September 07, 2010

A message from Eido Shimano

We were sent a copy of the following message from Eido Shimano Roshi. It originally came from the office of the Zen Studies Society and was sent to Sangha members. We confirmed with ZSS that we would post it only with their approval. They gave it, and expressed the hope that it might reach readers who could not be contacted directly.

September 7, 2010

Dear Friends,

I would like to acknowledge the pain and unnecessary suffering you went through in your hearts due to my faults. I have a profound feeling of remorse for my actions.

This August marked my 50th anniversary in the United States. During this half-century I have received so much from people the world over. Over time, I took your kindness for granted and arrogance grew in my heart. As a result, my sensitivity to feel the pain of others decreased. Now, as I reflect on the past, I realize how many people's feelings and trust in me were hurt by my words and deeds. Please accept my heartfelt apology.

My mother was the person who encouraged me the most to follow Buddha's path. Tomorrow is her memorial day, as she passed away on September 8, 1986. Hearing her voice, I have decided to observe my 50th anniversary in the United States by stepping down from my position as abbot of the Zen Studies Society on the last day of Rohatsu sesshin in 2010.

Even though I carry sadness in my heart, as a Buddhist monk, my vow to practice will not end. In order to preserve the Dharma legacy, ensure the training of future teachers, and to purify my own karma, I must march on.

Gassho,

Eido Shimano

The 2010 calendar of ZSS activities will not be affected, the Board says in a follow-up email.

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andyafable's picture

I have asked Andy Afable to post the following comment on the current situation of ZSS.-- Zogen.
The following is from Zogen:
**

Do you believe that, once Eido Roshi is separated "definitively" from ZSS, the Board will undertake any systemic reform? Where will they get any credibility?

Whatever they do, now, will be perceived as a reluctant action under pressure, not to their credit. Their silence shows they are stuck, and have not come to a point of clarity. Internal squabbling will lead to a dissipation of effort and loss of focus.

What role are other Zen Organizations prepared to play in helping them (beyond writing letters)?

My fear is that a very small group will close ranks with the Board & everything will remain the same. Perhaps only for a while, then -- they will crumble.

Economically, "demographically" & in terms of standing in a wider Buddhist community, ZSS position is unsustainable. There is nothing worse than a "leaderless group" with assets. I've seen a slew of them during dot.com era, in the 90s, & among start-up hedge funds. Communality of purpose was not a saving grace.

Let us all hope for reassuring news.

Gassho,

Zogen

andyafable's picture

I have requested Andy Afable to make the following letter available on the internet. -- Zogen

January 16, 2010

An open letter to The Directors of Zen Studies Society.
From : Zogen

Dear Directors of The Zen Studies Society,

There has been a noticeable increase in comments on still-secret deliberations of the Board of Directors of Zen Studies Society. Reported comments, from a concerned maha-Sangha, and a lack of constructive action or proposals, suggest that the Board continues to be "stuck" in its tragically ambivalent & timid position. Meanwhile, public comment & outcry continue to grow & spread. The "price" to ZSS reputation & impact on its future continue to mount. The Board, however, ignores this discrepancy, in a sense of urgency, & drifts further & further away from growing consensus among Teachers & practitioners. One can easily imagine the hurt & anger of those whose life & practice of Dharma had been affected by Eido Shimano Roshi's conduct & complacency of ZSS Board of Directors.

The following are some of the immediate risks facing the Board, and the former & current Abbot of ZSS:

1) Legal liabilities -
- Individual or group appeal, for relief & redress, to NYS Court system.
This will be a public filing (no minors were ever involved) & that will extend the reach of this growing scandal. Because of jurisdictional requirements, Dai Bosatsu Zendo' neighbors in Sullivan County, NY will become part of the audience. Most likely, damages will be sought & may be levied on ZSS.

- A similar, in content, Complaint may be filed within NYC Court system.
This will result in the same consequences as above. ZSS resources are inadequate to confront even one, let alone two, legal challenges.

- Responders to these claims will be named in public documents & will include Eido Shimano Roshi & members of ZSS Board of Directors (past & present). Even an attempted filing will generate another wave of unfavorable publicity.

- A Complaint (non-criminal) may be filed with the Office of Secretary of State of the State of New York, Internal Revenue Service & Probate Court (all bequests to ZSS can be examined in the light of this Complaint). This Complaint will challenge the former Abbot & the Board on their failure to carry out their fiduciary responsibility to founders & former supporters.

- All such initiatives will bring about one, or another, form of injunction & will interfere with ZSS activities. In particular, Eido Shimano Roshi's "retirement package" will be blocked or revoked & will be examined by relevant authorities. These, quite likely & possible consequences will further jeopardize (morally, legally & financially) Zen Studies Society & its future.

2) Other looming liabilities -
- Some of the Board members are ordained Teachers & Dharma heirs. Can we imagine that this scandal will leave their personal reputations & teaching authority intact? What will be the reaction of their students to their protracted inaction?

- Major Japanese newspapers & TV and cable networks have representative offices in NYC & Washington, DC. Many Japanese practitioners follow our Buddhist blogs & foreign Rinzai community is monitoring our torment & turmoil. Should we risk facing ostracism not only in the US but abroad too? Should we risk compromising these connections, which are quite tenuous to begin with (former Abbot controlled them entirely for his own benefit)?

- And, finally, what is the rate of "attrition", how many potential & former Sangha members have we lost already, because of this conduct of the Board of Directors of ZSS?

Please consider this "risk assessment" as a plea to a considered discussion & a determined action.

Gassho,

Zogen

Chisho's picture

Reposted from Zen Forum International, a letter from Jundo Cohen:

Dear All,

I will briefly speak as a newer member of this organization, junior to many people here whom I respect whose opinions may differ. For the first time since joining this body, I am ashamed.

This is not a normal case of a teacher who, perchance, had an affair with a student, or a drinking problem, or bought himself a BMW with Sangha funds, or other like personal or minor fault. Nor is it something that happened over the short term or recently.

Instead, this is the story of a teacher who engaged in case upon case of serial sexual abuse for decades, all while his Sangha and students looked the other way and covered it up, all while many here knew yet chose to do nothing. I know that Mr. Shimano is too just a victim of greed and ignorance, the real culprits here.

However, at the same time, a teacher of the Precepts who intentionally acts again and again, over decades, to harm the innocent, showing little if any remorse in case after case, repeating the harm over decades with no self-reflection ... is a kind of monster in our midst. Shame on us for not decrying this in the strongest terms, allowing any kind of "honorable exit".

Thus the calls of "give them more time to work it out" are about 10 years too late. They have had years, and chance upon chance. To "give them more time" and allow a "graceful exit" for Mr. Shimano is not the right answer here. He must be condemned by all of us in the strongest and most unambiguous terms, we must deny him any respect (his years of service do not outweigh the damage done here), the members of this organization must denounce the years of cover up, we should publicly admit our own role in not doing enough. Moreover, we must now publicly turn our backs on Mr. Shimano. Furthermore, we must turn our backs on the ZSS ... treat them as persona non grata ... unless and until they exhibit real reforms.

