New York Times explores abuse allegations against Sasaki Roshi

An article in today’s New York Times outlines the recent allegations of sexual abuse leveled at Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the abbot of Rinzai-ji. Sasaki, who is no longer teaching, is accused of sexual misconduct with dozens of female students over several decades. In the Times article, seven women explain that the culture of Rinzai-ji encouraged them to believe that Sasaki’s groping was part of their Zen training, and made it difficult to speak out against him.

The allegations against Sasaki came to light last fall, when Eshu Martin, who studied under Sasaki from 1997 to 2008, posted a letter to Sweeping Zen demanding that Rinzai-ji address Sasaki’s behavior. Shortly afterward, an independent council of Zen teachers began interviewing 25 current and former students of Sasaki. Leaders of the Rinzai-Ji sangha announced last month that Sasaki is no longer teaching and that the sangha is creating policies to address other complaints of misconduct and to try to prevent other abuses from happening in the future.

You can read the full New York Times article here.