apologetic, though i'm sure there were some real pathos present that evening, especially for Aiho. What would be more appropriate is coming out and speaking about this weakness of his, as, what he must know by now, is an addiction. Being seducer of women. Like so many others before him and presently, I don't feel he intends to harm women he picks up, in his case, in the dokusan room--it's probably more akin to him imagining these women as reincarnated dakshinis sent by the buddhas to relieve him of the drudgery of being a god. Beyond social rules and regulations, especially those of so=called religion, the precious precepts. A liar and a seducer of women what a legacy for a man of the cloth...But I'm a believer of third fourth and fifth, acts, especially in America. Long live redemption and liberty!!!



    Maybe its just a weakness

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  25. How cowardly to post under Anonymous. If you have strong feelings that should be read by others, state your feelings openly. My own belief is that each zen student is responsible for himself or herself, not the sangha.

    I am not a formal zen student, but am associated with ZSS, and it saddens me to see good and sincere people hide behind pseudonyms or "anonymous". Are you afraid that we will think you have other, more personal motives?

    -Bill Lehman

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  26. What he did in '93 does not sound like a public confession what with, as you say, a select group of students and strangers off the street. What I think he needs to do is a full-on admission in writing addressed to the buddhist sangha specifically stating in effect, his life-long helplessness in managing his desires in pursuit of sensual pleasures, and the manipulation and deceit a life-time of this uncontrollable affinity naturally would involve. But I am doubtful his samarai pride will allow him to face up to this and the necessary action it would take to resolve the disease/entrenched pattern of behavior. But it would have a positive effect on the buddhist sangha if he could address his issues in writing, which I think Aiken Roshi initially is asking of him. Aiken Roshi we recently learn had assessed much of Eido's problem fairly accurately, it seems to me, with the help of mental health professionals, over 45 years ago. And he still seeks some kind of rebuttal from Tai san, to no effect. It seems sad to think of you Roshi, in your frail health, still wanting some words from Tai san on this issue. I hope he will respond to you publicly or privately in some manner, and not like he did 46 years ago, refuse "to come up" to talk to you, instead, leaving for the mainland without word.

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  27. Hey Bill Lehmann, speak to the issues, don't worry about who is saying them. That fact the I choose not to reveal my name does not effect what i have to say. I fear nothing from ZSS. I have no problem with anyone choosing to be unknown. It is what they are saying about this specific issue I'm interested in learning not their ID. If you are a connected to ZSS, what is the climate there now? How are members handling this recent revelation about the Roshi? Of course, you can ignore this question, but I'm sure many people would like to know.

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  28. I have been following these issues for some years, as a Zen practitioner in various sanghas for two decades in myriad traditions (not in Shimano's however.)

    Having read each of the recently revealed documents from the Aitken archive pertaining to Shimano, the case is simply unequivocal. Shimano should be fired and sanctioned, whether or not he says a word in defense or apology. Aitken is right - he has broken the precepts for 40 years - and not in an inconsequential manner.

    Other teachers have had sex with students and caused controversy, but none to the extent and scale of Shimano (Baker is not even in the same league) - and still there has not been a sufficient response from any media, much less Buddhist oriented: where are Tricycle, Buddha Dharma, or Shambhala Sun? Shimano may not even be an authentic lineage holder. Controversy pervades this man from stem to stern, and there is plenty of evidence to be pursued.

    Aitken waited far too long to make a vocal enough response. I only hope that we are less blinded today by cultural intimidation and cowed subservience to Eastern "inscrutability" - this was understandable amongst our elders, but I hope subsequent generations, to which I belong, are less prone to allowing for this kind of total abuse of power.

    We can question teachers and traditions and still remain respectful. THAT is a particular challenge for Americans, or maybe just modern people - it now seems almost mandated that critics rave and rant like maniacs, in any context. It is all the more sad when you see Buddhists act this way.

    Of course Shimano is not evil. Of course he deserves compassion fundamentally. But this should not be mistaken for simple inaction; for "well, his talks worked for me, so I can't judge". This is the most grotesque kind of selfishness - to allow systematic, decades-long abuse to go unchecked because one gains some sort of "spiritual satisfaction" from the perptrator? That's really sort of the most disgusting affront of all.

    I think we know a tree from its fruit - if Jun Po Kelly is an indicator of where this particular branch is going, we can simply choose any of the myriad other more grounded and nourishing ones. We should take a good long time to choose our teachers, and the wise ones should make us cool our heals. As the Dalai Lama once said "charisma is not a spiritual quality."

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  29. So go listen to Shimano's latest Dharma heir, Genjo Marinello's talk "Kanchiketsu."

    http://cdn2.libsyn.com/genjo/Kanshiketsu.m4a?nvb=20100712000329&nva=20100713001329&t=02858a8e168db0bdf067c

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  30. Eshin Brenda ShoshannaJuly 11, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    "Do not look at the faults of others
    Look at your own deeds, done and undone"
    Buddha

    All that happens is our teacher...by looking for a "perfect" teacher we are seeking an ideal that will reflect back to ourselves. Our zazen practice is not about Eido Roshi, it is not about Aitken Roshi, or what he did or did not say. Yes, appropriate action must be taken here, but action without compassion and love is not the fruit of zazen practice, but of the mind filled with rage. So many take any opportunity to let this rage and hate pour forth. How many know all the details of the situation? How many know what really happened, who these women were, or what went on between them? One may say it is unequivocably unacceptable to have sexual relationships with a student, (although many, many Zen teachers have) - I would agree that it is unfortunate, but it pains me greatly to see this level of hate turned towards Eido Roshi and to overlook the enormous kindness, wisdom and strength he has given over the years to all of us. Rather than put him on the executioner's block, let's extend an open hand.

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  31. Histrionics are not helpful, seeking truth and justice does not equate with hate and rage. Nobody is calling for an execution, it’s just time for change.

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  32. Eshin-
    you simply don't get it. The problem is not simply that he had sex - though a teacher should NEVER have sex with a student, period. This is a standard understanding and precept now, EVEN BY THE ZSS' own by temple rules.

    The problem is the evidence of a pathological pattern of abuse of women who were simply not repsectfully treated as (or even capapble of being) equal partners, during relationships or after; and the lies perpetrated around these relationships, and the pscychological, emotional not to mention institutional damage that has been the result. Not to mention Shimano's complete apparent inability to stop.

    Again, to say you simply got something good from him so everyone else can go hang is NOT skillful means or the posture of a bodhisattva. His gifts cannot be fully acknowledged until he is held accountable for his abuses and wrong doing.

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  33. Eshin "Us", speak for yourself.

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  34. A few comments about Eshin Brenda Shoshanna's latest post.

    Quite frankly much of what she says sounds like transferring the blame for this whole discussion on those people that have concerns over Shimano's behavior.

    Her comment about the "perfect" teacher. I don't detect any pie in the sky ideals being expressed about Zen teachers in other posts, or any expressions of shattered ideals. If the general story of Shimano's transgressions is to be believed, I think most feel it's reached a level (and a consistency of over 40 years) where commentary is due.

    She also mentions rage and hate. Looking at the posts on this blog and following another discussion thread I don't see this rage and hate. Are there perhaps a few indelicate posts? I suspect there are, but the general tone I'm getting is that people have some real concerns, and they are quite articulate in expression with very little venom. Please show me the hate you see on this blog.

    She says "One may say it is unequivocally unacceptable to have sexual relationships with a student, (although many, many Zen teachers have) - I would agree that it is unfortunate”

    This is really a little off the mark and trivializes what is being discussed. The issues at hand are bit broader than this. This isn't a discussion about a Zen teacher having sex with a student. It's about a pattern of behavior where he abuses his teaching position by getting into frequent, short term relationships with female students. And further, the accusations suggest psychological manipulation and abuse (again, over a 40 year period). It's true, many of us don't really know what has happened, and I have no desire for the details. However, if over the years a group of Zen teachers have had the experience of hearing very similar stories from some ex-female students, it's reasonable for them to take notice. And I might add, reasonable for those teachers to take action. Also, there are other students of his that have left over the years that corroborate the general story being disseminated.

    And a final rebuttal to her words, "Rather than put him on the executioner's block, let's extend an open hand."

    I really feel she uses language that is much too dramatic and inaccurate. Again, I don't see this attitude being expressed. There are people that have called for action, and many aren't even specific. I'm not after his head. I’m not after him to step down. That’s for his community to deal with however they see fit. As gossipy as this can all get, I do think it is important to make the general story public, so others can be forewarned. Also, I get the impression there have been open hands extended in the past.

    I see in Eshin Brenda Shoshanna's post a misrepresentation of most of the dialogue that I’ve seen, and definitely nothing like what is being written on this very blog.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I would be interested at this point if folks are up to attempting to define what we mean by abuse. Is it the prosecutorial felonious kind of abuse? Then, why, like the victims at the hands of catholic priests have there not been any such cases like this with Eido if he has had so many victims. Surely one or two of them must of felt their rights were violated, or perhaps even molested, assaulted sexually? Like the recent case of Al Gore, for example. Or Roman Polanski? So why not make a legal case out of it. Is it because many or most of the women did not feel their rights were violated? Or maybe due to the delicate nature of their psyches such a course of action would not of been possible in the aftermath of the affairs? I ask this because I had known one or two of the women Eido had become involved with, and I didn't see them as abused or damaged.

    Or is it the fact that he uses his teacher status, to seduce and manipulate? Is this what you mean by 'abuse'. Abuse of power of authority? Not prosecutorial or felonious, still abuse--maybe even more hated for its lack of restraint for the one given the power. And if there are any women on this blog who've been involved with Eido and could anonymously talk about the nature of the 'abuse' they sustained, or lack of 'abuse'. Maybe a loving relationship while it lasted? But still abuse through the eyes of outsiders, I"m sure, because of how he uses his authoritative position to lord over and manipulate?

    ReplyDelete
  36. There are myriad sources for this information out there. One book in particular is of great value.

    Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power – Therapists, Doctors, Clergy, Teachers and Others – Betray Women’s Trust

    http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Zone-Peter-Rutter-M-D/dp/0449147274

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Rob

    Your points are well made, I have read both blogs and find no rage and hate except for posts made by one of Shimano's "monks" named Ippo Keido on the genkaku again blog.

    The posts are unbelievable, if this person is really a Dai Bosatsu monk, they have some very serious problems there:

    http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2010/02/eido-tai-shimano.html?showComment=1278980531398#c5348913520905435305

    ReplyDelete
  38. This is bodhisattva action, to my eyes. Debbie, what an extraordinary point - this behavior has deep behavioral roots, in the very structures of power themselves. Daikan and Rob likewise bring in further evidence of the human need to defend a personal sense of belonging - sheer tribalism (which is not to impugn "first culture" brothers and sisters, who have much to teach us.)

    To anonymous - if you need to understand specifically what abuses are being described and discussed, simply go to shimano archives (.com, .org?) We are not talking about consensual relationships by individuals playing as it were on an equal playing field. Shimano as teacher is always the authority. Over and over you see how he apparently "preys" on the weak.

    The tough ones shrug him off and keep running, or "sitting" as the case may be. This is not a complex or nuanced hypothetical. This is not a "witch hunt." Shimano used his position to prey on women to satisfy his appetites - for sex, for power, for control, what have you. More than one psychiatric professional over four decades span said this guy should not be in a position of power, and that he has profound problems.

    What exactly is the debate here?

    ReplyDelete
  39. It is hard to determine what it means in concrete, day-to-day, real-time fact, but I received this in email today:
    ***********************************

    http://www.zenstudies.org/ethical.html


    The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students. In the past, attempts to address concerns about such relationships were not satisfactory. The present board has revised and posted the following Guidelines for Ethical Behavior, including a grievance procedure. The board is adamant that these guidelines be upheld. The board also wishes to begin a process of reconciliation. If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, please contact a member of the ethics committee. On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi and Aiho-san Shimano, who served the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors for the past forty-two years, voluntarily stepped down from the board to facilitate a smooth transition of both temporal authority and spiritual legacy.

    ReplyDelete
  40. After some checking and the corroboration of two witnesses, I wrote this on Zen Forum International:
    ****************************************
    On July 13, 2010, the following was posted at Zen Studies Society

    The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students. In the past, attempts to address concerns about such relationships were not satisfactory. The present board has revised and posted the following Guidelines for Ethical Behavior, including a grievance procedure. The board is adamant that these guidelines be upheld. The board also wishes to begin a process of reconciliation. If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, please contact a member of the ethics committee. On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi and Aiho-san Shimano, who served the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors for the past forty-two years, voluntarily stepped down from the board to facilitate a smooth transition of both temporal authority and spiritual legacy.



    By July 14, 2010, the text had been revised to read:

    The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students. In the past, attempts to address concerns about such relationships were not satisfactory. The present board has revised and posted the following Guidelines for Ethical Behavior, including a grievance procedure. The board is adamant that these guidelines be upheld. The board also wishes to begin a process of reconciliation. If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, please contact a member of the ethics committee.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I grabbed the HTML source code of the http://www.zenstudies.org/ethical.html page at 1:55 PM EDT on 07/14/10 and made it into a pdf file that is here:

    http://www.hoodiemonks.org/PDF's/Shimano_Archive_Redacted/20100714_ZSS_Ethical.pdf



    The line under discussion is line 49 (in grey) at the top of page 2 of the pdf. It begins with a “less than symbol” followed by an exclamation point and two dashes (this indicates the beginning of a “comment” that does not appear in the actual document). At the end of the invisible comment are two dashes followed by a “greater than symbol.”


    This is what was “commented out”: 



    “On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi and Aiho-san Shimano, who served the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors for the past forty-two years, voluntarily stepped down from the board to facilitate a smooth transition of both temporal authority and spiritual legacy.”

    ReplyDelete
  42. Posted by Zen Studies Society:

    "If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, please contact a member of the ethics committee."

    1. The implication of this invitation is that those who may have felt badly-treated in the past can now trust that they will receive good treatment. But why should they assume that? Because it is written in a statement? From the point of view of those who may have felt misused or denigrated, which is more convincing -- a 40-year track record or a newly minted statement of concern?

    2. Who is on the ethics committee and to what extent should those who feel wounded and discarded believe that these members are not now, as they have been in the past, Mr. Shimano's obedient surrogates?

    3. Is it possible that an ombudsman -- probably someone from outside the Zen Studies Society framework -- could be engaged to hear both sides of the story and be granted the authority to mete out decisions and, possibly, penalties?

    4. To what extent is the Ethics Committee serious in its promises and to what extent are their 'caring' assertions little more than a subterfuge exercised so effectively in the past?

    5. I fear that without spelling things out in greater detail, what was posited as 'ethical' will simply devolve into more of the same old 'unethical.'

    ReplyDelete
  43. How can those who were involved in previous "unsatisfactory" attempts to address these complaints now claim the ability to objectively process these complaints? They cannot. This "offer" to finally do the right thing is too little, too late. Have they no shame?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi - a fascinating discussion. I don't happen to agree that students and teachers under all circumstances should never have sex, as someone posted a bit above. This may well be a very good guideline and perhaps even a good rule for many sanghas, but to my mind, sex between a Zen teacher and a student could be seen to be something like sex between an artist and one of his students or associates. We're shocked by one but not by the other, yet in both cases the situation is very similar in terms of power dynamic, charisma, and so on.

    However, in this case there seems to be more going on than just sex between a teacher and student. Lying, manipulation, and so forth are obviously problems. However, the mere fact of sex between teacher and student (even if it was done over and over) shouldn't be the central issue; it should really be about the way in which it was done, in my view.

    ReplyDelete
  45. what goes around comes around. and around again.

    have you this shame you speak of, to say they now have none?

    What is "objectivity" by the way.

    They breathe the same air as I do. As do you.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Mitsu-
    I understand what you mean about consenting adults be allowed to be consenting adults. However, I teach in university (art no less) and I also lead a zen sangha. Not only are sexual relationships strictly forbidden institutionally in both instances, I morally and personally feel quite clearly why this is so.

    There is an intimacy, an integrity, as well as specific shadows, that accompany the dynamics of different types of relationships. It doesn't take Moses, Freud, or the Vinaya to understand that you don't sleep with your students, patients, or those who entrust to you their spiritual guidance and welfare. Do you think therapists should sleep with patients? This is a much closer analogy to teachers (of various stripes) and their students than your blithe picture of a couple artist colleagues getting a little wild in the studio one night (you shouldn't hook up with co-workers either for that matter!)

    Your theoretical relativism here is at best just kind of sweet; practically it's dangerously naive.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous said...
    How can those who were involved in previous "unsatisfactory" attempts to address these complaints now claim the ability to objectively process these complaints? They cannot. This "offer" to finally do the right thing is too little, too late. Have they no shame?

    Are you a victim of Shimano's abuse? If so, why don't you speak about what he did to you, anonymously, of course. I think we should hear from the 'victims', if indeed there are any. Otherwise, what are we talking about?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Aitken Roshi's opening letter states that there are many reports of abuse of women by Tai San on the web. Are there? I only know of the 2 women from '64. Where can one find the other "many reports" on the web?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am deeply saddened to hear of the pain in this Sangha and I am well acquainted with the group dynamics which allow this sort of injury to take place and be rationalized, denied, or intellectualized.