If it were a case in which such events had happened but once or twice, or nobody in the organization knew, or there had not been cover up after cover up for YEARS then my opinion would be different. However, this is our moral equivalent of the child abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church. If we allow Mr. Shimano to make a graceful exit, if we allow things to be papered over again ...our own shame is compounded.

Our students are watching. Right now, opinion I am hearing among people observing is that the "teachers of the Precepts" look like a bunch of hypocrites trying to protect their own.

Shame on all of us.

Gassho, Jundo

andyafable's picture

The following is a comment by Zogen, which he has asked me to broadcast on the web.
--Andy Afable.

Please take note that, apart from many moral repudiations & some inevitable attempts at "medicalizing ", by way of diagnostic categorization, this matter, there are very few constructive ideas or discussion of how ZSS is to proceed.

Removal of Eido Shimano Roshi is a fundamental prerequisite but, not a solution.

Institutional reform, beginning with broadening of participation in Board's decision-making; greater transparency in proceedings; credible outside audit authority; and, establishing true membership of ZSS - all these are steps of a dynamic process of resolution of Society's dilemma. Then, a new Board of Directors - appointed in a new way & with a clearly recognized credibility & fully supported mandate & set of goals.

Gassho,

--Zogen

To read Zogen's earlier letter, please go to: http://www.sanghaconvergence.org/DATA/20101216_Zogen_ZSS.pdf

Andrea R's picture

It is clear, based on broad public response alone what is appropriate action by the Zen Studies Society: to remove Eido Shimano from any activity and connection within the ZSS immediately and permanently.

What the Zen Buddhist community must ask themselves is why action to remove Shimano was not taken months ago, as was appropriate?

Fully knowing that Shimano is a sexual predator and has been a sexual predator for over his 40 year career in the United States, even after this public confession, Chayat and Genjo arranged for Shimano to continue his normal functioning within the ZSS, contacting new students and running the training program.

Why has it taken no less than a public outcry for this organization to even consider to act appropriately?

Given that the ZSS leadership must be forced into a removal of Shimano, why is the Zen community still commending ZSS leaders such as Genjo and Chayat?

There is an obvious problem with these leaders. Yet the Buddhist community is failing the sangha by not asking fundamental questions about these leaders.

Why are Genjo and Chayat failing to provide adequate protection to the public they are claiming to serve?

Why are we not questioning these leaders for failing to act appropriately on their own accord?

If a leader allows a repeat offender contact with the public, why do you continue to trust let alone commend such a leader?

The Zen Buddhist community must either offer some real help to the Zen Studies Society or suggest a change of leadership. Immediately. Shimano still holds residence within the Zen Studies Society and contact with students.

Andrea Rook

tenshin's picture

Reposted from Genkaku's blog, January 2, 2011 8:46 PM

After reading the eleven new postings (post-Ford) on the Archive, I'm astonished at how few (except for 2 or 3 of those letters) have to do w/ the actual problem at ZSS, but instead are Genjo and Roko puff-pieces concealed in the context of dealing with the problem. I mean, wake the frack up, folks!

Is the American Sangha so fracking naive as to take these, which are essentially form letters, as compassionate support from "teachers" to correct a wrong? (Kensei Koji hit it on the mark in his letter.)

First, where were these wise folks months or years ago? Kobutsu, Genkaku, and a few others have been beating this drum for quite a while, yet those who drafted these form letters on the eve of an abbot’s installation could not raise their concerns earlier?

Second, it's all the same delusional, self-promotional crap that got ZSS into the mess it finds itself. You "teachers" dressed in your finest, parade around talking about “it.” You are just bags of bones playing out the night of a thousand knives.

An old friend who is a student of Pema’s recently told me not to worry, that Buddhism is not dead. You know what? She’s right. Chodran teaches, and literally thousands of people listen. Her practice is alive and is also not devoid of a human or moral center.

Again, I am drawn back to Ikyu's Skeletons. Over-and-over, through the past few months it keeps pulling me back.

Except for a very few gems, institutionalized Zen in North America is showing itself to be lame or just plain dead. Now I know why my cushion sits alone.

Oy,

-Tenshin-

January 2, 2011 8:46 PM

Mumon's picture
andyafable's picture

An Open Letter from Zogen

December 29, 2010

Dear members of the Board of Directors of ZSS & members of ZSS Sangha,

This most recent revelation of Eido Shimano Roshi's attitude towards the meaning of his conduct, as reported, and his position, as expressed in his letter (to The New York Times), --all, go well beyond a mere "denial". It is a familiar (see his past expression of regret & other published communications from ZSS) set of distortions, omissions & manipulations.

I believe that Eido Shimano Roshi is incapable of seeing the true nature of his conduct, its consequences to people involved, and its broader meaning. His "reality" is so self-serving & apparently so fundamental to his view of the world & himself that he is unable to respond to other people's perception of the same facts with any degree of compassion.

He is like a machinist who brought the train to a wreck but who continues to stand on top of the ruins, clutching controls for his dear life.

The ZSS Board will make a tragic mistake if they continue to to define their actions by the way it might affect Eido Shimano Roshi. His "distance" from the administration of ZSS changes absolutely nothing. These maneuvers continue to revolve around the same recalcitrant position of the Board: ZSS can derive its legitimacy & practice authority ONLY from association with Eido Shimano Roshi. For as long as that remains so, nothing will change in our stricken organization.

The Board had been appointed & received its delegated authority from their Teacher & has no other claim at legitimacy.

What was that meeting with Sangha members, referred to in the Board's documentation? How many people were present? How were they selected? Was this meeting announced in advance & how was it publicized? Why can't we have an unexpurgated list of supporters & other interested people – who are prepared to make or renew commitment to ZSS - and poll them on fundamental questions of ZSS survival? In any mainstream non-profit organization, Boards represent the avowed mission & will of its members. Members of the Board are entrusted with a fiduciary obligation to carry out this will on behalf of all the members & in a spirit of the organization's core mission.

Whose will does ZSS Board of Directors carry out? Whom do they represent, at this point? Do we have to wait for a joint legal action by people aggrieved by Eido Shimano Roshi? Should we wait for an injunction from the Court to put a stop to the unseemly maneuvers to grant Eido Shimano Roshi the spiritual status and position he clearly has forfeited? Remember Jack Welsh & the GM Board. Why do we have to live with this never-ending scandal?

I trust that we still have more than a handful of Sangha members who continue to believe in ZSS future & who have not been driven into despair of any possibility of change in our Zendo. Eido Shimano Roshi's decisive removal from power & influence, is only a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite for change.

The house empty of Right Practice can not stand! We should re-enter our Zendo with full & courageous heart & fill it with Good Effort. Taking a position on these painful matters is the beginning of such effort.

