Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities

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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:31 pm

You haven't supported your position
and again, are just dodging issues.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby HePo » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:10 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sara H wrote:
For the record, a "Zen Master" has a very clear established definition
.
Thank you. What I meant was that in the context of this conversation "Zen master" had not really been defined.
up until your excellent post.


This "established definition of Zen master" might be used in OBC circles, it is also limited to the OBC.
I am curious, Sarah what you think the Japanese equivalent would be of Zen master - the way it is used in OBC.

If you would take this "established" definition serious - you would have a difficult time finding one Soto zen teacher (outside the OBC), in the West or Japan who would meet these criteria.
Actually, I don't think even Jiuy kennett would. (She did not spend a great deal of time at Soji-ji)

Also, don't forget celibacy in the OBC only became required in 1985 - when I was at SA in the 70's being married was not a problem.
For alll those zen teachers who have been recognised and authorised by the Sotoshu (Japanese Soto Zen organisation) to teach Zen, celibacy has not been an issue. Actually the last head of training at Eihei-ji was a married priest.

By Sarah's "established definition" Shunryu Suzuki was not a Zen master.


from Wikipedia

Zen master is a somewhat vague English term that arose in the first half of the 20th c., sometimes used to refer to an individual who teaches Zen Buddhist meditation and practices, usually implying longtime study and subsequent authorization to teach and transmit the tradition themselves.




ps this post is not meant to criticise OBC, only the use and validity of the "established definition".
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:12 pm

shel wrote:
Jikan wrote:It [the title of Zen master] has institutional meaning.

Unicorns have meaning. That doesn't mean that they are more than mythical creatures.


Unicorns do not have roles in any institutions I am familiar with. You are speaking at the level of make-believe. The rest of us are trying to describe something that happens in people's lives, in situations where those lives are led (in temples or Dharma centers for instance).

It is a means of authorization, and hence authority and legitimacy as a source of knowledge or instruction.

I don't understand, how is a mere title a means of authorization?


We're not talking about mere titles. We're talking about roles. The role of the Zen master is one of authority and legitimacy, much as the role of professor or school principal is. Unless you attended a school run by a unicorn...?

It may be true that some lightweights have chosen to call themselves "Zen master" whatever on whatever whimsical, unicorn-like basis they have available to them. There are extensive discussions about them in the Zen sub-forum here at DharmaWheel. Their illegitimacy is public knowledge.

It's one thing to go around claiming you're a school principle or professor when you're not. It's another thing to go around claiming you're a unicorn. Different kind of meaning, no?

EDIT: following on HePo's post... I'm using the term "Zen master" in basically the sense given in the wikipedia article, which is generalized in English-language discussions.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:16 pm

Shel,

I'm trying to understand the trajectory of your argument here. Are you dissatisfied with particular persons who call themselves Zen Masters, all persons who call themselves (or are called by others) Zen Masters, or with the institutional position of the Zen Master?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:17 pm

HePo wrote:By Sarah's "established definition" Shunryu Suzuki was not a Zen master.


By shel's definition, he was a unicorn.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:12 pm

Sara H wrote:they [Zen masters] are not free from Greed, Anger, and Delusion, and therefor, still have greed, have anger, and have delusion.


Interesting!

If logic serves... if Zen mastery doesn't mean being free from greed, anger, and delusion, it appears that Zen Buddhism doesn't mean being free from greed, anger, and delusion. How can that be?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:19 pm

Jikan wrote:
shel wrote:
Jikan wrote:It [the title of Zen master] has institutional meaning.

Unicorns have meaning. That doesn't mean that they are more than mythical creatures.


Unicorns do not have roles in any institutions I am familiar with. You are speaking at the level of make-believe. The rest of us are trying to describe something that happens in people's lives, in situations where those lives are led (in temples or Dharma centers for instance).


Ren Jender is also, in the OP article.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:25 pm

shel wrote:
Sara H wrote:they [Zen masters] are not free from Greed, Anger, and Delusion, and therefor, still have greed, have anger, and have delusion.


Interesting!

If logic serves... if Zen mastery doesn't mean being free from greed, anger, and delusion, it appears that Zen Buddhism doesn't mean being free from greed, anger, and delusion. How can that be?


When I was a Zen student the same question came up and was answered by Zen teachers. One response, from a Zen lineage holder, is that Zen masters see their errors faster than other, often immediately and have the opportunity to respond or fix the issue as it arises.

The other issue is that after kensho people can be free from the poisons for periods of time. People can lengthen these periods of time but they have to work at it. Eventually deeply enlightened people in a Zen sense can really be free of greed, anger and delusion. However I have not heard a Zen teacher actually say this.

The real utility for Zen Buddhist practice is to be able to quickly see the poisons as they arise and then stop them or at least deal with them.

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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:53 pm

This thread is not about what characterises a Zen master, this thread is about "Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Buddhist Communties". One more spate of off topic posts and it will be locked.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:12 pm

There seems to be a concern that there's a connection between Zen Master-ness (defined vaguely) and the capacity or even inevitability of abuse in Zen centers and communities.

is this the claim?

if so, is this claim plausible? on what basis?

more broadly: who is responsible for the trend toward abuse and harrassment in Buddhist communities, most often (it seems at least) in Zen communities? what are the causes of this violence, and how can those causes be rooted out? what does it take to build a Buddhist community that is not characterized by such abuse? I assume that this is the outcome we are all interested in.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:21 pm

Jikan wrote:what does it take to build a Buddhist community that is not characterized by such abuse?


I've suggested that the title of "Zen master" be dropped. It may be true that a rose by any other name is not as sweet. But this ain't no bed of roses to begin with.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:56 pm

The article happens to bring up the example of a Zen teacher, but cases of sexual abuse and harassment are to be found in all traditions. It would be relevant to ask if (statistically) the cases of sexual abuse and harassment in Buddhist Communities was above the average levels of sexual abuse and harassment in the widespread community. If the answer was yes, then it would be a cause for specific concern (regarding Buddhist Communities). Then one could say that there are specific factors within Buddhist Communities that promote sexual abuse and harassment.

If the rates merely reflected the rates of the general community, then it would be case of finding a general solution to apply across the board. It seems to me to be a case of "jumping the gun" if we enter into a frenzy of dismantling structures that we feel (based on a chip we are carrying) cause the sexual abuse and harassment without even having looked at whether they are actually the source of the abusive behaviour.

To start classes (however well meaning) warning "white girls" about how to deal with the "sleazy yellow guys in robes" when Bureau of Justice rape statistics show that 56% of those arrested for rape offences in America were "white", 42% were "black" and only 2% were "other" is a bit racist, especially when you consider that in 88% of rape cases the victim and offender were of the same race anyway! :shrug: http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/SOO.PDF

And to even raise as an issue whether a Zen (or any traditions) Master would sexually abuse students, or whether somebody that sexually abuses students can be called a spiritual master hardly requires debate now does it?

Let's get real for a second!!!

This discussion reminds me of what happens in a coop when one chicken happens to get a spot on their feathers. Nobbody has stopped to examine the spot, everybody is too busy pecking each other to death.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sara H » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:09 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sara H wrote:For the record, a "Zen Master" has a very clear established definition.

Thank you. What I meant was that in the context of this conversation "Zen master" had not really been defined.
up until your excellent post.
:thanks:




Oh You're quite welcome PadmaVamSamba!
:smile:

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