    In my point of view, there will never be a "one size fits all" set of ethical guidelines for a Zen group that works perfectly for everyone. However, in my experience, applying the same rules and standards to a Zen teacher as we apply to a psychotherapist is workable and beneficial. Zen teachers and their students who wish to have sexual and romantic relationships need only cease their teacher-student relationship both publicly and privately, and be open and honest about their relationship in the same way that might be expected from any two individual adults who are part of close and caring communities. The impact of any relationship, sexual or non, that involves lies, secrecy, betrayals, and cover-ups is damaging to everyone within a close-knit community of practice where people are striving for spiritual development in a sincere way.

    Recently asked for my take on "The Future of Buddhism" for the Buddhist portal at patheos.com, I commented that the communities I work with want transparent government and empowered community input. See http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Results-Oriented-Dharma-US-Buddhism-in-the-21st-Century.html

    Mushim Ikeda-Nash
    Oakland, CA

    ReplyDelete
  50. Mushim, well presented and on the mark.

    ReplyDelete
  51. To Jane:
    start here- www.shimanoarchive.com
    Beyond this, search google. You should find plenty.
    I can't paste in this browser or I'd give other links.

    ReplyDelete
  52. @Jane

    Here: shimanoarchive(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  53. Statement from Zen Studies Society July 19, 2010

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/?p=2067

    Posted by Philip Ryan in : Zen , trackback

    Last week we indicated we’d contacted the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) regarding Eido Shimano Roshi’s status at the organization. The President of ZSS’s board sent the following statement in response:

    We are grateful beyond words for the incomparable gift of Eido Roshi’s Dharma treasure, and for his unstinting efforts to root Rinzai Zen Buddhism in American soil. Ever at home in the unconditional realm he spurs us to go beyond the relative vista.

    Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the world of causation.

    On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi stepped down from the board of directors of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS). This was prompted by allegations of clergy misconduct. The ZSS is committed to fully investigating, clarifying and bringing resolution to this matter. Eido Roshi’s wife, Aiho-san Shimano, also stepped down from the Board at that time.

    It was with deepest gratitude and respect for their years of service to this organization and their humble effort to assist us in honestly processing this matter and preparing us for their transition from temporal authority, that we accepted their resignations from the ZSS Board.

    After discussion with senior members of the American Zen Teachers Association, the ZSS’s board has decided to seek outside professional assistance to move this process forward with openness and compassion for all.

    We thank the ZSS board for their openness and prompt response and we wish them all the best going forward.

    ReplyDelete
  54. It is with considerable dismay that I have recently been informed that Mr. Shimano has continued to engage in sexual contact with his parishioners.

    In reading through this blog, I see that the Zen Studies Society has invited the people they have harmed to come forward and to confide in their ‘Ethics Committee’. I have a few thoughts on this matter.

    If Mr. Shimano and/or other members of his clergy have sexually abused you, dear reader, I am very sorry that this happened to you.

    And if I may offer some kind words of advice, I would say that your course of action should depend upon your level of traumatization. Please do not overestimate your own resilience nor underestimate the level of deceit you will encounter. Please think carefully about how much of that trauma was inflicted by the organization *itself*.

    It is important that you realize that the Zen Studies Society operates like an *incest family*. There are secrets. There is fear. There are perversions of loyalty. Pretensions of ignorance. A swarming together to save Daddy, save buddhism, save themselves.

    There is *no one* that you should confide in there; they are too wounded or confused to help you.

    I therefore urge you *do not contact* the Board nor Committee; I fear that they will deepen your trauma and further damage your trust. Please know with *complete certainty* that the organization is complicit in your sexual assault.

    Please know that you were *not alone* in that room when Mr. Shimano stepped forward to assault you. You just could not see all the people who embolden him; but they were there. He was entirely certain that they were right there behind him, ready to crush you if you ever cried out.

    I am indeed very sorry that this happened to you. Many people *think* that it could never happen to them or to their loved ones. They are incorrect.

    I *do encourage* you to make two phone calls and to move as swiftly as possible through the process:

    1. Contact Mr. Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who is representing a plaintiff in a *February 2010* legal action against Mr. Shimano. Mr. Garabedian has successfully worked with many sexually abused parishioners and he is familiar with their circumstances and alternatives.
    Phone: (617) 523-6250 Fax: (617) 523-3667

    2. Contact the Sex Crimes and Prosecution Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Phone: (212) 335-9373. Ask them to re-open their *1994 investigation* concerning Eido T. Shimano. They have plenty of sworn testimony from many witnesses. The New York State Legislature has subsequently expanded its criminal code concerning professional sexual abuse, in which case you might avoid the cost of hiring a civil attorney. The DA’s Office can also offer you assistance through Witness Counseling.

    Please be aware that the Assistant District Attorney from the Sex Crimes and Prosecution Unit *contacted* the Zen Studies Society Board of Trustees in 1994 and advised them to call a halt to the sexual abuse, and *warned them* that as Mr. Shimano’s employer, they are at risk of civil lawsuits by continuing to allow it.

    Apparently they have continued to allow it. I am not at all surprised.

    Attachments:
    Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice System
    http://www.manhattanda.org/communityaffairs/brochures/Sex_Crimes.pdf

    Mr. Mitchell Garabedian: Civil Law, Clergy Sexual Abuse http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=Mitchell+Garabedian&aq&fp=1&cad=b

    Please re-post this message as widely as possible on the internet. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  55. BAD LINK IN PRIOR POST: Mitchell Garabedian

    http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories/021402_garabedian.htm

    http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/overview/video_gallery/atty_garabedian.swf

    ReplyDelete
  56. Eye Wit..., could you, without of course using names, discuss the nature of the cases of sexual abuse by Mr Shimano that have already been investigated or do you know where one could get this information? Is it available?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Adam Genkaku Fisher began the comments here two months ago with this: "But I think that a Zen practice without honesty is like a car without tires ... it ain't goin' nowhere, no matter how shiny it looks."

    So, we have all kinds of honesty here ... honest feelings of outrage and condemnation ... honest feelings of gratitude and devotion ... honest feelings of confusion, disappointment and disillusionment ... honest feelings of defensiveness ... honest feelings of righteousness.

    It seems everyone feels entitled to his/her feelings/judgments/beliefs.

    Those of us who practice Zen probably have sat with our feelings/judgments/beliefs time and time again and found them to be many-layered, constantly changing, and ultimately no ground to stand on -- but maybe not, I don't know about you so I shouldn't presume.

    But as I read this sad story and these sad responses to it I find myself wondering whether there is a way to bring our awakened mind into this present situation? (Where else could it be?) And if we did that, how might that help --

    "Sickness and medicine correspond with each other. The whole world is medicine. What are you?"

    A related tale -- the one of Maezumi Roshi and ZCLA -- might be helpful.

    There is a profoundly moving interview with Wendy Engokuo Nakao Roshi, the current Abbot at Zen Center of Los Angeles, where she discusses without flinching the damage done when Maezumi Roshi had his sexual affairs and alcohol problems. She also discusses with heartfelt clarity what they did at ZCLA to repair the damage. Deeply moving stuff, especially when she discusses Maezumi Roshi's years after the scandal. Much more interesting to me than salacious gossip. I do believe even the worst mistakes can be transformed into Buddha's teachings.

    Part 1 is the early part of her spiritual
    development/path.

    Part 2 is a very moving discussion of Maezumi Roshi
    and what happened at ZCLA.

    Part 3 is a very interesting discussion of
    ZCLA and its horizontal/circle leadership structure ... and how the
    healing happened.

    Worth listening,
    especially parts 2 & 3.

    If anyone's interested here are the links:

    Part 1: http://www.urbandharma.org/mp3/ZCLA-1.mp3

    Part 2: http://www.urbandharma.org/mp3/ZCLA-2.mp3

    Part 3: http://www.urbandharma.org/mp3/ZCLA-3.mp3

    ReplyDelete
  58. This Eye Witness post smells fishy to me. Why would the Manhattan DA investigate something that took place many miles away in the Castkill Mountains? And if they did investigate and nothing came of it, doesn't that mean that they concluded that nothing illegal took place? Then why would they write to the board and tell them to put a stop to something that wasn't happening in Manhattan and wasn't even illegal to begin with? It would be like the Manhattan DA writing to the board of the PGA and telling them to stop TIger Woods from cheating on his wife in Las Vegas. Also, why isn't that letter in the archives that have been posted recently? They seem to have a lot of letters to and from the board from that era.

    And if a legal action was filed in Feb 2010, isn't that a matter of public record? Where's the evidence of that?

    This is either a hoax or a money grubbing lawyer trying to stir the pot and see what floats to the surface. Either way, it's a new low point for this debate, and that's really saying something.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Indeed, there is a fishy aroma about that post…. however the aroma may mask other scents. I note that in this entire Shimano controversy far too much emphasis is being placed on the sexual misconduct aspect and far too little attention is being paid to the undue influence, institutional culture issues, apparent untruths and cover-ups that appear to have been propagated.

    Bear in mind that New York Zendo is located in Manhattan so there would be justification for involving the Manhattan DA if allegations were made concerning activities there. Any one who has watched any of the crime shows on TV knows that DA’s do not necessarily prosecute for any number of reasons irrespective of illegality.

    The Manhattan DA was evidently contacted at one point evidenced by a note appearing in the archive in 1994. There is also no way to know if the published archive is complete by any means, documentation may be missing or simply never made available.

    I agree that it is doubtful that any legal action was filed in 2010 as you point out - it does not appear in any public record. However, having the knowledge of how to make such a search enables one to search for filing actions in 1995 against Shimano, his wife and ZSS Board members. There is apparently no indication of the outcome of those filings available on line.

    I disagree that the post is an either-or situation as postulated; there are other possibilities. According to a Google search, the lawyer named is largely responsible for bringing down the Boston Archdiocese and Cardinal Law. The man is obviously no fool and would not jeopardize his position by resorting to self-promotional advertising in some random blog posting. It is possible that the posting is from an aggrieved third party unconnected to the lawyer but privy to some undisclosed information.

    All in all, I perceive the warnings presented by the post are indeed poignantly valid. It is essential for any aggrieved party to rely on the advise of personal counsel before becoming involved with any ZSS internal grievance process - no matter what reassurances are provided by newly minted public statements.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  60. it is a very real concern. legal action can the the board's and hopefully, Shimano's, 'great motivator'. though, if threats of legal action were presented in the past and he has continued to 'abuse', then perhaps not the case on his part. But the board must take some serious steps to curtail and limit Shimano's involvement with the communities he is associated with as he obviously can not control himself and cannot be trusted anymore to do so. The ZSS could potentially, a la catholic church, be hit with costly civil lawsuits, depleting there already strained coffers.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I'd just like to say that those who dismiss this discussion, and others like it, do a real disservice to the power of information, and transparency in matters like this.

    Not to mention ignoring the mostly extremely thoughtful posts here and elsewhere. It smacks of self-righteousness, as much or more than those who are genuinely angry or hurt or upset, and who have a right to come to terms with those feelings here. I myself welcome and understand some ranting. Let's not be too prissy.

    Every sangha, church, congregation what have you needs to have such a period of conflict facing issues like this. Time will move on, and perhaps legal and institutional happenings will take place. But it begins with voices, usually angry ones, to get something moving. And things are moving.

    ReplyDelete
  62. "You don't know what you've lost till it's gone. They paved paradise and put in a parking lot."


    Joanie Mitchell was really something. She also said,(on the same album) "everything comes and goes" and "it all comes down to you."

    On and on she goes in this way.

    Some fruit for the table.

    ReplyDelete
  63. It is nice to see someone finally succeed in getting the Buddhist community to take a good hard look at abuse. More thought on the matter here:
    http://gomyo.livejournal.com/40812.html

    ReplyDelete
  64. I agree, there is more going on here than just sexual misconduct. If there is smoke.....

    ReplyDelete
  65. American Zen is doing very well. ZSS Zen, being DBZ and Shobo-ji, is not doing well at all.

    To find out why read:

    Holding the Lotus to the Rock by James Ford (found on thezensite)

    The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen

    Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Galdwell

    ReplyDelete
  66. I don't know for sure if all those allegations are true. I know one thing though: I am so happy I did not send my female friend to Dai Bosatsu for session. Imagine how deeply would she be hurt if Eido Roshi started "teaching" her using "not easy to understand for unenlightened person methods".

    Again, I don't know if this is true.
    But again, please somebody tell me how would I be able to explain that even touching her breasts is a teaching.

    I think Eido should just SAY SOMETHING. Otherwise we will be talking and talking and talking.

    Instead of just sitting.

    Also, now I understand how important is to be respectful towards students. Many people are done with Zen just to hear about this "scandal".

    I am so glad I am almost done with this post.
    To sit.

    ReplyDelete
  67. It is lamentable that an ogre so vile and grotesque as Eido Shimano has been allowed to flourish freely in this country. Why was more not done to boot him back to Japan when it became clear that his true nature was that of a predatory sociopath who would prey upon the fairer sex at will wherever he went? Because of weakness, ignorance, Zen careerism and the hope of knighthood in the form of dharma transmission. Shame on all who gave him shelter and failed to warn those who needed warning - it was the equivalent of releasing a rabid dog into the playground of the local school during recess.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Someone asked, 'why does roshi wear a gold brocade robe'? Probably a respected dharma legacy. But also because most of us, Westerners especially, want and expect such a thing.

    I mistrust the intention of the author of this blogspot to cyber-prosecute a fellow teacher. Years ago, students of the author, under the influence of the young Tai San's (now Eido Roshi's)charisma/"zen authenticity"/oriental-ness/whatever, abandoned their studies with Aitken Roshi to study with Tai San, and this at least gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Every writer to this blog who has a question about this matter or has something else of value to offer should instead consider responding directly as the ZSS board has requested, ask to have their note forwarded to the independent consultants in the investigation, and request a return receipt from the independent consultants indicating that those consultants have received the communication of concern/advice/complaint. Otherwise this appears to be the place to whine, gossip and speculate about what you want this to be about, based on your fraction of determined factual knowledge.

    Anything with the appearance of misdemeanor or felonious exploitation of a non-consenting adult should be reported, investigated independently, and, if necessary, prosecuted. Especially, if damage has been done, and it is criminal, than it should be apologized for, with personal and orgainzational sanctions being applied to the full extent allowed by the law of the land. Part of the independent investigation should be a thorough psychological evaluation to see if the behavior or the personality characteristics under investigation qualify for a DSM-IV diagnosis. Therapy would then be an option. I personally would not trust an international governing body of roshis to effectively prosecute this matter, based on past history.

    This is the modern world, and *Adults have affairs*. If you are not too badly damaged by the world, you can say NO, and not wind up being intimate with someone over and over and over, especially if you know he's married. In the cynical view, its a bigger notch in the gun to bag a roshi than vice versa.

    ReplyDelete
  69. To Anonymous July 23, 2010 11:34 am:

    Have you gone through < http://www.shimanoarchive.com/ > yet?
    If not please do so.

    I assure you this archive of letters has not be generated because the folks involved had nothing better to do with their time.

    In fact believe that each person involved was sincerely involved in the practice.

    Further, if you haven't done so read http://www.zenstudies.org/ethical.html
    Specifically
    "The Zen Studies Society acknowledges
    that there have been occurrences of
    improper relationships between teachers
    and students."

    Most of us are aware of Shimano's behavior but here the organization is saying that at least one other sanctioned teacher has also engaged in improper sexual relationships as well (and quite possibly other questionable activities as well.)

    It's no longer about allegations. For the most part it is about Mr. Shimano's behavior and the implications of that behavior and whether he is suitable to be a Zen Teacher and worthy to be considered a true Rinzai Zen Master. (By extension it would apply to other so-called Zen leaders as well.)

    Specifically, considering Shimano's behavior over the past 40+ any serious Zen student who may find him initially attractive to study with needs to ask "Is this really the person I want spend serious time and effort to train with for something that is so personal, and so potentially meaningful, and so important?" Further, any serious Zen student also needs to ask "How will training intensively with such a man influence my own behavior and outlook?"

    ReplyDelete
  70. James Ford and Brad Warner have both weighed in on their blogs.

    Ford: Zen in the West, Sex & Institutions
    http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/2010/07/zen-in-west-sex-institutions.html

    Warner: It's Not Just About Sex
    http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2010/07/its-not-just-about-sex.html

    ReplyDelete
  71. Ford and Warner seem to have similar, well-intentioned approaches.

    Ethical brochures may be a good idea for those whose training managed to skip over that part, but I do hope that we can recall that individuals -- that's two arms and two legs -- were (or may have been, if you prefer) seriously wronged and deserve better than brochures.

    Right -- the reason I know that shit stinks is that mine is no different. But if it looks like shit and smells like shit, then I reserve the right to call it shit and not talk around actual-factual wounds as if they were just the product of some fluffy 'ethical' lapse.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Dr. Shoshanna -
    I assume that you've worked with victims of sexual abuse, being a professional psychologist. I assume you remember some of their experiences.

    I also assume that the beauty you received from this man was worth the price they paid for the complicity of the community at large in shunning the "lack of forgiveness" shown by those who TRIED to stop this, long ago.

    I believe in absolute forgiveness. I really do. But as the father of two daughters and a person who has repeatedly seen the long-term devastation that comes from behavior like Shimano's, my forgiveness is very likely to be paid to a man in shackles if I have any input on the matter. And I can honestly say that I would continue to work with any forgiveness I should find in my heart.

    But I really have to say that the wonder of your experience is curious to me. I am truly happy for whatever good you received from this man, but given that you were steps away from being a victim had you been weaker, or a better mark in some way, I should think you might be somewhat more understanding of the reactions in his wake.

