Dear Dharma Wheel,
I would like everyone to take a good, long, hard look at this:
...We're never going to get a straight answer out of these people. Can't everyone see that? They are showing you how they behave. Here. Evasion, puffery, false piety, passive aggressive attacks, dodges, feints, continually shifting names, allegiances. How can this in any way be considered a serious Buddhist organization? (Well, actually, it can't.)
Question: What can I possibly say to overcome such anger, accusations, and negative opinions?
Answer: Nothing. Not one single thing.
It has been asserted that Zen is about truth. While that is correct, what Jisahn108 wrote is not truth. It is opinion.
Here is truth according to Zen: Charama typing black words on white computer screen at 8:18pm, Eastern.
That's it. That's all that is true at this moment. That is Zen.
I don't know Jisahn108. I don't know what his accomplishments are, what his educational background is, what he does in life. I know nothing about him other than he doesn't like me, my Order, my teacher, my friends, our names, or the way we interpret Buddhism. That much is crystal clear.
Lynch changes the name of his bullshit college, and manages to attract that motley bunch I referred to.
I am part of that "bullshit college" and I am likely one of the "motley bunch."
I resent both statements. I take what I do very, very seriously. And I am hardly motley. (My wife would tell if I were.)
These are all people who got caught up in some fantasy about robes and bowls and accoutrement and Asian Dharma names etc, some type of evangelical zeal for Buddhism (that will not last I guarantee you), and Lynch starts giving them titles and their own Zen centers INSTANTLY. Which is what drew them to a fake teacher in the first place - they follow this same pattern, all of them, from Foster on down.
Nobody I know at Five Mountain Zen Order has any fantasy about "robes and bowls and accoutrement and Asian Dharma names." Not one single person. I know psychologists, teachers, anesthesiologist, nurses, marketing professionals, consultants, authors, salespeople, and acupuncturists in the Five Mountain Zen Order. None among them are caught up in any fantasy. About anything.
Some 20 year old kid, who says he's a master of 20 martial arts, becomes "National Vice Abbott", and later more; other guys are made "Bodhisattva Monks", abbots and what not.
I take offense to Jisahn108's denigration of our Abbot.
I know that "20-year-old-kid" (Wanji Dharma or Thích Đức Tâm). I know him well. He possesses what appears to be a photographic memory. He is a walking Sutra, able to quote, at length, passages from a wide variety of Buddhist texts. On top of that, he has a tremendous heart for people. He is an extremely accomplished student of Zen, a fantastic teacher, and a serious and committed Abbot (not Vice Abbot as Jisahn108 stated). I consider it an honor to know Wanji Dharma.
I hold the title of Bodhisattva Monk. But my title could change tomorrow to Bodhisattva Priest. Or janitor, for all I care. What does the title matter? Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Do not attach to anything. Do not make anything.
Lynch needs to build a network of influence and money making on the only model he knows - Kwan Um. Seung Sahn built that thing up remarkably quickly, attracting some pretty capable folks quickly due to his charisma and ability (I know it has struggled more recently with him gone.) Lynch is doing this pale imitation at every turn, meanwhile just lying all along the way to try to get the freaking balloon to inflate. It's really actually incredibly pathetic.
Once again, this is opinion. Not facts. Not truth.
As I've mentioned before, the Five Mountain Zen Order is not set up to be a "money-making" venture. We're all freakin' poor, dude! We volunteer our time. No one pays me a dime. The other teachers are not raking it in, either. They struggle, just as everyone does. Wonji Dharma has taught me from Day One that this isn't about money. Or prestige. Or notoriety of any kind. It's about helping people.
I have been taught to serve others, without financial remuneration or even thanks. That's what the Five Mountain Zen Order is all about. I am truly sorry if you don't believe that. But it's true.
So, somehow he got connected to these Vietnamese folks, and this older clearly nearly defunct organization. Clearly no one involved there has the first idea about the internet, or cared to do any research about Lynch at all. he said he was this that and the other, which is his specialty. They say ok, wow, a Dharma brother, we'll bring him in. He's enthusiastic and willing and this thing is dead on the vine anyway, so great. In the last few months he went from just saying he's on the board or whatever, to folding his obviously failed online college into theirs, gives himself a doctorate and one to his "barely legal" Vice Abbot, who gets to now add Dr. to his totally inflated credentials - just like his teacher, might I add. It is absolute ridiculous. And at some point, laws either have been or will be broken. Lynch clearly has ZERO regard for the truth or for reality. he will say or do whatever it takes to be seen as a Zen authority, and to make whatever admittedly pathetic living he's making having gone all in to the Zen fantasy as he has. It's clear money isn't his main motivation. Power is what he craves - admiration and influence. To be the "Great Zen Master." That's all he wants. His students want that too - and no doubt he's promising transmission, as he gave to Foster within months of simply declaring himself a zen master out of the blue. It is frankly all just disgusting.
How can you make all those assertions without knowing any of us? I can't even begin to fathom the sheer size of the cojones it takes to make broad-stroke assertions like that. Not only is Jisahn108 besmirching sincere, dedicated people like Dr. Chitta Dharma and Dr. Karuna Dharma and what he calls their "clearly nearly defunct...dead-on-the-vine" educational efforts, he's making the libelous claim that "laws either have been or will be broken" by Paul Lynch and others in the Five Mountain Zen Order, and that "Lynch clearly has ZERO regard for the truth or for reality."
Dharma friends, let me ask you something. Why is what Jisahn108 wrote considered "truth" while what I have been writing is not?
1. As I wrote, we will post the document from Ven. Dr. Chitta Dharma and Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma that transferred the Buddhist Studies Institute - Los Angeles to our Abbot and the Five Mountain Zen Order. It will be available on our web site within a couple of weeks.
2. As I wrote, Paul Wonji Dharma Lynch will post information about his authority to teach on his own web site. When, I don't know. But he told me he would. So it will be done.
3. If any other opinion or assertion here requires follow up on a Five Mountain Zen Order site, we'll do so. If not, we won't.
Silence does not have to mean lacking "evidence" or "facts" or "truth." Sometimes, it can mean taking a high road, not speaking ill of anyone, wanting to spend time and energy serving others rather than getting involved with unquenchable controversies.
My offer stands: If you'd like to get to know me and others in the Five Mountain Zen Order, please feel free to make yourself at home on my Facebook page. Or strike up an e-mail correspondence. I may have time for a Skype chat, too.
For what it's worth, I'll be around. But I've said all I care to in this thread.
Thank you, everyone, for your time reading this.
"If you want to attain your true nature, you must have Great Faith, Great Courage, and Great Question. It is like a three-legged stool...With these supporting your practice, you can attain your true self. You can attain universal substance, and attain your correct way, and truth, and make your life correct. Then you can help all sentient beings get out of suffering. That is our job."
- Zen Master Seung Sahn
Compass of Zen