SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39065

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

    ... and other reflections on "When Roshis Act Ugly, Small And All Too Human" ...

    Before I add my small voice to the many calls of condemnation of Eido Tai Shimano "Roshi", and demands for his self-reflection, dismissal and disgrace (more here from James Ford) ...

    http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/20 ... o-zen.html

    ... I would like to reflect on the overall question of when Buddhist teachers act with human weakness, ugliness, seemingly against all that they stand for.

    I think it a fallacy to believe that Buddhists, no matter the level or depth of the practitioner, are ever completely free during this life from being just human. It is a religious, heroic image created by the many old Buddhist stories which scrubbed clean all the tales of the ancestors of the past, robbing them of every flaw and placing them on golden pedestals. A Buddha or Ancestor (Jesus or any Saint in any religion) dies and ... century by century ... those in the religion (looking from afar at what those attainments actually were on the part of their "religious heroes" and with need to depict their power) start to imagine, fantasize and exaggerate the wonderful nature of the teacher and teaching into something super-human. What was merely "Great, Profound and Wonderful" must become "Mysterious, Wondrous and (often) Ridiculous". The result is called an "hagiography"

    In any large group of people ... whether Zen priests, other Buddhist, Christian or Jewish priests and clergy of all kinds ... there will always be examples of greed, anger and ignorance. Furthermore, in the lifetime of any one individual ... even among the best of us ... there are sure to be moments of greed, anger and ignorance.

    All human beings, from 'Great Bodhisattvas' right on down to the rest of us, are human beings ... and that means rough edges, cracks and ugly spots, flesh, fallings down and flaws. (At least, of course, until we eventually become Perfect Golden Buddhas ... assuming that even those ideals reside anywhere beyond our flawed human imaginations) Human beings are human. That includes Zen and other Buddhist teachers, no less.

    And it is a breath of fresh air that we finally realize so about Buddhist practice. It is also a chance for the true POWER of this practice to manifest ... for it is a practice for flawed human beings who wish to be better. The true value of this Buddhist Way is proven there.

    What matters most is what we do with those flaws in life, how we live as human beings ... with a bit of grace, ease, non-attachment, wholeness, peace, at-oneness and sincerity, great Compassion and Loving Kindness toward our fellow flawed beings. Practice does not remove all our human rough spots, but it allows a wild and imperfect stone to be imperfect (perfectly imperfect) yet simultaneously material to be polished into a jewel ... so many rough edges made soft and round. The Precepts are a guide for constant moment-to-moment practice in "not falling down". One cannot polish a tile into a Buddha ... but the constant polishing is Buddha.

    What our Practice does accomplish, if diligently followed, is to free us from the worst (at least among most long time practitioners I know ... apparently, not so for Eido and his ilk). It does work to make us better people. (In fact, most clergy I have met ... not just Buddhist clergy, but of all religions ... are good, caring, ethical people, the bad apples like Eido Shimano aside). Most of the Zen teachers I have met ... especially those with a few years and some maturity under their belt ... tend to be lovely, gentle, well rounded, self-actuated, moderate, compassionate, healthy people - balanced, living life with fullness and well. It would be a shame if someone like "Eido Roshi" were taken as representative of all Buddhist teachers everywhere, or used as the basis to claim that the Buddhist Way is without value ... for the countless good and decent teachers are proof otherwise.

    Now, the reason (in my opinion) to condemn someone such as Eido is --not-- because he is a Buddhist clergy who had a sexual affair with a student or several students. That, unfortunately, is all too human and is a matter between consenting adults (although there are great possibilities of the teacher taking advantage of his/her position vis-a-vis the student even there). The reason instead is because he clearly engaged in decades of horribly abusive sexual conduct which hurt the victims deeply and profoundly, then added to the hurt of victims in order to protect himself, then covered it up time and again, seeking to whitewash his reputation. It now appears that he was aided in this by people around him. Few (Aitken Roshi and a few others being the exception) spoke out until now, for there is a tendency in the Buddhist world to look away, hoping that the problem will simply vanish or be dealt with by the wrongdoing teacher's own students (in this case, despite countless promises, it was not). Thus, it is time for bodies such as the American Zen Teachers Association to have some means to censure teachers who violate the ethics accompanying their positions of trust, and to force such teachers and their students and Sangha into repenting and reform. Shame on them for not doing so until now, shame on all of us for not intervening more.

    Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link:

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    .
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Nenka
    Member
    • Aug 2010
    • 1238

    #2
    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

    Ah, this guy. I don't even know where to start. Wait, yes I do. Thank you, Jundo, for speaking out about this, for signing the petition to remove this man from all positions of authority, and for not pretending this is just about some "inappropriate sexual relationship with a student or two." The man is a predator . . . I don't want to get into it, but for those who don't know, you may start here at the Shimano Archive:

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


    It's religious authority figures like this--and especially the people who protect them--that make me cynical and, frankly, afraid to join any religious group. On the plus side, though, I have been impressed with the number of people speaking out, whether or not it does a lick of good in this particular case.

