Astus wrote:dzogchungpa wrote:I can certainly agree with that. I guess 'guilty' just sounded somewhat harsh to my ear. However, I do feel that Sasaki's fault is really of a different order of magnitude than that of the women he abused.
Agreed. However, to avoid future incidents, studying the actual teachings of the Buddha and the masters should be emphasised. It is really saddening that only a handful of Zen teachers tell people more than how to put their buttocks on the cushion.
I believe this statement is not only false, but extremely so. In fact, I do not think you could turn up any mainstream American Zen teacher who teaches nothing beyond sitting Zazen, and the overwhelming majority emphasize to their students the Precepts and Right Action, including "not misusing sexuality" as central to this Way.
In fact, As far as I know, we have only a handful of teachers on the Soto side - Richard Baker, Maezumi, Genpo, and Katagiri - who engaged in troublesome consensual sex with their students. On the Rinzai side we have Shimano and Sasaki, accused of engaging in both consensual and non-consensual sex with their students. From the Kwan Um school we have Sueng Sahn having consensual sex with his students.From these, most of the cases (such as Baker, Maezumi and Katagiri) seem to have involved one time or infrequent transgressions possibly amounting to little more than love affairs. Only two of the cases (Sasaki and Shimano) seemed to have involved true, long term sexual abuse, assault and harrassment.
I may be missing out pm some zen sex scandals here, but that’s 7 teachers over the course of some 50 years, only 2 of whom are accused of truly reprehensible activity. Given that there are over a hundred zen teachers in the U.S. alone today registered with the AZTA, plus many more authorized Zen teachers in America who are not so registered, with no legacy of abuse, that hardly seems like a ratio to condemn the practice as a complete moral and spiritual failure. Quite the contrary. In any group of Christian ministers, Jewish Rabbis, College Professors, medical doctors or the like, there will always be bad apples. A ratio of 2 or 10 among 200 does not indicate a serious ethical lapse.
As has been pointed out by commentators, these stories tend to gather media attention like a plane crash, which causes us to ignore the hundreds of thousands of safe landing each year which garner no attention because they were safe. Although even one air disaster or one student harmed by a bad Roshi is tragedy to be avoided, this can give the misleading impression of a problem with air travel or Buddhist ethics when, in fact, the problems are few and far between. Of course, we must stay on our toes to prevent even one crash, but still the numbers don't lie about overall safety.
Nor is this type of scandal limited to Zen teachers, nor to America. Buddhists priests of all kinds have engaged in like conduct. For example:
The meeting took place at Wat Dhammaram, a cavernous Theravada Buddhist temple on the southwest edge of Chicago. A tearful 12-year-old told three monks how another monk had turned off the lights during a tutoring session, lifted her shirt and kissed and fondled her breasts while pressing against her, according to a lawsuit.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011 ... ul-numrich
Of course, Kalu Rinpoche's talks of child and sexual abuse in Tibetan monasterie:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... u-rinpoche
Other equally RARE cases are reported elsewhere, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Thailand.
Do these largely rare cases among a handful of Buddhist monks mean that there is some systemic problem with ethics in Theradan, Tibetan, Taiwanese and other Buddhism? Of course not, and at least, no more than it would mean so in the American Zen world or Japanese Buddhism in general.