Thursday, February 10, 2011

good riddance

I don't pay much attention to the wider world of American Zen, because I have enough other things to do, and my energy goes toward the actual relationships right in front of me. But apparently in the past few months we're finally rid of two elder Zen teachers:
  • Dennis Genpo Merzel, who created this "Big Mind" nonsense where you pay a bunch of money and have an "enlightenment" experience in a one-day seminar.
  • Eido Tai Shimano, a fairly famous figure in the story of American Buddhism, among the last of the generations of Asian teachers who came to America.
I don't know what Genpo's history is, besides the crass commercialization of spiritual practice, but the alcoholic Eido has been sexually abusing women for more than 40 years, so it's about damn time. Apparently Robert Aitken Roshi, who everyone respected, and who wrote a book on Buddhist ethics, helped cover up Eido's abuse for decades by refusing to speak out about it.

These guys have been around forever, and there's no indication this behavior is new for them, so it's staggering to think how much damage they've done. I thought we'd gotten this all worked out with the scandals back in the 80s, but apparently not. Maybe Eido and Genpo are just the last of their generation, the final, lingering symptoms of a mostly-past disease.

I don't have any pithy commentary, except to say: God, what asshats.


  1. Sickos that get their money and pleasure by using people in search of spiritual fulfillment? Yeah, it's a good thing you're rid of them.

  2. I'm still stuck on being amused that you evoked God to denounce them... ;-)