http://www.shimanoarchive.com/NEWindex.html - Jun 19, 2013 6:58:41 PM - Feb 6, 2012 10:23:17 PM
An Email From Genjo Marinello To Roko Chayat
June 16, 2013, 2:58 PM CDT
Re: "A Letter From Shinge Roshi"
"Open letter concerning ZSS 'Annual Ceremony for Introspection and Purification' "
"This week I read with interest Shinge Roko Chayat's, the second abbot of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS), proposal to begin this July an 'Annual Ceremony for Introspection and Purification' (see:http://hoodiemonks.org/PDFs/20130613_Shinge_SelectedMailing.pdf). She proposes that at such a service the mistakes of the past, presumably around the handling of the Eido Shimano fiasco, can be owned up to and redressed."
"It is well known that the founding Abbot of the ZSS, Eido Shimano Roshi, severely abused his position of power and authority over the course of decades. Most egregiously, sexualizing and abusing the most vulnerable and attractive female students under his care and instruction. It is also known that his actions have disrupted and divided the sangha several times during his tenure as abbot. At each major upheaval, the most progressive members of the ZSS board would either leave in disgust at the inaction of the entire board or be forced out. Thus leaving the most conservative members to march on to reestablish a viable, but fundamentally dysfunctional, practice community. In the most recent upheaval, that began in June of 2010, when yet another student came forward to reveal that she was tiered of keeping secret her illicit affair with Shimano, the first of the ZSS board members resigned when Roshi refused to take a leave of absence from teaching after admitting this clear ethical breach of well established policy. I was the last of five to resign in July of 2011."
"When it was finally agreed by everyone, including Roshi, that he would no longer teach at ZSS, three days later the board received a proposal from Roshi, dated July 5th, 2011, that he be allowed to teach beginning students at NYC Shobo-Ji (ZSS City Zendo). The board quickly declined this request, but then the rest of the board argued that this letter be kept secret. I could not agree because the letter so clearly demonstrated the depth of his denial and narcissism; therefore, for this and other reasons, I resigned. Of course, once again, those who remained were the least progressive and most tolerant of Eido Shimano's antics. Shinge, who has admitted to being unexpectedly physically molested by him, was in my view the least progressive of those remaining. By the way, everyone should be aware that Eido Shimano continues to teach students in New York and internationally, just not under the auspices of ZSS."
"We need to bring restorative principles and practices to redress harm, restore peace, promote healing, and build a strong, healthy community."
"The most appropriate time would be at the conclusion of every Anniversary Sesshin. This year's sesshin will end at noon on Saturday, July 6, 2013."
"Even if you can't come to sesshin, please join us that Saturday at 2 p.m. for a facilitated listening circle in which everyone can speak openly, without interruption, and be heard deeply. Then we will have a special Purification Ceremony in the Dharma Hall. We'll end with an informal supper."
"It is my intention to hold such listening circles on a regular basis, both at Dai Bosatsu Zendo and at New York Zendo, as well as an annual purification ceremony."
An Email Letter From Shinge
"Sangha" [Actually to a select group]
"These last few years have been a time of great challenge and change. Some people say that we must move on, and focus our attention on new growth. Yet I know there are many who feel their concerns have not been fully acknowledged."
"We have all made mistakes, those of commission and those of omission. We have hurt others through our insensitivity, our ego-centered actions, and our lack of wisdom and compassion, and we must own up to this, and ask for forgiveness."
" We need to bring restorative principles and practices to redress harm, restore peace, promote healing, and build a strong, healthy community."
"We can take up a suggestion that was made some time ago to hold an annual ceremony of introspection and purification, through which we reflect upon the shadow history of the Zen Studies Society and vow to transform our karma."
" The most appropriate time would be at the conclusion of every Anniversary Sesshin. This year's sesshin will end at noon on Saturday, July 6, 2013."
" Even if you can't come to sesshin, please join us that Saturday at 2 p.m. for a facilitated listening circle in which everyone can speak openly, without interruption, and be heard deeply. Then we will have a special Purification Ceremony in the Dharma Hall. We'll end with an informal supper."
" It is my intention to hold such listening circles on a regular basis, both at Dai Bosatsu Zendo and at New York Zendo, as well as an annual purification ceremony."
The Genkaku Again Blog
Monday, June 10, 2013
"It's a bit too precious and too convoluted as written, but since I am too lazy to rewrite it and since various recent conversations put me in mind of it, I will put it here so I'll know where to find it -- a 30-plus-year-old incident that had some impact in its time, but now is just a small shard in the mosaic of depredations of the Zen teacher Eido Tai Shimano."
