The Sasaki Archive

佐々木承周 老師アーカイブ

Joshu Roku™ - 承周錄
The sayings and doings of Joshu Sasaki

"I 'suffered Roshi's abuse' – and it was the closest I ever got to god."
A female student.

“He has become a precious golden Buddha!”

Eshin Godfrey

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51 02/13/13


Blitz Quotidiano

Usa. Scandalo sessuale coinvolge storico maestro centenario di buddhismo zen

Pubblicato il 13 febbraio 2013 10.49 | Ultimo aggiornamento: 13 febbraio 2013 10.53

"LOS ANGELES, STATI UNITI – Pioniere del Buddhismo Zen in America, venerato maestro da oltre 50 anni da migliaia di adepti che seguono ogni suo 'comando mistico', maestro persino del poeta e cantautore Leonard Cohen, Joshu Sasaki, il monaco che nel 1962 porto’ dal Giappone lo Zen a Los Angeles, e’ al centro di un dilagante scandalo sessuale."

52 02/14/13

20130214_Chinese Multimedia.pdf

105岁禅宗大师爆性丑闻 受害者数百

  2013-02-14 07:51  美国中文网

《洛杉矶时报》说,最近一家独立机构的调查发现,全美佛教禅宗著名人物、洛杉矶的佐佐木大禅师(Joshu Sasaki Roshi)过去几十年来可能性侵犯数百人。调查报告说,105岁佐佐木的性侵犯包括从性骚扰到强奸。

53 02/15/13



Spring 2013


The Buddha Stain

by James Shaheen

“At the further edges, cults are certainly different from other types of communities, whether religious or secular. But aside from the extremes, there can be a large gray area. Which is to say, certain characteristics that are present in most any purposeful community—self-validating agreements about authority; the singular significance of the group’s mission; clear rules of conduct and organization—can, when pushed far enough, lead to cult-like behavior, with damaging consequences.” 

“As I write this, yet another Buddhist community is in the thick of yet another sex scandal: this time it is the Rinzai-ji association of Zen centers headed by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who is, at 105 years old, one of the old lions of the Buddhist world and one of the last remaining of that handful of teachers who, in the 1960s and 1970s, established the meditation centers and communities that were foundational for the development of Buddhism in the West. On the website Sweeping Zen, two of Joshu Roshi’s priests came forward to address what appears to be a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct on their teacher’s part.”

“One veteran of the Zen scene told me that the most surprising thing about the breaking of the Rinzai-ji story is that it took so long to be made public. The general outlines of the story have been common knowledge in Zen circles for decades. But Rinzai-ji has always been an insular community, socially isolated from the larger Buddhist community by a self-reinforcing belief in the special significance of their teacher and his transmission. In this regard, they have been able to maintain an attitude—call it “dharma exceptionalism,” for lack of a better word—that was characteristic of many of the Buddhist communities that started at about the same time. Many of these communities, with time and experience, have had their sense of dharma exceptionalism at least mildly chastened by upheavals of their own, and perhaps now this will be true for Rinzai-ji as well.” 

“Institutions, no less but no more than individuals, are marked by what the novelist Philip Roth called “the human stain”—our inevitable failure to measure up to the purity of our ideals. Desire, the very pulse of life, is not something to be mastered; it will always be with us, always causing trouble, undermining our high-mindedness, delighting us and driving us crazy, and reminding us that we are, alas, human. And this apparently applies even to enlightened folks. As the stain of our inability to conquer desire spreads, something else can, if we let it, spread with it. We can move past the confines of parochialism and the sense of moral and spiritual privilege. We can, and we do, meet as a larger community, one that holds and supports each particular one.”

54 02/15/13


Elephant Journal

Via Tom Rapsas

on Feb 15, 2013

“As dozens of sexual harassment accusations against renowned Zen Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki have come to light, it got me thinking: do you really need a guru to achieve spiritual enlightenment?”

“In case you haven’t heard, the now 105-year old Sasaki apparently misused his Zen teachings as a justification to sexually exploit his female students over several decades. Of course, Sasaki is not alone in his sexual misdeeds.  Time and time again, often here on the pages of elephant j, we’ve seen reportsof other “gurus” behaving badly. (Not that the Eastern philosophies have a monopoly on bad behavior.) Now, I’m in full agreement that certain gurus have the potential to pass along their wisdom. In fact, you may have a guru in your own life who is now teaching you vital life lessons and leading you down the path of enlightenment. But I strongly believe that while a guru can point you in the right spiritual direction, you’ve got to walk that path alone.”

55 02/17/13


The Huffington Post

Joshu Sasaki and the Challenge of Sex Scandals in the Zen Community

by Adam Tebbe

Editor, Sweeping Zen 

Posted: 02/17/2013 12:53 am

“By now, most everyone in the Zen Buddhist world has heard the news that Joshu Sasaki purportedly misused his position as a Zen teacher for his own sexual gratifications with many of his female Zen students. It's not been the best of times for the Zen world, I'm afraid.”

“According to a report by an independent council of Zen teachers assembled to hear the stories of those affected, these sexual encounters were often initiated 'in the formal setting, privacy, and 'face-to-face' encounters of the sanzen room.' Sanzen is a ritualized private meeting between a Zen student and Zen teacher. Their report also stated that there were reports of coercion and that Sasaki would at times frame the sexual contact as being a form of Zen teaching, or otherwise beneficial to the student. The council did a terrific job, considering morale and support for such an endeavor sure seemed to be at a low in the Zen community at large. It felt as though we'd arrived at some snapping point for readers who were sick of the coverage. The council, in my opinion, really deserves the thanks of the community. They collectively put in a lot of hours to offer us their report.”

“Kobutsu Malone is the person behind the Sasaki Archive, which helps document this entire debacle. Over the years Kobustu has also worked on bringing Zen practice to America's prison system. The documentation work he is involved in has proven to be an invaluable resource for the media when they need to research stories like this involving Joshu Sasaki. I asked Kobutsu why he decided to take on the Sasaki Archive as a project.”

" ‘I took on the archive because it was needed to agglomerate all of the news material in one place similar to the,' said Malone. 'I knew that it would become an invaluable reference source in short order. While other sites encouraged dialog, I did not. The stands alone as the concise go-to source of materials in the case.’ "

“The internet has really been a game changer when it comes to shedding light on abuses of power in the Buddhist community. What used to be found in dusty chapters of a book can now be explored more easily and more in-depth on the web, allowing readers to better understand the scale of the events in question. Its work like that done by Kobutsu that helped, in part, put the New York Times and LA Times on the scent of this story more recently.”

56 02/18/13 20130218_Schnabel_Oshos.pdf

Two Letters - One From Eko Cheryl Schnabel
Sent Anonymously to the
Archive Post Office Box.

 “Let's talk about dicks instead of tits. Who has the biggest one? It isn't Sandy stewart or Seiju. Who has a pencil dick? Well of course it belongs to those who use the smallest holes. Some are crooked and some are straight. Some are dark red and others are pale. Mostly they sit on the bodies of those who are called the plus polarity and who do more of the expansion activity versus the contraction activity. At the crown chakra, there is a vortex that circles counterclockwise while the first chakra circles clockwise. Guess what? In women the circles go in the opposite directions.”

“Where did your erection come from? Did God give it to you? Where is god when you get an erection? What direction does your dick point to? Can you make it point in the ten directions?”

“ Whose business is it whatever you do with your own dick? Shall we read testimonials about -dicky activity at the next meeting? You plus poles have been left out. I feel like saving you from your suffering right now. After using your dick are you feeling territorial about the other person and do you insist on being exclusive? Do you need a healing?”

“After suitable white robes have been sewn, all ordained members and boards of directors will assemble in the courtyard of Rinzai-Ji and commit seppuku. Alternatively, since this is America, each participant could be provided a Smith & Wesson .38.”

