“Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicize any unethical behavior of which there is irrefutable evidence. This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one’s spiritual commitment to that teacher. It should also be made clear in any publicity that such conduct is not in conformity with Buddhist teachings. No matter what level of spiritual attainment a teacher has, or claims to have, reached, no person can stand above the norms of ethical conduct.” —Signed:
Fred von Allmen, Brendan Lee Kennedy, Ven. Ajahn Amaro, Bodhin Kjolhede Sensei, Jack Kornfield, Martine Batchelor, Dharmachari Kulananda, Stephen Batchelor, Jakusho Bill Kwong Roshi, Alex Berzin, Lama Namgyal (Daniel Boschero), Ven. Thubten Chodron (Cherry Greene), Ven. Tenzin Palmo, Lama Drupgyu Crony Chapman), Ven. Thubten Pende (James Dougherty), Lopon Claude aEsnee, Lama Surya Das (Jeffrey Miller), Edie Irwin, Robert Thurman, Junpo Sensei (Denis Kelly), Sylvia Wetzel. via Shimano Archive [provides complete timeline of events]
An Open Letter to Eido TAi Shimano Roshi from Aitken Roshi ~ Robert Aitken Blog
An Open Letter to Eido Tai Shimano Roshi ~ Genkaku-again
Letter from Roshi Joan regarding Eido Shimano ~ Joan Halifax Roshi’s facebook page
A Buddhist vs. Me ~ Mark Oppenheimer (author of original NY Times article)
The Aitken-Shimano Letters ~ Stuart Lachs on Buddhist Geeks
Statement from the Zen Studies Society Regarding Eido Shimano’s Status ~ Rev. Danny Fisher
I am providing some links that explain the controversy enough for individuals to come to some personal decision on the matter. There was an ethical failure on the part of Shimano Roshi that is completely human but should not have been allowed to continue (he should have been removed from his role as teacher). Even that does not excuse him from the resulting pain he caused for these actions but it would have avoided future abuses. I feel genuine sympathy for his current students [many friends and acquaintances of mine] as this must be a difficult time but one that provides opportunity for growth as well as sympathy for the victims of his abuse as their concerns and allegations were dealt with in a demeaning and, unfortunately, predictable manner. Hakuin himself dealt with these issues by insisting that any level of attainment must be followed by continued and substained practice.
The fact that the board of the Zen Studies Society was so willing to hide these abuses until they finally came to light in a public forum while abuses continued is beyond redemption. For the board to claim ignorance and then shrug shoulders is not a proper organizational response. This is not about saving face or avoiding controversy, this is about an organization’s willingness to protect students from those that would manipulate or abuse the priviledge that teaching in spiritual matters provides and is based upon – trust.
Cheers to those teachers and roshis above that are willing to call out one of their own.
I bolded Al Billings’ post that well documents the whole progession of stories and facts.
I did not include all links, if you have one that is sorely missing then please include in comments.