    Forgiveness, yes. But if my daughters - or anyone's daughters - were in the presence of this man, with you to introduce them, I would have to be very concerned, even in the presence of all the forgiveness in the world.

    - KD Jones

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  73. Don't know if you've seen the Zen Studies Society's ethical guidelines.

    Here's the beginning of it:

    "We are grateful beyond words for the incomparable gift of Eido Roshi’s Dharma treasure, and for his unstinting efforts to root Rinzai Zen Buddhism in American soil. Ever at home in the unconditional realm, he spurs us to go beyond the relative vista.

    Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the world of causation; each of our actions has a result.

    The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students. In the past, attempts to address concerns about such relationships were not satisfactory. (...)"


    Which, thought by though, breaks down more or less to:

    1. We are grateful.
    2. Because Eido Roshi is great.
    3. And he's worked really hard at great and good things.
    4. And he's AT HOME IN THE UNCONDITIONAL REALM. (This may be a poor combination of cultures and metaphors in this case.)
    5. He's made "us" better people. (Well, maybe some of us...)
    6. SOMEBODY'S actions have results. (!)
    7. Somewhere in the world there have been improper relationships between "teachers" and students.
    and
    8. At some point in the past, at a location unknown unknown to us, someone seems to have dealt with improper relationships in a manner that probably should have been viewed as unsatisfactory at the time, whenever that was.

    Amusing.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I should add -
    In the previous post re the Zen Studies Society's ethical preamble, my concern is the ABSOLUTE lack of the kind of open, honest, vigorous, even brutal honesty that drew some of us to Zen. Me anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  75. What and where is this unconditional realm?

    ReplyDelete
  76. I was really disturbed by the ZSS Ethics preamble, particularly the line: "The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students."

    It is simply not honest, they are still hiding, deceiving and manipulating. It would have come across far more credible had they substituted "Eido T. Shimano" for the word "teachers." The way they stated it was a slap in the face to all of Shimano's myriad victims. The ZSS Board simply do not care about all the people their "unconditional" guru hurt - even now. The people involved with ZSS need to take a really hard look at themselves and ask, "Are we unconsciously involved in a personality cult around this guy?"

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  77. I can't remember where it was, but I once passed by the door of "the unconditional realm." It had a sign above the door that said, "Abandon critical thinking all ye who enter here." I decided to keep walking....

    ReplyDelete
  78. Wow! There is a door!?! Most interesting. Now I am wondering which way it swings.

    and

    Perhaps ZSS used the word teachers rather than Eido Shimano because there were other teachers or senior students behaving promiscuously.

    ReplyDelete
  79. This is a very important time for Zen in America. While I was in Japan, It was quite apparent that most "Zen Temples" were functioning as museums, as well preserved pieces of History! I was informed that in practice, the vast majority of Zen clergy constitute a “funeral director’s guild.”

    Seeing this with my own eyes was extremely troubling. It was shocking to recognize that what I had perceived as the great gift of Zen to the world seemed to be a materialistic trap.


    At this point in time it seems like Zen clerics in Japan are jockeying for personal possessions, power and wealth accumulating and dispensing misery as they proceed.

    At this great time, in the infancy of American Zen Buddhism we are beginning to deal with real transparency. We are now able to stand! We are now together able to see with some clarity and examine reality as it is and are thus empowered to make informed choices for the future of American Zen.

    Through great suffering as a community, we are now beginning to recognize the motivations that can derail a teacher from the path of Buddhadharma.

    "All of you - If it's for the sake of the Dharma, don't hesitate to sacrifice your bodies or give up your lives!" "People with so few roots of faith - will the day ever come when they see the end of this?"

    What we are witnessing is not necessarily about preservation of the status quo, but recognizing the reality of suchness, itself.

    Thank you for sitting!

    ReplyDelete
  80. In Zen, there are several stories of 'masters' who held their tongues when wrongly accused. Whether self-serving or not, sometimes such restraint has been referred to as "noble silence."

    But into that mix of sometimes-honest, sometimes-dishonest restraint, I think the words of (I think it was) Kapleau Roshi are worth remembering:

    "Silence is golden and sometimes its color is pure yellow."

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  81. Apparently there is at least a modicum of turmoil within the Zen Studies Society; we can only trust that this opportunity for systemic change might result in complete transparency in the handling of this latest Eido Roshi debacle, although this is doubtful. The truth has been completely disregarded for too long by Eido Roshi and by extension, his organization, the Zen Studies Society. Enough questions have been raised in the American Zen community over Eido Shimano that it is incumbent on the organization to tell the public the complete truth about what is taking place. No one - in forty years, has ever stood in the way of the ZSS Board doing its work, except those within its own confines.



    The available archives, when thoroughly examined, reveal certain behavior patterns of a serious nature that cause harm and hurt to others. We need to ask some very pointed questions to enable us to develop some understanding of the dynamics around Eido Shimano.



    The man is a liar, he relates to the world only through dominance. He is arrogant, completely non altruistic, and considers all friendships and associations expendable. Eido Shimano “Roshi” is an exquisitely constructed deceptive “character” that superficially appears to be a powerful, insightful and genuine Zen master. He provides no hint of inadequacy in public behind his mask of deception. However, on a deeper level he is profoundly addicted to his dominance and abuse of women, students, and people in general. He is intent on weaving his elaborate webs of lies around his own significance. Eido Roshi appears to be totally unconcerned by the fact that he is deliberately lying to people. He seems to assume that other people are merely models of himself - there for his amusement at the time. This involves him seeing everyone as nothing more than a deceptive mask, since he is so heavily invested in deception himself.



    He needs assistance, but he can only avail himself of such through his own recognition of the problem, it can not be imposed or mandated from “outside.” The sangha needs to remove him from a position of authority over students forthwith to prevent any possibility of future hurt to vulnerable people. This they can do, through the Board. If the Board refuses to act to remove Eido Shimano they will be remiss in their Charter obligations and in violation of their own ethical guidelines.

    ZSS has had a set of ethical guidelines in place since at least June of 1993 according to the on line archive. These guidelines have proscribed “Sexual advances and/or liaisons between teachers, guest lecturers or other religious and any kessei student, sesshin and/or workshop attendee, sangha member or visitor” - for seventeen years. The "Ethical Guidelines" are nothing new. The failure of the Board, the Dharma heirs, and senior staff to enforce the ethical guidelines or even recognize their violation calls for a serious accounting.

    As for involving Japanese institutions mentioned elsewhere… “rotsa ruck.”

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  82. I looked through the archives, and I must say that I had thought that I was long past being surprised, but I was very much mistaken indeed.

    As anyone who has been exposed to Mr. Shimano knows, he is a liar of the crafty variety. His methods are simple but sly and corrupting: he plants lies in the minds of the people around him, so that they will go forth and do his lying for him.

    The lies revolve around three basic topics: money, sexual abuse, and discrediting anyone who might tell the truth. He bases his lies on a small nugget of truth, and then he departs from there.

    So the archives were quite illuminating to me. Yes, the nuggets of truth were there…but then there is also the rest of the story, the actual truth. My goodness.

    For example: The lies about the money from the future sale of the parsonage.

    For decades, Mr. Shimano has revisited one question in particular: who will get the money when the current parsonage is sold ~$550,000; him personally? or the Zen Studies Society, as was originally stipulated.

    When he puts forth his argument that he should get the money personally, he speaks of Mrs. Carlson’s admiration for him. (Mrs. Carlson was the initial benefactor of the Zen Studies Society.) The nugget of truth that he displays to support this claim of admiration is Mrs. Carlson’s very nice letter from 1974.

    But wait…there is more, there is much more in the archives. And it concludes with Mrs. Carlson’s letter of utter contempt for Mr. Shimano’s deceit and her complete disassociation in 1984.

    And in the archives I see that Mr. Shimano has even built a promotional video around the Carlsons, no doubt to display to potential donors. Needless to say, the movie does not mention Mrs. Carlson’s sullied sense of betrayal nor her scorn.

    Continuing on in the archives to 2003, I see that in James Frechter’s letter to the accountant, the parsonage is no longer listed as one of the Society’s assets.

    So what happened? Did he finally succeed in being gifted the parsonage?

    Is the Zen Studies Society financially secure enough to be giving away that kind of money? Especially since Mr. Shimano’s disreputable behavior has got to have lost them $550,000 in donations alone.

    I also notice in the archives that Mr. Shimano is unhappy with the amount of his pension. Perhaps if the organization had not lost the donations, his pension could have more to his liking.

    As one of the Trustees points out in her resignation letter from the Board in 1995, Mr. Shimano’s pension should not be funded by raiding the assets of the organization. If his pension is paltry, it is because he has earned it.

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  83. It would be helpful to have an inventory of all Zen Studies Society assets -- the buildings, the statues, the gongs, the scrolls, the tatami, the incense, the books, the land, etc. Who paid for these things and to what end? Who owns them?

    Clearly, people must have made donations to Mr. Shimano personally. But separating those donations from the other assets that many Zen students made possible ... maybe a decent audit would be a help before those assets start disappearing.

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  84. I once had a dog who would take his bones and bury them all over the yard, after a few years it was impossible to figure out exactly how many he had and where he hid them.

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  85. Great idea Genkaku!

    I hope current ZSS Sangha who care more for the Dharma and the American legal system than the Shimanos are reading these posts.

    * * *

    There is plenty of indication in shimanoarchive.com that the accounting of the organization became lax and suspect during various periods over the years. (Funds channeled in from a convicted felon's drug dealings immediately comes to mind. As does the willingness of the board to support unwarranted expenditures e. g. $36k on an anniversary party as opposed to the proposal for a more most $10k.) It certainly would not be a bad idea to do a thorough audit with an eye to assuring that the donor's wishes were followed, the rules governing non profits have been followed, and that funds meant for ZSS and not for ETS were directed properly (Mrs. Carlon's requests for the return of funds appears to have been ignored with respect to the sale of the original parsonage. The profit seems to have been over $500K!)

    Further, it seems that the members of the board don't all and / or always realize their legal responsibilities are and what personal penalties could incurred (particularly if they aren't insured) and that their loyalty to the Shimano's may cost them more than mere grief. I wonder of that's they bargained for.


    It's troubling to learn from those archives that Shimano had a life long concern with money for himself and his wife while relying almost completely on the board's willingness to shuffle around major donations. Yet as it became clearer and clearer that his donor base dried up due to news of his sketchy ethics, he just seemed to try to be more devious and manipulative.

    Is it any wonder why ETS will never willingly let go of the position of Abbot?

    * * *

    Someone wrote this in another blog "Give the board room to work. Rome was not built or dismantled in a day or even many days."

    Sheer Nonsense!

    Those of us who have been observing ETS' and the ZSS board's actions for 5, 10, 20 or more years are at best extremely skeptical. It's simply a function of who has gotten on the board in the first place!

    It is time to grow up, to be decisive, and to do what is right in the conditional realm! Remember that while fostering realization perhaps more than only other path, Buddhism has always been for the most part quite rational and ethical.

    BTW -- Rome was pretty much destroyed in a day. "...the night of July 18, 64 AD, fire broke out in the merchant area of the city of Rome. ... When the conflagration finally ran its course it left seventy percent of the city in smoldering ruins.
    ...
    "From the ashes of the fire rose a more spectacular Rome. A city made of marble and stone with wide streets, pedestrian arcades and ample supplies of water to quell any future blaze. The debris from the fire was used to fill the malaria-ridden marshes that had plagued the city for generations."

    That Rome lasted some 400 years!

    * * *

    To paraphrase Soen Roshi, "Completely Combust Yourselves!"

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  86. So is it a Rome or an omelette?

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  87. This is not about Zen, it is about ethical missconduct, abuse of authority.

    To permit Eido Shimano to continue as the Abbot of DBZ or any temple would be condoning his unethical conduct. The game is over the cat is out of the box.

    This is no longer about Zen, this is no longer about Buddhism, it is about the American Standard of Ethical conduct. It is about our ethical duty to protect venerable people from predators.

    In the end if he continues to refuse to immediately step down then we will have to decide if we will continue to support his unethical behaviour, or shun DBZ directly or indirectly.

    I call on Eido Shimano Abbot of DBZ to be compassionate and retire immediately as Abbot at DBZ.

    Shimano san the game is over, everyone has lost. If you have a shred of Japanese Honor left in you retire, and let true dharma become complete.

    ReplyDelete
  88. If he had true honor in the first place none of this would have happened. And this was his greatest teaching for me. To honor students with respect and basic decency no matter how damaged they are, they are still Human beings. Awake Human beings! Not castigate and control them. Beyond shame, no honor in that.

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  89. In Zen we have a very useful concept called "skillful means." It usually refers to the way a "master" helps a "student" attain realization. However, like most of Zen Training it is a useful concept to apply to other areas as well.

    In the past Aitken Roshi and some of Eido's more independent and senior students took extra steps steps in trying to understand what was going on with him. Mental health professionals were actually consulted. I think we can reasonably assume that real events were described and the health care professionals provided some guidance.

    Essentially, Shimano's "misbehavior" fits the patterns that define a certain psycho-pathology called "Anti-social Disorder." It used to be called sociopathy.

    Students who spent significant time with him should be able to list specific details that fit so many of the basic characteristics of anti-social disorder:
    (A partial listing)

    ▪ Superficial Charm
    ▪ Grandiose Sense Of Self-Worth
    ▪ Pathological Lying
    ▪ Cunning/Manipulative
    ▪ Lack Of Remorse Or Guilt
    ▪ Shallow Affect
    ▪ Callous/Lack Of Empathy
    ▪ Failure To Accept Responsibility For Own Actions
    ▪ Parasitic Lifestyle
    ▪ Poor Behavioral Control
    ▪ Promiscuous Sexual Behavior
    ▪ Impulsivity
    ▪ Irresponsibility
    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist

    So how might we skillfully handle the situation?

    First, to help Shimano:

    It appears that treatment for him would basically consist mainly of some form of psychotherapy. But as so many others have pointed out, he would first have to recognize the problem before taking the needed action. We need to consider up front that after 78 years he may be "beyond" such help. Perhaps those close to him should not give up but primary energy needs to be directed elsewhere as well.

    Help for the ZSS Sangha:

    Will a majority on the ZSS Board finally compassionately remove him? The compassion may need, no, will need to be quite firm and decisive. But after after 40 years there has been but a slight shift. Those appointed to the board were those whom he considered most loyal whcih is where the organizational dysfunction comes from. Is the current shift where "ethics" are posted, promises of investigation and consequences made real or just for show? Time to act is already long past due. But time will reveal the truth of the promises.

    Are Eido's heirs even legitimate? Good question. But it looks too much like simply time, loyalty and showmanship.

    But the bigger question is whether it is healthy to train with an essentially dysfunctional group of people. Will any of the current students read this as well as the archive and make some connections and help each other transition away from the currently dysfunctional sangha? Personally, I hope so. Other may say, "To each his own." and "Good luck with that!"

    As for others to come in the future, someone else expressed it very well:

    "In the end if he continues to refuse to immediately step down then we will have to decide if we will continue to support his unethical behaviour, or shun DBZ directly or indirectly."

    The main point is that given the chronic situation of a dysfunctional sangha, the least that should be done is to make the information public and not to fear that the truth with hurt the Dharma. Yamada Roshi expressed it well years ago, "Yet even though it may take years, Zen will surely recover it's good name. The Buddhist Dharma is not such a weak and powerless thing that it can be destroyed by something like this."

    It would be good if the main stream Buddhist publications could find a way to shed more light on ZSS instead of simply relying on the information being disseminated on blogs, but it seem that blogs do have a role in this.

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  90. Yes, Genkaku, an audit would be useful. And yes, Anonymous August 1, the Board needs to terminate Mr. Shimano’s employment contract. And yes, Anonymous July 28, the Board doesn’t understand where its responsibilities lie. This is probably true for many people who join the boards of religious charities, so let’s take a closer look.

    In New York State, the Board of Directors of a religious charity (the Zen Studies Society) is responsible for protecting the interests and safety of its students. Since the students cannot be the watchdogs of the Board, each director is accountable to the New York State Attorney General, Mr. Andrew Cuomo.

    But the Directors of the Zen Studies Society operate with a different set of priorities. They think that their job is to protect the interests of their priest. And they seem to think that they are accountable to no one; they operate with secrecy, even from their fellow board members.

    That is why some directors do not stay on the Board for very long, especially when yet another of Mr. Shimano’s sexual assaults comes to light. The secrecy is broken and the stench oozes out as the senior board members begin to tell them the truth. These directors feel sickened and resign from the board.

    But I’ll say it again: The real head of the Board is Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. These directors (and students) should be addressing their resignation letters to Mr. Cuomo himself.

    I would encourage *everyone* here in the blogosphere to bypass the Board and to address your concerns directly to the Attorney General. Just write him a letter, you can submit it online. If you choose to be anonymous, write the letter anyway. The Attorney General is well aware that “anonymous” does not mean “not true”.

    The purpose is to provide a *roadmap* for Mr. Cuomo: names, approximate dates, what you have witnessed, and what you have been told.

    And in case you are wondering, please know that Mr. and Mrs. Shimano are indifferent to your concerns. They have been reading your letters for decades, and they have learned two lessons: 1. You will weary of remembering these repugnant matters, and 2. You will go away.