Gassho,

Zogen

http://www.sanghaconvergence.org/DATA/20101216_Zogen_ZSS.pdf

I have asked Andy Afable to post this letter on the web.—Zogen

genjo's picture

I am sorry to report that Eido Roshi has yet to get past his denial. Just yesterday I read a letter dated December 1st, 2010, directed to the editor of the New York Times signed by Eido Shimano Roshi. I can only say that I was shocked, disturbed and offended by what I read. In this letter he claimed that the New York Times article that appeared August 21st was not factual and said that, "I have not resigned because of these false accusations." In my mind, this statement makes a mockery of Eido Roshi's public apology of September 7th. This letter to the NYT is a clear attempt to rewrite history and is a pure and simple example of denial.

Accordingly, I have written Eido Roshi (who, as of Dec. 8th, resigned as Abbot) and my colleagues on the ZSS Board that this denial undermines the spirit of the retirement agreement that is currently being negotiated. In addition, I mentioned that our willingness to allow Eido Roshi to occasionally see requesting senior students for dokusan (Dharma Interview) on ZSS property is predicated on the idea that he genuinely acknowledges and is remorseful for past actions and understands the damage he has done.

Under the circumstances, I have asked the full board to revisit our previous deliberations. I ask this with the belief and determination that the work of the ZSS Board can, to paraphrase what others have said in previous posts, help this organization actualize its potential to become a sincere place of practice and learning, an oasis of Buddhist wisdom, and an inspiring example of Right Living.

Rob_'s picture

I commend Genjo for his post, but do have one nagging disagreement. It's his use of the word "denial". Perhaps since this is a public forum and due to Genjo's relationship to these issues, judicious language is more appropriate. However, I would use more simple and direct language, and call Eido Shimano a liar.

Olivia's picture

Zogen,

Thank you for your strong letter. I appreciated your sensitive introduction which expresses the complex “loyalty trap” experienced by the directors of the Zen Studies Society Directors while they try to protect a “beloved teacher” from whom they ”derive authority from Zen training, ordination, and for some of you, Dharma Transmission from Eido Shimano Roshi”.

This is, and historically has been, the “outstanding dilemma” blocking a just resolution to the 40 + years of outrageous abuses to students by Eido Shimano and the ZSS Board’s complicity. You wisely and rightly suggest that ALL contributors to ZSS, past and present, should have a voice in the future and renewal of the ZSS.

“We are all “stakeholders” of Zen Studies Society – Teachers and students, residents and visitors, who come back for more, nuns and monks, ordained and never ordained, Dharma heirs acknowledged or not – ALL who want to participate in extricating our organization from the autocratic control of one man who has no ounce of legitimacy left”.

As you say, some will want to point out that Eido Shimano and his wife Aiho, have stepped down from the board, have retired (initially worded “resigned”) and therefore no longer hold positions of authority. However, there is no question that Eido Shimano continues to be a strong influence on the present board which includes two dharma heirs (one to become the new Abbess) and Genjo Marinello. Eido Shimano will continue to reside at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, and will continue to give teishos there and at Shobo-ji in NYC. His influence and authority is further empowered by edified descriptions on the ZSS website such as “his incomparable Dharma”.

In the meantime, there are Sangha that expend energy, and still hope for accountability/renewal and restorative justice, but the wheel stops turning as it meets those few board members left who hold the only active and decisive trustee position for unbiased change and renewal.

Someday, when Eido Shimano Roshi gets past his denial, he can explain what this Dharma is that gets kicked around like a soccer ball and allows for an esteemed teacher to repeatedly commit serious abuses, lies, and slandering of students who try to speak the truth of their experience? I personally was asked by Eido Shimano to lie “for the sake of the Dharma”. These are exact words from him. I now know that I am not the only person who has been asked by him to deliberately lie. How many times has he done this? How many in the ZSS have “protected the Dharma” in their silence?

Dharma Heir Genjo Marinello recently related that he has “always done what he thinks is best for the Dharma”, and some are genuinely moved by the struggle and difficulty he is having in resolving his own mixed issues. But while Genjo uses this process of introspection to straddle a fence, caught in the “loyalty trap”, time passes. We wait. We wait and watched resignation turn to retirement, recommendations from the Faith Trust Institute largely ignored, and plans for his future residence at both DBZ and Shobo-ji .

Years of experience, clear and equally introspective such as yours, Zogen, and that of other former ZSS members who are now disenfranchised, go unheeded and brushed aside.

Somehow, at the end of the day, Genjo, you have to act. By straddling the fence you can keep the convenience of being able to shift to whatever side presents you in the most favorable light. If you can do it long enough all the commotion may pass and nothing too major really has to change. As a fellow Quaker who continues to practice zazen, please return to the fundamental Dharma Teaching:

To do no evil;
To do good;
To save all beings.

“To live in the virtue of that Life and Power that takes away the occasion for all war” …..“Takes away the occasions for war”…… May we seek through honesty, transparency, and inclusiveness, occasions for Peace.

**
So, Zogen, to sum it up so far, “moral indignation”, is where we are stuck. Your vision of including ALL past and present members of ZSS is democratic, healing, and enlivening. The last few sentences in your letter are so beautiful and freeing that I repeat them here…

“Nothing less will begin to restore our hope that ZSS might become, one day, what it was meant to beacome:
a serence place of practice and learning,
an oasis of Buddhist wisdom,
an inspiring example of Right Living,
of Precepts as a living reality.”

I hope my letter has correctly reflected yours, and please continue to participate in this greater maha-sangha conversation.

andyafable's picture

Excerpts from An Open Letter to The Directors of Zen Studies Society.

Posted by Andy Afable at the request of its author, Zogen.
**

Dear Directors of The Zen Studies Society,

I want to add my voice to the on-going discussion of your recent choices and the long history of the abuse of power by the titular leader of Zen Studies Society, Eido Shimano Roshi. This most recent prolonged surge of indignation, and moral revulsion, brings to the fore the decades-long history of suppressed instances of unacceptable behavior by your Teacher and, it reveals an astonishing degree of complacency demonstrated, and continued in evidence, by all of you.

You, and your many predecessors, understandably, were, and are still, reluctant to confront your beloved Teacher, let alone condemn and remove him. No one among us, lay practitioners, can imagine what it might be like to do that. After all, your own most intimate experiences of practice and memories of Dharma teachings, are forever bound with your Roshi. Some of you have more intimate memories, associated with him, and derive your authority from Zen training, ordination and, for some of you, Dharma Transmission received from Eido Shimano Roshi. Existing "official" structures, i.e. statutory and procedural, "lock" you into a "loyalty trap", leaving not much space between acquiescence and withdrawal.