57 02/19/13 Nikki Stubbs

February 19, 2013

CBC Radio

As it Happens 

Listening to AS IT HAPPENS is like taking a trip around the world five nights a week. For more than 35 years, using the simplest of tools - the telephone - this current affairs program has explored the heart of a story, whether it's happening in the streets of Belgrade, the dockyards of Vancouver, the boardrooms of Bay Street, or the kitchens of Paris.

*  Zen Scandal Folo.

A Vancouver woman turns the spotlight on an international Zen master who she accuses of sexual abuse.

58 02/21/13


In Memory of Chizuko Karen Joy Tasaka (1951-2010)

To Joshu Sasaki Roshi: Roshi You Are a Sexual Abuser

Because Chizuko Karen Joy Tasaka did not live to see the Rinzai-ji community acknowledge the “sexual abuse” she described in her poetry, I felt it was especially important to give voice to her poem of vivid accusations and her cry of pain on behalf or herself and her Dharma sisters and brothers. Her family and friends now feel that she would want to speak to us, to tell her story if she were alive today. While I have heard (and continue to hear) many women speak out about their experience of the confusing web, within which they were caught during their Zen practice at Rinzai-ji, I was deeply affected by Chizuko’s poem and cry for help because it was interrupted by her death.  As the Witness Council and others worked together to tell the Rinzai-ji story, I often wondered if Chizuko’s spirit was still guiding us to complete her work-- to acknowledge and end these abuses.

Grace Schireson

 "Roshi, you are a sexual abuser"

“ 'Come' you say as you pull me from a handshake onto your lap

“ 'Open' you say as you push your hands between my knees, up my thighs fondle my breasts

rub my genitals

french kiss me"

"you put my hand on your genitals

stroke your penis

jack you off?

this is sanzen?"

"We came to you with the trust of a student

You were our teacher

You betrayed us

You violated our bodies

You rape our souls"

"Roshi, you are a sexual abuser

Your nuns you make your sexual servants

Your monks and oshos are crippled with denial

Roshi, Sexual Abuser."

59 02/21/13


Attorney General of New Mexico


111 Lomas Blvd, Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

(505) 222-9000

“The New Mexico Attorney General's Criminal Investigations Division considers allegations of sexual assault and criminal conduct important and serious. However, we do need to have specific facts on the alleged incidents and have victim cooperation to support a criminal investigation. Please feel free to encourage any that have victimized to contact, SAIC Johnny Ortega at 505-222-9000.”

60 03/03/13


Renowned Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki accused of misusing his position for sexual favors from female students 

Sunday, February 17, 2013, 11:03 AM



"Barbara Dorris of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has graciously offered to serve as an independent contact person for women who experienced the behavior of Joshu Sasaki currently under discussion." 

"An item on the Sweeping Zen website says, 'Barbara (Dorris of SNAP) has been dealing with people who have been involved with clergy for many, many years and is completely trustworthy. She also is not a Buddhist cleric or affiliated with any Buddhist institution that might have vested interest in whatever reports might be received.' " 

61 03/12/13


March 12, 2013

Meeting of Ordained Sangha of Rinzai-ji
Mount Baldy Zen Center 2, 3 March 2013

Summary Report

 “A delegation of two from the planning group, two from the retirement group and Seiju met with Roshi before the meeting, as we felt it was essential that his view be available during our discussions. First Roshi was informed that the purpose of the meeting was to form an entity to carry the greater Rinzai-ji Sangha forward.  Second, that significant funds would be needed for the Bearing Witness process.  Roshi replied by thanking us for our efforts to help deal with the situation and to continue with what those present at the upcoming meeting felt was best to do. He also made clear he authorizes the funds that are needed.”

“An Olive Branch (AOB) has developed an Assessment Proposal on the basis of interviews with some oshos and one board member.  The AOB proposal offers a ‘cafeteria-style’ range of interventions that include governance counseling, grievance procedures and education, as well as first receivership.  The recommendation of the BWG is for an initial agreement with the AOB for first receivership.”

“A senmon dojo is needed to produce a Roshi. Mt Cobb has the requirements of 1) adequate land 2) several oshos 3) adjacent land that can be bought for additional temples.  Training for women is equally important, though different and separate from training for men.”

"• Agreement One.  There is a clear need for better communication within the ordained sangha and for establishing the mechanisms for this to happen.
• Agreement Two.  The ordained sangha wants to convene another meeting.
• Agreement Three.  Some kind of formal leadership is necessary to organize another meeting and to hold the process at this time.”

“The primary tasks of the Transitional Leadership Team will be 1) facilitating communication within the sangha, 2) holding the ongoing work of the Bearing Witness Group, 3) identifying and prioritizing additional areas that need attention, and 4) organizing one or more subsequent sangha listening circles.

Seiju, Gento, and Soko Paul Humphreys are called upon to meet with Joshu Roshi to present a report of the meeting.  [This report was presented to the Roshi on Wednesday 8 March.]”

62 04/01/13


An Email From Soko Paul Humphreys

Monday, April 1, 2013 9:55 PM

Announcement of New Abbot- and Vice-Abbots-designate of


"Kyozan Joshu Roshi has named Eshin John Godfrey as Abbot-designate of  Rinzai-ji. Roshi has also named Gento Steve Krieger and Ginsei Ginger Calloway as Vice-Abbots-designate of Rinzai-ji." 

"The Roshi has called for these individuals to assume these new responsibilities on the day of his stepping down as Abbot of Rinzai-ji on 21 July 2013."  

"April through June will be a period of transition.  During this time, Eshin is to work with the Roshi and Rinzai-ji staff towards his taking on full responsibilities as Abbot in July.  Eshin will continue to serve as Abbot of Zen Centre of Vancouver."

"Eshin will also continue to serve as a member of the Transitional Leadership Team that is charged with improving communications, holding the Bearing Witness process, and investigating future organizational models for the Greater Sangha of Rinzai-ji."

63 05/01/13


Yoga For Smart People

His body is a golden string your body’s hanging from: Leonard Cohen and the disgraced guru

By MATTHEW REMSKI | Published: MAY 1, 2013

“Now the dirt is coming out on old Roshi, now 105, and almost dead. It is now public knowledge that for decades he enticed, seduced, tricked or forced dozens of his western female acolytes into various forms of sexual service. He would tell them that to yield to him was to obey a cosmic harmony, and that not yielding would keep their minds closed and dull. He interfered in the marriages of his students. He threatened non-compliers with mental darkness or social isolation. Now it seems that many if not all of his senior students were aware of this bullshit, according to Susanna Stewart’s letter to the oshos and the Rinzai-Ji Board of Directors.”

“Undoubtedly the senior students have been creative, prolific, and koan-like in their rationalizations for decades. Stewart suggests that nobody called the old man out publicly because he threatened to stop teaching if they did. It’s extraordinary to consider that the mystique of Roshi’s oshos may have been built on their ability to mystify the obvious and pardon the unpardonable – a skill easily confused, it seems, with the skill of describing, as zen longs to, the indescribable.”

“Roshi’s addiction was an open secret amidst his circle going back as far as the early 70s – so much so that in 1973 they procured a mail-order Japanese bride for him to keep his zen-stick occupied in the more customary manner. But it goes back even further – Giko David Rubin, who unearthed the stories of twenty-three of the women whom Joshu Roshi abused also contacted some elderly colleagues of his from Japan, who confirmed that his sexual predation was scandalous in the 50s. It seems he wound up in L.A. permanently after having soiled one too many robes in Kyoto. Genjo Marinello, a commenter on one of the online threads now spinning out of control as Roshi’s abuse collides with the faith his acolytes have invested in him suggests as much: that Joshu was in prison for who-knows-what before immigrating and has left unacknowledged children in the shadows of his temples.”

