Betrayal of the Spirit


I just finished reading Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement by Nori J. Muster. This in spite of the fact that I have two Zen related books waiting patiently for me to review them. One’s about Haukuin, the other is about the Heart Sutra. But, frankly, I’m more interested in what happened to the Hare Krishna movement.

In a nutshell, this book is the tale of Nori J. Muster who once went by the name Nandini and served as a key P.R. person for ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) during its most turbulent years, the late 70s through the late 80s. This was the time from right after founder A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s death through the murders and violence depicted in the book Monkey on a Stick, which covers the debacle of New Vrindaban, the “Hare Krishna Disneyland” (they really called it that) in West Virginia.

The Hare Krishna story in short is that a charismatic, dedicated and sincere monk named A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (the Prabhupada part was added later) came to American with something like $2.75 in his pocket and started a worldwide movement based on the ancient teachings he had studied and practiced throughout most of his life. Then he died without clearly naming a successor. The members of his movement have been fighting about this ever since, although things have settled down a lot in the past twenty years.

I can’t find the precise quote because I borrowed the book from the library and didn’t want to mark it up (though I liked it so much I’ll be buying my own copy). But Muster quotes someone who said that Srila Prabhupada had two kinds of authority. There was the institutional authority conferred upon him by his spiritual master. This made him a monk and a teacher. This type of authority could conceivably be conferred upon anyone who went through the necessary steps to receive it.

The other type of authority Srila Prabhupada had was much more nebulous. It was a personal sort of authority that came through his particular personality and the strength of his commitment to his practice combined with all sorts of accidents of fate such as his coming to America in 1965 just when young people there were searching for gurus.

Not long before he died, Prabhupada named eleven men as having the power to initiate new disciples. Each was responsible for a different territory. But he was a bit vague as to whether these men were gurus like him or not. This has been a point of contention ever since. Be that as it may, Prabhupada could only confer institutional authority upon his disciples. He couldn’t give them his charisma or his commitment to practice. And he sure couldn’t pass on to them the accidents of fate that made what he did possible.

A few of the men among that group of eleven were extremely charismatic but insane. A few others lacked such charisma but were very sincere and tried their best to follow what Praphupada had taught. A couple of those failed spectacularly in their efforts, thus sullying the movement even more. Just two of these eleven men remained in positions of authority within ISKCON at the time Muster wrote her book (1997).

This is all fascinating to me because I find myself in much the same position as those eleven guys. There is a lot less at stake in Dogen Sangha International (DSI). We have no monetary assets at all, no “Palace of Gold” in West Virginia, no one selling our literature or our delicious cookies at airports. Dogen Sangha International is not even registered as an entity with any government agency anywhere. Dogen Sangha Los Angeles is. And I believe Dogen Sangha Bristol in England may be. Dogen Sangha (minus the international) in Chiba, Japan may also be. It’s possible others are legally registered in France, Germany and Israel. I’m not sure. But if they are, they are just local entities using that name. DSI has no worldwide meetings to decide policy, no board of governors, no nothing. It’s just a name, really.

Nishijima Roshi conferred a certain degree of what we might call “institutional authority” upon a number of his students, me included. Like Srila Prabhupada, Nishijima could not confer his personal authority upon anyone. The word authority here is problematic. But I’m using it here because I can’t come up with a better term.

Nishijima also named me as president of Dogen Sangha International. But he never spelled out exactly what that meant. It was extremely important to him, though. And because it was so important to him I said “yes” even though I’m no clearer on what it means to be president of something that doesn’t exist than anyone else is. I have resisted any attempts to make Dogen Sangha International anything more definite than it is. (Dogen Sangha Los Angeles, is something entirely different and I’m working toward establishing that as a religious non-profit corporation in the State of California. DSLA will have no authority over any other Dogen Sangha branch.)

In my book Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate I wrote about what happened when that appointment was made. It was remarkably like what happened to the Hare Krishnas, but without anyone being beheaded by a mad disciple.

I’ve heard from dozens of people since that book came out telling me how things went precisely the same way in their aikido dojo when the master died, or in their church when the pastor passed on and so forth. It’s an incredibly common scenario. It happened at the San Francisco Zen Center when Suzuki Roshi died and, to a lesser extent, at some of the temples Katagiri Roshi established after he died. Paul, Peter and James battled over whose interpretations of Christ’s teachings were correct.

It happened after Buddha died too, according to Stephen Batchelor in his book Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Batchelor believes that Maha Kashyapa, revered by many Buddhists (and pretty much all Zen Buddhists) as Gautama Buddha’s rightful successor was more of a guy with political savvy who pulled the ranks together than someone who actually understood what Buddha was on about. In fact, Buddha is on record as telling his followers not to appoint a successor.

And this will happen again, many more times.

So why do guys like Gautama Buddha, Srila Prabhupada, Nishijima Roshi and so many others even attempt to set up these institutions? Are they so naive as to think that their institution alone won’t go through what every single other one like it has gone through as far back as the beginnings of recorded human history?

Some of them may be that naive. But my guess is that most are not. Because institutions also manage to preserve these teachings even in spite of the power struggles and suchlike that always take place. We know what Buddha taught (or at least some approximation thereof) because of the institution that wily old politician Maha Kashyapa set up to preserve it. Had Buddha’s followers actually taken his instructions not to appoint a successor to heart, we probably wouldn’t know very much about Buddha today except as a minor philosopher in ancient India.