Your position is no less than tragic -- even more so now, when "all" has been exposed on the world-wide web. But, your Teacher's position is no less tragic than yours: Eido Shimano Roshi systematically destroyed everything he wanted, originally, to create and, compromised everything he was entrusted to keep and protect. His reputation, as a practicing Buddhist Teacher and Abbot, is gone; the standing of The Zen Studies Society within the American Buddhist community has been destroyed; all donors, and most of the former supporters-- any possibility of financial support from them is gone. ZSS "membership" is a sham; and, the first Buddhist Monastery, created de novo in America, stands essentially empty. ……
**
…..We are all the "stakeholders" of Zen Studies Society-- Teachers and students, residents and visitors, who come back for more, nuns and monks, ordained and never ordained, Dharma heirs acknowledged or not-- ALL who want to participate in extricating our organization from the autocratic control of one man who has no ounce of legitimacy left.

For the full text of this letter, go to:

http://www.sanghaconvergence.org/DATA/20101216_Zogen_ZSS.pdf

Kuya Minogue's picture

Oh dear,
I've just learned about this, yet another violation of trust and ethics by, yet another so-called realized Buddhist teacher. I remember when I first learned that Osel Tensin whose photograph much to my dismay still hangs at Gampo Abbey, had sex with students (male and female) even after learning he was HIV positive. In Canada, others who have done this have been found guilty of manslaughter. I've met a woman whose son contracted HIV from Tensin and who died from AIDS in the mid nineties. Tensin was a close student of Trungpa.

But it was in the late eighties when we arrived at the Dharma Rain Zen Centre in Portland, Oregon for weekly practice and found press releases about the Tensin travesty sitting on top of zafus arranged in a council-type circle. We were so shocked and wounded by Tensin's (and Trungpa's) action/inaction. Much of our talk concerned either painful personal responses or a fear that the news from Boulder would cast a shadow on all Buddhist Centres in North America. When a teacher violates and wounds one student, he or she, (Are there any women who have done this kind of harm?) violates us all. We have also gone through this with Baker, Maezumi, Katagiri and I don't know who else, and each time it has harmed the whole sangha - not just the individuals who are direct victims. These teachers have harmed Buddhism in America and created schisms in their sanghas.

I've read all the comments here and, as an outsider, agree with those who say that Eido Shamani's letter is not sufficiently sincere to undo ANY harm, or even to loosen the grip that his actions must hold on the minds of his direct victims. The exchange of opinions on this blog sight (I'm so glad Aiken Roshi commented before he died.) shows me that finally, the suffering has gone beyond the secret stage and has begun to fester as an open wound. It sounds like the sickness in the ZSS was more like a hidden infection that devasted core health before it poured it's infectious puss into the world. But, I can see that the fighting is on, blaming is plentiful. I just hope that in the in-fighting, no one forgets that these sexual abuse of power incidents harm even me, a lay teacher in a small British Columbia community. I worry that this level of anyalsis will be lost in the fray.

Kuya Minogue
Creston Zen Centre

tenshin's picture

Originally Posted on the Aitken Blog

[One caveat: In the following, I do not mean to imply that a lynch mob mentality is at work. Rather, I just warn of the slippery slope of anger and how that can lead to blood lust.]

A Rainy, November 21, 2010

I see so many old faces posting here. On one hand it makes me so happy, and on the other it saddens me due to what it has taken to bring everyone together.

First, I want to thank Aitken Roshi and Jiro Osho-Roshi for taking the steps they have taken. Why? Not because I believe in a good lynching (and I say this as a warning to us all), but because they are (I believe) acting out of, at its root, great compassion. It is compassion for the victims, but also compassion for Eido Roshi. To use a Christian metaphor, there are souls here to be saved. Aitken, Jiro, and others like Kobutsu take difficult action for the first time I have seen around this debacle in the 30+ years I have been involved with ZSS/Shobo-ji/Kongo-ji.

I raise this point because I myself am a victim of abuse by a family member, a person whom I trusted and who should have protected me, and I understand some of the nuances of the power play that is involved in this behavior.

What I want folks to remember is that in most cases the abusers were themselves victims, and they are hopelessly caught trying to unravel the karmic tentacles of the abuse. While I in no way condone what has gone on, I will not give into a lynch mob mentality to deal with this and I will not give up my compassion for any of the victims or for Eidoshi.

I sadly know who some of the victims are. I also know of one married Nordic woman who most of the ordained male residents at DBZ slept with during her Kessei – this was during a difficult period in her life, which is what led her to DBZ. I also remember clearly that Genjo Marinello and some of his Sangha attended Sesshin while this woman cried her way through the entire week. She left a blasted hulk.

How Genjo can state that he had no clue that anything was remiss after having his pores opened by a week-long sit, yet be clear enough to be a teacher is an incongruity I will leave everyone to noodle with privately on their own. In the least, I think it makes his position on the ZSS Board untenable.

To be clear, I am not implying that Eido Roshi had anything to do with this woman, but clearly there was a weak atmosphere at DBZ where monks had no difficulty reconciling their precepts with using a woman as a receptacle for their spunk. This was Fuck Follies Part IV or V – I’ve lost count.

Second, [the development of a] lynch mob mentality, and the anger, the hurt, must be let go. What is at stake is not just the future of the Zen Studies Society, but also the future of the Dharma in North America.

I do agree that ZSS has to ABSOLUTELY clean house, and should take Jiro up on his offer to help. Jiro has probably done more for DBZ than anyone except the Carlsons and Bill Johnstone, and I have always had great admiration for his integrity, his actions, and capabilities. I also will do whatever I can do to help.

In the vein of cleaning house, I also seriously question whether Shinge Sherry Chayat, who is woven into this sad tale from almost the very beginning, is really an appropriate choice to lead the 1,400 acres into the future. By virtue of association, the appearance of squeaky clean is not there. Perhaps Denko, Jiro, Zenshin, Zenrin – all human beings with their individual quirks – would be cleaner choices to move forward – of course, that is assuming any of them would be willing to play Act II. Another option is returning to the source, and asking Ryutaku-Ji and Kyudo Roshi for help. This latter point might be the best approach in the long-term, given Kyudo's vast experience in the West.

This brings me to the following.

The Board, while taking decisive action, needs to move mindfully through this minefield, and not risk doing something stupidly and in haste. Suon, this means you. There are a number of moves I think the Board needs to take to come out of this on both the moral and legal high ground, to restore credibility to the institution and to develop a culture of transparency. Put another way, as Jiro mentioned in one of his letters, to remove your heads from the sand.

First, I recommend that the Board be seated with individuals who have not been under the spell of Eidosho or Aiho-san. In other words, the Board must be squeaky clean..

Second, I recommend expanding the size of the Board to include outside Directors from other institutions.

Third, the bylaws need to be changed so that the Abbot (and Former Abbot, if ever reappointed) have either non-voting positions on the board or in the least can never be Director, Treasurer, or any other position of power. The Abbot should be entirely focused on the practice and his/her students.

Fourth, a suggestion I made to the Board in 1996 that fell on deaf ears at the time, ZSS/DBZ/SBJ should annually publish their financials like any other good non-profit – Hozo-san is an expert in this area, and can help the Board through the not-for-profit territory and requirements.