64 05/27/13 20130527_Gregory_Campbell.pdf

"To: Rinzai-ji Board of Directors"

"My name is Gregory Campbell.

As some of you may remember from the early 1970’s until the early 1990’s, I was Sasaki Joshu 'Roshi’s' most frequent translator. I was recently astonished to learn thru the World Wide Web the remarkably crude, completely unenlightened, and possibly illegal behavior of Sasaki 'Roshi' with some of his female students."

December 8th, 2012.

“I am also deeply troubled by the suicide of one of his students in New Mexico. I was told by someone who was present at the time that this woman who had become a nun under ‘Roshi’ went to him asking for advice.  ‘Roshi’ said something like, ‘I don’t care what you do.’  So she soaked the interior of her car with gasoline and set it on fire with her self inside!  As far as I know no funeral for this tragic Soul was ever offered...”

“Most, if not all, of the formal translations I did for ‘Roshi’ were either audio or video recorded.  Over the decades a sizeable library developed.”

I hereby state I never granted my permission for these recordings to be used and it is my urgent wish that they all be destroyed.

65 05/31/13


Attorney General of New Mexico


111 Lomas Blvd, Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

(505) 222-9000

May 31,2013

Re: Sexual Abuse Jemez Bohdi Mandala Zen Center

"Please accept the hearfelt condolences of Attorney General Gary King to you and others who apparently suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a religious authority figure. New Mexico Law considers such a breach of trust as a special factor is such cases."

"Unfortunately, based upon the material provided to our Office, at this time, we have determined that we are unable to initiate a criminal prosecution. The principal reasons for this decision are: the lengthy passage of time from when the incidents occurred; the lack of an identified recent (within the past 5 years) victim/witness; the absence of forensic evidence; and serious questions as to the commission of a crime in New Mexico."

"Unless a victim and other credible eyewitnesses are willing to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct which happened within New Mexico less than 5 years ago, we feel no prosecution may be started that has a reasonable chance of resulting in a felony conviction. We are closing our file on this inquiry at this time."

66 07/23/13 20130723_D_Swensen.pdf

To Zen students concerned about the inappropriate sexual behavior of Joshu Sasaki Roshi:

From the mid sixties--(don't remember the exact date) until early summer of 1973, I studied Zen with Joshu Sasaki Roshi.

"When I first went to the Roshi's house in Gardena, he made advances, which I at first pulled away from, but he persisted and I gave in.  He impressed on me that this had to be kept secret.  I imagined in a naive, deluded way, that there was a deep spiritual connection between us and that I was 'the only one'.  I eventually began to suspect that this may not be the case, but the affair went on with secret meetings until the move to Cimarron Zen Center, now known as Rinzai-ji Zen Center.  Then he suddenly announced to me that the relationship was 'no more'. " 

"In not too long a time, the Roshi’s secret dalliances continued with me, behind Gisela's back. I eventually moved into Cimarron and for a few years this situation continued. I became pregnant at a certain point  and offered to move out and support the baby on welfare, but of course he wouldn't hear of that. 'I cannot educate!' he said.  He was going to get Dan Sunada, one of the Roshi's greatest supporters and a member of the original Rinzai-ji board of directors, to finance a trip to Japan for the abortion as at that time it was illegal.  I had a family friend in L.A. who found a doctor. The Roshi paid for that and he must have been greatly relieved.  I never told anyone at the time, including my friend, who the would be father was.  Believing that the Roshi was a great teacher, I kept holding on to my secrets to protect  him.  I was aware by this time of his approaches to many women students in Sanzen.  After the abortion the sneaked intimate relations eventually  stopped.  He worried about getting old and becoming impotent.  He had always annoyed me by trying to pair me off with one person after another but now this effort was in earnest, as if to get me off his conscience. He even offered to see that I was 'taken care of' as I grew old if I didn't get married."

"My sister wanted me to spend the summer of 1973 with her, and friends at Cimarron were driving East, so I finally escaped. but not entirely. In the summer of 1974 I spent a month or so at PahTempe Hot Springs in Hurricane, Utah as a caretaker to see if it would be viable as a purchase for Rinzaiji. So for a few years, I still thought of the Roshi as being a great Zen teacher, and he may be, but I never wanted to study Zen again. For several years there was a Zen center two blocks from where I live now, and I couldn't get myself to go. I turned to Tibetan Buddhism and have stayed with that since 1979."

"As I look back on my experience with the Roshi, I feel, in many ways that it was a mixed situation in that while I learned something positive from experiencing Zen, the personal situation with the Roshi was damaging. Keeping it secret was damaging. But I was a willing actor in the whole thing.  Maybe that is what horrifies me now."

67 08/10/13


Matthew Remski Blog

August 10, 2013

“Now the dirt is coming out on old Roshi, now 105, and almost dead. It is now public knowledge that for decades he enticed, seduced, tricked or forced dozens of his western female acolytes into various forms of sexual service. He would tell them that to yield to him was to obey a cosmic harmony, and that not yielding would keep their minds closed and dull. He interfered in the marriages of his students. He threatened non-compliers with mental darkness or social isolation. Now it seems that many if not all of his senior students were aware of this bullshit, according to Susanna Stewart’s letter to the oshos and the Rinzai-Ji Board of Directors.”

“Undoubtedly the senior students have been creative, prolific, and koan-like in their rationalizations for decades. Stewart suggests that nobody called the old man out publicly because he threatened to stop teaching if they did. It’s extraordinary to consider that the mystique of Roshi’s oshos may have been built on their ability to mystify the obvious and pardon the unpardonable – a skill easily confused, it seems, with the skill of describing, as zen longs to, the indescribable.”

“Roshi’s addiction was an open secret amidst his circle going back as far as the early 70s – so much so that in 1973 they procured a mail-order Japanese bride for him to keep his zen-stick occupied in the more customary manner. But it goes back even further – Giko David Rubin, who unearthed the stories of twenty-three of the women whom Joshu Roshi abused also contacted some elderly colleagues of his from Japan, who confirmed that his sexual predation was scandalous in the 50s. It seems he wound up in L.A. permanently after having soiled one too many robes in Kyoto. Genjo Marinello, a commenter on one of the online threads now spinning out of control as Roshi’s abuse collides with the faith his acolytes have invested in him suggests as much: that Joshu was in prison for who-knows-what before immigrating and has left unacknowledged children in the shadows of his temples.”

“In my experience, these guys never just have one weakness. The guru who is fucking everyone he can is also lying continually – covering up, covering over, maintaining appearances, saving face. It’s not just the women who are violated in the lonely and debasing interviews of sanzen, although that would be bad enough. It’s everyone who came to this man for guidance in any matter, because as he’s sitting there listening to you pour your heart out about your life and relationships and terrors and practice, he’s also busy wondering if he’s covered his tracks well enough, or how he’s going to score the next piece of ass. The enigma of his face is in part the concentrated mask of a sociopath who is juggling countless balls of deceit. His vaudeville hides a darker burlesque. The gaze is searing, but he’s not looking at you. The tragic devotee will say ‘He’s looking through me”, which carries the unconscious meaning of: “I’m not really here.’ There’s a good chance he’s never seen you. He doesn’t want to see you. He’s visualizing your panties. He probably can’t remember your name. Narcissists cannot see you. Is it so hard to learn this because we are as fascinated with their image as they are?”

68 11/30/13



November 30, 2013 · by zenCentre · in News

"I have resigned my position as administrative abbot of Rinzai-ji. The appointment had come on March 27 2013. I have worked hard on the needed transformation and made a solid contribution. But it’s impossible to fulfill the responsibilities of two centres at the same time. Recently I’ve been weighing up the factors. In Vancouver the centre has been established over decades. Many students take me as their teacher. It’s impossible to leave a centre without finding a suitable replacement. None could be found. At Rinzai-ji I found circumstances limited for what I could offer. There were difficulties in moving on a permanent basis. Visa, health, and marriage among them."