    So, please, put your words where they will be of more lasting public value: the permanent records of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

    I see that with the current revelations of the ongoing sexual abuse, that there have already been two resignations from the Board: Mr. and Mrs. Eido Shimano. Perhaps Mr. Shimano could open his resignation letter with something like this:

    “Dear Attorney General Cuomo:
    I am a sexual predator and for the past 40+ years, I have sexually abused my own clergy, my parishioners and their wives. Yet another of my victims has recently spoken out, but I am hoping that the silent ones commit suicide. I continue to be employed by the Zen Studies Society, because I am their high priest.”

    And then he could continue his letter with the uses of his temple and monastery as sexual hunting grounds for himself and his clergy, his use of other clergy’s temples and a mental hospital as hunting grounds, the collusion of his wife, his corrupting influence on his Board and his monks, his uses of drug money, the duplicitous nature of his religious credentials, the whole destructive litany of fraud.

    But wait…scroll up to the top of this blog. That sounds like what Aitken Roshi is asking for: an explanation from Mr. Shimano himself. Not from the witless imposters who surround Mr. Shimano, an explanation from the fraudster himself.

    Submit your concerns online at:
    http://www.ag.ny.gov/resource_center/complaints/pdfs/comp_char.pdf

    New York State Office of the Attorney General
    Charities Division
    120 Broadway, 3rd Floor
    New York, New York 10271
    (212) 416-8400 (phone)

    The Zen Studies Society is a not-for-profit Religious Charity in New York State, a 501-C3 Corporation, located at 223 East 67 Street, New York, NY 10021

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  91. Breaking Release - Finally; after 28 years under wraps:

    "Zen and the Art of Seduction" by Robin Westen

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/19820400R_Zen_Seduction.html

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  92. This stuff is disgusting, sickening.

    I became interested in Zen as a consequence of searching for "spiritual center" and found the beginning of it to be in meditation.

    I began to look at Zen practice seriously as a result. The first attempt at a making a sangha association was not a good experience.

    I began to look around, using the internet as a source for contacts and possible groups to practice with, and found a big pile of crap.

    It seems to me to be this way. There is not one "senior dharma leader" in this country un contaminated by "noble silence" in this matter.

    If there is such an individual, I would very much appreciate learning of him or her because I would be interested in that particular dharma as a manner of approaching Dharma.

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  93. To Anonymous August 3, 2010 9:26.

    You should not confine your search for
    True Dharma in Japanese Zen only. There
    are Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean Zen tradition
    also other Buddhist tradition. Besides, there
    are some Japanese Zen centers that genuinely
    guide students.

    Even, if we one day happened to find out
    there is a blemish in our Sangha, we could
    jump out of the boat or remain in the sangha,
    if after serious consideration we can
    help for the betterment.

    Not everybody who remains in the poisoned
    sangha is a brain-washed zombie, he/she might
    be a bodhisatva who struggles to provide the
    medicine. Mara, even in the form of Roshi,
    will recognize his/her presence and tries
    to kick off this Bodhisatva.


    Namaste

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  94. Hi anonymous 2:20 a.m. The short answer to your implied question is that we are all 'contaminated' as you put it. Seriously, I mean that... no self-help, calm-cool-and-collected Zen bullshit.

    The question is, in what way will anyone attempt to address that 'contamination?' After a number of years under Eido's wing and now 30-odd years later, the only thing I can think of is this: "The Zen teacher may be a liar, but zazen is no liar."

    But that's just me.

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  95. Who the fuck are Kobutsu Malone and Genkaku! Fucking American hyporcriets!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Now that’s a vary good and interesting comment. It is not true that no one wants to deal with this. "Real" teachers do not necessarily need transmission, for example, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha! If you truly see reality as it is, everyone has transmission... Unless you have a bicycle or you LIE about receiving transmission and doing practice. The thing about Zen is that it was designed to control 16-year-old samurai, juvenile delinquents so they wouldn’t go out killing, misbehaving or raping daddies’ assets.

    Now, In America, it would appear that this practice has become more or less a hobby to middle aged “white” people with money and time to do this hobby. Some do and support the practice because they know in they’re hearts why we are doing this. But most do not. Is it possible that Zen in America needs some serious alterations in order to adapt to its environment? What? You have to wake up at 3am? No thanks. What? The Awakened State of Mind??? What’s that? Oh wake up at 3am? No thanks. ect, The point being that this is not one thousand years ago and we are NOT children!

    It is so strange to see that no one sees that. Eido Shimano is a perfect example of this training completely backfiring, causing not only him pain and suffering but many, many people. Students! Aiha.

    And Kobutsu, if you don’t like the way I write than that’s too bad, because this is who I am and at the age of 29 I have a right to be part of this Sangha no matter how much I make a fool out of myself!

    To Anon; This is a real teacher.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shodo_Harada

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  97. Hey Tangen, who the fuck are you?

    ReplyDelete
  98. Tangen said...

    "Who the fuck are Kobutsu and Genkaku! Fucking American hyporcriets!"

    Dear Tangen,

    Asked and answered!

    It seems you are attacking Kobutsu and Genkaku because they have shed some bright light on Shimano.

    Is that the case?

    If so, why does this make you upset?


    Why does providing very disturbing but true information about Shimano make Kobutsu and Genkaku hyprocrites?



    I await your answers.

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  99. Dear Anon August 3, 2010 9:26 AM

    You wrote

    "It seems to me to be this way. There is not one "senior dharma leader" in this country uncontaminated by "noble silence" in this matter.

    "If there is such an individual, I would very much appreciate learning of him or her because I would be interested in that particular dharma as a manner of approaching Dharma."

    Actually this is not true, but I know how you feel.

    Things went on in the background, for example

    The the Dali Lama held a dharma leaders meeting in 1993 after which the following statement was agreed to

    “Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicize any unethical behavior of which there is irrefutable evidence. This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one's spiritual commitment to that teacher. It should also be made clear in any publicity that such conduct is not in conformity with Buddhist teachings. No matter what level of spiritual attainment a teacher has, or claims to have, reached, no person can stand above the norms of ethical conduct.”
    (See the top of the shimanoarchive.com for the list of attendees.)

    Specific to the matter here see

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/19810221R_Aitken_Roshi.pdf
    and
    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/19950809R_ZenTeachers_ZSS.pdf

    Further, while ultimately ineffective Soen tried to reign in Shimano in various ways, if you speak to some of the students who studied with Soen and Shimano and trace the ShimanoArchives you will see that.

    Plus there are legal and privacy considerations to contend with. Unfortunately very few women publicly came forward, this is why so much of the archives had to be redacted.
    This is why no publisher would take the Westen article. Those who came forward privately over the years motivated large numbers of people including some ZSS board members to leave Shimano and Zen Studies Society over the years, and finally those 8 American Zen Teachers
    Robert Aitken, Yvonne Rand, Alan Senauke, Jan Chozen Bays, Susan Jion Postal, Helen Yuho Harkaspi, Bodhin Kjolhede, and Philip Kapleau to contact the ZSS board at the time.

    In the end, Genkaku may be correct when he says "are all 'contaminated'" and "The Zen teacher may be a liar, but zazen is no liar."

    No doubt there are teachers who are more ethical. On the otherhand we all may need to learn not to go around looking outside for the perfect teacher.

    I do hope you find a very good teacher and come back and tell us who it is.

    Good luck!

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  100. You might want to check the spelling... it’s “hypocrites.” You might also look up “ad hominem” while you’re at it.

    Where exactly is the hypocrisy? And what of their being American?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Dear Maha-Sangha,

    Reading Robin Westen article, it is very sad
    indeed how Zen was (is) being manipulated.
    How easy kensho/satori is bestowed to a Zen
    student. Does it imply the immaturity of the
    teacher? Is that the consequence of Soen
    Roshi's bestowing Dharma Transmission (Roshi)
    with haste to comply ES's student request?
    How then immature (unprepared) Roshi could
    give further Dharma Transmission to the
    next lineage? To what effect will it dilute
    the meaning of transmission?

    Comparing with current episode, it is a repeat. At that time ES resigned from the board and
    remained as an abbot, now is the same. The
    board split, and some resigned(?). Now the
    split already occured, but still no one resigns. If now they resigned and the board were replaced
    with new people handpicked by ES, then it would be the same story. Interesting.

    One thing for sure, current episode already
    creates a schism in the sangha (it is heinous
    crime in Buddhahood). It also creates poisoned
    environment. It already made some fanatics to deceive others for his/her survival (without
    ES he/she could find no job outside). This situation itself clearly depicts the quality
    and integrity of his conduct and teaching.

    Namaste

    ReplyDelete
  102. What is hypocrite?

    Kobutsu malone uses Eido Shimano roshi on his website "hoodiemonks"as a personal reference. On the other hand he accuses Eido roshi true or not true "I don't no" of a lot of things.
    Genkaku probable has some personal issues with Eido roshi too! In my opinion he is a little bit too fanatic in his comments.
    My spelling is not without faults beacause english is not my native language! My apologies for using the word Americans. This is not correct!

    ReplyDelete
  103. Is spelling so important?
    If so, why don't you correct other misspellings?

    ReplyDelete
  104. Dear Ryushin Malone,

    You raise some interesting points about the practical side of practice.

    Perhaps someone can suggest an appropriate forum to discuss them, or where they are already being discussed.

    Meanwhile, to touch on some of them very briefly:

    Re: "The thing about Zen is that it was designed to control 16-year-old samurai, juvenile delinquents so they wouldn’t go out killing, misbehaving or raping daddies’ assets."

    There may be some truth in this relative to the Japanese Rinzai Zen tradition some centuries ago.

    But I and may be others might be interested in some references.
    I have heard of the saying "Rinzai for the Shogun, S t for the peasants"
    Rinzai Zen seemed to have influenced the Samurai class. However while there is much Feudal Japan-ization in Zen, I don't think controlling 16 year old juvenile delinquents through Zen training was high on anyone's To Do List. But in a more appropriate venue, an explanation of this assertion would be of some interest to some of us.

    Re: "Oh wake up at 3am? No thanks."
    Early morning meditation spans religious cultures and is not limited to Zen younglings.
    One of the places I look for comparative meditative practice study is the writings of Swami Sivananda.
    Sivananda's writings and the ashram couldn't be further from training for belligerent youth (thought it probably would be good). Sivananda lists 14 points of meditation I think one and two are most relevant here:
    1. Regularity of time, place and practice are important. Regularity conditions the mind to slow down its activities with a minimum of delay.
    2. The most effective times are early dawn and dusk, when the atmosphere is charged with special spiritual force. If it is not feasible to sit for meditation at these times, choose an hour when you are not involved with daily activities, and a time when the mind is apt to be calm.

    I don't know of any American Zen tradition that says something much different. Except of course folks are expected to follow schedules when attending Zazen Meetings, Zazenkai, Sesshin, and Kessei or Ango.

    Forgive me if I'm missing your point regarding Americanization or, perhaps, more to the point lay Zen practice. Or are you proposing an examination of training for Zen clergy (as well))?

    Also address my basic understanding that regardless of the field there is going to be quantity and there is going to be quality, but without significant quantity there can be no quality.

    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  105. From Spike: speaking of Soen trying to 'reign in' Eido Roshi, I believe he *arranged* for him to marry. ER may be seen to be reacting to this ever since.

    Speaking of zen teachers as liars, here is how Jack Engler (1986)described Western students attempts to meditate: "(They) appear to become fixated on what may be called a psychodynamic level of experience (Brown and Engler, 1980). Their practice continues to be dominated by primary practice thinking and 'unrealistic experience' (Maupin, 1965), as well as by an increase in fantasy, daydreaming, reverie, imagery, spontaneous recall of past memories, derepression of conflictual material, incessant thinking, and emotional lability, including dramatic swings in moods (M. Sayadaw, 1973; Walsh, 1977:, 1978; Kornfield, 1979; Kapleau, 1965)." (from the article Therapeutic Aims in Psychotherapy and Meditation: Developmental Stages in the Repression of Self. Published in Transformations of Consciousness: Conventional and Contemplative Perspectives on Development. Wilber, Engler, 1986: Shambala).

    Here is the point: any decent, competent zen teacher KNOWS THIS about the practice of his or her Western students, if they have an honest relationship. Most (not all) zazen does allow itself to be lied about, and any zen teacher/lecturer I have ever heard has never copped to this fact. Meanwhile, the pot calls the kettle black.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Monastics everywhere rise early to meditate and/or to pray in the quiet of the day.

    Why such disrespect for what others have found useful,continuously so, over such great spans of time? Must be something there to attract and hold human attentive ness over and over and over again.

    Check it out. For yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  107. @Tangen

    Just where on the hoodiemonks site does my father use Eido Shimano as a reference?

    Just where does Kobutsu accuse Shimano of anything?

    You might look up the word "vilification" while you're at it.


    @Anon

    What I was getting at was possibly a more communal practice with families living and practicing together. Like before we had houses, each of us. It's possible that the practice of Zen can be this way, it's called a Sangha, a community, the thing that Shimano repeatedly destroys.

    In my personal experience with Zen, whilst in Japan doing session, I was resting by not having my back straight and someone came along and stuck the Kasaku in my back... I've had 2 major back surgeries at the age of 24. Things of this nature, aggressiveness, yelling, not moving an inch to disturb yourself and others that is not the true path to gentle heartedness. Time of day has nothing to do with Awakening and this moment. It was only an example of Zen as a "turn off," while liberating all beings.

    But this blog is not about that. This blog is about Eido Shimano's abuse of people coupled with his addiction to power over dynamics and his not being present here front and come forth and make a statement in response to these accusations.

    This is way closer to home than we might possibly imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  108. From Spike: why such disrespect for scientific studies? Why such disrespect for Kapleau?

    ReplyDelete
  109. Hi Anon (july 28,2010 11:41)

    "BTW -- Rome was pretty much destroyed in a day."

    The "Rome" I was thinking of actually, and made the comment in reference to, was not the city in Italy nor was it an institutional state of mind.

    "Rome" was a metaphor.

    or an omelette, as was suggested, could be used. I like one made with salsa.

    The Greatful Dead made the comment, " ... meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

    It's the ego they speak of as the boss. Or, it could be an omelette, or gasp it could be ZEN!!!!

    That "Rome" is not(yet)built or un built.

    Good news.

    ReplyDelete
  110. MULTIPLE CHOICE DHARMA QUIZ

    In May, Aitken Roshi pointedly asked Eido Shimano Roshi of Dai Boastsu Zendo to publicly answer accusations that he had violated the precepts for the past forty years. Since May a woman has come out publicly to reveal
    a relationship she had with Shimano Roshi in Dai Boastsu Zendo in the past two years. And in the past two weeks a dharma student of long standing in the Zen Studies Society also revealed an affair with the abbot during a time
    when she was married to a man who was also a student of abbot Shimano.

    Tai San, aka Eido Sotai Muishitsu Shimano Roshi so far has said not one word in response to Roshi Aitken or the two women because:

    a. Being Japanese, he is too embarrassed to make a public statement;
    b. He is afraid more women will speak out of he makes any kind of admission;
    c. He has many duties as an abbot, including fundraising for the Dai Bosatsu San Mon gate. When completed, this gate will be a passage to his incomparable dharma teaching.
    d. He is simply depressed because his most recent dharma heir said that he, Roshi, was responsible for 80% in his close encounters with the second kind. Why didn’t he say 24%, or even 15%? Even dharma heirs can be so stupid!
    e. Fundamentally, he is in a state of bliss, continuing to move freely in the unconditional realm and is waiting for Bob Aitken to transcend the relative realm. Perhaps they could meet halfway. At Benihana or Starbucks, when time permits?
    f. He has taken a short leave, looking at retirement communities that are far from Hawaii.
    g. He is working full bore on the koan “Hyakujo’s possum”. “If a possum plays dead, will it avoid falling into causation?”
    h. These days, Yoga takes up so much of his time. Ahhh…. those cute Yoga babes!

    Please circle the correct answer.
    If you feel you have a better answer, or answers, please submit to:
    DharmatalkpuzzlersZSS.net.

    ReplyDelete
  111. I think I have another answer. He has a toothache.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Dear Anonymous August 4, 2010 5:19 PM

    In dwelling on the "Rome" metaphor, it seems you are avoiding presenting your thoughts on the real issue.

    Please deal with the real issue: Why do you think that the ZSS Board needs to oust Shimano, but it will take a very long time, or why you really think it doesn't have to oust Shimano (thereby explaining the lack of urgency on your part), or why it can't.

    At first I thought you simply lacked the urgency when you used the Rome metaphor as a way of saying it will take a very long time to oust Shimano, but, given your latest response, are we to take your use of the line "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" from the the lyrics of the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by Peter Townsend to really mean that it doesn't matter who the abbot of Zen Studies Society is? You switched gears and started to use that line to talk about "ego" and "ZEN!!!!" and "built and unbuilt." Your meaning and intent was not clear at all; kindly elaborate.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Dear Ryushin

    Like I said you've raised some interesting and important points about practice that need to be discussed elsewhere, but you are so correct:

    "This blog is about Eido Shimano's abuse of people coupled with his addiction to power over dynamics and his not being present here front and come forth and make a statement in response to these accusations."

    ReplyDelete
  114. d. He is simply depressed because his most recent dharma heir said that he, Roshi, was responsible for 80% in his close encounters with the second kind. Why didn’t he say 24%, or even 15%?

    Good question. Maybe Eido roshi kept a journal. Perhaps from this, it was a simple calculation. Turns out, going back through the score cards, that one in five was how it went. Because there were some wide awake, pajama peelin' party babes out to bag a roshi for their trophy wall as well.