Why all of this? Transparency and credibility need to be re-established. I have donated to ZSS for the past fifteen years and, I, for one, would like to know where my donations are going.

A comment to a former ZSS Board member who commented, sarcastically, that no rape had occurred here. Sorry to bust your bubble, but if a victim is not in a mental state from which to grant consent (e.g., intoxication, in a subordinated power relationship with the abuser, unconscious, etc.), then it is assault.

I say this, in addition to my suggestions to the Board, because those 1,400 acres, plus East 67th Street are going to look mighty attractive to attorneys looking for damages.

This is where I come back to the fact that the aim of clearing up this whole mess should be to protect the Dharma in North America and, as a subset of that, to protect ZSS, Kongo-ji, and Shobo-ji. And this is where I ask that all of you looking for blood to quench your anger, to stop and think how you can very easily alter and possibly destroy this very fragile transmission from Rinzai and Dogen to our continent.

This is a sad state of affairs. My teacher has been impeached, and more importantly, the North American Sangha is in great discord.

There are many victims here – in fact, everyone is a victim. Besides the damage of the assaults, there is an even bigger damage that the Board can help partially heal. All these denials have the impact of making victims feel crazy or wrong because people are telling them either it didn’t happen, or they asked for it, or other forms of mind manipulation. This is the ongoing emotional damage that victims carry for their lives.

If Zen Studies Society came entirely clean, took the recommendations of some of the more astute people in this forum, this alone would help the healing process for the victims. The feeling of being “crazy,” would then have a way to reconcile itself with the true reality of the situation.

If the Board does not do this, then it is just twisting the knife once again in each of these victim’s hearts, and by this action, the Board becomes an enabler and extender of the pain felt by everyone in this situation.

So, do the right thing. Be adults. Let us all look for reconciliation and drop the lynch mob mentality, so that these teachings may root more deeply in our soil.

Finally, let us feel gratitude for all those who have come before us. While it is the name of a song, this Unbroken Chain must continue – particularly due to the shape the world is in today.

With Heart,

Tenshin D.S Hill

Chisho's picture

In addition to petitioning the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors to remove Mr. Shimano from the premises, it would also be appropriate to petition the New York State Legislature to strengthen the criminal statutes concerning clergy sexual abuse.

Is there a lawyer out there in the blogosphere who knows how to go about doing a petition of this sort?

Although I personally have no interest in seeing Mr. Shimano put in prison or even to receive a big $fine, I do feel that it would be useful to force Mr. Shimano to sit in a courtroom with normal people (instead of just ZSS cult members) and answer to a judge and criminal prosecutor.

Although I am grateful for the attention that the blogs have paid to this matter and do hope that the information remains on the internet in perpetuity as a warning to prospective students, I would prefer to have the notice of a criminal conviction in the public record.

Sexual abuse by the clergy is a criminal offense in a number of states. Here are a couple of sample statutes. Any legislators out there?
...
609.344, Minnesota Statutes 2007
609.344 CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT IN THE THIRD DEGREE.

 (1) the actor is or purports to be a member of the clergy,
the complainant is not married to the actor, and:
    (i) the sexual penetration occurred during the course of a meeting in which the complainant
sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private; or
    (ii) the sexual penetration occurred during a period of time in which the complainant was
meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or
comfort in private. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;
...
Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-126. Sexual assault in the third degree
(a) A person commits sexual assault in the third degree if the person:
(1) Engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person who
is not the actor's spouse, and the actor is:
(A) Employed with the Department of Correction, Department of Community
Correction, Department of Health and Human Services, or any city or county jail,
and the victim is in the custody of the Department of Correction, Department of
Community Correction, Department of Health and Human Services, or any city or
county jail; or
(B) A professional under § 12-12-507(b) or a member of the clergy
and is in a position of trust or authority over the victim and uses the position of trust or
authority to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity;
http://www.justdetention.org/pdf/legalresources/Arkansas%205-14-126.pdf

Anonymous's picture

I am also an adult surviver of childhood sexual abuse. I too, was victimized by Eido Shimano.

Without me having given him any indication at all of my past or my present condition at the time, Shimano told me once in dokusan that I was particularly "sexually open" due to a "rape" in my past.

This 'mysterious' insight did not prevent him from sexually exploiting me.

Olivia's picture

Anonymous, Oct 28, 10:37

This brought tears to my eyes although it didn't surprise me -sadly. Stay tuned to BakerStreetZen.org where we are working out a few final details for a Womens Only Forum on that site. The tricky part is identifying valid requests for membership. I hope this may be of some service and support to you in the future.

Olivia's picture

To the male child sexual abuse survivor.

I'm truly sorry for your experience. The example I gave in #178 was of a woman who, like you, was a child sexual abuse survivor who also became a victim of Shimano and the ZSS board.

This example was given to help you (and maybe a few others) to understand that just because a woman is an adult does not mean that she does not carry deep wounds from childhood (as you do) that can be disabling to act as you suggest an adult can/should act. In this case, it's a double wounding along with finding no justice in the immediate external community.

This women's story was reported to Marie Fortune as it had been reported in the past to board members. There isn't a single person who alone can have the power required to bring both real light and end to this history of ugliness that continuously attempts to bury people. It will require public outcry within the maha-sangha and hopefully legal action, but statutes of limitation are barriers for some.

As for any thought of wishing to be the three mentioned by RedDirt -I feel surprisingly neutral about them, but the idea of being one of them does provoke an interesting reaction.

REDdirt's picture

This is an appropirate response, doc.

These jackels and screwballs are out for blood and do not care who bleeds. Of course, they would much prefer it be shimano marinello and chayat on the ground but do not really discriminate when the hunt is up.

Anonymous's picture

This male child sexual abuse survivor withdraws from this discussion.

anonymous's picture

181 - Do they train you on how to use distortions of what others say to you? You're either very good at this or painfully incapable of listening to the realities being expressed here. Pitiful in fact.

anonymous's picture

Anonymous 181 - you are not following the stream of this conversation. Your comment has nothing to do with the points being made.

Anonymous's picture

"surely you must know ... "

You want me to say that child abuse and adult abuse are on a par. I cannot.

anonymous's picture

Why do we keep having to educate these people? Perhaps it is typical of the choosen lot Eido Shimano. That begins to make sense. Cettainly nothing else does.

Anonymous's picture

“ ' I don’t think one can judge relative harm who has not gone through such mistreatment themselves.'

By your own words, I can judge.

The aftermath was what led me to become a psychotherapist."

Then, as a psychotherapist and a survivor, surely you must know that there are all kinds of abuse and all kinds of victims, and one cannot make gross generalizations about which experience is worse than than the other without knowing the all the circumstances of the individual case and the characteristics of the victim...I hope!

Olivia's picture

"They had no control of the situation, unlike an adult victim of the Roshi, healed enough and, yes, courageous enough, to have the meeting set up precisely the way she wanted for her own benefit."

