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. Read More
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Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the 106-year-old abbot of Rinzai-Ji, will be leaving his post this summer, Sweeping Zen reports, and Eshin John Godfrey of the Vancouver Zen Center has been chosen to replace him. Gento Steve Krieger and Ginsei Ginger Calloway have also been named as vice-abbots, and all three will assume their new roles when Sasaki steps down on July 21.
In addition to serving as abbot, Godfrey will also continue his role as a member of Rinzai-Ji’s Transitional Leadership Team. Read More »
Updated: Rinzai-ji oshos’ open letter regarding Sasaki roshi responds to sexual misconduct allegations, acknowledges misconduct
In response to allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at Rinzai-ji senior teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Rinzai-ji oshos have issued a statement announcing that Sasaki is no longer teaching. The sangha is creating policies to address other complaints of misconduct, and to try to prevent other abuses from happening in the future.
“Sadly, we cannot deny these accusations. This issue has been a sore on the body of our Sangha for decades, and we are eager and relieved to finally open it to the light of day,” the letter reads in part. “The Rinzai-ji community of practitioners has struggled with our teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi’s sexual misconduct for a significant portion of his career in the United States. Senior members of our community have made several earnest and serious attempts over the years to correct this problem. Ultimately, these attempts failed.”
(Update: The Independent Witness Council, which was organized by Rinzai-ji to investigate complaints about Sasaki, also issued reports of its findings on Friday.
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Rinzai-ji oshos, sangha representatives, and board of directors convened this past weekend to discuss allegations of sexual abuse that were recently leveled at their roshi, Joshu Sasaki. At the meeting, they agreed to create a method through which other people with grievances and concerns about abuse can come forward. A “statement of response” from the oshos is scheduled to be released by tomorrow, January 11. Read More »
Updated: Rinzai-Ji responds to allegations of sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki; community meeting announced
Following on last week’s news of a gathering among the board of directors of Rinzai-Ji to address allegations of sexual conduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Adam Tebbe of Sweeping Zen (the Tebbe-run website that has been instrumental in creating discussion in the matter) reports:
“Yesterday (11/30/2012), Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser, Osho (of the Albuquerque Zen Center) sent out a letter addressed ‘To whom it may concern,’ on behalf of Rinzai-ji Oshos. It is unclear what role the Board of Directors, the body in charge of governance at Rinzai-ji, will now have in the direction being taken. According to Seiju’s letter, representatives of the Board (not the Board itself) will be invited to participate.” Update: Buddhadharma News has received a copy of the letter. It reads, in full: Read More »
The third annual Buddhist Geeks conference is coming on August 16–18 in Boulder, and this year’s conference features a discussion on scandals in the Buddhist world.
Facilitated by Diane Musho Hamilton, with panelists Shinzen Young, Sofia Diaz, Kenneth Folk, and Michael Zimmerman, this discussion will use the recent allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Joshu Sasaki Roshi not only as a jumping-off point for identifying the contributing factors that make scandals more probable, but also to help illuminate potential ways to work with this complex territory of sexuality and spirituality. You can read more about the discussion here. Read More »
In response to concerns from Zen practitioners about the possibility of abuse by teachers, San Francisco Zen Center abbot Steve Stücky has issued a statement outlining the center’s policies for handling sexual misconduct from teachers.
Stücky issued the statement in response to an article about Joshu Sasaki Roshi, abbot of Rinzai-Ji in Los Angeles, who was removed from his teaching position earlier this year in repsonse to allegations that he had been sexually harassing students for decades.
“We need to focus on emphasizing our clear ethical standards to prevent such abuses by any of us, and refresh our understanding of the serious harm that can be caused by sexual misconduct,” Stücky said. Read More »
As per a new report from SweepingZen.com, the board of directors of Rinzai-ji Zen Center in Los Angeles has “convened for a meeting this weekend to discuss allegations of sexual abuse by their teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi. In a statement that appeared today at the Rinzai-ji website, the organization writes:
‘Recently the Board of Directors of Rinzai-ji has become aware of allegations posted on websites of sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the Abbott of Rinzai-ji. The Board takes allegations of inappropriateness regarding any Rinzai-ji teacher’s behavior very seriously.
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