    I should also add that I have a certain degree of compassion for Eido Shimano. The man is clearly unwell, and he may never get the help he needs if everyone around him continues to pretend everything is just fine or a smear campaign or whatever.

    Sigh.

    Gassho,

    Jennifer

    Comment

    • Myozan Kodo
      Friend of Treeleaf
      • May 2010
      • 1901

      #3
      Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

      Jundo, you are right. Cover ups are not acceptable. The Irish catholic church still needs to learn this one. Also, no section of society (secular or sacred) is above the law of the land. If a sexual or any other crime has been committed in any case (roshi or not) the proper authorities should be notified. And where the law is unclear but clearly an unethical action has still taken place, then some other formal redress is also needed, while avoiding the excesses of a 'witch hunt'.
      These are general comments, not specific to any case. But just for clarity, i think a teacher and student cannot have a sexual relationship of any kind. There is an inherent power imbalance which always makes it problematic. Gassho, Soen

      Comment

      • Ronchan
        Member
        • Nov 2010
        • 119

        #4
        Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

        Thank you, Jundo, for this.
        It is not a well known subject in my part of the world, but, like Jennifer says: it's the reason for mistrust, getting cynical about these "leaders" etc.
        (tnx for the link, Jennifer. A lot of food for thought there). And it is not something new or something to act surprised about. History just keeps repeating itself.
        I must admit that it touches on reasons I had NOT to mention belonging to certain groups, clubs or of being a buddhist to anyone for years.

        I think you are right in suggesting a means to censure, it won't be before its time. But could this present AZTA body handle this?
        And would it be enough?
        Thanks for speaking out, Sensei,

        Gassho,
        Ronald.
        With gentleness overcome anger. With generosity overcome meanness. With truth overcome deceit.
        Buddha

        Comment

        • Geika
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Jan 2010
          • 4971

          #5
          Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

          Originally posted by Jundo
          I would like to reflect on the overall question of when Buddhist teachers act with human weakness, ugliness, seemingly against all that they stand for.
          Someone also made another similar topic over there, begging the question: "why are sometimes people in this high regard sometimes more easily able to do something that most normal people would never do?"

          However, there are plenty of "normal" people willing to do horrible things out there, so I think it might actually be a mute point...

          Originally posted by Jundo

          Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dww36pxwaHI[/video]]
          The "policing force" you talk about could simply be a bit more courage from the students?
          求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
          I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

          Comment

          • Shokai
            Treeleaf Priest
            • Mar 2009
            • 6391

            #6
            Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

            It is not my place nor my intention to become entangled in discussion or even contemplation of the political and/or moral standings of the clergy of any religion. As a licensed funeral director for fifteen years, I witnessed some of the "human weakness, ugliness, seemingly against all that they stand for," of reverands from most denominations; the highly respected Anglican Minister who succumbed to a myocardial infarction in his mistress's boudoir, the Baptist Pastor who hung himself because, the Catholic Priest who ....... , etc., etc. ( We as funeral directors handle each case on its own merits, non-judgmentally and in strictest confidence.) I agree there is probably a need for more rigorous policing in all groups and I commend those that do but, how does that relate to us and our individual practice. How do we reconcile our own condition with respect to our relation to the precepts. Each of us has our own koan to grapple with do we not.

            Remember the Daruma's challenge?? "fall down seven, get up eight !"

            To my mind, Jundo's primary teaching for today is:

            "The Precepts are a guide for constant moment-to-moment practice in "not falling down". One cannot polish a tile into a Buddha ... but the constant polishing is Buddha."

            thank you for that,

            gassho,
            合掌,生開
            gassho, Shokai

            仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

            "Open to life in a benevolent way"

            https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

            Comment

            • Engyo
              Member
              • Aug 2010
              • 356

              #7
              Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

              "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing" and similar phrases have been attributed to Edmund Burke.
              No matter who said it, I have seen it often enough in my life to agree with it whole-heartedly.
              Thank you for continuing to address this issue, Jundo.
              Gassho,
              Don

              Comment

              • Myoku
                Member
                • Jul 2010
                • 1487

                #8
                Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                Buddhist teachers are no golden blades of grass, there are no golden blades. Thus, when someone hurts then he's not having a clear view. As when we clearly see what is, we wont hurt. Even if it happens that we cut our finger with knife, we wont do that over and over again, but will improve our awareness and presence, so that it wont happen again. Punishing someone who had gone wrong is not hurting, but actually helping him (or her, you know that) to get back to the right path.
                _()_
                Peter

                Comment

                • Seiryu
                  Member
                  • Sep 2010
                  • 620

                  #9
                  Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                  Buddhist teachers are not free from all problems.(heck, I the Buddha had some issues that were kept out of the sutras) but as I see it when it comes to using your position as a teacher to your advantage in a negative way, well then whether you're a Roshi or just some guy on a zafu, it is unacceptable. Someone who does that should do some deep reflections. Teacher are not suppose to be perfect, but they should at least be aware of their shortcomings and have them under control to a reasonable degree.

