SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: MORE Sex Scandal Finger Wagging

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: MORE Sex Scandal Finger Wagging



    Following up on a prior talk by me called Sex Scandal Finger Wagging (Link Here), I now wish to call out some other damn foolish behavior witnessed in the ongoing big hoo-hah about Sasaki Roshi at SweepingZen.Com ...


    I wag my finger at those so invested in their religious or other heroes and "gurus", their idealism and romanticism about "Enlightened Roshis", that they are blind to serious failings, look the other way even when seeing the reality before their eyes, try to explain things away, try to compartmentalize the wrongdoing as somehow unconected to his otherwise "Enlightened Nature", accuse the whistle blowers for the whistle blowing and, as a final escape, characterize years of sexual harassment and abuse and other serious flaws as actually "a Great Spiritual Teaching" "Skillful Means" or the like. Baloney.


    I tsk tsk those who go to the other extreme and label all Zen Teachers as frauds, hollow Robes, corrupt, use these events as an excuse to reject all Buddhist Teachers as unhelpful and even harmful, and participating in Sangha guided by a Teacher as not "real Zen". More Baloney. For 2500 years, in China, Japan and all the rest of Asia, Zen and Buddhism has been largely a Tradition bound, Teacher based path ... and the so called "Zen Iconoclasts" were pretty darn conservative actually. You have little understanding of Zen history.


    I also call out (a little bit) Adam, the publisher of Sweeping Zen. SweepingZen is a valuable resource to the Zen Community, an effort to offer an alternative to the mainstream Buddhist magazines that often seem to present a certain purified and pablum view of Buddhism. SweepingZen is providing a real service to all of us by shedding light on some dark corners and serious issues which, I expect, will leave this Way stronger and better rooted in the end. Other Zen Forums have often tried to sweep such things under the rug, paint a rosy picture of Zen, silence critics and whistle blowers. Adam, as the editor of the publication, needs to develop a bit more of a thick skin to those who do no want such hard questions discussed, and wish to shoot him as the messenger for bringing the message. However, I also think that he may need to exercise a bit more editorial moderation to make sure that discussion and commenting stays civil, avoids mud slinging and falsity and rumor, as in any reputable news publication and all within the bounds of Right Speech.


    I wag my finger at Kuzan Peter Schireson and his wife, Myoan Grace Schireson. Although I am big fans of both, and a friend, and support Grace's efforts at prevention and healing of situations of abuse in the Zen Community (even as I think that it is sometimes a bit extreme), I believe they both stepped over the line in making and sticking to descriptions of Brad Warner that are false, twist and wrongly malign his character. They should apologize in the clearest terms for having done so, and they have not done so. Shame on them for that.


    I also wag my finger at Brad Warner (although I forgot to mention this in the video), for being so up in arms about sarcastic postings and a comments section at SweepingZen that is open and a free-for-all in which false accusations and rumors and sharp words can sometimes be left without check ... much the same editorial policy (or lack thereof) that Brad has maintained on his own blog for years. That's the pot calling the kettle black. Brad should get his nose out of a twist and support the efforts being made at SweepingZen as an alternative Zen online magazine ... the kind of place where Brad should fit right in.


    I wag my finger at Buddha, Hui-Neng, Dogen and all the Ancestors for faults that we don't know about because they were likely scrubbed up in history after they were dead.


    Finally, I wag my finger at myself ... for wagging my finger at everyone else, and probably pissing off more than a few of the wagees. And also, for any faults and failings of my own. May my students someday write about me honestly, for better or worse, both while I am alive and after I am dead.


    Last edited by Jundo; 12-15-2012, 08:20 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Myozan Kodo
    Friend of Treeleaf
    • May 2010
    • 1901

    #2
    Wisdom.
    Gassho,
    Myozan

    Comment

    • Koshin
      Member
      • Feb 2012
      • 938

      #3
      This fool thanks you for this teaching, foolish teacher

      Gassho
      Thank you for your practice

      Comment

      • Mp

        #4
        Wonderful, thank you Jundo.

        Gassho
        Foolish Michael

        Comment

        • Seimyo
          Member
          • Jan 2012
          • 861

          #5
          Thank you Jundo.

          Gassho.
          Chris

          明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

          Comment

          • Dokan
            Friend of Treeleaf
            • Dec 2010
            • 1222

            #6
            Good talk and nice to have sensibility to the mess that the whole subject became.

            Gassho,

            Dokan

            PS - Up on podcast!
            We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
            ~Anaïs Nin

            Comment

            • Daitetsu
              Member
              • Oct 2012
              • 1145

              #7
              Actually, I didn't want to write anything about this whole thing, but now I am doing it nonetheless...
              IMHO the whole mud throwing at the moment causes as much harm to the whole Zen community as the scandal itself.

              Of course, a Zen teacher is only a human being with faults.
              Of course, we shouldn't idealize Zen teachers, putting them on a pedestial.
              Of course, we shouldn't call all Zen teachers frauds.
              I agree with the things Jundo said above...

              BUT:
              I expect from a Zen teacher that he/she has internalized Zen/Buddhist teachings and really lives them. I expect that he/she really lives Buddhist practice - yes, with occasional "slips".
              The Schiresons could have said something like:
              "Sorry, we said some really harsh things in the heat of the moment. We are deeply sorry." and Brad could accept it "Never mind, after all we are all humans."
              This would have been mature, something natural, understandable - an example of reconciliation.