    ReplyDelete
  115. @Anonymous August 4, 2010 10:41 PM

    “And in the past two weeks a dharma student of long standing in the Zen Studies Society also revealed an affair with the abbot during a time when she was married to a man who was also a student of abbot Shimano.”

    For the sake of clarity, the “dharma student” referred to above is now a Shimano Dharma heir.

    http://ubercorp.com/blog/index.php/2010/07/zen-sitting-meditation/eido-shimanos-sex-scandal-part-n1/

    ReplyDelete
  116. They are asking for a hundred grand to build the idiotic Dai Bosatsu San Mon gate – like that absurdity is really needed in the town of Hardenburgh in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps it would be fitting for his Japanese theme park though?

    The reality is, they will never do it. Having raised perhaps fifty grand Shimano probably figured he might just as well use the cash for a new Lexus as fitting his opulent lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  117. " lacked the urgency when you used the Rome metaphor as a way of saying it will take a very long time to oust Shimano,"

    I think that the time for urgency was missed.

    He is "ousted" (as of July 4 2010) from the ZSS governing board and I do not care how this played out in the past.

    If "ousted" means removed from DBZ and Shobo ji as abbott, I think it is necessary that it be done deliberately and with consideration for everyone, Eido Shimano included, involved.

    IF "oused" means dump him out on the street, I say no.

    If this knot takes the ZSS board "a while" to resolve ... GOOD FOR THEM!



    "it doesn't matter who the abbot of Zen Studies Society is?"


    Not really. There will be many abbots.

    I do think that Eido Shimano should not continue in the role of abbot at any monastery. I do think that to accomplish this the board has a real problem. I do think it best that the abbot at DBZ not fill that role at Shobo ji and I think no abbot should be seated on the ZSS governing board.

    "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" from the the lyrics of the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by Peter Townsend

    Thanks. I heard the GD sing it and assummed they wrote it. I did change gears at that point.

    New boss old boss = same boss

    Hierarchical institutions will always have a problem coping with "the boss" the "seniors" the "juniors" the "everyone else" and the attendant "egos" involved with holding high rank and/or the lack of such.

    I do not think this will change with a change of leadership. The problems will, more likely than not, be different ones. But, only if the egos involved are self restrained, will it make any fundamental difference in whether or not the institution is funtionally capable of compassion.

    Power (and its use) comes with form and, as the form is made of fallibility, the "I am right and you are wrong" struggles for "equality of voice" will not go away as and when Eido Shimano exits the stage.

    It is the Western idea of "equality of voice" that fundamentally energizes this struggle. It is now cast as a win or lose situation for ZSS and that, no matter what the outcome, will pound one more nail into the coffin of the traditional institution on the West.

    Good? Bad? I don't know. Just my sense of how this will play out.

    Again, a problem for the ZSS Board to grapple with, lose sleep over, and try to solve.

    For what it's worth, I think they will do the best they can do.

    ReplyDelete
  118. " ... that he, Roshi, was responsible for 80% in his close encounters with the second kind. Why didn’t he say 24%, or even 15%?"

    Would it not follow, if 24% or 15% were the percentage used, that Eido Shimano was not the primary instigator of the sexual liasons and power abuse? Is not 80% a "good number" in the case being presented on this blog?

    ReplyDelete
  119. Dear Anon August 5, 2010 1:33 PM

    Personally, I find your apparent overall lackadaisical acceptance of the pervasive dysfunction that continues to go on at ZSS disheartening at best. Actually I find it sickening!

    If this is the best we can expect from ZSS then I think the Maha Sangha or practitioners of good conscience should advise complete avoidance of the organization.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Thanks, Roshi, for all the hard work and honesty over the years. May you be at peace.

    Gassho.

    ReplyDelete
  121. From Spike--Regarding Eido Roshi stepping down: Believe during the last two decades ER stepped down from accepting new students twice at different times, on the occasion of naming two different dharma heirs who were then residents at DBZ.

    If you don't want to just whine/gossip/back-bench-bomb on this blog, try contacting the ZSS Ethics Committee directly at zssethicscom@gmail.com with your thoughtful and compassionate observations/suggestions on the relevant matter. I did and got a prompt and informative reply back from a guy I don't know/never met. Know that they are set to consult with a well-respected ethics institute. Know that they are critically reviewing their bylaws and ways to improve their board. Help them. Help their consultants. Thereby you help all involved, including ER, whom you must believe especially needs it.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Dearest Anon August 6, 2010 7:26 AM

    Agreed Completely. Stay Away.

    Dearest Rodaishi, So long, Dharma Brother. Thank you for all your wonderous work over so many years. Your work will last forever. My deepest sympathy and condolences to the Aitken family, friends, students and Sangha.

    ReplyDelete
  123. How trustworthy are the board and its derivative, ZSS Ethics Committee, after the repeated offenses committed by ER over so many years? I wonder, other than bylaw, why do we need outside consultant or adviser? If we cannot solve this by ourselves, we better close the shop.

    ReplyDelete
  124. "the pervasive dysfunction that continues to go on at ZSS disheartening at best."

    Please. Right now, what is it that "continues to go on" at ZSS? You must have very good sources of intelligence to be so disheartened.


    Speaking personally. Why does it "sicken" you that I simply think it best to wait and see what DOES happen at ZSS? Why is it so offensive that it well may take more time and compassion than you seem to think necessary to resolve this the best as it can be resolved?

    I feel sadness that you (and many others) are so angry and unwilling to trust that all is well just as it is. All is perfect just as it is.

    This is our refuge.

    ReplyDelete
  125. @REDdirt

    "You must have very good sources of intelligence to be so disheartened."

    That's for sure...

    "I feel sadness that you (and many others) are so angry and unwilling to trust that all is well just as it is. All is perfect just as it is."

    All is NOT well just as it is here. You are enabling a man whom has cause thousands, thousands of people damage over four decades! And all you got is, trust all is well and "perfect" just as it is. NO! I don't think so.

    Despite my duties as a Zen monk to refrain from anger, I have a right to be upset. Especially when it involves my family, all the people hurt and myself. It is my duty to speak the Truth and uphold it. This is NOT all OK, as it is.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Once I heard that Dharma never deceives.

    Once I heard that a Zen Master planned to
    refute the allegation of his sexual misconducts
    and to proclaim he was clean as white-silk, and
    out of sudden prior to proclamation a female
    student acknowledged her intimate relationship
    with this master.

    And also another story came up (Anon July 2,
    2010 3:02 AM)

    "The guidelines did not stop a Shimano Dharma
    heir not long ago from convincing a woman to
    leave her husband and small children to become
    his 'student' and relocate to Dai Bosatsu, nor
    did they stop him from initiating a sexual
    liaison with the woman while in residence at
    DBZ."

    Does "not long ago" mean "less than five
    years"? are they the same event as given
    by Anon August 5, 2010 11:07 AM, or different
    sickening events (one occured long time ago
    and similar pattern occured recently)?

    Be that as it may;

    A Zen Master planned to deceive, yet Dharma
    reveals the truth. Indeed, Dharma never deceives.

    My three bows to the women who bravely exposed
    their situation. They sacrificed for the future
    Zen students.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Ryushin Malone and Genkaku. If you spend as much time on the zafu as you do on the internet you would be enlightened right now!

    ReplyDelete
  128. If you were half the man, you'd be using your real name and not LYING, impersonating a dear friend of mine, Gomyo. But You don't mind lying about yourself, do you? You've already gone this far enough, why not keep lying. Live well with that.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Anonymous July 12 said...
    "I would be interested at this point if folks are up to attempting to define what we mean by abuse." Yes, I think that's a good idea too.

    Anonymous July 23, said...
    "This is the modern world, and *Adults have affairs*" You're on the wrong blog; we're talking about a priest in a religious charity here, a.k.a. a church.

    What follows below is a copy/paste. If you don't consider Buddhism to be a religion, and some zen buddhists don’t, then perhaps you can think in terms of how your father should behave towards your sister, or a friend towards your wife.
    ...
    What is sexual abuse within the ministerial relationship?

    Sexual abuse happens when someone in a ministerial role (clergy, religious or lay) engages in sexual contact or sexualized behavior with a congregant, employee, student or counseling client in the ministerial relationship.

    Sexual abuse can include physical contact from the person in the ministerial role, such as:

    · Sexual touch and "accidental" touch of sexual areas of the body
    · Tickling and playful aggression that seem uncomfortable to you
    · A prolonged hug when a brief hug is customary behavior
    · Kissing on the lips when a kiss on the cheek would be appropriate
    · Pressing up against your body when hugging
    · An inappropriate gift from your religious leader (such as lingerie)
    · Sexual intercourse with your religious leader

    Sexual abuse can also include verbal behavior initiated by a person in a ministerial role when such behavior sexualizes a relationship. Examples include:

    · Innuendo or sexual talk
    · Suggestive comments
    · Tales of his or her sexual exploits or experiences
    · Questions about the intimate details of your relationships
    · Looking for sympathy about his or her partner's sexual inadequacies
    ...
    Why is it wrong?

    Sexual contact or sexualized behavior within the ministerial relationship is a violation of professional ethics. There is a difference in power between a person in a ministerial role and a member of his or her congregation or a counselee. Because of this difference in power, you cannot give meaningful consent to the sexual relationship.

    Individuals usually seek counseling or support from their religious leader at times of stress or crisis. During these times, you are emotionally vulnerable and can be taken advantage of by a religious leader.
    ...
    Is sexual contact between a religious leader and me ever okay?

    Meaningful consent can occur when two people are relatively equal in power and when fear, coercion or manipulation is completely absent from their relationship. Clergy who are seeking a romantic relationship can do so outside their own congregations. If a religious leader becomes interested in dating or romance with a member of his or her congregation (though this is complicated and not advisable), the clergyperson must remove him/herself from a ministerial role in that person's life before ethically pursuing a relationship of this nature.

    Questions that need to be asked to evaluate if it is possible to pursue this type of romantic relationship include:

    · Was the ministerial relationship minimal in nature (no counseling involved)?
    · Is the religious leader willing to remove him or herself from the ministerial relationship?
    · Is the religious leader willing to be open about the relationship with the congregation?
    ...
    Mr. and Mrs. Eido Shimano, their clergy, and their Board of Directors know *all* of this, and they hide their shame behind secrecy and lies.

    ReplyDelete
  130. For the record, the above comment was not made by me. While it is possible that there is another gomyo around, it is more likely someone who doesn't want to identify themselves using my name to stir up trouble. I do enough of that on my own. Please stop using my name. To avoid confusion in the future I will log in before commenting so that imposters using my name will be easy to identify. If your name really is gomyo as well, get in touch.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Ryushin,

    "You are enabling a man whom has cause thousands, thousands of people damage over four decades!"

    I am enabling no one. I choose no side in this because there is nothing to choose.

    "And all you got is, trust all is well and "perfect" just as it is."

    That is all I've got. Trust is all that is necessary. Trust comes from faith and faith comes from experience. There is experienced in this refuge that which underlies, cuts through, all of this. This is what I mean by all is well and perfect just as it is. This does not negate anyone's suffering but it does help in dealing with it.

    "I have a right to be upset."

    Yes, you do. You also have the right to be purple with green stripes. As a Buddhist monk you have a duty to harm no being. You have a duty to embody the way of Buddha. So does Eido Shimano but that is not the point. You have no real control over him or any of his behavior, past present or future; you have control only of yourself and your behavior.

    "It is my duty to speak the Truth and uphold it.

    Perhaps. What is the Truth and how do you know that you speak it?

    I respond only because I wonder if you do violence to yourself in this, I wonder if you do harm to your being, although you may not see it so.

    Over this violence, you do have control and you do have a very clear duty to uphold.

    ReplyDelete
  132. A luminous man has honored our lives.

    Aloha Roshi, nine bows.

    ReplyDelete
  133. I had an abusive and alcoholic uncle who regularly beat his wife and children. (This is going back 30+ years -- before there were significant social support systems for such situations and people who were willing to avail themselves of it.) Nevertheless my aunt never left him. She bore 13 of his children. She died soon after giving birth to the last child. As the 3 oldest children reached maturity they formed a natural group that tried various things to stop their father e. g. get relatives involved, the boys even beat him up. Nothing worked. They couldn't change him and eventually they all left. The next natural actually tried defending the father for a while, then claimed that could handle him, but they too began to disrespect him as well and left , and so on. Out of the 13 Only four went to the father's funeral. Some of them are in turn have similar issues now that they are adults.

    There are so many parallels to what happened to that family and what's happened to the Sangha at ZSS I was amazed when the comparison occurred to me!

    Those that don't see the serious and still urgent problem with ETS and ZSS consider reading about dysfunctional families and dysfunctional organizations you might at least understand the point of view of those who see the problem as serious and urgent. Perhaps not, but you will have some useful information and might ask yourself and others some questions.

    Those that do see the problems, we need to recognize that just expressing anger and frustration at those who don't is not what's going help much.

    May we find skillful means.

    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  134. @REDdirt

    Paulo Freire challenges us with, “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."

    ReplyDelete
  135. Anon@August6,2010 10:12pm

    "May we find skillful means."

    Up column there is a suggestion that people contact the ZSS Ethics Committee directly with thoughts concerns ideas etc.

    I did so yesterday. Asked a pointed question and got an immediate response from a committee member. The response directly addressed my concern and answered the question. No ducking the issue involved, no changing the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Will Eido Shimano continue as abbot? Has this question been asked by anyone? I noticed ES is scheduled to be giving teisho and dokusan for golden wind sesshin in Sept. So, it appears he endures.

    ReplyDelete
  137. From Spike--"they (ER et al) hide their shame behind secrecy and lies." - Anonymous 8/6/10 7:20PM. Years ago when confronted with accusations of misbehavior, ER admitted "I have a problem." Probably, at least in part, why he stepped down from accepting new students after naming two dharma heirs (Junpo & Jiro) who at different times resided at DBZ.

    I have personally inquired about these matters with Sangha members, including current board members, whilst an occasional sesshin attendant at DBZ, and they never lied or kept secret. (I have/would never ask the long-suffering Aiho-san.) As for confronting ER, his admission was enough for me. I'm a sinner too.

    Researching a potential teacher is part of a due dilligence process that is a sine qua non. As AR states in his letter to ER at the head of this blog, there is a 40-year history (books, articles, pointed dharma talks by *eminent roshis* also available on recording, internet archives, etc.) of concerns about ER's relationships. Why anyone would ignore/discount this readily available developing history if it was a potential concern needs to be explained by those very students.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Ryushin,

    "Paulo Freire challenges us with, “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."

    Good point. Saying I will not choose a side is not the same as saying I am taking a "neutral" position or "I wash my hands" if these words means nothing but the status quo at ZSS going forward.

    That is not acceptable and it is not what is happening.

    I believe this struggle will play out quite quickly. The pressure on the board to resolve this is intense and it is being generated from inside the organization as well as coming from the outside.

    I choose to wait and see what happens in the next few months because what the board does next matters; to them, to the organization they represent, and, as you say, to all who care about a voice for all.

    Because of this, I wish them to make a good job of it, not a hasty one.

    We shall see now how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  139. From Spike--"Will ER continue as abbot? ..." Why in the world wouldn't you ASK DBZ or the ZSS ethics committee, and then get back to us??

    ReplyDelete
  140. From Spike--"What is sexual abuse in the ministerial relationship?" from Witless, 8/6/10, 7:20 PM. You left off the attribution for your cut-and-paste: The Faith Trust Institute. What a coinckydink! How prescient of you! The very organization ZSS has chosen to consult with, and who will probably be using those exact criteria named by you to evaluate this matter, while you accuse them (ZSS) of lies and secrecy!

    The shame is on you.

    ReplyDelete
  141. What brought 50 years of zenbhudism in America us?
    Websites like hoodiemonks, useless blogs and other nonsense! I think it is time to sit and pay no attention too clowns as Ryushin Malone!

    ReplyDelete
  142. Please feel free to sit all you want Komyo/Gomyo(the phony one)...

    ReplyDelete
  143. Komyo/Gomyo/Ekyo

    ReplyDelete
  144. Will ER remain as an abbot? Yes. Will he give
    teisho and dokusan? Yes. Will zen students
    hear his Teisho? Yes. Will they listen? Mostly
    not. ZSS board works hard to resolve this
    issue - the position of ER (which is so
    complex and entangled). In my personal view,
    the board should pick the vice-abbot and slowly
    relieve ER from his abbotship and give him a
    kind of emiritus status.

    The fact is board and ZSS members cannot decide
    with a haste, because the atmosphere is toxic.

    ReplyDelete
  145. If ER is allowed to give dokusan even after what he had been doing was revealed, it is equivalent to, officially and publicly, declaring ZSS has no problem with his conduct.

    If a person is found to be a child molester and if you still allow him to play with children, aren't you liable for the very judgment?

    What's a shame!
    The ZSS board should take the gravity of the ER's criminal conduct more seriously, putting higher priority on the issue to merely keeping the ZSS in disgrace.

    ReplyDelete
  146. Two new documents have been posted to the www.shimanoarchives.com page. 
These are very recent letters from Jiro Andy Afable, Shimano’s second Dharma heir, addressed to the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors.


    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/20100603_Jiro_Board.pdf

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/20100729_Jiro_Board.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  147. I will no longer post public announcements of the addition of new material to the shimanoarchive.com site, nor will I engage in dialog here, or elsewhere, concerning the policies and procedures of the University of Hawaii Archives or the content of archive documents.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Are the University of Hawaii Archives, which seemed to be the papers of the late Robert Aitken Roshi regarding his interactions with Eido Shimano, Roshi something other than the www.shimanoarchive.com?

