10 Weekend Reads
26 minutes ago
Beyond this post [re: Maezumi's], there have been a fair number of calls for Zen students to take responsibility for themselves, to reclaim their power, etc. I support this, and believe that blind faith and idealization on the part of students have aided in teachers going wrong. However, let's consider the circumstances again. These calls for Zen students to basically grow up are coming as a result of scandals in which female students are the main victims. And yet, sanghas are not all women working with a male teacher. What about all those male students? Why is it taking numerous scandals where women have been the primary visible victims to get us to call for students to "grow up"?...
In my view, it's important to note that these questionable at best gendered lenses are being used by both women and men. That despite all the efforts of numerous women and feminist-minded men in the broader Western Zen community, there are still unexamined patterns of sexism that I would argue are influencing who we consider to be "great teachers" and also how we treat those who have been in abusive situations.
If Genpo Roshi were a women with the same sordid track record, would there be so many people willing to defend his teaching, and offer that he's a "humanitarian" and that his "contributions" to Zen must be continued? Somehow I think not so much. And that should make all of us pause.
It has taken me the last 7 years of intensive meditation and therapy to make any sense of the toll that “Zen” took on our family, and I realized that my suffering was caused by my expectation of him as a father.He wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but that did not need to limit me in my life the capacity for forgiveness and understanding.He was not a good father, or a good husband to my mother, but he was an outstanding teacher with a love for the dharma and a vision of liberation that took precedence in all he did.As an adult, in my travels and own seeking, I hear testimonials to his awakened Buddha nature and hear and see the proof of it in the difference it has made for so many other gifted beings to step into their place as teachers and facilitators of peace and consciousness.It is a lineage spanning continents and decades and I am very proud of him. It is the best consolation I can have; seeing and hearing his students teach. Now I see history repeating itself.
Why would you put anything on elephant journal anyways? No one's going to get paid there until all the subscribers finish paying off Waylon's mortgage for him. And he has a finicky censorship policy regarding comments that seems to depend upon how hysterical he feels that day. (Yeah I'm currently banned-again.)
While I wouldn't know about Mr. Lewis's mortgage, and haven't written for the publication, I do question the very idea of a "guide to what [they] like to call ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, the contemplative arts…anything that helps us to live a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet."
Especially when they don't pay for content and by default claim to retain the rights to publication, photos, etc. "unless previously arranged in writing."
Frankly, if they're getting money from other people's content and the other people aren't being compensated somehow, that's hardly "good for others and good for the planet."
The Kagyu sect - also known as the Black Hat sect by virtue of the magical headgear woven of goddess hair worn by the Karmapa on ceremonial occasions - disputes the presumption of the Dalai Lama to speak on its behalf. Kagyu adherents point out that the Karmapa holds precedence as a reincarnation over the Dalai Lama since the Karmapa reincarnation was initiated over 100 years before the first Dalai Lama was enthroned. The seat of the Karmapa was the Tsurpha monastery inside the present-day PRC; the 16th Karmapa fled to Sikkim with the Kagyu sect's most important regalia and treasures, and established an imposing new seat called Rumtek a few miles outside the Sikkimese capital of Gangtok.
This institutional friction was exacerbated in the 1960s when the Dalai Lama's decidedly un-Buddhist brother, Gyalo Thondup - who was the US Central Intelligence Agency liaison for the secret war against the Chinese occupation of Tibet - spearheaded the creation of a "united front" that would centralize the control of the fractious emigre community and sects under the control of the government in exile in Dharmsala. The other sects were apparently loathe to bow to Gelugpa control and formed their own political organization, the "Fourteen Settlements" group under the leadership of Gungthang Tsultrim.
In 1977, Gungthang was assassinated. His assassin allegedly told police that he had been paid $35,000 to commit the crime by the government-in-exile, and further alleged that he had been promised a bounty of double that amount to kill the current Karmapa. 
Efforts to centralize control of the emigre community collapsed, leaving a residue of bad feeling between Gelugpa and Kagyu leaders.
The situation was complicated by a split within the Kagyu sect itself upon the death of the 16th Karmapa in 1981.The conflict boils down to the rivalry between two Rinpoche in the Kagyu order, Tai Situ Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche ("Rinpoche" is an honorific typically applied to reincarnated lamas).