                  On a side note; I had visited his temple in NY a while back and it was beautiful! Eido was there when I visited but I never spoke to him. So when I heard about this i was saying to myself, "Woah, I actually know who this is about."

                  Gassho

                  Rafael
                  Humbly,
                  清竜 Seiryu

                  Comment

                  • Shohei
                    Member
                    • Oct 2007
                    • 2854

                    #10
                    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                    Thank you for adding a voice to this Jundo.

                    Gassho
                    Shohei

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39065

                      #11
                      Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                      This is a letter I just posted to the AZTA (American Zen Teachers Association). I am not a particularly senior or influential member there at all, so it will likely mean next to diddly squat. However, I am ashamed at myself for being silent too long. I am ashamed too that ... once again ... there seems to be a consensus gathering among many "teachers" to allow the Sangha involved to handle this internally, and work out some kind of "honorable departure" for Mr. Shimano.

                      Rev. Kobutsu Malone told me about this case a couple of years ago. I stood silent, because it was "not my teacher, not my sangha, not my problem". However, now that the details are crystal clear ... on the wrongdoing and the years of cover-up ... no one can stand silent. Mr. Shimano must not be allowed an "honorable exit", the Sangha that covered this up for decades can not be allowed to handle it and "work it out".

                      I am posting it here as the best place I can think of to say this. Shame on us if this is papered over again ...


                      Dear All,

                      I will briefly speak as a newer member of this organization, junior to many
                      people here whom I respect whose opinions may differ. For the first time since
                      joining this body, I am ashamed.

                      This is not a normal case of a teacher who, perchance, had an affair with a
                      student, or a drinking problem, or bought himself a BMW with Sangha funds, or
                      other like personal or minor fault. Nor is it something that happened over the
                      short term or recently.

                      Instead, this is the story of a teacher who engaged in case upon case of serial
                      sexual abuse for decades, all while his Sangha and students looked the other way
                      and covered it up, all while many here knew yet chose to do nothing. I know that
                      Mr. Shimano is too just a victim of greed and ignorance, the real culprits here.
                      However, at the same time, a teacher of the Precepts who intentionally acts
                      again and again, over decades, to harm the innocent, showing little if any
                      remorse in case after case, repeating the harm over decades with no
                      self-reflection ... is a kind of monster in our midst. Shame on us for not
                      decrying this in the strongest terms, allowing any kind of "honorable exit".

                      Thus the calls of "give them more time to work it out" are about 10 years too
                      late. They have had years, and chance upon chance. To "give them more time" and
                      allow a "graceful exit" for Mr. Shimano is not the right answer here. He must be
                      condemned by all of us in the strongest and most unambiguous terms, we must deny
                      him any respect (his years of service do not outweigh the damage done here), the
                      members of this organization must denounce the years of cover up, we should
                      publicly admit our own role in not doing enough. Moreover, we must now publicly
                      turn our backs on Mr. Shimano. Furthermore, we must turn our backs on the ZSS
                      ... treat them as persona non grata ... unless and until they exhibit real
                      reforms.

                      If it were a case in which such events had happened but once or twice, or nobody
                      in the organization knew, or there had not been cover up after cover up for
                      YEARS then my opinion would be different. However, this is our moral equivalent
                      of the child abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church. If we allow Mr.
                      Shimano to make a graceful exit, if we allow things to be papered over again ...
                      our own shame is compounded.

                      Our students are watching. Right now, opinion I am hearing among people
                      observing is that the "teachers of the Precepts" look like a bunch of hypocrites
                      trying to protect their own.

                      Shame on all of us.

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Ronchan
                        Member
                        • Nov 2010
                        • 119

                        #12
                        Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                        Jundo,
                        Thanks again for this.
                        With you all the way, Sensei

                        Gassho,
                        Ronald.
                        With gentleness overcome anger. With generosity overcome meanness. With truth overcome deceit.
                        Buddha

                        Comment

                        • Nenka
                          Member
                          • Aug 2010
                          • 1238

                          #13
                          Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                          Deleted.

                          (Eh, I've said enough.)

                          Comment

                          • Shogen
                            Member
                            • Dec 2008
                            • 301

                            #14
                            Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                            To see evil and do nothing, through avoidance of effort to correct it, is truly relinquishing the Bodhisattva vow.
                            Polishing a rock to make a mirror is not possible but each stroke is Buddha Activit truly applies here. No matter what the outcome of your efforts it is still the effort that matters. Thank you Jundo for your efforts. gassho zak

                            Comment

                            • Shonin
                              Member
                              • Apr 2009
                              • 885

                              #15
                              Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eido's Shame ...

                              Thanks to the links provided i've spent a good portion of the day reading the archives. All i can say is WOW! No shit?!? I think the matter is pretty clear-cut and simple. Boot the fuckhead.

                              Comment

                              Working...