69 12/06/13 20131206_Reflections_Roshi_RinzaiJi.pdf

An Addition from an Anonymous Contributer by Email.

"I was a student of the Roshi’s during two dai rohatsu sesshins during two winters, in the early-mid 1990’s. I lived at the Bodhi Manda Zen center for approximately 2 months in each of those two years and did 5 intensive sesshins with sanzen with the roshi. This is a small amount of time compared to the many monks, oshos, nuns and other students the Roshi has had. I think it is interesting that so few people have come out with testimony and none since 8/2013, reported here. The major players in the organization have only issued a blank statement that their practice was not deep enough to speak up sooner and that they will not stifle anyone from revealing their feelings on the matter. Given the Roshi’s age and health it sounds like it was time for him to step down regardless of whether or not this scandal was made public, so for the most part, many members of the Rinzai Ji organization waited until the last possible moment to confront this story. What perplexes me is why we don’t hear from them, even if its mixed emotions like Giko had or people coming to the Roshi’s defense or people kicking him while he’s down."

"My only speculation is that the higher ups in the organization are worried that legally they might be liable if they admit to knowing about this sort of thing all along and not doing anything about it.  Zen centers are filled with young people, because young people are the ones most likely to be willing to take the huge risk it takes to come and meditate basically full time for self-reflection, and to find answers to the questions they have about the meaning of their existence. There were a huge number of young women put in harm’s way by those in charge at the Mt Baldy and Bodhi Manda Zen center, that didn’t receive any warning. Later on, the conscience of some of the oshos and others dictated that they warn the most beautiful of the women who they thought would be targeted. There is the case of the letter written to the Roshi in the early 1990’s but this information was not made public to students attending the centers and was only revealed publicly recently. I think the main reason these people are silent is that they don’t want to open themselves up to ridicule or criticism or even legal issues. I don’t think this is a very good reason. The same people who could keep a secret for up to 40 years are keeping it a while longer. No charges were filed in California and the charges filed in New Mexico were dismissed. If the Roshi has escaped all legal ramifications, then surely, so have the oshos, and others in charge. The reason I am so perplexed, is that I had a much shorter period of involvement with the Roshi and Rinzai Ji, and I feel like I need to make sense of what happened in a public forum.  Giko Rubin was torn up to the point that he researched the issue thoroughly and made public a huge amount of information, but there are members within the organization with much longer and more intimate relationships with the Roshi, that we haven’t heard from."

70 12/06/13


Facebook posting and link by Eshu Martin-osho.

"In effect, Rinzai-ji, with the help of An Olive Branch, has created a process which is of absolutely no benefit to victims, in fact exposes them to further risk, and ensures that the result will be 'we offered to listen but there weren't any complaints, no one came forward. Clearly this is behind us now.' "

"An Olive Branch is a contracted employee of Rinzai-ji, and therefore the mandate is set by Rinzai-ji, and nobody else. There are still several Oshos at the top of Rinzai-ji that firmly believe that no wrong was done, that Joshu Sasaki's sexual sanzen is a legitimate teaching, and that all of the complaints are just ignorant fools who don't understand Zen."

"Please don't stop applying pressure, don't stop demanding better. Keep talking about this, and keep spreading the word. This issue will not be resolved by silence, or by allowing it to creep back into the darkness."

71 12/07/13

Phantom Buddha by Alvaro Cardona.pdf

A Book Review by : Sandy Gentei Stewart


(Fortysix dream Koans and a Mudra of Reality)

a novel by Alvaro Cardona-Hine

Alba Books Press

Paperback ISBN 978-0615802572


"Alvaro’s book rings very true to my ears; I remember most of the people he mentions, whether by their real names or not, as well as many of the incidents in the book. At the time these incidents took place, I was not aware of what was going on among the three main characters he portrays. I did not know of Sasaki Roshi’s sexual liaisons with many of his female students. I could see Alvaro was having a difficult time with Gisela; he was clearly very angry, but perhaps the unspoken code of silence about what the teacher was doing prevented any discussion of what was really going on."

72 12/23/13


Leaked Email of the Exclusive AZTA Secret
Listserve from Eshu Martin-osho.

December 23, 2013

"I'm hearing some very disturbing reports out of Bodhi Manda/Rinzai-ji. Word has it that Eshin Osho, who was acting as the Abbot of Rinzai-ji, resigned that post a couple of weeks ago, and that Joshu Sasaki has pronounced himself Abbot there again. Seiju Osho, who was acting as Shika at Rinzai-ji has also resigned his post there. Apparently Sasaki has also had some conflict with Hosen Osho, who has been Abbot at Bodhi Manda for more than 30 years resulting in her being defrocked and cast out by Sasaki Roshi."

73 01/04/14


Joshu Sasaki Still in Control of Rinzai-Ji Say Insiders

Sweeping Zen

January 4, 2014

“Last week, I started reaching out to some folks in Joshu Sasaki’s lineage to confirm some reports I’d been receiving about ongoing issues within the organization. These reports, in part, suggested that Joshu Sasaki has recently declared himself ‘Supreme Abbot’ of the organization and is effectively still running Rinzai-ji.”

Seiju Bob Mammosser Osho — of the Albuquerque Zen Center — confirmed this for me, stating that Sasaki remains ‘firmly in charge’ and has assumed another title. Readers of this website will know why this is of concern; if you’ve just discovered this story, however, you can start reading about it here and here and here. In summary, there is a well-documented history of serious ethical and sexual misconduct on the part of Sasaki, as well as a history of the Rinzai-ji community inadequately addressing those behaviors.”

“Sasaki still has many supporters are Rinzai-ji, and there is a petition being sent around among that group demanding that Hosen comply with Sasaki’s orders — something which remains a question mark. The Bodhi Manda Zen Center Board, however, does not agree with Sasaki’s decision or the petition being circulated currently.”

 “The relationship between a teacher and disciple cannot easily be assessed by a third party,” said Seiju. ‘With or without robes, I do not feel that it is appropriate that she be asked to leave Bodhi for the stated reasons. The Bodhi Board of Directors will support Hosen as she decides what to do.’ ”

‘It should be noted that I tried to reach out to Hosen for comment but did not receive a reply.”

 ‘During all of this, I was curious to check in with An Olive Branch run by Rev. Kyoki Roberts, OPW, of the Zen Center of Pittsburgh.

According to its website, An Olive Branch aims for the following:

  • To proactively address conflict, we offer dispute resolution training and help organization design ethical governance procedures.
  • To respond in the midst of disruptive conflict, we provide organizations with processes for healing and restoring harmony.

“An Olive Branch brings the calming influence of a neutral third party, inspired by the tradition of Buddhist teaching that stretches over 2500 years.’ ”

“Rev. Roberts was unable to answer the majority of my questions for her, citing confidentiality. All that she did provide me with was a paragraph from her contract with Rinzai-ji, which states:

Scope of Work

The general purpose of this project is two-fold: first, and primarily, An Olive Branch will serve as first receivers of complaints from people who claim to have been harmed and, secondly, to advise the Bearing Witness Group and the subsequent Listening Council with regard to related issues or questions that may arise in the implementation of the project including responses to particular reporters’ requests.”

“It’s very difficult getting anyone to speak openly about Joshu Sasaki and the current activities of Rinzai-ji. Responses tend to be very short and public transparency is wholly lacking.”

“I remember talking last year to a woman who practices at Rinzai-ji and how she said that when she met Sasaki, she knew he could see right in to her. She was still on the fence about what everything means in light of all of the disclosures, though overall I think she still adored the man. I didn’t say it then, but I wanted remark on how dangerous it is for us to believe someone sees in to us like that.”