              But instead I see more mud throwing, false accusations - from people who should be well aware of the Eightfold Path.
              No, I don't expect Zen teachers to be perfect, faultless.
              However, I do expect that they really live "Right Action", "Right Speech", etc. And yes, I would still consider it normal if they slipped back into old habits.
              I do expect that a Zen teacher - to express it a bit naively - is above average when it comes to living the Eightfold Path and the Precepts.

              When I see the behavior of the people currently throwing mud into Brad's direction, they look like children in a sandbox. Not like someone practising Buddhism, and certainly not like someone who is a Zen teacher (AFAIK with Dharma Transmission!).

              Right Speech and Right Action are BASICS of Buddhism.
              And when someone not just forgets this in the heat of the moment, but shows a long-term lack of understanding of these teachings, I could never take them seriously as teachers.

              Again, no, Zen teachers are not perfect, and I don't expect them (or even want them) to be - but I expect a certain minimum standard (don't know a better expression right now) and not a behavior that would be fitting for someone who has never heard anything about Buddhism in their whole life.

              I have seen already how newbies in the Zen world were appalled by the current display of Egos and the seemingly total lack of compassion and even will to understand each other.
              The whole thing is harmful for the "Zen world". Probably more than many are aware of right now.
              And it threatens to push the "actual scandal" into the background.

              There would be a lot more to say, but I think I have already written too much.


              Gassho,

              Timo
              no thing needs to be added

              Comment

              • RichardH
                Member
                • Nov 2011
                • 2800

                #8
                I was moderating on a forum that became a battleground when the Shimano affair hit the fan. It was ugly, but at the same time there was a slow transformation that was interesting to see... a bit like the stages of dying,... denial, bargaining, acceptance.. etc. Everyone has a shadow, maybe unseen to themselves, being a shadow and all. Finding right and wrong on a sliding scale where everything is "perfect as is", will always be applied by a slippery self interest, and that is why we have the more objective measure of the precepts. I agree Timo..
                However, I do expect that they really live "Right Action", "Right Speech", etc. And yes, I would still consider it normal if they slipped back into old habits. I do expect that a Zen teacher - to express it a bit naively - is above average when it comes to living the Eightfold Path and the Precepts
                So how about it? The buck stops here and there is always a need for new people to bring the Dharma to the world.

                That's my two cents on scandals. Gassho, kojip
                Last edited by RichardH; 12-16-2012, 03:09 PM.

                Comment

                • Nenka
                  Member
                  • Aug 2010
                  • 1238

                  #9
                  Originally posted by LimoLama

                  There would be a lot more to say, but I think I have already written too much.
                  No, Timo, you said it just right.

                  Jen

                  Comment

                  • ZenHarmony
                    Member
                    • Feb 2012
                    • 315

                    #10
                    Timo >

                    Gassho,

                    Lisa

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39074

                      #11
                      Originally posted by LimoLama

                      BUT:
                      I expect from a Zen teacher that he/she has internalized Zen/Buddhist teachings and really lives them. I expect that he/she really lives Buddhist practice - yes, with occasional "slips".
                      No 'buts' about it. What you said is what I expect too.

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Myoshin

                        #12
                        Yes the distance must be kept between a teacher and a student. I have one example. Arnaud Desjardin (who had a ashram in France) who knew Deshimaru went out with Dalida, a famous italian singer known around the world, even in US where she played at the Carnegi hall in the late '70. Arnaud was first his teacher, then they felt in love of each other, Arnaud asked to Dalida to stop her carrier to live a spiritual life in India, to sacrify her carrier to live their love relationship. Then she visited the master of Arnaud who said she must continue to sing, that's a great treasure she brings to people. Returning in France, she broke up with Arnaud, and continue her carrier. Unfortunately in this story she lost a lover, and a teacher. Peace to Dalida who commited a suicide in 87 and to Arnaud who died last year at 86 years old. I have a little souvenir of Arnaud who answerd to a letter I wrote when I decided 6 years ago to look for a spiritual path. He made a mistake, but I think his teaching are profound reading his book and looking to his documentaries.

                        Sorry for this long post

                        Gassho

                        Yang Hsin

                        Comment

                        • Dosho
                          Member
                          • Jun 2008
                          • 5784

                          #13
                          Thank you Jundo.

                          Gassho,
                          Dosho

                          Comment

                          • Myoku
                            Member
                            • Jul 2010
                            • 1487

                            #14
                            Thank you Jundo
                            _()_
                            Myoku

                            Comment

                            • charst46
                              Member
                              • Jan 2009
                              • 28

                              #15
                              I have been following this incident on Brad's blog. I don't know very much about the Sweeping Zen site but have seen a lot of mud being tossed around by all the parties involved. I understand some of Brad's position and also some of the Schireson's positions. I like both groups work. The back and forth has been rough. Both groups have managed to get themselves into a position where they look fairly silly. Their actions have brought about resulting actions and these continue to echo. Hopefully, they will take responsibility for themselves and clean up all the crap that has been slung on the rest of us.

                              That said, this affair has been instructional. I have learned that if I place someone on an altar then the only person who gets fooled is myself. I have respect for both camps and tended to turn a 'blind eye' to their humanity; I had placed them on altars not accepting them as fallible humans. My education has been moved along by coming to understand this.

                              Sex scandals are notoriously messy particularly with our culture's morays being what they are. It is easy to slide into a sanctimonious position just as easy as it is to slide into one that turns a blind eye to misdeeds. A person needs to be very balanced indeed to avoid falling into either of these or to be able to step back and acknowledge some thoughtless reactions.

                              I take as a learning that balance gained from sitting properly needs to be and can be used to walk through life.

                              Comment

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