    Who is this Archivist, someone from the University of Hawaii or someone from the shiamnoarchive?

    I ask because it is confusing.

    ReplyDelete
  149. The www.shimanoarchives.com site lists excerpts from only the second of the two letters from Andy Afable (Jiro) to the Zen Studies Society. These two letters were made public August 8,2010 10:35am (see above).

    Can not seem to find the first one (605) now. What just happened?

    ReplyDelete
  150. www.shimanoarchive.com is a website containing documents about Eido Tai Shimano retrieved from the University of Hawaii Archive. The "Archivist appears to be Kobutsu Malone (it's his address and phone number on the site).

    ReplyDelete
  151. If there is a concern that Mr. Shimano increased his personal finances, like his townhouse and bank accounts, through illegitimate means, a forensic accountant should be called in to get to the origins and legalities of any financial transactions.

    ReplyDelete
  152. " ... a forensic accountant should be called in to get to the origins and legalities of any financial transactions."

    Who will do that? Even right now it is not clear
    who will pursue legal proceeding against ES
    sexual abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  153. The State Attorney General certainly could accomplish such an investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  154. "The State Attorney General certainly could accomplish such an investigation."

    The next question: will they?

    ReplyDelete
  155. @ Anonymous 7:36 Am

    If enough people file complaints they will. Complaint form are here:

    http://www.charitiesnys.com/pdfs/char030.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  156. You're all fucking nuts.

    In 70 years, as yet another mystic impenetrable guy observed, everyone and everything you love will be gone.

    Quit your stinking, thoughtful responses, and go out and do something for someone besides yourself (not that you've actually been doing anything for yourself with your fancy denial - at least fat, vacationing Republicans get to look at something interesting while on vacations).

    Sitting on cushions for decades doesn't teach a child a language, vaccinate anyone, help a teenager with a learning disability to get a job, or save a species from extinction.

    I look back on my decade of "practice" with just regret, period. Your desperation to rationalize outrageous behavior (per some "Dr." above) or to mistake your brain having the wiring doing something that many just can't do anymore than YOU can run a 4 minute mile is just so ... pathetic. YOUR ALTERED BRAIN ≠ INSIGHT INTO REALITY.

    Aitken didn't cross over to anywhere. He's dead. And so will you be in a few years.

    Decide what you will do with your time accordingly.

    And you bet your sweet-asses I'm staying anonymous. Enough blah-blah-blah masquerading as inquiry for a lifetime already, thanks.

    Ciao!

    ReplyDelete
  157. I have only recently learned of two events that make me sad, but in very different ways. First, I mourn the death, but the very nearly-selfless life, of Robert Aitken Roshi. My sadness comes from the end of Aitken’s steady influence for peace and justice in our world. I pray that his disciples (and there are many) will continue his legacy.

    The second event that makes me sad is the recent public flap over Shimano Eido Roshi’s unrestrained love of women (just Google his name or the name of his Daibosatsu Zendo.) His latest sexual dalliance has resulted in him (and his wife) stepping down from the board of the New York Zendo. Unfortunately, Eido Roshi is not alone among Japanese Zen teachers outside of Japan in seducing or being seduced by his female students.

    I turn 75 this year. At least fifty of those years, part of them, were spent training in Zen monasteries in Japan. As a serious student of Japan and Buddhism, I witnessed the considerable restraint that “parishioners” (danka, in Japanese) impose on the Buddhist leaders in their neighborhoods.

    Those restraints come from rules that make it absolutely forbidden to father a child with a woman and refuse to marry her. I know of dozens of Japanese priests who have broken that rule and who have been summarily dismissed from their training temples.

    There is no similar rule in Japabnese temples governing the conduct of a married priest who has sex outside of marriage. But all of the priests who have done the latter have done so with a professional bar-girl, geisha, ets. I know of only two priests who have had sex with a female STUDENT.

    To be clear, there are no female students in the main Zen priest-training temples in Japan. The two instances I mention were foreign women who came to the priests asking to train with them privately. This is a post-war phenomenon, and similar to the situation we have in Zen centers outside of Japan.

    I think the sexual misconduct that has gone on in American and European Zen centers has taken place because the Japanese teachers have no parishioners to restrain their sexual urges. They have been treated like holy sages, gurus, whose every whim is taken very seriously. The could not easily get away with their behavior in their own country.

    What I have learned from all of this cultural and religious cross-breeding is how fragile our lives are. And how easily we damage them. Out of ignorance or selfish motives we fail to fulfill the very tenets of the Buddhadharma when we take ourselves so seriously that we feel we can tear down accepted social standards of behavior.

    Zen Buddhism seems especially guilty of allowing contradictory behavior to seem enlightened. But even Tibetan priests who left their Tibetan communities to teach foreigners have similarly been allowed to act upon their sexual urges with impunity.

    As I approach my last years in this amazing dance of life and death, marveling in the self-and-other trips we all must take, I can only hope that Zen and other forms of Buddhism with survive this crisis and not be characterized by it in Wikipedia forever.

    GTW

    ReplyDelete
  158. Hello GTW,

    Regarding your statement "I think the sexual misconduct that has gone on in American and European Zen centers has taken place because the Japanese teachers have no parishioners to restrain their sexual urges."

    I hope your primary intent is to empower sangha, if so I applaud you. However, I also hope that that it's only your phrasing which, to me at least, makes it sound too much like weak teachers are to bear too little responsibility for their actions; as though they are passive victims of their passions. Further, you make no mention of actions on the part of the larger sangha which would include the weak teacher's master and his (or her) peers. Perhaps you can elaborate here or on your blog, http://sugoisekai.blogspot.com/


    BTW -- You have an interesting blog:
    Sugoi Sekai - Wonderful World
    http://sugoisekai.blogspot.com/

    I enjoyed reading your essay on the term Roshi and it's use.
    I have never read or heard some aspects of succession that you assert with respect to Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Also the section on Dharma names is very interesting as well.

    It is good to have a true senior practitioner around who is willing to share and express himself collegially.

    ReplyDelete
  159. @GTW

    On your blog you translate "Roshi" as (老子), "Old Child" - Nelson 4696 and 1281. However within the Zen tradition the term is conventionally written (老師), "Old Teacher" - Nelson 4696 and 1562.

    Care to explain the discrepancy?

    ReplyDelete
  160. From Genkaku blog:

    ZSS is an independent non-membership
    corporation, there is no formal affiliation
    with any Japanese Zen center but there is
    informal relatonship with some Japanese Temple
    (with Shogen-ji for example). Also ES in 2004
    received prestigious award from Bukkyo Dendai
    Kyokai (BDK) as excellent Zen teacher
    (before this case being opened to the public -
    so BDK is also deceived).

    Any Japanese organizations are usually very
    sensitive to complaints and they will listen to
    us if they are notified. Here are the address of
    BDK in Japan and its reps. in America.

    Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai
    3-14, 4-chome
    Shiba Minato-ku
    Tokyo 108-0014 Japan
    Tel. (03) 3455-5851

    Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai and
    Numata Center for Buddhist Translation & Research
    2620 Warring Street
    Berkeley, CA 94704
    Tel: (510) 843-4128 Fax: (510) 845-3409

    Regarding Yamakawa, he is a very nice and
    honest Roshi. I think somebody should notify
    him (Shogen-ji)before he is dragged into this
    poisenous swamp.

    I am also sorry with current board members.
    I cannot blame them all. Some were elected
    recently but before this case opened to public,
    hence they did not know the depth of the
    problems. Yuho for example is still new
    (look at the year he was appointed as a board
    member). My feeling is that Yuho is also
    knew 'member' of ZSS so he did not know either
    the depth of previous scandals. This
    case could drag his professional career down.
    Contrary to common perceptions, Genjo is
    totally pissed off with ES. There is a writing
    in this blog that mentioned one of the member
    was a sex partner of ES before. It is shocking,
    because it directly points to the only female
    member of the board. She should resign first!

    Attorney General will not move if there are no
    complaints from any victims. Even if there
    are complaints usually they move slowly unless
    media (newspaper) takes this issue.
    Do you think BP would respond seriously about
    oil disaster in the Gulf without media
    coverage? Do you think Toyota would respond
    promptly and responsibly about the brake problem
    unless media reported it? One should not
    underestimate the power of the fourth column
    of democracy, the media.

    Regarding the non-membership organization,
    certainly this will make members of Shobo-ji
    more mad because they pay monthly due for ZSS
    membership. Is it the reason why there is
    no annual financial report? One can google
    Wikipedia and look for keyword Chester Carlson
    and find two references about financial
    matters that made Doris pissed off with ZSS.

    One more thing that made Shobo-ji members mad.
    ES in his teisho always emphasized zen students
    need to be honest and have gratitude. Yet in
    current situation, ES deceives everybody and
    feels no remorse (think and act as usual). He
    does not give an example of gratitude being
    supported financially and spiritually by
    Shobo-ji members, and acts as if this
    sangha is expendable. True unfortunate. If I
    were ES I would resign (or take a very long
    long sabbatical).

    ReplyDelete
  161. On August 11, 2010 Glenn Webb said...

    “…Shimano Eido Roshi’s unrestrained love of women …His latest sexual dalliance … seducing or being seduced…

    … As a serious student of Japan and Buddhism, I witnessed the considerable restraint that “parishioners” (danka, in Japanese) impose on the Buddhist leaders in their neighborhoods.

    Those restraints come from rules that make it absolutely forbidden to father a child with a woman and refuse to marry her. I know of dozens of Japanese priests who have broken that rule and who have been summarily dismissed from their training temples.

    There is no similar rule in Japanese temples governing the conduct of a married priest who has sex outside of marriage. But all of the priests who have done the latter have done so with a professional bar-girl, geisha, etc. I know of only two priests who have had sex with a female STUDENT.

    To be clear, there are no female students in the main Zen priest-training temples in Japan. The two instances I mention were foreign women who came to the priests asking to train with them privately.”

    Thank you for clarifying some of the moral standards that are applied to Buddhist leaders in Japan. Your statement that you “know of only two priests who have had sex with a female STUDENT”, finds resonance with the statements of Mr. Shimano’s former student Margot Wilke, a strong 87 years old at the time of her 1998 interview. “He thought Americans were stupid and had no bones about saying it. We were crude and uncivilized. He thought nothing of women.”

    These past ten days, with the passing of Robert Aitken, I am still quite concerned that no American intercultural voice will emerge to enliven his shoes. And thank you very much for your comments on this blog and for setting us straight on the standards that Mr. Shimano applies to himself.

    Having said that, Dr. Webb, with kindness I must say that we have progressed well beyond the use of biased phrases like “love of women” and “sexual dalliances” and “seduce”; the purpose of these phrases is to obscure the destructive nature of clergy sexual abuse. For at least twenty years, the words that are used to describe these cruel trespasses are “sexual intercourse with the religious leader” and “sexual abuse” and “a lack of meaningful consent to the sexual act”.

    It is self inconsistent, Dr. Webb, to say that priests who sexually abuse their students are outcasts, but to preface the rule with excuses that Mr. Shimano is “being seduced”. Fathers do not have ‘dalliances’ with their daughters; priests do no have ‘dalliances’ with their parishioners. Fathers who engage in sexual intercourse with their daughters do not possess an “unrestrained love of women”; same for priests. These are heinous acts against women and against their families and churches, and the correct terminology is “sexual abuse”.

    But to return to my debt, thank you again for shedding your light on this page. Mr. Shimano is a crafty old liar who continues to fill people’s minds with disinformation and incompetent training, and your pieces of truth are sincerely appreciated.

    Three days before Aitken Roshi’s death at the age of 93, he was interviewed by a journalist and the interview was taped. The journalist asked Mr. Aitken about his 46 year effort to help the stream of men, women and children who have been, explicitly or through their surrogates or through their parents, victims of the disastrous consequences of Mr. Shimano’s sexual abuse and the sexual abuses by some of his five “dharma heirs”. The collateral damage is in the thousands of victims.

    The journalist moved through his line of questioning, “…to be so interpersonally touched by it, and to be aware that it is one of the unfortunate by-products of Zen in the West, this one instance of…”

    And Mr. Aitken stopped him right there with a forthright rebuke:
    “It is not a by-product of Zen in the West. It is the by-product of a criminal mind.”

    Attach:
    1998 Interview with Margot Wilke:
    http://www.cuke.com/Cucumber%20Project/interviews/wilkie.html

    ReplyDelete
  162. The audio recording an excerpt from Aitken Roshi's last interview is here:

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/Xindex.html#papa

    ReplyDelete
  163. anyone know if a transcript of entire interview is available anywhere?

    ReplyDelete
  164. I must say I feel that Eido Roshi is getting somewhat scapegoated here. Not that he isn't guilty of really bad behavior, but I have been a member of 3 New York Zendos, and I'm pretty sure the other 2 Roshis were guilty of having sex with their students too. I just wonder why no one seems to mention them. Not only was one Roshi (a woman) probably having a relatinship with a student, but she went overboard giving her all sorts of special privileges, much to the shock and amazement of most of her students. This woman student appeared out of nowhere (I had been sitting there about 5 years) and got a PRIVATE jukai ceremony(up at her hometown in Maine) after spending NO time in the Zendo, followed by a Tokodo ceremony about 6 months later. The Roshi announced that she was going to break up with her long time girlfriend, never mentioning why. Obviously, we all knew what was going on. The other Roshi (who died recently) was an older man who basically dumped his long time partner (also a student) for another woman (also a student). Please. Let's be fair here.

    ReplyDelete
  165. It's hit the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/us/21beliefs.html?_r=1

    ReplyDelete
  166. Hollis Meyer-deLanceyAugust 21, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    After reading about this situation in the New York Times, I found this web site. I wonder why the primary concern is not with taking care of the people who were abused by Eido Roshi?

    Eido Roshi, by virtue of his position as a teacher, was able to engage in quid-pro-quo exchanges of sexual favors with his students, with or without their consent. Such exchange is, by definition, sexual abuse. When one sits down on a cushion or enters into dokusan she places all of her trust, her spiritual and psychological vulnerability, all of her power and self determination into the hands of the teacher. There can be no mind to mind transmission without a student opening herself in this way, no dokusan.

    People who are vulnerable to such exploitation are extremely trusting and innocent. An experienced abuser is able to identify such people and manipulate them so that all their power is taken away. Their psyche is violated, they are emotionally and psychologically emasculated such that they will probably never be able to return to the state of openness, trust, freedom, spontaneity, creativity, vitality, freedom with which they approached the teacher. They are traumatized by these events similar to someone who has been abused in a war or perhaps slavery, especially if they are in a social situation where the abuse and power of the abuser is reinforced by others and the victim's situation is not acknowledged or is even perpetuated by her treatment by others and her status within the group.

    Such a victim needs endless amounts of support, therapy, compassion, love, acceptance, affirmation, empathy, acknowledgement, empowerment, understanding to even have a chance of returning to a state of envisioning a possibility of happiness. This is our primary responsibility as Buddhists, human beings, teachers, transmitted teachers, dharma heirs, sangha members, Board members, corporate officers, trustees of corporate assets, women, men, sentient beings. Why isn't this the primary concern of all people involved in this dialogue? All of this other stuff is garbage if it hurt even one human being and should be forgotten about, it means nothing. Every person's assets. strength, position of authority, position on the Board, ability to vote on Boards, ability to speak, convince, engage in dialogue, take legal action, write articles, letters, cook food, give massages, sing songs, make videos, twitter, should go out to these women to love, support, affirm, empower, agree, apologize, care for them in whatever way they need. H.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Do not assume that such work is not taking place. It is not going to be talked about in a public internet blog however for obvious reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  168. True we should take care of the victims, but
    how is about the abuser? Will we tolerate
    another victims? In other words, should
    we allow or even encourage wars so that we
    can practise compassion to the victims? This
    unfortunate event is like two face of a coin,
    we should take care of both sides, the victims
    and the abuser.

    gassho

    ReplyDelete
  169. Some cannot see themselves in need of help despite all the evidence offered. Compassion (in the super-duper altruism sense) can strike such people as invasive and uninformed ... but also as useful to their self-serving ends.

    ReplyDelete
  170. The most compassionate way to take care of the abuser is to first place him/her in a position where he/she can not further abuse people.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Anonymous August 20, 2010 11:42 AM wrote:

    "I'm pretty sure the other 2 Roshis were guilty of having sex with their students too."

    You make a good point, but your examples do not seem to be indicate that there was an intolerable situation.

    The main problem with Eido we are addressing is that he frequently used his position and in particular the Dokusan (Soto: Daisan) Room to seduce and even sexually violate numerous women.

    Isn't that of a completely different magnitude than what you wrote other teachers did?

    Re: "PRIVATE jukai ceremony (up at her hometown in Maine) after spending NO time in the Zendo, followed by a Tokodo ceremony about 6 months later."

    The private jukai and the quick Tokodo sure sound wrong. Can you provide names and more details?

    "The other Roshi (who died recently) was an older man who basically dumped his long time partner (also a student) for another woman (also a student). Please. Let's be fair here."

    Also, sounds like something that needed to be addressed. But in this case the teacher is dead. Perhaps you can contact the former lover someday to get some clarity about the situation.