74 01/04/14


Office of The State Corporation Commission

Certificate of Incorporation

Of Albuquerque Zen Center Incorporated



"No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article III hereof."


"Upon dissolution, the corporate assets will be distributed first in payment of all liabilities of the corporation and then to the following religious, charitable or educational organizations, however then named, then exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and Regulations, as they now or hereafter exist:"

"First, all remaining assets to be equally divided between Jemez Bodhi Mandala and Kozen-Ji, both New Mexico non-profit corporations, or to either of them if only one qualifies, and neither said Jemez Bodhi Mandala nor Kozen-Ji qualifies, then,"

"Second, all remaining assets to Rinzai-ji, Incorporated, a California non-profit corporation, and if said Rinzai-ji, Incorporated does not qualify, then,"

"Third, to such organizations engaged in the practice and teaching of Zen Buddhism as the Board of Directors may direct."

75 01/04/14


A Letter From Jundo Steve Slusher to the Sangha

February 13, 2013

Jundo Steve Slusher

Steve is the lawyer (now based in New Jersey) who drafted the original articles of incorporation for AZC (above) and is a longtime AZC board member, as well as a board member at Bodhi Manda. For many years he also participated with Seiju in meetings to plan how Rinzai-ji would function after Sasaki dies.

“There has been talk by some about AZC disaffiliating from Rinzai-ji. If AZC were to disaffiliate (which I do not advocate), it is not at all clear what AZC would become. To disaffiliate from Rinzai-ji without clarity and a vision for AZC is to invite uncertainty, factionalism, poor practice and fragmentation.”

“No Rinzai-ji group has formally disaffiliated as a result of recent news. There are over twenty affiliated Zen centers in North America and Europe that form the Rinzai-ji family. Unfortunately, other lineages have gone through similar situations (for example, with Eido Roshi and Maezumi Roshi). But fortunately, these lineages have emerged with greater clarity and strength, and without splintering or significant disaffiliation by Zen centers.”

“To be affiliated with Rinzai-ji in no way endorses or approves of the behavior of  Joshu Roshi as recently reported and as stated by the Rinzai-ji oshos. Sexual harassment and improper conduct between a student and teacher is clearly wrong. But while Rinzai-ji was founded by Joshu Roshi, Rinzai-ji is larger than any one person. To be affiliated with Rinzai-ji informs the style of practice and ceremonies, the heritage of which Rinzai-ji is a part, the teachings and the broader community of ordained people and practitioners. When we chant the sutra book in day sits, one of the ekos dedicates the merit of chanting – which is to say remembers, acknowledges and thanks – our great grandfathers in the lineage. We specifically acknowledge the teacher of Joshu Roshi, his teacher’s teacher, and on back through time.”

“It is clear to me that some people who have been vocal about expressing disapproval want to explore new forms of Zen practice. I think it is fair to say they want a more democratic and non-hierarchical group, and want to invent new ways of practice. My personal feeling is that if they want to do that, that's great. I'm all in favor of it. They should start their own group and do it. But that is not what AZC has been for 23 years, and is a different mission and a different entity. And frankly, I think Albuquerque can support and should have more Zen centers and sitting groups.”

“There are practical steps that can and should be taken. We should reexamine our policy on sexual harassment and related misconduct, and should invite community dialog on what else or further should be done in this area. Clarity around both personal responsibility of practitioners and appropriate behavior by those in clerical or teaching roles is critical.”

“We should discuss the Zen Center and its relationship to Rinzai-ji, so that there is better common understanding of the nature and meaning of the relationship. If we hold a sangha meeting on this, we can consider bringing in a neutral facilitator.”

“Clearly any dialog should include board members, senior practitioners and Seiju, as the founding abbot of AZC.Finally, if some practitioners at AZC want to strike out and explore new approaches, we should view this positively and should offer support and assistance.”

76 01/04/14



Subject: Seido's reply to the gang of 18 of Dec. 13, this on December 14

Date: January 6, 2014 at 3:46:05 AM EST

To: "Kobutsu Malone''  <>

“Recently I have been invited to join the Bodhi Board of Directors, and I accepted. However, this letter is solely my responsibility, as a dharma brother.”

“The confusion swirling around Bodhi and Christiane's situation hinges on our understanding of Roshi's authority.  In the email exchanges I have seen there is little recognition of the history of Bodhi. There are significant events in Sodhi's history with Roshi that are relevant to the question of authority. I want to make some things clear.”

“Roshi resigned as Abbot of Bodhi, and was never reappointed Abbot.”

“Roshi has claimed authority as the Abbot of Rinzai-ji to direct the situation at Bodhi.         Under law, the Bodhi Board is ultimately responsible for Bodhi, and does not recognize Roshi's claim to be Abbot of Bodhi. The history surrounding Roshi's resignation undercuts any claim of authority. I was an eyewitness to events, and I will share my experience with you. Then you can decide for yourselves.”

“Roshi has said, 'All words are lies.'  But  this does not mean there is no truth in the telling.     Retelling personal experience is always a  narrative. There is silence between the words; there is silence within the words.”

“As you may know, Roshi resigned as Abbot of Bodhi in the late 80's. This was the culmination of accusations of sexual misconduct by Karen Tanaka, who was a staff member at Bodhi at that time. Karen died a few years ago, but she wrote a  poem about her experiences with Roshi that made it onto the internet. I have included it after this letter, if you wish to refresh your memory.”

“At that time I was Acting Abbot of Bodhi. I had gone to Mt. Baldy for seichu when her complaint came to the Board. Roshi sent me back to look into this. In the Board meeting, Karen's complaint was buttressed when a female Board member spoke of Roshi's unwelcomed advances towards her. And this was not the first time I had heard complaints from students about Roshi. The Board was stunned and scrambled to respond.   The Board wasn't looking to punish Roshi, but to respond to Karen's complaint and avoid possible legal trouble.”

“This was reported to Roshi, who promptly flew out to New Mexico. He called for a  Board meeting and  announced he was resigning. He demanded my resignation, and that the entire Board resign. All of this happened as requested. He appointed Christiane to manage Sodhi and installed a  new Board.  Karen  left  the Bodhi, and many Santa Fe sangha members left.  Roshi asked me to stay for a  year and help Christiane learn the Bodhi; I stayed only to be near my children. Many people suffered, some are still suffering.”

“For Roshi, he continued  to control  everything  other than Bodhi and the allegation was never addressed.  But he did resign from Bodhi; and this is the only time I know of where he has taken responsibility for his sexual actions.”

“Now, Roshi is asserting his spiritual authority as supreme Abbot of Rinzai-ji to direct events at Bodhi. The sentiment of the Bodhi Board is that no one who has damaged the sangha, as Roshi has, can claim spiritual authority without explicit recognition by the Board. The Board should not recognize Roshi's putative authority, and should not allow Roshi to unilaterally make decisions without the consent of the Board.”

“The damage he brought to his sangha cannot be undone.  He voluntarily resigned; the Board did not bring any pressure. Roshi told us once, ‘Buddhist love is responsibility.’ So, take responsibility!"

77 01/04/14


A Letter in Kanji from Joshu Sasaki to the Rinzai-Ji Sangha.

(English Translation Provided)

October 18, 2013

"This letter is to announce my intent to retire from direct formal training of disciples and students, and to provide guidance to the Rinzai-ji temples and Sangha for continuing on into the future."

"I humbly accept the offer to continue residing at Rinzai-ji, to work on publishing my teachings as long as my health permits, to provide witness, guidance and confirmation for the emergence of the succeeding Zen Master (Shike), and to continue providing general spiritual guidance."