To Anonymous who wrote these words,

I have spoken with a woman who was exactly one of these victims you have so described as a child. It is indeed heart-rending. As a young adult she became Shimano's student. He was going to "cure her" and initiated a relationship with her. The result, when it became known, was to ask her to lie for his sake and when she eventually didn't, the result was far from the kindly "curative" teacher she initiatlly trusted. She could not initially respond to such seduction with self-protective "adult" boundaries. It is grossly ignorant to assume that adult women in a sexual relationship with Shimano are without wounds, sometimes quite serious. Don't trivialize any of this and don't compare it to anything in order to white-wash the harms done by Eido Shimano.

As for your comment, "I don’t think it should be a ZSS Board responsibility to play trial court prosecutor." I never suggested any such role. But, you are right, they are having "enough trouble being a board".

One thing is quite clear. They are having significant trouble repositioning power in the midst of overwhelming evidence. And that's what this is essentially about - power and position. There is power that's life-giving. This isn't it and it's hardly about liberation.

Anonymous's picture

"I don’t think one can judge relative harm who has not gone through such mistreatment themselves."

By your own words, I can judge.

The aftermath was what led me to become a psychotherapist.

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous said…
“And let me tell you, the Roshi has nothing on those perpetrators, not even close.”

I don't think one can judge relative harm who has not gone through such mistreatment themselves. There are so many kinds of harm that can result, depending on each person's vulnerabilities. One relatively "strong" victim severely abused one time who has resources such as a good job, a supportive family and therapist may do better than one very vulnerable previously abused person who is has no resourcesm is all alone and comes to ZSS for refuge, only to be sexually manipulated by the one with whom she placed her last hope for help.

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous said...
"And let me tell you, the Roshi has nothing on those perpetrators, not even close."

I would urge you to remove yourself from Mr. Shimano's influence. Now.

Spike's picture

From 10/27 letter:

"Following his retirement from the Board in July, Eido Roshi stopped receiving new students and may see and instruct only those who mutually decide to continue their established dokusan practice."

This clarifies that Mr. Shimano is not taking new students, as implied when he conducted Jukai. Only non-new students who had already been in dokusan with Mr. Shimano were allowed to receive Jukai.

This information is ZSS Board-confirmed.

Mimi's picture

"Initial reaction: what in particular don’t I like about this material? Mr. Shimano is still ‘in the house.’ "

Yes, and at least one new Board member, student of Shimano for decades.

Anonymous's picture

"It’s the responsibility of the ZSS board to “make him eat his denial of guilt”. Suggesting that this is possible in a face-to-face meeting between a perpetrator like Shimano and this victim (or likely any victim) is so unrealistic it’s patthetic. Thankfully the commenter is a “former psychotherapist” as he/she seems to have little understanding of the dynamics of either Shimano or this woman."

You're right, Olivia. Every time I saw a victim deposed or testify it was, quite literally, pathetic. I'm talking about kids 14 and under. They had no control of the situation, unlike an adult victim of the Roshi, healed enough and, yes, courageous enough, to have the meeting set up precisely the way she wanted for her own benefit.

I don't think it should be a ZSS Board responsibility to play trial court prosecutor. They have a hard enough time just being the Board. Though my clients could not convey the depth of their hurt because of their young ages, quite a few of their mothers did in court, for themselves and their children. And let me tell you, the Roshi has nothing on those perpetrators, not even close. And yes, it was worth the effort.

Anonymous's picture

Matthew Perez very recently resigned from unsui training to get married. He is now a father.

Spike's picture

Initial reaction: what in particular don't I like about this material? Mr. Shimano is still 'in the house.'

Spike's picture

Posted on ZSS website, down the ethics link:

October 27, 2010
Dear Sangha,
This has been a year of many changes for The Zen Studies Society. This letter is intended to update you on the
developments that have occurred.
On January 23rd, 2010, at the annual ZSS Board meeting, Eido Shimano Roshi announced his intention to
retire. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his arrival in the United States. As his last project, he wanted to
build a Sanmon (entrance gate) for DBZ, which had been his original vision when DBZ first opened in 1976. He
has raised the funds needed to fulfill his vision, and the project is scheduled to be completed next year.
Also, in February, as part of his retirement plans, Roshi retired from his role as guest professor at Shogen
Junior College (of which Yamakawa Sogen Roshi is President) in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, where he has taught
for the past 20 years.
On Labor Day Weekend, September 4th, several meetings were held at New York Zendo with Eido Roshi, the
Board, and the Faith Trust Institute, who were enlisted to help guide The Zen Studies Society in response to a
series of ethical breaches.
The meetings included lengthy discussions during which the FTI issued a series of recommendations (now
posted on our website). Additionally, the Board met with a large group of sangha members and heard their input
and suggestions. After an in-depth review and serious consideration of all points of view, the Board endorsed
the following actions:
After completing the 34th Anniversary Sesshin at DBZ, Eido Roshi resigned from the Board of
Directors of The Zen Studies Society.
Eido Roshi wrote and sent an open letter expressing his apology to the Sangha.
Eido Roshi will retire as Abbot on the last day of Rohatsu Sesshin, December 8th, 2010, and will be
recognized as the Founding Abbot of New York Zendo and Dai Bosatsu Zendo. In this role he will be
freed from his responsibility presiding over the two zendos. It is his intention to take a brief respite
from his busy lifestyle, and with renewed vigor, work on translating Chinese and Japanese Zen texts.
On January 1, 2011, at 1 p.m., Shinge-shitsu Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi will be installed as the
second Abbot of Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji.
Shinge Roshi will take responsibility for teaching all new students, and for the spiritual guidance and
direction of DBZ. Along with the Board and residents, she will be responsible for the care and
management of the monastery.
Following his retirement from the Board in July, Eido Roshi stopped receiving new students and may
see and instruct only those who mutually decide to continue their established dokusan practice. This
will occur primarily during sesshin at DBZ, and on selected occasions at New York Zendo Shobo-ji,
as determined by the Abbot of DBZ and the Director(s) of NYZ and subject to Eido Roshi's availability.
Eido Roshi will continue monthly Japanese Dharma classes at New York Zendo Shobo-ji.
After 20 years of dedicated service Aiho-San Shimano will be retiring from her position as Director of
the New York Zendo Shobo-ji on the last day of this training period, Saturday, December 11th, 2010.
She will be recognized as Honorary Director, and as such will no longer be responsible for the
direction and management of the temple. She has expressed her interest in continuing to serve the
community by occasionally making flower arrangements for the altars and offering her knowledge and
experience in selecting scrolls for display.
As Interim Directors, Rev. Zuiho Myodo Matthew Perez & Board Vice-President Shoteki Chris Phelan
will be sharing responsibility for Shobo-ji.
In order to sustain the traditional and authentic Zen atmosphere at DBZ and NYZ, Eido Roshi is
generously allowing both temples to use his personal collection of scrolls, sculptures, and ceremonial
objects on a provisional basis until a more permanent resolution may be established.
Four members of the ZSS Board have resigned for various reasons since July. As of Monday,
October 18th, the Board nominated and approved two new members, Rev. Shinkon Peter Glynn, who
completed his three years of training at DBZ, and Rev. Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz, shika (head monastic)
at Hoen-ji.
The Board is currently reviewing the organizational bylaws to best serve the members and mission of
The Zen Studies Society.
The Zen Studies Society Board is undertaking a financial review. As part of our year-end outreach we
will share an updated status of our current circumstances.
The Board is continuing to examine additional ways to ensure an open, trusting, and healthy practice
for all students.
Shinge Roshi and Genjo Osho have consulted with trusted colleagues in the American Zen Teachers
Association.
We want to acknowledge our Dharma legacy, from Hakuin Zenji to Gempo Roshi, Soen Roshi, and Eido Roshi,
as well as through such pioneers of Zen in America as Soyen Shaku Roshi, Nyogen Senzaki, and Dr. D.T.
Suzuki. All of their efforts are manifested in our Dai Bosatsu Mandala. The Zen Studies Society's unique role in
bridging East and West was affirmed by the recent Golden Wind Sesshin at DBZ, joined and in part led by
Sogen Yamakawa Roshi of Shogen-ji.
When we think back to the early days, before Shobo-ji there was just a garage; before Dai Bosatsu Zendo,
there was just a hunting lodge on a mountain. It is through the incomparable dedication of Eido Roshi and Aiho-
San that we have these temples for authentic Rinzai Zen practice.
We will be sending out an update at the end of this year. The 2011 schedule will be posted online by the end of
this month. In closing, we want to affirm that we will continue to build on our rich heritage, and to provide a
strong vision for a healthy Zen community where we can deepen our commitment to the Bodhisattva Way.
Please understand that everything we are working toward takes time. Thank you for your encouragement, open
communication, and continued support.
With Palms Together,
Board of The Zen Studies Society
Board of Directors October 18th, 2010
Soun Joe Dowling – President
Shoteki Chris Phelan – Vice President
Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi
Genjo Marinello
Zenshin Richard Rudin
Newly Appointed Board Members (October 18th, 2010)
Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz
Shinkon Peter Glynn

