July 19, 2010

Statement from Zen Studies Society

Last week we indicated we'd contacted the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) regarding Eido Shimano Roshi's status at the organization. The President of ZSS's board sent the following statement in response:

We are grateful beyond words for the incomparable gift of Eido Roshi's Dharma treasure,  and for his unstinting efforts to root Rinzai Zen Buddhism in American soil. Ever at home in the unconditional realm he spurs us to go beyond the relative vista.

Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the world of causation.

On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi  stepped down from the board of directors of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS). This was prompted by allegations of clergy misconduct. The ZSS is committed to fully investigating, clarifying and bringing resolution to this matter. Eido Roshi's wife, Aiho-san Shimano, also stepped down from the Board at that time.

It was with deepest gratitude and respect for their years of service to this organization and their humble effort to assist us in honestly processing this matter and preparing us for their transition from temporal authority, that we accepted their resignations from the ZSS Board.

After discussion with senior members of the American Zen Teachers Association, the ZSS's board has decided to seek outside professional assistance to move this process forward with openness and compassion for all.

We thank the ZSS board for their openness and prompt response and we wish them all the best going forward.

UPDATE: In response to further questions (see comments below), the Board writes: "While Eido Roshi has resigned from the Board, he remains abbot of NYZ and DBZ. Internal discussions continuing."

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Anonymous's picture

Has Eido Shimano Really Resigned?

Someone has raised an important question: “What is the point of this Petition if Eido Shimano has already resigned as Abbot?”

In fact, Eido Shimano has not resigned as Abbot. He has neither tendered his resignation to the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors nor has the Board of Directors accepted his resignation. Nor have the Directors dismissed him. There has been no “public” statement of the Abbot’s resignation, no press release; just a brief email to the current members of the Zen Studies Society mailing list and a curious notice on the ZSS website.

From the ZSS website, September 9, 2010

Shinge Roshi Roko Sherry Chayat, who will be installed as Vice Abbot, Dec. 31, 2010, will offer dokusan from January 2011 on. Roshi will actively continue in his role as Abbot of the society until he retires, December 8, 2010, but he will not be seeing new students for dokusan. Eido Roshi has said he will remain committed to ordained and long-time students for as long as his health allows.

Consider the implications of what this says. He is retiring as Abbot and will not be seeing new students for dokusan. However “Eido Roshi has said he will remain committed to ordained and long-time students for as long as his health allows.”

Obviously, he intends to see “ordained and long-time students as long as his health allows” under the sponsorship and umbrella of The Zen Studies Society.” He will, presumably, keep his apartment in Dai Bosatsu Zendo,
his suite at Shoboji, and will continue to receive substantial financial compensation from Zen Studies Society. A man without any spiritual standing will continue to have a significant presence and tremendous influence on the Society. This is what signing the Petition can forestall.

What Mr. Shimano has done is to offer a non-binding “promise” that he will resign in the future. He has made similar promises before, only to renege each and every time.

Until his Abbacy is terminated by an irrevocable, binding resolution of the Board of Directors, or his immediately effective resignation, duly accepted and recorded in the organization’s minutes, Mr. Shimano not only remains
the Zen Studies Society Abbot, but continues, together with his wife, Yasuko Shimano (Director of New York Zendo Shobo-ji), to control the process of his own removal.

A close reading of the by-laws of The Society will reveal that Eido Shimano is still on the Board of Directors even if he made the gesture of “stepping down from the Board.”

We therefore encourage you to sign the online Petition notwithstanding Mr. Shimano’s “promise” to resign. It is not simply that the circumstances permit no other result than his immediate dismissal; it is that the current Zen Studies Society board members must be made aware that the Sangha is watching, calling upon and encouraging them to exercise their independent judgment and to summon the courage to do what is indisputably right, fearlessly and without hesitation.

--Jiro Andy Afable
September 9, 2010

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jeff harrington's picture

what is the sound of one dick flapping? this is shameful. we must not ignore the world of causation... jeez people, this guy is a creep! are we this corrupt now?

gomyo's picture

more thoughts on the issue at http://gomyo.livejournal.com/40812.html

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Anonymous's picture

Did he step down as Abbot of DBZ? Did he step down as Abbot of NYZ?

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[...] Tricycle » Statement from Zen Studies Society tricycle.com/blog/?p=2067 – view page – cached Last week we indicated we’d contacted the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) regarding Eido Shimano Roshi’s status at the organization. The President of ZSS’s board sent the following statement in response: Tweets about this link [...]