"To make things clear:

1. I decline to appoint a dharma successor (Hossu) at this time.

2. I decline to authorize or acknowledge anyone as qualified to give sanzen or teisho at this time.

3. It is my deepest spiritual desire that my students and disciples remember and reflect on my teachings, earnestly practice the study of the Diamond Sutra, and receive guidance from my published teachings.

4. I will remain as the spiritual head of the Rinzai-ji temples until the succeeding Zen Master can be confirmed, and I will remain as the Chief Abbot of Rinzai-ji and Abbot of the main Zen Training Centers, until the directives below are fully implemented."

"Because I am no longer able to travel and work as before, I request the position of Administrative-abbot (Kanri-Jūshoku) be created to handle daily administrative duties at the major Zen Centers of this lineage. This position does not carry the spiritual leadership responsibilities of a full temple Abbot. The Administrative-abbot is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the Zen Center, but does not act in the role of Zen Master (Shike). I understand that each Zen Center’s bylaws will need to be amended to fully implement these positions."

"I appoint the following Administrative-abbots and Administrative Vice-abbots:

• Rinzai-ji Zen Center: Hoju Eshin Godfrey as Administrative-abbot, with Ginsei Ginger Calloway and Gento Steve Krieger as Administrative Vice-abbots. After the merger of Rinzai-ji and Mount Baldy non-profit corporations (see #2 below), I recommend Sohan Noah Youngelson to replace Gento Steve Krieger.

• Mount Baldy Zen Center: Gento Steve Krieger as Administrative-abbot with a recommendation of Dokan Charles Martin as Administrative Vice-abbot.

• Bodhi Manda Zen Center: Seido Larry Clark as Administrative-abbot. I have appointed him as Vice Abbot, effective immediately, to replace Christiane Ranger. I am continuing as Abbot until this transition is complete. I have offered Christiane Ranger compensation for her years of service to Bodhi Manda."

78 01/04/14



Subject: Seido and the Gang of 18's petition to Hosen demanding she comply with Sasaki

Date: January 6, 2014 at 3:42:34 AM EST

To: "Kobutsu Malone" <>

"We understand you have responded to our serious and sincere letter by referring to statements you made in October and by asking for more time to compose a more detailed reply. Please know that we are looking for a very straightforward and sincere response which clearly resolves this impasse, not for a reference to previous statements and a request for more time. We expect you to have entirely moved from Bodhi Manda well before spring kessei, and we are all prepared to help you do this, but we require a clear and unequivocal statement of your commitment. Here is such a statement:

I agree without reservation to comply with Roshi's directives.

I agree without reservation to leave Bodhi Manda and support the transition of Seido to Vice Abbot.

I agree without reservation to move from Bodhi Manda entirely by March 24th, 2014.

I agree without reservation to move from the quarters attached to the Bodhi Manda office, to a dorm room, by February 15th, 2014.

I agree without reservation to compose a letter unconditionally committing to these agreements and will send this letter to Roshi and the 18 of you no later than midnight of December 14th, 2013."

"The above statement is the kind of response we are looking for . For a long time now we have all heard so many contrary words from you that it is difficult for us to clearly understand your speech."

79 01/10/14


Sweeping Zen

“A Crack in Everything”

Posted by: Eshu Martin January 10, 2014

“Recently there have been some articles about Rinzai-ji and Joshu Sasaki Roshi posted here on Sweeping Zen, and some new documents that have been leaked and posted to, that are cause for significant concern with regards to what is happening (and not happening) within the Rinzai-ji organization, as well as in the broader Western Zen sangha.”

“Since writing ‘Everybody Knows’ in November 2012, I have been following the responses of Joshu Sasaki, the Rinzai–ji Oshos, the Rinzai-ji organization, the involvement of An Olive Branch (AOB) in the discernment and healing process, as well as trying to address the concerns and advocate for people who have been affected and who have reached out to me with questions. I recently began participating in the conversation with other Zen teachers in the American Zen Teachers Association, and have had the opportunity to ask questions and to share information with the Sangha at large there.”

“For me, the single most disturbing fact that these recent documents reveal is that in spite of all of the public outcry, in spite of the Rinzai-ji organization publicly acknowledging the veracity of Joshu Sasaki’s misconduct, and in spite of assurances that Sasaki Roshi is not teaching anymore…”

“It is our deepest and sincerest intention that in directly addressing the issue here, we can begin to contribute in some small way to the larger discussion in American Buddhism about how to manifest the dharma without deceit, dysfunction, unhealthy power imbalances, inappropriate sexual relationships, and, ultimately, the heartbreak that results from all of the above.”

80 02/05/14


Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from the Boards of Directors and Administrative Abbots of Rinzai-ji and the Mount Baldy Zen Center.

As you may know, we are in a time of transition. We’d like to use this opportunity to connect with you and share some of the work that different members of our sangha have undertaken this past year.

"Of the 9 callers directly contacting An Olive Branch, two calls were from individuals who experienced distress on reading allegations of Sasaki Roshi’s sexual misconduct on the Internet.  They were provided listening by the Listening Council and felt sufficiently resolved.  They did not report harm of a sexual nature from Sasaki Roshi or from others within the sangha.  One individual made a report of perceived homophobia within the sangha, asked to speak to a specific osho and was referred to that osho.  Three individuals made anonymous reports that were not specific in nature and with which the individuals decided not to proceed.  One individual made a report regarding other reporters of harm, was a former member of the sangha and was provided listening by members of the Listening Council.  The last two reports were made by individuals who did not feel harmed by Roshi, but felt harmed by the sangha in general and/or specific oshos. They had specific recommendations for changes in practice formats.  These specific suggestions included listening circles and healing circles for reporters of harm.  Other suggestions included changing the practice of Rinzai-ji to be more inclusive of women, to provide women with leadership positions and to have monthly sange (repentance) ceremonies."

"To date, An Olive Branch has been paid $10,282.50 from the funds allotted for this service. There have been no reports since October and no billing since the end of September. Rinzai-ji, the Mount Baldy Zen Center, the Bearing Witness group, and the Listening Council members continue to remain completely open to this process for as long as necessary."

81 02/07/14

Eshu Martin.pdf

Facebook post of:

February 7, 2014

"You know, it's the damndest thing. If you set up a 'listening council' made up entirely of members of an abusive organization, refuse to even tell people who those members are, and then ask the victims of your organization's abuse to come forward and tell you all about it, entirely for the benefit of your organization, you aren't going to hear a damn thing. I think that taking this to indicate that there is nothing to report is the pinnacle of self deception. Please note the repeated use of the term 'administrative abbot(s)'. In Rinzaiji speak this implies 'subservient to the actual abbot, Joshu Sasaki, Roshi', who is, as I have pointed out before, still absolutely at the helm of Rinzaiji. I also find it totally odd that the person paying (ie. the contractor) for the services of An Olive Branch is Joshu Sasaki himself, this is repeated in the message so it is being emphasized. Again as I have pointed out before, this means that An Olive Branch is the employee of Joshu Sasaki himself, and is simultaneously to help the organization find it's ethical feet AND make him happy about it. How totally lost can you be?"

82 02/19/14


PSZC Sangha: 

We've been monitoring developments at Rinzai-ji since November 2012, when we were informed about Joshu Sasaki's abuses of power. Thank you to all of you who have attended the sangha meetings we've held over the last year about this issue, and who've shared your thoughts with us. 

We have decided to end PSZC's affiliation with Rinzai-ji. We sent this letter last week to Rinzai-ji's Board of Directors and its Administrative Abbots. 

Please contact us with questions or comments-if you reply to this email your comments should reach all of us. 

