[Buddha-l] Another One Bites the Dust

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Sun Feb 24 08:53:08 MST 2013

Franz Metcalf wrote:

> This time it's Joshu Sasaki Roshi. I guess if you live long enough, someone eventually calls you to account. I'm sorry, Richard, this happened (all along and now).

This whole thing has left me feeling both sad and angry. It makes me sad, because it has resulted in the permanent cancellation of a more-than-thirty-year relationship between my university and Bodhi Manda Zen Center that took the form of an annual summer course in which people could get three academic credits in a Zen practice setting. Over the years students were treated to hearing excellent teaching by the likes of Peter Gregory, Jay Garfield, Bill Waldron, John McRae, Janet Gyatso, Charles Hallisey, Shoryu Katsura, Mark Unno, and Lance Cousins (to name just a few of the many first-rate teachers who taught at the seminars). It makes me angry, because I now realize that innocent students may have been at risk over the years, and the people of Rinzai-ji knew this, and they covered it up. 

Even now, some of the oshos in the Rinzai-ji organization are saying that people should focus their attention on the brilliant teaching of this great Zen master rather than on his flaws. Others are denying that his behavior was flawed at all, since it was all upāya aimed at helping people attain escape velocity from the gravitational pull of their egos. I'm old-fashioned and conservative enough that I don't regard a teacher who turns his disciples into sycophants who cover up his sexual abuse of many women (estimates are in the hundreds, but at least forty-two have now come forward with their stories) who came to him for spiritual guidance is a great Zen master. 


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