“As he walked south along Third Avenue, the streets were largely empty. A few trucks, a few taxis and a few buses plied their trade, but in a city as jam-packed as New York, this was an empty time and the emptiness seemed to compound his sense of fear. What if he were seen or caught red-handed breaking the law? How could he deny that the plastic bag in his right hand contained cans of spray paint and that the spray paint belonged to him?”
“The forty-two-year-old house painter and Zen student withdrew one of the spray cans from his bag, shook it until the small steel ball within rattled to indicate the paint was well-mixed, and then sprayed first one and then another of the sandstone stairs: 'SHAME.' The paint had been deliberately purchased in an oil-base form -- something that could not be washed off easily as water-base paint might be. With luck, it would be mostly dry before the sun came up and the lawbreaker's handiwork was discovered.”
“And now, today, one of his followers was drawing a line ... SHAME. On the one hand, it was just a bit of scurrilous graffiti. On the other, it was a summing up of Shimano's previous and future years as what some called a 'Zen master.' He had manipulated and abused women students ... and would again. He had manipulated and abused the finances of Zen Studies Society ... and would again. There was no pervasive Internet use at the time and so it had taken years for the evidence to accumulate and make itself felt: Shimano had betrayed is own teachings and hurt quite a lot of people into the bargain.”
“The forty-two-year-old house painter and Zen student was, of course, me. It was I who was tired and determined and scared. I was scared not just that the police might catch and prosecute me but also that I might incur some mystical wrath from the brightness of the Zen Buddhism I had followed as best I might: Not only were the cops going to hit me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, but the Buddhist tradition itself might exact some fearsome, hell-bound, karmic price. Toe the mark or risk reprisal ... that was Shimano's teaching and I too had ingested it. But not today, not Oct. 5, 1982.”
[See: Here and Here]
The Genkaku Again Blog
"It began yesterday when a friend sent along a video of Eido Tai Shimano's concluding talk at a sesshin or Zen retreat held May 10-15. After first assessing how long the video clip was (nine minutes and change), I watched it. I can do pretty much anything for nine minutes so I watched. And it was from that point that the incredible sorrow -- molecule-deep sorrow and horror ... wracking -- kicked in."
"Eido Shimano came to America in the 1960's and helped to build a Zen Buddhist organization whose most concrete exemplars were a town-house Zen center in Manhattan and a monastery-like building in the Catskill Mountains. I studied for nine years within his precincts beginning in the 1970's. I loved Zen practice somehow -- deeply and with the sort of awe and confusion and devotion and determination that I think other students may have felt in their own ways. I remained in Shimano's bomb zone until his sociopathic depredations -- the sexual manipulation of female students being the most high-profile -- became too much for me. When I left, I was confused and angry and felt betrayed ... but those were, however painful, minor matters. Later, I would become involved in efforts to lay out Shimano's chicanery -- a chicanery best depicted, perhaps, in The Shimano Archive: This son of a bitch deserved to be brought down! And so, bit by bit, he was reduced in stature: His legend, both in his own mind and in the minds of others, was deflated ... not perfectly perhaps, but in some measure. The video attested to a hoped-for and perhaps-attainable resurrection as a "Zen master" and teacher of 'true Rinzai Zen.' "
"Watching the video yesterday, I wondered how many years Shimano had devoted to what he called 'Zen practice.' Was it 50 or 60? Imagine that! So much time, so much effort, so much accomplishment and ... and here's where the sorrow and horror overwhelmed me ... the upshot, at least in my heart and mind, was purely the most horrific and sorrowful thing I could imagine in spiritual life ... the upshot was ...
"Teaspoon by teaspoon by teaspoon ... nothing threatening about a teaspoon, right? ... a bureaucrat. In my heart and mind, it was beyond screaming in its sorrowfulness."
“On May 10th to 15th, 2013, the Rinzai Zen Sangha hosted its Inaugural Sesshin, dedicated to the memory of Nyogen Senzaki Zenji, with Eido Shimano Roshi as its invited guest teacher.”
“We inspired the cool, crisp, lilac and magnolia scented spring air at a beautiful, secluded, historic country mansion that we fondly called the ‘Hidden Zendo.’ "
"It reminded me of the somewhat informal and improvisational sesshins, at the Daibosatsu Zendo Guest House, before the construction of the monastery.”
“Eido Roshi gave 100% of himself, especially evident, during teisho and dokusan. The subject matter for Teisho was from the Rinzai Roku, spiced with comments and stories from the life of Nyogen Senzaki, the corner stone of our American / Japanese Zen Mandala.”
