floating_abu wrote: the situation looks blacker than black.
Yes. But it's also changing. This is from Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser, Osho (of the Albuquerque Zen Center)
"The oshos of Joshu Sasaki Roshi are deeply troubled by the allegations of abuse involving some of the students who have practiced at our centers."
"In order to thoroughly address this matter, on the weekend of January 5-6, 2013, the Mount Baldy Zen Center will host a meeting for the oshos of our community together with an independent, professional facilitator trained in addressing such matters. We will also invite representatives of the Mt. Baldy Board, the Rinzai-ji Board, as well as members of the ordained sangha to attend. This meeting will be the necessary first step to clarify within our organization what is an extremely difficult and complex issue. We welcome any suggestions or comments that sangha members might have regarding this meeting and the issues to be discussed. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Please email us at email@example.com
from here: http://sasakiarchive.com
Let's not rule out the possibility for productive civil discourse on an exceptionally difficult topic like this one. I think the above proposal is one attempt in this direction, and I am very happy to see it.
For myself, I've only had positive interactions with students of Sasaki Roshi, including a weekend retreat I attended about a decade ago that made a deep impression on me. FWIW.
You are a sweet one, Jikan.
Brad Warner also has a piece on it somewhere: http://hardcorezen.info/therell-always- ... gland/1496
But the initial commentary and framing from Eshu Martin and on the blogging site SZ I did not disagree with. I don't have an issue with the topics at hand though and as I have also sat with Sasaki in recent years, and saw him in action, I can say he is second to none in his teaching and realisation. How he conducted himself through the 50 + years of his teaching I cannot say, but as a newer student, and one who had visited many centers and teachers over the years before then, I will be forever grateful for the truth of that being that he showed and taught.
The naturally arising questions from a statement like that, are not ones I can answer over the internet and again I would encourage people just to talk to the real people and places if they are interested in practice, but not just as fodder, because that would be useless. There are many women who have already spoken on this topic elsewhere but there exists no forum for objectivity or appropriate representation it is true. The internet would just be a poor place for it all though really, there is nothing that can be said that will not be misconstrued. Reminds me of the conversations I cut short with well meaning Christian friends who suggest that meditation will cause possession and Buddhism is the work of the devil...sometimes it is hard to convey context and the second point is is it even necessary. I don't mind that Christians tell me that my meditation practice can cause me to be possessed, because I have my own experience and insight to evaluate that by, they can agree all they want, I understand why they say the things they do and respect that they have reasons for how they think and what the believe - but that is it. And sometimes I think it is similar to this discussion: I can see why people say the things they do, but that is their choice and prerogative based on what they have been told - but in this case, from a selective, motivated representation that I have criticised previously. Again, I do not have a problem with the topics, but I do have a problem with how it has been done, the purposeful representation in a way that I find not so nice. But people can say and believe what they wish, and they will, isn't that how it all works?
Again I cannot talk for all of Sasaki and speak only from what I saw and experienced. I would also add that I do not believe that Sasaki is a saint - I do not believe in that frame in any of Buddhism actually - I also do not believe that sex was ever taboo for Sasaki the way it is taboo for many of us. Just as in many Muslim countries, kissing is prohibited in public or penalty is expected, we all have our own confines. I watched a movie the other night called "Anonymous"; in it the guy (the anonymous Shakespeare) was shunned by society and his family because he wrote - an activity frowned upon by God, deeds of the low class only. I am not
writing this to suggest that anything goes. It does not - clearly, and I would still stand up for anyone who could be hurt - and in Buddhist circles this includes faux teachings whereby people are seeking the truth. I also would be sorry if Sasaki did cause harm in his past which I do not know about. I am, though, pointing out the fine line between social norms/customs/context and activities of harm/hurt - such as the rapes committed by Eido or the assault of children. It can be hard to see, but there are differences at work, and it is a pity, yet accepted, that people would wish to conflate the two.
And so in summary, I don't think it mattters anymore: people can condemn all they want..and I have spoken my experience elsewhere enough. That said, I think the essence still matters though. I saw a statement today that said Sasaki has not taught since January of last year, he is too sick and old now, in very poor health. Yet, I think, if people criticise or mistake him I don't think it is a big deal - he is more than that - but if he has left behind even one good (true) student, then he has served us all well - and that is not an easy task to accomplish for his teachings. I saw him teaching to the bone under pain, exhaustion and difficulty living in a tiny hut - yet he persevered and that type of spirit cannot be faked, nor can the truth and level of his teachings.
And I recall Ajahn Chah's story:"As a woman, I couldn't have a lot of contact with Ajahn Chah, and I couldn't be sent to study with Ajahn Sumedho either. Instead, Ajahn Chah suggested I practice with the American nun, Kum Fah. Kum Fah was very inspiring to me. When I left Thailand, I decided to ordain as a nun in England at Chithurst. After a time, Ajahn Sumedho organized a group from England to return to Thailand. One of the things we were looking forward to was reconnecting with this very inspiring nun. To our surprise, we found that Kum Fah had become a rabid born-again Christian. It was very distressing to see that this person had become so different than before. Furthermore, she was very keen on putting down Ajahn Chah and converting us to her views. Ajahn Sumedho went to Ajahn Chah very upset about the way Kum Fah behaved. Ajahn Chah simply said to Ajahn Sumedho, "Well, maybe she's right."
In this world, actually anything goes. And so what remains ultimately true and immutable? There could only be one thing IMO.