Olivia's picture

Correction - "This is not COURAGEOUS????!!!!!

Olivia's picture

This is beyond outrageous. It is twisted and ugly.

Xxxx initially asks to speak only to Yuho - "I would prefer to speak with you only". This is based on an expression of willingness to trust Yuho. Overall, she sends them far more affirmation than she receives.

Next she is asked to speak to another ethics board member and being willing to "help", she agrees. In the meantime emails are exchanged between Shimano, the President of the Board - Joe Dowling, Roko, and a senior student.

Finally she receives an email from Joe Dowling in which he relays Shimano's request to meet with her face-to-face on Shimano's grounds and with their appointed "third parties". How nice that he admits that she may not wish such a meeting (!), but Xxxx's response should go down in history. It couldn't be more perfect and to the pointl.

"I want to make it clear to you that I came forward because I believe that it is best that Eido Shimano resign immediately. My
intention was to provide to you what I know to support this opinion,.....It appears to me that the Zen Studies Society really needs outside monitoring. As there is nothing officially in place for this service, I have to say the Shimano Archives was the
best thing to happen to your organization.......I don't
think Roshi has true remorse and I think it would be sad to be an audience to more lies."

After this, Joe Dowling again responds with a short organizational sounding email....

Dear Xxxx,
"Thank you for your reply. The Board is doing everything it can to make the transition to the future a smooth one
considering the current turmoil. We and especially I wish you and your family good health and contentment."

End of the line for that.

Now we are hearing another burden placed on Xxxx ....

"Can’t blame this victim one bit. But it would have been great for one courageous victim to confront Mr. Shimano and make him eat his denial of guilt."

Courageous?!?!?!!! This is not COURAGEOUS!!! Give me a break!

It's the responsibility of the ZSS board to "make him eat his denial of guilt". Suggesting that this is possible in a face-to-face meeting between a perpetrator like Shimano and this victim (or likely any victim) is so unrealistic it's patthetic. Thankfully the commenter is a "former psychotherapist" as he/she seems to have little understanding of the dynamics of either Shimano or this woman.

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous #161 said:
"I have been deposed or had to testify ...As a victim, it has to be exponentially harder. For me, it was always worth the effort."

For you, it was worth what effort? Can you not tell the difference between a court and a cult?

It is perverse and dangerous for the 'ethics committee' to suggest that a sexually abused person be exposed to Mr. Shimano, other than in a court of law where there is an infrastructure, legal representation, a judge, clearly defined rules, specific penalties and transparency.

The Zen Studies Society offers nothing. The committee itself is part of the cult and their only 'solution' is to make themselves feel better is by delivering the victim back into the hands of her abuser.

Anonymous's picture

The "Ethics Committee" answers to the Board, No? Or does it answer to Shimano?

Where is the written procedure for this committee? Should not people approaching this committee know beforehand just what they are stepping into when they reveal their concerns?

"I will be" - "I" meaning HER, not anybody else.... and "will be," meaning "in the future."

People are far better served by taking their concerns to an attorney and having the attorney deal with ZSS and Shimano.

Anonymous's picture

Why in the world WOULDN'T the Ethics Committee feel a responsibility to confront Mr. Shimano? Letting him 'march on' free of damning accusations would accomplish exactly what?

Re., "giving a victim’s information to Shimano prior to being reviewed by the Board and without the complainant’s consent?"

"Evidently, even confessions to the sangha has not resulted in an effective change of Eido Roshi's misconduct as demonstrated already over time. Therefore, I will be making public every thing I know of Eido Roshi and his teachings to others ... " (9/12/10)

Complainant clearly intends for others to know. Can/Should this be done behind Eido Roshi's back? Do you mean to ascribe this intent to complainant?

Anonymous's picture

The real salient point is why the "Ethics Committee" even brought it to Shimano the perpetrator in the first place, THEY already knew his history.

The student, Xxxxx, was not told ahead of time that what she told the committee would be brought to Shimano BEFORE it was brought to The Board.... Instead she finds that out by being inadvertently copied on committee internal emails. Yuho has to ask her permission to share her telephone number with a fellow committee but fails to ask about going to Shimano.

Later on, Board President Joe Dowling informs her, "In addition, I forwarded your two letters and Yuho's report to Eido Roshi in accordance to our Ethical Guidelines."

We would like to know just what "Ethical Guidelines" Mr. Dowling is referring to that are in accord with giving a victim's information to Shimano prior to being reviewed by the Board and without the complainant's consent?

Anonymous's picture

"Three directors have resigned (August, 2010).including Seigan Ed Glassing"

Guess the fight wasn't worth it. Right, Andy?

Anonymous's picture

Fernando Afable wrote:

"And while the ZSS website reported the resignation of the Abbot from the board, and we were informed weeks ago that he no longer had undue influence in their proceedings, there is outrage at how the board chose to include him in their latest attempt to deal with a recently wounded student."