“Dokusan was given three times per day. Since we were only 12 of us, Eido Roshi made a commitment to interview all students that came, during each dokusan session. That was three personal teaching sessions each day, with Eido Roshi! This was the most auspicious opportunity to receive, from a Japanese trained Master of Zen Masters, personalized coaching and encouragement beyond the usual horizons of our regular training and practice.”
“After serving, a most distinguished career as the founder / builder and Abbot of the Zen Studies Society, Eido Roshi was now ready to realize his spiritual dream of offering a ‘sumptuous French dinner’ to the Sangha during this extraordinary inaugural session. I assert that this vision will continue to be realized through his future encounters with the Rinzai Zen Sangha.”
“ALL DAY ZAZENKAI JUNE 16th, 2013” “On Sunday, June 16th, 2013, there will be an ALL DAY ZAZEN-KAI with Eido Roshi. It will take place at Ungan Richard Diletto’s townhouse in the Bronx.”
“We will only accommodate up to 15 people so please RSVPs as soon as possible.”
“The cost for the ALL DAY ZAZEN-KAI including lunch will be $25 per person. The doors will open at 9:00 am for registration and Zazen will start at 9:30 am. There will be a Dharma talk by Eido Roshi in the afternoon and a Sarei after the end of Zazen at 5pm.”
Randy Banko Phillips to Sweeping Zen Addressed to Nonin Chowaney.
“I wish to tell you [Nonin Chowaney] that your ‘actions’ made a very difficult time for those of us who were trying to deal with this situation from the inside much more difficult. I don’t believe that you can understand how much more difficult you made things – and what a negative drag it was dealing with your continued sniping. Was this sniping, goading, gloating, quick to anger and attack ‘unethical’ – I don’t presume to know by a long shot but there was apparently plenty of greed anger and delusion to go around. IMHO.”
Post by former ZSS Board President Randy Banko Phillips to Sweeping Zen.
“… I am Banko Randy Phillips and I was at one time president of the board of directors of the Zen Studies Society. At one time I considered myself a good friend of Eido Shimano. I traveled with him to Japan and worked on several books with him. When Robert Aitkin via the web asked for a formal reply by Eido Shimano to his charges (the first that I was aware of them) I tried to get Eido Shimano to respond. I was no longer president of the board but was still on it. It was apparent that his answer was not forthcoming.”
“The reason for this reply now is simply because of the subject of the above article. As a matter of record – you [Nonin Chowaney] – from the side-lines repeatedly cast aspersions at anyone who was ‘against’ Shimano or Shinge Roshi. You were an apologist for both – one might even say even a rabid apologist. To my reading – and I think many others – you responded often in a mean spirited manner. Almost anything that Genjo Osho said was picked apart ad nauseam – in a seemingly imperious manner as well – to what end? Shinge Roshi eventually called Shimano a 'psychopath' – nothing that either I nor Genjo Osho did. Maybe she is right – now Shimano is suing ZSS (for breaking a contract that he basically wrote himself) - ‘Let True Dharma Continue’ – indeed.”
“I wish to tell you that your ‘actions’ made a very difficult time for those of us who were trying to deal with this situation from the inside much more difficult. I don’t believe that you can understand how much more difficult you made things – and what a negative drag it was dealing with your continued sniping. Was this sniping, goading, gloating, quick to anger and attack ‘unethical’ – I don’t presume to know by a long shot but there was apparently plenty of greed anger and delusion to go around. IMHO.”
(In response to Merry Benezra’s piece above.)
“Overall a good summery of the tragic history of ZSS and it’s founding abbot Eido Shimano. Indeed the current Abbot, Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat has done little to reach out to those most harmed or alienated over the decades. It is true that ZSS has employed the Faith Trust Institute and An Olive Branch to good effect to start, but has never followed up with an organizational apology (such as Rinzai-Ji has made), a long overdue and promised forensic audit, or democratic reorganization of the bylaws ('new' bylaws have not even been made public). Neither has ZSS sponsored any further reaching out to those most harmed or alienated. No detailed account of Eido Roshi’s wrong doings has been investigated by ZSS, let alone made public, except as can be derived by their counter suit to his complaint that he has not been paid enough.”
“Shinge Chayat has admitted to me that she has experienced ‘unexpected physical molestation’ from Eido Shimano, and though she categorically denies having an ‘affair’ with him, many people claim to have heard her directly say otherwise, including her ex-husband. In any case, it is clear that she too has been abused and taken in by him, publicly to this day expressing gratitude for ‘Eido Roshi’s uncompromising and penetrating Dharma Eye, which reveals directly the luminous power of the unconditional mind’ while privately calling him a ‘psychopath.’ ”