They have battled for decades over control of Rumtek and its ecclesiastical and worldly treasures (which are now in legal limbo; Indian courts have awarded control to a trust established by Shamar Rinpoche, but the local government has not taking the politically traumatic step of evicting the partisans of Tai Situ Rinpoche, who actually occupy the facility).
They also continue to battle over the very identity of the 17th Karmapa.
Tai Situ Rinpoche claimed to have found a secret note from the 16th Karmapa that directed him to the boy subsequently acknowledged by the Dalai Lama and enthroned in 1992 as Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa.
Shamar Rinpoche had none of that, asserting that a dream led him to a different Karmapa, one Trinley Thaye Dorje, whom he quietly brought to India from the PRC and enthroned in 1994.
Adherents of Shamar Rinpoche consider Ogyen Trinley Dorje's acknowledgement by the Dalai Lama as a piece of low, Gelugpa skullduggery. An America student of Shamar Rinpoche, Erik Curren, wrote a book on the Karmapa controversy titled "Buddha's Not Smiling". Talking to Asia Times, Mr Curren characterized the elevation of Ogyen Trinley Dorje as a virtual coup d'etat against the Kagyu sect by the Dalai Lama, with the intention of elevating an easily-manipulated son of nomads to the position of Karmapa.
The most useful accusation against Ogyen Trinley Dorje - one that attracted the close and hostile attention of the Indian security apparatus-is that his patron, Tai Situ Rinpoche, is colluding with the PRC to extend Chinese influence into India's Himalayan border regions...
A 1998 suit filed by a follower of Shamar Rinpoche further accused Tai Situ Rinpoche-and the Dalai Lama and his brother-of scheming to seize Rumtek, destabilize Sikkim, and hand it over to the Chinese. 
Certainly, beyond pleasant Buddhist platitudes concerning universal brotherhood, Tai Situ Rinpoche has made no secret of his efforts to re-establish his position inside Tibet with the help of the Chinese government.
He has rebuilt his traditional seat, Palpung Monastery, in western Sichuan province. His lavish website offers gorgeous views of the monastery and states that 300 students and 50 monks reside there.
For its part, the Chinese government appears to encourage the establishment of Tibetan organizations overseas that are affiliated with partisans of Tai Situ Rinpoche and promote Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the Karmapa.
In India, Tai Situ Rinpoche's reception has been less friendly. The Indian government banned him from entry into India from 1994 to1998 (he travels under a Bhutanese passport). His travel to the Himalayan border regions is restricted to Himachal Pradesh, where the Tibetan government in exile is located, and where his main facility inside India, Palpung Sherabling, is located. He cannot travel to the Northeast, Jammu/Kashmir, or Sikkim, where Rumtek is located. 
I have chosen to disrobe as a Buddhist Priest, and will stop giving Buddhist Precepts or Ordinations, but I will continue teaching Big Mind. I will spend the rest of my life truly integrating the Soto Zen Buddhist Ethics into my life and practice so I can once again regain dignity and respect. My actions have caused a tremendous amount of pain, confusion, and controversy for my wife, family, and Sangha, and for this I am truly sorry and greatly regret. My behavior was not in alignment with the Buddhist Precepts. I feel disrobing is just a small part of an appropriate response.I am also resigning as an elder of the White Plum Asanga. My actions should not be viewed as a reflection on the moral fabric of any of the White Plum members.
Objectives: To test the hypothesis that a novel Zen dialogue–based method can bring about significant improvements in spiritual, meditation, and well-being parameters. Design: A pretest–posttest design was used with participants being randomly assigned to either treatment or no treatment group at the Zen Center. The participants were 14 females and 2 males within each group with no prior formal Zen or meditation training. Those participants in the treatment group received intensive interaction for 1 day with an experienced Zen teacher using a dialogue method to induce a deep meditative state without instruction in formal meditation sitting practice. The outcome was measured with multiple previously standardized instruments designed to assess meditation states, well-being, and spirituality. Results: A repeated-measures analysis of variance showed statistically significant differences between the treatment and control groups for all parameters measured. In addition, the meditative state measure suggested qualities consistent with deep meditation experiences. The results justify further investigation of the technique as a rapid spiritual intervention tool particularly for clients facing end-of-life issues.