Wrong. Here is, I believe, the salient quote from SA #358:

"His response so far is to ask that you and he have a face to face
meeting at DBZ or in New York City which would be monitored by third parties. I am letting you know about this offer with the proviso that this is entirely up to you and with the full expectation that you may not wish to meet with him.
Please be so kind as to let me know of your wishes. The Board and I will respect any decision you make, and we also respect your privacy.
In conclusion, let me make a deep bow of apology for any unwanted behaviors or words that you may have been subject to."

1. Clearly not the Board's offer, but Mr. Shimano's offer.

2. " ... with the full expectation that you may not wish to meet with him." Indicates to me, at least, that complainant's preferences were well-known in advance, probably as a result of the ongoing emails, as well as the phone conversations we are not privy to, and that a refusal to meet was 'expected'.

Can't blame this victim one bit. But it would have been great for one courageous victim to confront Mr. Shimano and make him eat his denial of guilt. Victims and others in American courts are routinely compelled to identify and testify against perpetrators. As a former psychotherapist, I have been deposed or had to testify in child abuse cases, and even at that professional remove it is not pleasant (especially when the perpetrator walks). As a victim, it has to be exponentially harder. For me, it was always worth the effort.

Mr. Afable, with your blogposts and petition, you will still never be able to make up for your failure to act responsibly as a Board member, or for the resulting damage to the ZSS Sangha at large, as well as to many individual victims, in particular. As a dharma heir, you were in a unique position as the one person who would have taken ALL NEW STUDENTS at ZSS, thus removing an Abbot, that, after ten years at ZSS, you had to have known was a predator.

Andy Afable's picture

A well respected Zen teacher, hearing that Eido Shimano was to officiate at a Jukai ceremony later this year, reported “a visceral response that I’d not expected—dismay to the point of outrage. The irony of him giving the precept on sexual misconduct, and the other precepts, was a mockery too much for me to remain silent.”

The indignation surrounding events depicted in the Shimano archives continues unabated. I quote the first two out of six recommendations made by The Faith Trust Institute to the Zen Studies Directors. They confirm and reiterate what many have expressed in this Tricycle Blog as well as the other forums since Robert Aitken's summons in May.

1.Eido Shimano must end his tenure as Abbot as soon as possible. As long as he remains in this role or in any other official capacity, the integrity of ZSS is compromised.

2.If there are students who wish to continue to study with Eido, they may do so on their own but not under the auspices of ZSS.

As things have gone disastrously wrong for the Zen Studies Society, its Directors have their own internal conflicts to cope with. Three directors have resigned (August, 2010).including Seigan Ed Glassing who was ordained 20 years ago and who was the resident monk of Shoboji until recently. And while the ZSS website reported the resignation of the Abbot from the board, and we were informed weeks ago that he no longer had undue influence in their proceedings, there is outrage at how the board chose to include him in their latest attempt to deal with a recently wounded student (see # 358 in Shimanoarchive.com and # 157 in the Tricycle Blog.)

While Eido Shimano has expressed the intention to continue training students and teachers, we must wonder why, after 40 years of ordaining monks and nuns, and with five dharma heirs, there isn’t a single ordained person (or heir) from the Zen Studies Society who will state unequivocally that he, Eido Shimano, is a worthy teacher who not only deserves, but should be encouraged, to continue teaching.

Key to the survival of The Zen Studies Society is the implementation of the first two recommendations of the Faith Trust Institute. The murky situation in ZSS will move towards a refreshing clarity once the board publicly declares they are taking expeditious steps to make sure that Eido Shimano cannot teach students under the sponsorship of ZSS. They will find a groundswell of support, from the ZSS Sangha as well as from other teachers and the maha-Sangha.

It is time for every one, the Abbot included, to accept that Eido Shimano has lost any mandate to continue being the spiritual leader of the Zen Studies Society.

Anonymous's picture

Well stated Anonymous 157.

We should not only be questioning the currently loyal heirs; they should all be questioned as it seems that not a one has elected to get further training from a fully sanctioned Roshi. The senior students should be held accountable as well.

Think about each of the people who have maintained a long term student relationship with Shimano. Each one must know about Shimano's questionable ethical history yet everyday they choose to remain connected. Why? And what are the consequences beyond what we now are seeing?

anonymous's picture

Superbly well-stated. Hear! Hear!

Anonymous's picture

To an outsider, a Maha-Sangha member, but not connected to the Zen Studies Society, the email exchange between the student and the ZSS “Ethics Committee” is shocking to say the least. It would appear the committee has no charter, no carefully considered guidelines or standards of ethical conduct for themselves let alone Eido Shimano. That committee has shot itself in both feet in the way the handled the information they received from Xxxxx.

Ideally, an “Ethics Committee” should base itself on a set of rules that regulate what behavior is considered ethical – The Ethical Guidelines. The Committee then conducts investigations into whether the guidelines have been violated. The committee should then make recommendations to the Board of Directors on what action, if any, should be taken as a result of the investigation. The committee should provide advice to the Board before it takes action, so as to avoid uncertainty over ethical culpability.

The way they operated in the instant case, going directly to Eido Shimano with their findings is tantamount to subverting the power of the Board and revealing confidential information to an established, even admitted, sexual predator. I had hopes for Genjo Marinello and Shinge Chayat but now I’m befuddled at how they are on the ZSS Board of Directors and allowed this “Ethics Committee” debacle to take place.

That email exchange revealed to me that the two people I had put faith in to “right” the “wrongs” of Eido Shimano are not at all prepared to do what is ethically mandated. Perhaps it is flaw in their training? Something that Shimano never taught – How could he possibly?

To hear that Eido Shimano would preside over a Jukai ceremony, giving the “precepts” (specifically against sexual misconduct and lying), at this time is a stunning insult to The Buddhadharma. Marinello and Chayat as the two Dharma heirs let this happen with no comment, not a word of objection and no outcry!

anonymous's picture

At the lowest when love is just lust, physiological, it is an exploitation of the other, it is using the other as a means. Soon it is finished. Once you have exploited the woman or the man you lose interest; the interest was only for the moment. You have used the other human being as a means -- which is ugly, which is immoral. To use another human being as a means is the most immoral act in existence, because each human being is an end unto himself/herself.

To use another human being as a means to fulfill a personal agenda of any kind without regard for the other is no less immoral. Be care-ful in relationship, one to other, in bringing an end to what has lacked dignity and truth.

Anonymous's picture

The six recommendations made by The Faith Trust Institute to The Zen Studies Society have been posted;

http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20101024_Fortune_Malone.pdf

Olivia's picture

Watson,

Will meet you on the website you have proposed. I strongly support that the content and design be created by women and decisions on how we move forward with it be decided by a committee of women. In the meantime, your help with working out the administrative kinks and generally getting this moving is great. Thank you!

Not Sherlock