Sex and the Sangha: NYT report

The situation at the Zen Studies Society has reached The New York Times. [via Rod Meade Sperry and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly]

Sex Scandal Has U.S. Buddhists Looking Within

By NellaLou Tagged ,

7 comments on “Sex and the Sangha: NYT report

  1. All right, I’ll say it. This is a primary reason why I have remained dubious about the Zen school. While I have and continue to respect Zen practitioners, I have always viewed Zen teachers with a skeptical eye, particularly white Zen teachers who are practicing a Zen that has Japanese origin.

    At least in the Theravada tradition, the monk wears robes. It makes it a bit more difficult to get jiggy with someone in ochre robes. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But it’s very clear when it does that a line is being crossed.

  2. Seems like there is something needed here besides
    drive-by computer screen comments, cynicism & condemnation.

    a little truth telling
    attention to to suffering in specific situations
    some reconciliation, restoration, restitution
    some renewing of intentions and vows
    offers of 1st hand help and support & constructive engagement

    There are already enough
    pots lying around broken
    spectators caught up in the brokenness on their computer screens

    • Are you directing this to me, the New York Times article, the subjects of the article, other commenters, general readers or what? It’s a little vague.

  3. LellaLou,

    No NyTimes observations and your analysis seem fine to me & timely.

    What confounds me is the amount reactionary moralistic commentary to this post and similar posts elsewhere.

    There is little expression of help or support for efforts to identify people in specific situations trying to find facts, correct wrong information, support people who are suffering including victims, abusers, broken sanghas and the disappointment of the larger community.

    Some commenters sound like they want their own brand of cynicism even retribution and have no sense of suffering or positive corrective actions in the actual breakdown situations nor the suffering their own attitudes.

    Some Cs sound so full of their own pretentious vitriol; lot of heat,not much light. very few questions and a lot of “answers”.

    • Thank you, Steve. I think yours is the first comment I’ve found that addresses the real issue here. It would seem the high ranking teachers with blogs have little to say about how they have ensured the safeness of their communities and how they can mitigate against a damaging process like this. In fact, their silence is rather remarkable.

      In my experience with personality-based teachers, there is no understanding of the power they wield or the willingness to be vigilant to the vulnerabilities of the people they serve. The unbelievable issue is not that sexual liasons happen (they do) but that few teachers or communities want to be educated on how they can happen and what to do to protect their members against it.

  4. I just came home from a week at a great Zen temple, among some incredible bodhisattvas. When you encounter real Dharma practice, distinctions drop off, you are amazed and peaceful, and there is no doubt. None. Which makes Eido’s transgressions all the more sad. but it doesn’t actually touch the truth. The big truth.

    So Richard, if you have such meager faith, that the color of a robe, a person’s skin, or a country of origin is your criteria for acceptance of the truth or the Dharma, you simply have more practice ahead. And isn’t that in itself good news? We seek until such distinctions fall away, like bad habits. Then we say “oh, yes. Wasn’t I being silly.”

    What I see happening with all these scandals, afflicting every sangha (of every “vehicle”), is that we precisely learn to grow up and find our own true faith when it is tested like this. not faith in people (except to simply have reinforced that people will be people – which also is good news. Bodhisattva job security.) But in Dharma, that is completely unconditional, vast, motile, and unstainable.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

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