The PSZC Board of Directors

"In November 2012 when we were informed of Joshu Sasaki’s abuses of power, we decided to work toward better integrating our core values into our operations as a Zen Center. In the last year, we've created a teacher contract for our Abbot, a teacher ethics policy, and a standing ethics committee. We are in the process of establishing a voting membership which will have the authority to approve board members and to hire and remove teachers."

"We had hoped that Rinzai-ji, Inc. would reflect, grow, and change in response to the events involving Joshu Sasaki. We do not feel that this has happened. Rinzai-ji, Inc has not issued a statement condemning his behavior, and has not issued an apology for his behavior. Rinzai-ji Inc. has not removed him from a leadership position and continues to operate under his directives. It is unclear to us to whom he is accountable, and who has the authority to accomplish needed changes to the culture and management of Rinzai-ji, Inc."

"Because of this lack of alignment with our values and our practices as a community, with a heavy heart, we choose to end our affiliation with Rinzai-ji Inc. This is a weighty decision for us. Several members of our sangha, including our Abbot, his wife, and our lay teacher, have studied and trained with Joshu Sasaki, and many in our sangha have been profoundly affected by his teachings."

83 02/23/14


A comment on the article “A Zen Woman’s Personal Perspective on Sexual Groping, Sexual Harassment, and Other Abuses in Zen Centers” By Grace Schireson on Sweeping Zen.



February 23, 2014 at 2:45 am

lunamoth is a pseudonym for Ann Diamond - Montreal, Quebec. Ann Diamond is the author of "My Cold War"

From her website:   

Once upon a time...
After the Great Darkness
Came the Cold War...

'Without their knowledge or consent, thousands of Canadians were chosen to be part of secret experiments conducted in the interests of our "National Security.

Minds and lives were destroyed, communities devastated as our towns and cities became living laboratories for cynical research designed to enslave human beings and sabotage their future.

We are living in the aftermath of a Cold War waged by our governments on their own people.

This is story of one family.
Perhaps you may even recognize them."

Ann Diamond links.

Ann Diamond books:

Ann Diamond - Leonard Cohen and MKULTRA:

Leonard Cohen Lied About Ann Diamond Stalking Him:


Ann Diamond on her psychic powers:

“I was a student of Roshi from 1983 to 1996. I trained at Mount Baldy, Bodhi Mandala, and Rinzai-ji, but even before I met the Roshi, I had talked to him in whatever place of non-being we all travel to when our bodies are sleeping, and therefore on meeting him for the first time in the sanzen room at Mount Baldy, there was a sense that I was embracing a part of myself, someone I already knew and wanted to know more of. That first time, he seemed like a giant, someone very ancient, dressed in shining brocade robes and giving off light. He banged his stick on the floor and asked me a question and I forget what happened, but it was like seeing stars. The second time I saw him in sanzen, however, he struck me as much more ordinary and considerably smaller, while his robes looked frayed and faded. I never recaptured that initial impression of magnificence, or that feeling of entering the koan and answering it all in the same instant.”

“I don’t remember the first time he groped in my robes, or the second or third. I barely even noticed. I certainly didn’t feel threatened or traumatized. The zendo could also be a pretty sexy place and I had begun to feel sorry for this old man who had to sit there day after day dealing with one student after another, many of them as wildly confused as I was. Maybe by ‘sorry’ I mean I felt empathy or compassion. I wanted to change and grow — that’s why I was there. It seemed to me there was something to learn even from his fumbling attempts to get ‘sexual’ in sanzen. I used to laugh about it, then and there. He had to be joking. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe he was afraid of getting old. It seemed like his problem, not mine, and it made absolutely no difference to my practice during those years. What mattered was my effort and commitment, and the teaching I was getting.”

84 03/02/14 20140302_Dickinson.pdf

An email received:

Steve Dickinson           March 2, 2014 8:13PM


Sadly liberating

“I was a (gratefully) failed lay student of Roshi Sasaki at Mt. Baldy Zen Center from 1971-1983.  During those years I always took the silent, no eye-contact atmosphere as part of the typical ego-busting regimen one was to expect from what can arguably called an anachronistic and ethnocentric machine of monastic-style Zen training, shrouded in Eastern mists, further obfuscated by a foreign tongue.” 

“As years passed, and I began to see that Zen, though a powerful vehicle, can sometimes be an incomplete one, allowing for the walling off and denying/fragmenting parts of the individual psyche. The Mt. Baldy setting back then seemed to attract a type of Westerner that somehow learned to thrive behind that sanctioned form of non-communication. I recently heard the term ‘Zen Nazis’ in reference to stereotypical American practitioners and was at once transported back to those days at Baldy.” 

85 8/3/13


An archival site on the life and world of Shunryu Suzuki and those who knew him and anything else DC feels like.

By David Chadwick

"In December of 1969, Bob Halpern, my sister and I dropped by Sasaki's Cimarron Zen Center. His group had grown larger, then with residential facilities. I said we wanted to interview Sasaki Roshi for the San Francisco Zen Center's Wind Bell. I just made that up on the spot. It worked. Before long we sat at a table across from Sasaki. Two translators at his side. Sasaki sat upright. This meeting was friendly and comfortable. As one can read in the interview transcribed below, this time he expressed appreciation of the practice at Tassajara. He said something like that before we started as well and one of the translators said Sasaki had met Richard Baker and was most impressed with him .. Then Sasaki had something to say about the upcoming interview.

He didn't want to be asked superficial questions like a reporter would ask. 'Don't ask me why I came here and when did I come. Don't waste my time. Ask about the dharma.'

Bob looked at Roshi and asked, 'Why did you come to America?' and followed it up with, 'And when was that?'

Without hesitation or complaint, Sasaki answered those questions and more."

86 1969


A 1969 - 1970 interview with
Joshu Sasaki Project/other/dc/sasaki.htm

"In this interview D. is David Chadwick, B. is Halpern, and A. is Roshi’s answer told by the translator.

B. Why did you come to America?

A. Doctor Harmon desired to study Zen so he wrote a letter to Myo shin-ji Temple in Kyoto and Myo shin-ji Temple in Kyoto appointed Roshi to come here.

B. When was that?

A. 1962. The letter came 1961. Up until that time I had no dreams whatever of coming to the United States and further more the temple which I belonged to was so poor that they couldn’t entertain such ideas . However , Myo shin- ji said that I would be very useful in the United States so suggested I come here. Myo shin- ji is the head temple of my group, the Rinzai sect . We consider it the highest and the head of the Rinzai group. Among others under Myo shin- ji is Ryutakuji, famous Ryutakuji Temple."

87 07/27/14

The Death
Kyozan Joshu Sasaki

Kyozan Joshu Sasaki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


April 1, 1907


July 27, 2014 (age 107)
Cedar Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, CA

88 07/28/14




July 28, 2014

Joshu Sasaki Roshi
dead at 107

"From Myoren Yasukawa & Gento Krieger of Rinzai-Ji Zen Center, the home temple of Joshu Sasaki Roshi, comes this message:"

"It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Joshu Sasaki Roshi passed away at 4:25 p.m. [Sunday] afternoon at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. We will update you soon with funeral arrangements."

"Born in Japan in 1907, Sasaki would study and practice Zen Buddhism there until he left for America in 1962. In 1963 the Rinzai Zen Dojo Association, of which he was a founding member, was formed. This would soon become known as Rinzai-ji, Inc., and its first property, Cimarron Zen Center in Los Angeles, would become known as Rinzai-ji. Mount Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, where most of Rinzai-ji’s students have done their training, would form in 1970 and become Sasaki Roshi’s home."

"In recent years, the Rinzai-ji community was fractured by numerous allegations toward Sasaki of sexual impropriety."