    The issue is what is reasonable to expect from non-celibate teachers who wish to be able to find relationships from within the immediate sangha. The sangha may need to allow for some understanding and compassion regarding handling these relationships; I am not sure that banning such relationships is going to work. Sangha with non-celibate teachers who seek out relationships within the sangha are going to be presented with a number of problems. But they shouldn't be unsurmountable. They should not be much more problematic than say the relationships of a minister or a rabbi with a member of their respective congregations.

    But accelerated advancement should not be tolerated by a sangha as they will be seen as wrong and will cast doubt on the entire practice unless their is a real reason. What would be reasonable? Case by case is the only answer.

    Perhaps others have clear insights to share and, perhaps, a better venue in which to share them.

    ReplyDelete
  172. BTW -- Regarding Shimano these are the type of things we are concerned about:

    http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2010/02/eido-tai-shimano.html?showComment=1266809003070#c710866874571087286

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/19820400R_Zen_Seduction.html

    Again, it seem to me, at least, that sexual advances such as the letter and the article describe are not in the same league as what you refer to regarding the other roshis. While in those case there was most likely sexual relationships with students, but I read both of those cases as rather normal serial monogamous relationships which may not have ended well not as habitual sexual abuse of students; but, if you think so, perhaps you should validate your feeling and thinking, then contact someone, or, in some way, do something.

    ReplyDelete
  173. To August 23, 2010 9:40

    I think the rule of the game is honesty
    and non-manipulative relation.

    We cannot prevent or forbid a roshi falling
    in love with a student. Yet this Roshi has
    to be open to the sangha, otherwise rumours
    and gossips, jealousy etc will arise and
    poison the sangha. To be open and honest,
    and usually the sangha will understand.

    Non-manipulative in the sense that this
    love comes into being because of mutual
    affection and no intimidation involved.
    Non-manipulative in the sense that a roshi
    cannot easily divorce existing partner just
    to pursue his/her libido just seeing new
    attractive members. It is difficult to write
    down, but one can easily detect if the
    relation is manipulative.

    Of course as a sangha member we need to
    understand that his/her partner will be
    special for the roshi, yet at the same
    time a Roshi needs to restraint giving
    excessive authority to his/her partner
    related to sangha's matters. The keyword
    is 'excessive'.

    Gassho

    ReplyDelete
  174. I would have thought the key word was (and I know it's a can of babbling worms) "love."

    ReplyDelete
  175. Stop calling Shimano "roshi" if you are critical of him. "roshi" SHOULD be, as it traditionally is, a voluntary honorific used as a sign of respect to an ELDERLY teacher. It is NOT a title, though that is how scads of American teachers, and too many Japanese, have come to recently use it.
    I personally feel that the term is almost abused beyond repair, but am at a loss thusfar as to what else to use. But after spending a week with at 85 year old teacher who was one of the most lovely people I've ever met, I naturally called her roshi. it fit.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Two pertinent items from the Genkaku blog:

    http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2010/02/eido-tai-shimano.html?commentPage=3

    Anonymous said...
    Not too long ago the ZSS posted a list of the names of the members of their Board of Directors on their website ethical guidelines page. Some time later that list was removed without comment.

    Yesterday an “insider” at ZSS revealed: Allegedly three Board members have resigned including the Board Secretary and Treasurer. One of the people to resign was Seigan Ed Glassing, a monk and long time supporter of the Shimanos.
    August 28, 2010 4:15 AM

    and

    Anonymous said...
    The resignees might consider that they are not officially off the Board for at least sixty days after their notification of intent according to the bylaws. The latest copy of the ZSS bylaws available to the public on the www.shimanoarchives.com site is from 2003. It states:

    Section 4 -- Resignations

    Any director of the Society may resign at any time by giving written notice to both the President and to the Secretary of the Society, or if they are unavailable, to two (2) directors. Such resignation shall take effect in no less than sixty (60) days from the date upon which it is given.

    It might behoove the three erstwhile Board members to reconsider and withdraw their letters of intent to resign; they can still sue ZSS for dissolution of the Board or appointment of a receiver based on deadlock. It might be helpful for them to consult with counsel since by announcing their intent to resign they appear to be holding to righteous ethical standards.

    The remaining Board members are likely deeply conflicted. The recent revelation that two of them sit on the three person “ethics” committee should raise big red flags to anyone considering approaching this “ethics committee.” This “ethics committee.” is just a cover name for appearances, another smoke screen. Anything that anyone reveals to them is likely to be used in defense of Shimano who the Board is allowing to remain as Abbot. Anything that is revealed to the committee in confidence is likely to wind up plastered on some random public blog in an effort to mitigate Shimano’s transgressions or paint a survivor in an unfavorable light however slight.

    Stay away from this sham… talk to an attorney; let your counsel deal with the ZSS Board.
    August 28, 2010 6:01 AM

    ReplyDelete
  177. I see that my post of a few hours hasn't been reviewed yet so maybe these additional questions about how the ZSS Ethics Committee works could be added to it. It's fine to even discard the previous post and just use this one, whatever the moderator thinks.

    Is the ZSS Ethics Committee only for complaints that fall within a certain time frame? And is it only for people who still go to the zendo right now? And is it only for people who could file a complaint with the police, say for a smallish sexual assault that's probably a misdemeanor (fine$ or short jail term)? Or even biggish, whatever, but you know what I'm saying. How recent does the abuse have to be?

    And since government type complaints have to be filed within a certain amount of time or I think that the police won't even write it down, I guess what we're wondering is: is the purpose to the Committee to stall, so that there is no where else to turn, or are they actually interested in helping people?

    Has anyone out there actually contacted the Committee and what did they say? We're just trying to get an idea of who the committee is and what their rules are and are they sincere.

    And no, this is not a joke. I know that it sounds ridiculous and it is ridiculous, and humiliating and embarrassing too, but we really want to know if we are walking into another trap before we talk to them. “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.” It's a weird situation to be in.

    And I may be repeating myself from my previous post because I can't see it yet, but does anyone know the names of the people who are on the committee? And is it possible to to just call them on the telephone at their homes instead of writing a big thing in an email to whoever reads the ethicscommitee@whatever.com?

    The ZSS 'ethical guidelines for conduct' are easy to find on the web and are common sense anyway, but are there also published rules that govern the Ethics Committee itself posted anywhere on the web? Or should we really be contacting a different Zen organization first, instead of participating in what seems like an experiment for the ZSS; it's just so hard to know who to trust.

    Thank you, if anyone has any advise besides “call a lawyer”, we would really be interested in hearing it.

    Which reminds me of one more question from the un-reviewed posting. If it is necessary to bring a lawyer to the meeting with the Ethics Committee, will the Zen Studies Society pay for the lawyer? And will the ZSS pay for a plane ticket for them to come to a meeting in New York?

    And will the ZSS reimburse them for the time they might have to take off from work to come to a meeting? Are they allowed to bring family members with them to the meeting and will the ZSS buy them plane tickets too? And if they need to stay in a hotel in New York will the ZSS pay for that, or will they be expected to sleep in the Shobo-ji zendo (which I don't think they will want to do).

    And will they have to talk to Eido Roshi or Mrs. Shimano? Are the Shimanos on the Ethics Committee? Will the Shimanos be on the premises? I don't think that my friends want to see them ever again but they do want to speak up and be heard.

    In fact, I am certain that my friends don't ever want to see the Shimanos again, they just said that into my ear on the phone.

    It's so confusing. It's such a creepy problem to have and it's such a huge waste of time and money and distress. Will someone please respond? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  178. This is an open letter to Eido Tai Shimano Roshi:

    Dear Tai San,

    There are many reports of your abuse of women published on the web which indicate that you have been involved in breaking the precepts over a period of more than 40 years. I would like to urge you to come forth and make a statement in response to these accusations.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Eshin Brenda ShoshannaAugust 29, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    It is with deep sorrow that I write this follow up letter regarding all the events, and recent revelations about Zen Studies Society. It was certainly shocking to read everything that has been posted online subsequent to my earlier posts, and to finally sit down and read the entire archives. Although I knew there were sexual relationships going on, my general impression was that they were consensual, and occasional. I also thought that this had ended years ago. I had no idea of all these details or the extent of what went on. The cover up was indeed incredible, right from the beginning.

    I apologize if my words or actions or lack of actions in any way caused or perpetuated pain for anyone. My heartfelt wishes are extended to all involved in this painful web.

    All these years of practice with Eido Roshi, I saw a very different man. I saw a man deeply dedicated to dharma, helping many, tireless, relentless in his pursuit of truth. But I only saw part of the picture. I was blind to much else that was going on. There are two people we are confronted with in Eido Roshi. We must face and deal with both of them.

    Most of us are familiar with the wonderful teaching, "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone." We are called upon to forgive and let go of anger and revenge. And yet this does not mean that we simply allow the same situation to go on. Forgiveness is a vital act and includes rectification and repair.

    Allowing things to go on "as usual" with some slight alteration in schedule and promises of future changes denies and minimizes what went on and the pain and suffering caused by it. It only exacerbates the problem and makes the Zen Studies Society seem unable to face and deal with reality - skillfully and justly.

    Unless there are real and dramatic changes, the pollution cannot be cleared up. This is an opportunity to actually put the teachings into practice - to actualize truth, purification, simplicity, humility, compassion for all involved and uncompromising honesty.

    There must be full respect for each member of the sangha and their needs and experience. Without a real respect for kindness and truth, it's not real practice. And, an individual who does not respect these values, and cannot be counted on to live by them, in my opinion can not be given any power at all over the lives of others.

    In order to regain some sense of honor and viability, it seems clear that the best course of action would be for Eido Roshi to take time away for a period of serious reflection without all the pressures, power and responsibilities he has had to undertake. This would give him a chance to face his situation and life fully, and make the changes he needs to make. It would help restore faith for everyone in the truth and efficacy of Zen practice. Otherwise it all begins to look like a sordid game we've all been caught in.

    As a protection against self serving practice, it is also vital to routinely include emphasis on the precepts and ways of practicing the precepts in daily life.

    I think it is also clear that a hierarchical, authoritarian structure of governance only exacerbates the possibilities for deception and harm. It perpetuates a sense of powerlessness and a distorted estimation of a teacher, as a greater than life figure, who has access to wisdom that the student does not. Clearly, this structure has also caused a deep feeling of powerlessness among the many women subjected to these unwanted advances, along with feelings of shame and guilt.

    If our dedication to practice is real, it has to be accompanied by real changes, by a willingness to let go of old, harmful ways and take a new road forward. Everyday we say, "let true dharma continue." It is time to actualize this teaching. Nothing less will do.

    Eshin Brenda Shoshanna
    August, 2010

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  180. You wrote all those words Brenda, all words that bolster your fantasy, and all you are calling for is, “In order to regain some sense of honor and viability, it seems clear that the best course of action would be for Eido Roshi to take time away for a period of serious reflection without all the pressures, power and responsibilities he has had to undertake.”

    Wake up Doctor, Mr. Shimano has had 46 years since being told clearly what is acceptable behavior. He doesn’t care… time, and time, and time, and time, and time again.

    The best course of action, the only single course of action that meets the fiduciary responsibility of the Board, is to remove him IMMEDIATELY and PERMATENTLY from his position. Not in two years – NOW. He can spend a period of time in serious reflection as a “civilian” where he can’t hurt anyone.

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  181. Well, it's a step I suppose, but she is still codependent with Shimano. Hopefully in time more clarity and decisiveness will arise.

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  182. not sure why this ZSS announcement has not made it on the blog yet:

    To our treasured Sangha,
    This message is to give you an update of current events.
    As you know, on July 4th, we accepted the resignations of Eido Shimano Roshi and his wife Aiho-san from the Board of the Zen Studies Society.
    Eido Roshi will actively continue in his role as Abbot until his retirement, but he will not be seeing new students for dokusan. He has set his retirement date for April 8, 2012, after which he will become Abbot Emeritus. Eido Roshi has said he will be available for dokusan to ordained and long-time students for as long as his health allows. New and old students will be able to do dokusan with Shinge Roshi Roko Sherry Chayat, who will be installed as Vice Abbot Dec. 31, 2010. Aiho-san Shimano, present director of New York Zendo Shobo-ji, will retire Dec. 31, 2010, and will become Director Emeritus. A new director of Shobo-Ji will be appointed later this year.
    The Board of the Zen Studies Society is working with the FaithTrust Institute, a multifaith organization that addresses ethical violations by spiritual leaders. As we have noted on our updated ethics page (www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html), if you wish to make a written comment to the ethics committee, the FaithTrust Institute will help us to respond and process everything in a timely fashion. The Ethics Committee can be reached at zssethicscom@gmail.com.
    In addition, the Board will be reviewing our organizational and financial structures. The Board asks for your support as we undertake these necessary steps to insure the integrity of our Sangha and its future as a source of health and wellbeing for all members. The ZSS Board can be reached at zssboard@gmail.com.
    We will continue to update you on developments. We are committed to being as open as possible through these difficult times.

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  183. To Anonymous post dated August 29th. 7:17AM. All good questions to put directly to zssethicscom@gmail.com they will answer you almost immediately. Then you can judge for yourself, if it feels safe enough to trust them. Alternatively, you can contact the FaithTrust Institute directly by emailing Rev. Marie Fortune (mfortune@faithtrustinstitute.org) who is working with the Zen Studies Society and she will research whatever questions you have and get back to you.

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  184. From Spike--on August 29th, 7:19 AM, Anonymous wrote: "Has anyone out there actually contacted the Committee and what did they say? We're just trying to get an idea of who the committee is and what their rules are and are they sincere."

    Yes. Here is the summary between me and Joe (Genjo) Marinello:

    August 5th, 8:31 PM. Gmailed asking for the following:
    1. Who are the outside professionals engaged in the investigation?
    2. Who are the members of the Ethics Committee?
    3. Would the ZSS Board consider recruiting 'outsider' Board members?
    Reply received 12:41 AM, August 6th, with full answers.

    On August 18th I gmailed a suggestion that the abbot, vice abbot, and possibly other staff positions be 'direct reports' to the board. Reply received 12 minutes later.

    August 20th, 6:57 PM, gmailed asking how to try to get Eido Roshi to apologize. August 20th, 7:55 PM, received ER's email address in reply.

    August 21st, 11:17 AM, gmailed re:
    1. NYT article (suggested appt. of PR person).
    2. Continued Dokusan by ER--legal and ethical considerations.
    3. Complete removal of fiduciary responsibility vested in ER and wife for ZSS.
    Reply received August 21st, 3:40 PM with full answers.

    I'm not going to paraphrase the replies without permission. You can ask yourself.

    In the same email, anonymous wrote: "does anyone know the names of the people who are on the committee? And is it possible to to just call them on the telephone at their homes instead of writing a big thing in an email to whoever reads the ethicscommitee@whatever.com?"

    Call them at home? They should be at your literal beck and call at home? Look, buster, if you want to call a couple of them at the published temple phone numbers readily available on the net, feel free. I guess email just doesn't get *personal* enough for you.

    ReplyDelete
  185. On Aug 29th, 7:19 AM, Anonymous wrote:

    --"Which reminds me of one more question from the un-reviewed posting. If it is necessary to bring a lawyer to the meeting with the Ethics Committee, will the Zen Studies Society pay for the lawyer? And will the ZSS pay for a plane ticket for them to come to a meeting in New York?

    And will the ZSS reimburse them for the time they might have to take off from work to come to a meeting? Are they allowed to bring family members with them to the meeting and will the ZSS buy them plane tickets too? And if they need to stay in a hotel in New York will the ZSS pay for that, or will they be expected to sleep in the Shobo-ji zendo (which I don't think they will want to do).

    And will they have to talk to Eido Roshi or Mrs. Shimano? Are the Shimanos on the Ethics Committee? Will the Shimanos be on the premises? I don't think that my friends want to see them ever again but they do want to speak up and be heard."--

    *(This reply is not associated with the RA Blog)*

    I'm sure ZSS still uses the Alqonguin Hotel to put up its honored guests, and Virgin Blue Airlines for travel. Just publish right here your itinerary, name, address, PHONE NUMBER, and SSN, (along with your credit card info, for a small refundable *good-faith* deposit), and my friend from Somalia will facilitate your plans.

    ReplyDelete
  186. Copy of post at Zen Forum International...


    I was very moved by Eshin Brenda Shoshana's comments, posted here on August 30th. I have copied them and sent them to the entire Zen Studies Society (ZSS) Board and the FaithTrust Institute (FTI), which is working with us to assist us in processing and discerning how to proceed. I know the ZSS Board wants to hear from as many current or former students of Eido Roshi who have equally taken the time to make a considered analysis, no matter how critical. The ZSS Board will be meeting soon with Eido Roshi and FTI and we are compiling a dossier of the most well thought out and considered responses; so this would be a particularly good time to share what you have to say with us. The ZSS Board can be reached by emailing zssboard@gmail.com.

    In our preamble to our Ethics Guidelines (http://www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html) we state: "If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, or are aware of ethical matters that need to be addressed, please email your written communication to the ethics committee. With guidance from the FaithTrust Institute, the Ethics Committee will respond and process every communication we receive in a timely and appropriate manner. The Zen Studies Society Ethics Committee can be reached by emailing zssethicscom@gmail.com."

    The Ethics Committee has the following three members:

    Yuho Carl Baldini, School Counselor, ZSS Board member,
    Keiun Clare Dacey, Social Worker
    and myself Genjo Marinello, psychotherapist and ZSS Board member

    In addition, during our association with FaithTrust Institute all ethics correspondence is shared with Rev. Marie Fortune and Rabbi Dratch for their analysis and input.

    If a new ethics violation is found it is brought to the full Board for appropriate action. If an old ethics violation is affirmed and requires some kind of remedy beyond the scope of the committee, this is also brought to the full board. Any request for anonymity will of course be respected. If a wounded party wants to deal directly with FTI they may write Rev. Marie Fortune at mfortune@faithtrustinstitute.org; FTI will then summarize the content of the correspondence for consideration by the ZSS Ethics Committee. We do request that all correspondence be submitted in writing in such a way that ZSS or FTI can verify that we are dealing with a real person.

    More often than not the "remedy" is just to be acknowledged and heard with assurance that appropriate action has been instigated; in other instances, the wounded party may suggest something more, or our consultants may suggest something more. If an apology or some sort of reconciliation is sought we will try to facilitate this.

    There is no statute of limitations on feeling wounded. If you have been wounded by an ethical breach as outlined in our Ethics Guidelines (http://www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html) please write us. Of course the Ethics Committee and the full Board is particularly interested in hearing any first hand accounts that have not already been "published" in some way, especially anything in the last fifteen years since the last known lapse by Eido Roshi.

    If you are someone or know of someone who has been wounded by an ethical breach by anyone at ZSS we encourage you or them to write us. Not only do we need to know, we want to know. A summary of what we find and any remedies taken will be made public, when we think we have received what we can from the current and former ZSS Sangha.

    With a sad heart and bow,

    Genjo Marinello

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  187. What is really disturbing is that the American Zen Teachers Association is in violation of their own membership admission charter by recognizing Sherry Chayat and Joe Marinello and other Shimano dharma heirs as Buddhist Teachers (herefore refered to as “Shimano Spawn”):
    “Has the prospective member received substantial training and been authorized to teach by an authorized teacher in a recognized Zen lineage?”
    Shimano and the Zen Studies Society own Board ruled they are NOT part of any established Zen Buddhist Organization ergo NOT part of any established lineage in any Zen Buddhist Organization:
    “"Dai Bosatsu Zendo and Shobo-ji Zendo are and will remain independent from any other Zen Buddhist Organization here or abroad." http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDF's/19821019_ZSS_Board.pdf

    There is no “lineage” that can be claimed by the Shimano’s Zen cult. This means that the alleged status of Shimano’s spawn – “dharma heirs” is totally without merit in the real Buddhist lineage tradition. Sherry Chayat is no more a Roshi in the line of Hakuin and Torei than you or I or anybody. Joe of Chobo-Ji is a bogus Osho of the Shimano Zen Cult because there is no lineage.
    To be in a “lineage” there has to an association by Dai Bosatsu and Shobo-ji with a recognized Zen Buddhist Organization.
    A hungry lawyer ( and there are plenty of those these days) could and possible should bring actionable cause of fraud against “Shimano’s spawn” and the Zen Studies Society for impersonating clergy.

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  188. Reposted from Barry Briggs' Oxherding Blog here;
    http://www.oxherding.com/my_weblog/2010/08/the-myth-of-compartmentalization-1.html#comments

    Genjo Marinello wrote:
    "In our preamble to our Ethics Guidelines (www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html) we state: "If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, or are aware of ethical matters that need to be addressed, please email your written communication to the ethics committee. With guidance from the FaithTrust Institute, the Ethics Committee will respond and process every communication we receive in a timely and appropriate manner. The Zen Studies Society Ethics Committee can be reached by emailing zssethicscom@gmail.com."

    The Ethics Committee has the following three members:

    Yuho Carl Baldini, School Counselor, ZSS Board member,
    Keiun Clare Dacey, Social Worker
    and myself Genjo Marinello, psychotherapist and ZSS Board member

    In addition, during our association with FaithTrust Institute all ethics correspondence is shared with Rev. Marie Fortune and Rabbi Dratch for their analysis and input.

    If a new ethics violation is found it is brought to the full Board for appropriate action. If an old ethics violation is affirmed and requires some kind of remedy beyond the scope of the committee, this is also brought to the full board. Any request for anonymity will of course be respected. If a wounded party wants to deal directly with FTI they may write Rev. Marie Fortune at mfortune@faithtrustinstitute.org; FTI will then summarize the content of the correspondence for consideration by the ZSS Ethics Committee. We do request that all correspondence be submitted in writing in such a way that ZSS or FTI can verify that we are dealing with a real person.

    More often than not the "remedy" is just to be acknowledged and heard with assurance that appropriate action has been instigated; in other instances, the wounded party may suggest something more, or our consultants may suggest something more. If an apology or some sort of reconciliation is sought we will try to facilitate this.

    There is no statute of limitations on feeling wounded. If you have been wounded by an ethical breach as outlined in our Ethics Guidelines (www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html) please write us. Of course the Ethics Committee and the full Board is particularly interested in hearing any first hand accounts that have not already been "published" in some way, especially anything in the last fifteen years since the last known lapse by Eido Roshi.

    If you are someone or know of someone who has been wounded by an ethical breach by anyone at ZSS we encourage you or them to write us. Not only do we need to know, we want to know. A summary of what we find and any remedies taken will be made public, when we think we have received what we can from the current and former ZSS Sangha.

    In addition if you are a current or former student of Eido Roshi, I know the board wants to here from you any considered comments or analysis you would like to make, no matter how critical. The ZSS Board will be meeting soon with Eido Roshi and FTI and we are compiling a dossier of the most well thought out and considered responses; so this would be a particularly good time to share what you have to say with us. The ZSS Board can be reached by emailing zssboard@gmail.com.

    With a sad heart and bow,

    Genjo Marinello"

    ReplyDelete
  189. Eshin Brenda ShoshannaAugust 31, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    In response to the post that said I am still calling for things to remain the same at Zen Studies Society, I ask you, (whoever the "anonymous" writer is,) to open your eyes. My entire wish is only for radical change at Zen Studies Society, in the direction of honesty, clarity, simplicity and equality. I am not a part of the board, the officers, anything, and I never,ever have been (over many, many years). I did not go to Zen Studies Society for political reasons. My actual interactions with Eido Roshi have been quite minimal over the past few years. I have clearly expressed the pain and distress I feel for those who were harmed. Beyond that, it seems to me, that if any concern at all is expressed for the well being of Eido Roshi as well as the others, that person is immediately villified. What has this attitude to do with real practice? Eido has made grievous errors, yes, he is in the grip of real illness and compulsion - and this must be addressed. I'm not saying he should remain as a teacher. He has to face what he's done. I am not covering anything up, but, also it really saddens me to see almost no compassion for him at all. This is not in keeping with the teachings...or with the simple facts of life.

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  190. Re: " saddens me to see almost no compassion"
    Dhammapada verse 83: "Buddha said, It is in the nature of the foolish to be full of sorrow and feel depressed when things go wrong, and to be full of gladness and feel elated when things go well. The wise, however, can withstand the ups and downs of life."

    ReplyDelete
  191. I found out that ZSS Ethics Committee composed
    of three persons: Yuho Carl Baldini, Genjo Osho,
    and Keiun Clare Dacey. And the first two
    persons are also members of the board (picked
    by Eido). Isn't it something fishy (conflict
    of interest) here?

    I do not understand the state of ethics of
    these students, still clouded after so many
    years practice Zen.

    ReplyDelete
  192. Re: " saddens me to see almost no compassion"
    Dhammapada verse 83: "Buddha said, It is in the nature of the foolish to be full of sorrow and feel depressed when things go wrong, and to be full of gladness and feel elated when things go well. The wise, however, can withstand the ups and downs of life."

    This is a matter of time and place of the teachings.

    You are promoting Fox Zen!

    Is this how did you answer the Koan of Hyakujo's Fox?

    "To understand clearly one has to have just one eye.
    Controlled or not controlled?
    The same dice shows two faces.
    Not controlled or controlled,
    Both are a grievous error."


    So, is Mr. Shimano correct in saying there are no Ethics in Zen?
    For 40+ years he has done as he pleases and lies when it serves him.

    Are you saying Zen students who are "wise" and who can deal with the ups and downs of life are free from feelings?
    Good luck with that!

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  193. There has always been a disconnect in my mind among the various schools of Buddhism. It has always seemed that the Theravada Buddhism was closer to many of the original teachings of the Buddha than the Mahayana. In Theravada Buddhism there is the Vinaya, the rules that govern the conduct of monks and nuns.

    Sexual misconduct is one of the biggest violations in the Vinaya. Dealing with it is the first of some 227 rules by one account. An interesting translation states that a monk who engages in any form of sexual intercourse is "Defeated." "Defeated" means that the offender is no longer a monk even if he continues wearing a monk's robe. The sangha will have nothing to do with him and will expel him.

    That's clear enough, but that's the Theravada school.

    Evidently, in several strains of Buddhism in Tibetan and Japan marriage by the clergy is permitted. We know that marriage is permitted by clergy in the Zen School (I have not read or heard anything about marriage by Korean or Chinese Buddhist clergy.) Probably we in the West should not refer to Zen clergy who marry as monks since the term is very ingrained in our culture, but as Zen clergy or may be Zen priests or perhaps we should use the less familiar terms "osho" for male Zen clergy and and "ni-ohso" for female Zen Clergy.

    Has anyone read or learned about an oral tradition that sets the analogous procedures for sexual misconduct by the clergy in schools within Mahayana Buddhism in general and in Zen Buddhism specifically in Soto and Rinzai Zen Buddhism?

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  194. This is what I know regarding marriage and
    priesthood.

    1) Tibetan monks do not marry. Lama is a
    priest, has two categories monks (celibate)
    and yogis (not necessarily celibate). Their
    garbs are almost the same.

    2) Theravadin monks cannot marry, they follow
    strict vinaya rules.

    3) Chinese/Korean monks depend on lineage
    (organization), some cannot marry,
    others may have families. As a rule of thumb,
    if they live in a monastry usually they are not
    married, while if they live in a community
    temple they are allowed to have a family
    depending on organization.

    4) While I was taking a ride to DBZ, I compared
    with Japanese friends about marriage tradition.
    According to them in Japan the rule is more
    relax, monks are free to marry (since Meiji
    Era), but a roshi in Japan (once again, in
    Japan) is supposed to not married.

    ReplyDelete
  195. re: "Are you saying Zen students who are "wise" and who can deal with the ups and downs of life are free from feelings?
    Good luck with that!"
    Please do the Buddha the courtesy of rereading his words carefully without your fox mind running so wild. I am just the messenger of the Buddha's words . You however ( Anonymous said -August 31, 2010 6:04 PM) have a message which is outside of the Buddha's teaching. You have become both Hyakujo and the Fox. Your point of view is interesting,
    The Buddha did not say the wise are free from feelings what he did say is that "the wise withstand the ups and downs of life". Examine closely the word "withstand".
    Definition of WITHSTAND
    1a : to stand up against : oppose with firm determination; especially : to resist successfully
    b : to be proof against : resist the effect of
    2archaic : to stop or obstruct the course of
    If you disagree please take up your argument with the Buddha

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  196. The apple never falls far from the tree.

    ReplyDelete
  197. no apple falling.... no tree releasing.... just your mind in motion

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  198. Dear Messenger of Buddha -

    So, what is your point? My argument is not with the Buddha but with his self appointed messenger.

    When Eshin wrote: "it saddens me to see almost no compassion (for Shimano)," YOU decided it was time become Buddha's messenger and use the Buddha's words to clearly slam her by demeaning her feelings by quoting "Dhammapada verse 83 at her."

    You could have kept silent and realized that this meant something for her. But you probably don't know that she has been struggling with her feelings and her student relationship with Shimano for decades, probably longer than you've been practicing, may be for more years that you've been alive.

    Signed: Sloppy Joe, The Foolish Fox Slayer

    ReplyDelete
  199. From http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com
    September 1, 2010 8:49 PM Anonymous said...
    August 31, 2010 Anonymous said...
    “He saw a woman crying outside the Zendo. She was evidently one of the last people to leave and Shimano saw her at the back of Sho Bo Ji. There was a brief conversation then Shimano suddenly reached out and fondled one of her breasts. He stopped when she did not react the way he hoped.”

    What year was that? I think that I may know this woman and if it is her then he had already sexually abused her, she was trapped in the secret, and he was trying to keep her quiet.

    Mr. Shimano is such an experienced predator that he knows when one of his victims is going to speak out, before they even know it themselves. And while he stalls them, he begins to tell his other students, usually in private and without witnesses, that he’s “worried” about the mentally unbalanced crying/angry student who is crazy (and therefore, not credible).

    Just like he did to Soen Roshi.

    Over the years at the ZSS, there have been many men and women who were crying or angry, but we were supposed to view them as being weak or insane or privately disturbed, and to ignore them and to “mind your own business”; a lack of compassion was part of the training.

    Over the subsequent years, I have trained with other organizations and we are quite free to ask people who are crying or angry, “Are you okay? Anything that I can do?” Like normal people do, you know? Normal.

    Here’s another anecdote that you may wish to consider:
    The wife of a former Director (a very decent fellow who realized rather quickly that the ZSS was not for him and he left), was up at Dai Bosatsu on a yoga weekend.

    She shared a room with a young woman who was being sexually abused by the Vice Abbot, and the Director’s wife was getting locked out of the room while these sessions of abuse were going on. And when the Vice Abbot was not in the room, the woman was distraught and crying.

    The wife finally moved up into the library and slept on the floor, which is a dangerous place to be because it is adjacent to Mr. Shimano’s room, but she was fine.
    ...
    The back door to Mr. Shimano's bedroom is from the library at Dai Bosatsu, and is one of his sexual hunting grounds besides the dokusan room.

    So there was another young female resident, about 21 years old, who we thought of as a bit vulnerable, but very nice. One day she was up in the library and Mr. Shimano poked his head out of his room, and said, I have something to show you, come into my room.

    So she went in. He asked her if she knew the difference between an uncircumcised penis and a circumcised penis. Then he lifted his robe and displayed his private parts.

    I asked her, so what did you do? She said that she told him that she had to go to the kitchen or something, and then she avoided him after that. Avoided him? Yes, she was trapped at the monastery and had nowhere else to go; she was our kessei student.

    And Mr. Joe Genjo Marinello has been hanging around with Mr. Shimano for 15 years, and he really expects us to believe that he has seen none of this? Not the penis? Nor the crying? Nor the anger? Nothing? And Ms. Sherry Roko Chyatt: no penis, no crying, no anger, no nothing?

    I have a request, dear readers: If you were at the recent dinner where our great-grand daughter student stood up, a student who is 50 YEARS younger than Mr. Shimano, and announced that she had engaged in sexual intercourse with him, would you please jot down your memories: who was there, what was said, how she looked, how long had she been stressed out, was she crying, had you seen her crying, had anybody offered to help her? And what’s up with Fujin, where was she?

    And then send it to Adam at genkakukigen@aol.com. Sorry to volunteer you Adam, but you were a newspaper guy and you know how to protect your sources. Maybe there is a better mechanism, but in the meantime everybody, please start jotting your notes.

    We must not abandon our great-grand daughter student nor should she be standing alone.

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  200. Ok – I’ll begin again, after many years…

    1 – Please remove Shimano as Abbot and not just from the board while remaining Abbot and seeing old students until the year 2012. How can this be accomplished?

    2 – Then and only then does it make sense for many of us affected to engage in thoughtful and constructive conversation about restorative justice, reconciliation, forgiveness and other such terms that have been used on the Aitken-Shimano blog. They are fine and meaningful terms even within the context of Buddhism, but to ask or expect this while Shimano remains Abbot is deeply troubling and makes it very very difficult to trust the existing leadership. This is not to mention the online report from a member of the ethics committee announcing that Shimano said that the newest young woman initiated a desire for a sexual relationship and he could not resist. That is ethical?
    The existing and documented history, both past and present is enough. Each time a category 4 Shimano-hurricane hits again, it is also on the backs of those of the many many many of us who were deeply harmed in the past and not heard. It is insulting to the efforts made by many people, including myself. It is also very painful and potentially re-traumatizing for some to recreate their story when it has already been documented or told to others. The silent eye of this hurricane is Shimano himself. That is why this entire blog started – with Aitken’s wisdom to call out Shimano from his center of the hurricane around which all this present distress circulates.

    3 – Can it be accomplished with a positive future outcome for Dharma heirs and long time students who have stayed with Shimano? Do you know that some of us are truly concerned for you?

    For example, the potential for great opportunity to look honestly and clearly at the reasons for 40 years of toxic consequences in a quest to become models of truly integrated Zen work are rich and waiting. It would clearly require humble requests for help and the addition of insightful and seasonsed Zen/Buddhist teachers and thinkers to offer direction on issues of clergy abuse and its ongoing healing. Other organizations have successfully cleared the way for new wine in new skins or emptying the glass full of defenses and just repeating the same old same old.

    4 – Then there’s the land. It’s beautiful at DBZ. The lake, the moss along the paths, trees actually growing out of the cracks in boulders, the Jizo looking down across the lake. That’s why I personally tried to stay. I was hooked on the sound of the rain on the roof during a gathered sitting, the bell in the distance, and opportunity to cook for my Sangha. And,then, “the color of everything.

    In it’s way the land also speaks. How about freeing this as well and seeing the creative potentials as being done by “The Order of Mountains and Rivers” at former John Daido Loori’s monastery. Off the cushion and finding the immense life in such relationship could be part of the transition and healing – how to treat life and relationship with each other. Our world would be grateful that some genuinely try. If all my suffering was to realize this, then I would say I am on the more fortunate side of things here.

    Joy

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