89 07/28/14

LATimes SasakiDeath.pdf


Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who brought Zen Buddhism to U.S., dies at 107

Joshu Sasaki Roshi celebrates his 50th anniversary at Rinzai-ji Zen Center in Los Angeles in 2012. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

By Christine Mai-Duc

"Joshu Sasaki Roshi, American Zen master with complicated legacy, dies at 107"

"Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a leading figure in Zen Buddhism in America whose legacy was later complicated by allegations of sexual abuse, has died. He was 107."

"Roshi died Sunday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Gento Steve Krieger, head monk at Rinzai-ji, also known as the Cimarron Zen Center, in Jefferson Park. He died of complications of old age, Krieger said."

"He was a Zen master. I don't know anybody else who lives that completely and that fully. - Gento Steve Krieger, head monk at Rinzai-ji"

90 07/31/14



Joshu Sasaki Roshi,

1907-2014: Zen master mired in sex scandal spent decades shielded by loyal students

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:00 pm I Updated: 11:09 pm, Thu Jul 31, 2014.

By Steve Terrell

The New Mexican

"Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a 107-year-old Japanese immigrant who had taught a strict form of Zen Buddhism in Jemez Springs, died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of age-related causes."

"Sasaki Roshi, who had taught at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs beginning in the early 1970s, and also at a Zen center in Mount Baldy, Calif., became one of the most influential Zen masters in the U.S., but in the last years of his life, he became mired in a sex scandal. Dozens of female students and attendants had accused him of fondling them and, in some cases, manipulating them into having sex with him."

"Though no charges were ever filed, Sasaki Roshi's organization apologized for not dealing with their teacher's sexual behavior."

"According to the website of the Mount Baldy Zen Center, Sasaki Roshi was born in 1907 in rural Japan. He became a novice at the age of 14 in the Rinzai tradition of Zen Buddhism."

"The Bodhi Manda website says Sasaki Roshi came to America in 1962, 'when a group of people in Los Angeles asked Myoshin-ji, Japan's largest Rinzai school, to send a teacher. With interest in Buddhism growing in North America, a Zen community steadily flourished around him.' He began teaching at the Jemez Springs center in 1973."

"Officials at Bodhi Manda couldn't be reached for comment."

91 08/01/14


The Buddhist Christian

A blog that examines the spiritual journey of a Christian pastor who discovered over a decade ago that his Christian spiritual walk was greatly enhanced by the influence of Buddhism.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Death of Joshu Sasaki

"Zen fraud (not a master, in my opinion) Joshu Sasaki is dead at 107. He leaves behind him a legacy that includes sexually assaulting the female students in the interview room - perhaps all of them - ......" 

"If there is a lesson to be drawn from this it is that we must not place our spiritual teachers, no matter the tradition, on a pedestal. Once we encourage people to believe that the teacher is fully enlightened, or a guru who has already finished the journey and is just hanging around for our benefit, or that the guru IS the Buddha, or that the priest IS Christ, we open the door for unscrupulous men like Sasaki to destroy lives in the name of religion and spirituality."

"Perhaps we can only judge if people are fully enlightened in retrospect. Certainly Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, Elijah, and the other founders of the great traditions were. We can argue that some more recent teachers who have transitioned this life were as well, including some of the Hindu adepts, Dr. King, Thomas Merton, many of the Saints of the Christian tradition, and so on. Being fully enlightened isn't about never making a mistake in life, because as we move toward enlightenment we are going to make mistakes. Surely, however, an unrepentant serial sexual assault perpetrator can safely be said to have never seen the light. How much safer would we be to postpone judgment on enlightenment until people have passed, and instead settle for Lama Surya Das' answer to the enlightenment question when it was posed to him on 'Buddha at the Gas Pump?' He answered, "I am enlightened enough for now." Refusing to join the many teachers today who claim full enlightenment to prop up dubious teaching legacies consisting mostly of plagiarisms, yet acknowledging some progress on the path, Das' honesty is to be commended in a world full of self promoting charlatans. Sasaki seems in part to have gotten away with his crimes because people were only too willing to see him as enlightened and therefore give him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted - and what he did was cause great damage."

"Even Tricycle Magazine is complicit in supporting his crimes, refusing to be honest and call him what he was - a horrible criminal surrounded by conspirators before and after the fact in the name of the Dharma. How sad. How strikingly unenlightened. How criminal in that they, too, continue the cover up."

92 08/06/14



Influential Zen master Joshu Sasaki's

legacy was tainted by scandal


The New York Times News Service

Published Wednesday, Aug. 06 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

Last updated Saturday, Aug. 30 2014

“…. In 2012, in his centenarian years, a tide of sex-abuse allegations emerged to cast his character and his legacy In a harsh light.”

“On website discussion boards, former students began voicing what turned out to be long-festering complaints about Mr. Sasaki, accusing him of engaging in sexual affairs with female students and Buddhist nuns, of molesting or coercing hundreds of others into having sexual contact with him during one-on-one training sessions at his Rinzai-JI Zen Center In Los Angeles and at his retreat camps. They said he would tell them that sexual contact with a Zen master, or roshi, like him, would help them attain new levels of ‘non-attachment,’ one of Zen's central objectives. If they resisted, they said, he used Intimidation and threats of expulsion.”

“An Independent panel of Buddhist leaders concluded in 2013 that the allegations were essentially indisputable. The panel's report said students had complained to Mr. Sasaki's staff about his behaviour since the early 1970s, and that those ‘who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed or otherwise punished.’ A few women went to the law enforcement authorities over the years, and one had contacted a rape-crisis centre, but no charges were ever brought against Mr. Sasaki, the panel noted.”

“Mr. Sasaki had retired from teaching a year before the allegations surfaced. Although he kept his tide as abbot of the Rinzai-JI Zen Center until 2013, he never publicly responded to the charges.”

“However, a group of his senior staff members issued an open letter of apology, acknowledging that they had known about his behaviour and had made only intermittent efforts to address it. ‘Our hearts were not firm enough, our minds were not clear enough,’ the letter said.”

“Not all of his adherents concurred In the apology. Some contended that the allegations had been investigated only superficially, or pointed out that no criminal charges were filed. On websites and online message boards for Zen Buddhists, some argued that even if the allegations were true. Mr. Sasaki would never have acted deceptively or with intent to cause harm.”

" 'The Idea that he was a predator is mistaken,' said Harold Roth, a professor of religious studies at Brown University In Rhode Island and a former student of Mr. Sasaki. ‘Everything he did was In the devoted service of awakening enlightenment In his students.’ "

“Prof. Roth, Who is director of a contemplative studies Initiative at Brown and edited an upcoming first volume of Mr. Sasaki's collected teachings, said Mr. Sasaki had never been well-schooled in shifting mores about sexual behaviour. Referring to Japan's last feudal period, from the 17th to the 19th centuries, he called Mr. Sasaki ‘a man of the Tokugawa era.’ “

"Correction: August 14, 2014

An obituary last Thursday about the Zen master Joshu Sasaki referred incorrectly to the poets Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg. While they both studied Zen Buddhism, they did not study with Mr. Sasaki."

"Correction: August 30, 2014

An obituary on Aug. 7 about Joshu Sasaki, a popular Zen master who was accused of repeated instances of sexual abuse though never tried, characterized imprecisely the views of Harold D. Roth, a religious studies professor at Brown University and the editor of a volume of Mr. Sasaki’s teachings. Though Dr. Roth questioned allegations that Mr. Sasaki had been 'a predator,' as he put it, he was not among those who argued, as the obituary said, 'that even if the allegations were true, Mr. Sasaki would never have acted deceptively or with intent to cause harm,' perhaps suggesting that Dr. Roth would have excused such behavior. In addition, the obituary erroneously merged two fragments of quotations by Dr. Roth: 'everything' and 'devoted service of awakening enlightenment in his students.' He did not say of Mr. Sasaki, 'Everything he did was in the devoted service of awakening enlightenment in his students.' ”

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