And there you have my dilemma regarding Dogen Sangha International, and why I am so wishy-washy as to what to do about it.

Answers on a postcard please.

****

And now yet another commercial for the new audiobook edition of Hardcore Zen!

GET IT HERE!!

113 Responses

  1. Brad
    Brad April 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | |

    My name is Brad and I'm a Buddhist.

    I was ordained in the Soto School of Zen Buddhism, the sect brought to Japan by a dude named Dogen in the 13th century. My teacher is Gudo Wafu Nishijima. He originally studied under Kodo Sawaki, a radical teacher who set out to overturn pretty much all of what had become established as Buddhism in Japan in the early 20th century. I began studying Zen in the early 1980s in Ohio under Tim McCarthy whose teacher was Kobun Chino who was brought to America by Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. In those days, I was the bassist for ODFx (or Zero Defex), a hardcore punk band who none other than MDC cited as one of their fave groups. After ODFx bit the dust, I signed to Midnight Records and made five albums under the band name Dimentia 13. In 1994, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and got a job in Tokyo, Japan with the company founded by the special effects man behind the classic Godzilla films. I still work there.

    I also wrote a book called Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality published by Wisdom Publications. It's an OK book. Some people like it. Maybe you will or maybe not.

    Whatever.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm | |

    "Chet QUITS TREELEAF AGAIN!"

    Oi this guy…
    The worst sort of know it all, the proclaimer of the so-called "difficult truth". Little more than walking into a room full of people and pointing to everyone in turn and telling each their faults – then expecting a discussion.

    Knows just enough to make him utterly unteachable.

    He'll be back.
    Don't you worry… He'll get bored from lack of controversy.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm | |

    MEOW…

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm | |

    Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

    Separate, distinct, distant.

    It has nothing to do with Brad or DSI.

    detach.

  5. Gerald
    Gerald April 20, 2012 at 6:43 am | |

    Jundo is an almost perfect imitation of a Zen teacher. He is like saccharine to Zen's sugar.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew April 20, 2012 at 7:10 am | |

    I think I said once that Jundo reminds me of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons, nore to do with his modes of speech perhaps than anything else. But I know quite a bit about the guy,and I have met him. And for what it's worth, my advice is to steer clear of this bloke. He has nothing to teach about Buddhism, other than what it isn't, and his motivation is purely self-promotion and aggrandisement. Stay away.

  7. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 20, 2012 at 7:52 am | |

    This ghost hopes things don't splurge into more mob-gobbing and other-baiting.

    He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.

  8. Gerald
    Gerald April 20, 2012 at 8:23 am | |

    Soft Troll, What is it that you fear? That people will behave like people do. Say something they shouldn't about someone. Hurt someone's feelings.. How is that even possible?

    Jundo puts himself out there as an example. He thinks nothing of bulldozing someone over an off the cuff comment. That guy bothers me more than Brad's devils do. Genpo preys on the strong but Jundo preys on the weak. Chet cut a little bit too close to the bone for him.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 9:05 am | |

    "Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

    Separate, distinct, distant."

    Nice one, troll.

  10. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 9:09 am | |

    Blogger Andrew said…
    "…his motivation is purely self-promotion and aggrandisement. Stay away."

    Good advice.

    @9:52 PM, Anonymous said…

    Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

    Separate, distinct, distant.

    It has nothing to do with Brad or DSI.

    Detach.

    **************************

    I capitalized the "D" in detach.

  11. Khru Jr.
    Khru Jr. April 20, 2012 at 9:19 am | |

    Brad,

    I have seen it reported that the Hui-neng, the Sixth Zen Patriarch, had an ENORMOUS penis.

    Does this interest you? What does it mean for you in a day-to-day sense, since we know you're extremely under-endowed. You've had the chance to prove yourself and your manhood many times on this blog and you've declined. One can only conclude that it's because you have a micropenis.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 9:30 am | |

    here, HERE

  13. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 20, 2012 at 9:30 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Skip Bayless (Fake)
    Skip Bayless (Fake) April 20, 2012 at 9:36 am | |

    That Jundo site seems to encourage a bunch of stupid posts. They all congratulate each other almost every time one of them posts something that MIGHT interest a 16 year old stoned kid. Maybe.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 9:37 am | |

    posted by GUDO NISHIJIMA | 6:12 PM | June 2, 2010

    Information

    Dear Mr. James Cohen,

    You do not belong Dogen Sangha at all. Therefore you should not say anything about Dogen Sangha completely.*

    Gudo Wafu Nishijima

    ******************************

    *emphasis added

  16. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 9:43 am | |

    I feel that too little cannot be said about Jundo and Treeleaf within the comments section of Brad's bl;og.

    Therefore, let us each resolve to mindfully avoid either utterance – in word or print – for each of the days that represent the future.

    CAPCHA=herald pancake

    I kid you not!

  17. Anonymous for my own safety
    Anonymous for my own safety April 20, 2012 at 9:43 am | |

    The only times that I have looked at the Treeleaf website were when someone has posted a link here related to some controversy, usually regarding Brad. When I read most of the comments over there during those admittedly limited and infrequent visits I literally get feelings of queasiness and crawling skin, a visceral sensation that something is very, very wrong with some of those people and their ideas. Even Khru Jr. doesn't disturb me at all compared to some of the Treeleafers, although it wouldn't surprise me if Khru Jr. was actually a troll alter ego for one of them.

  18. Khru Jr.
    Khru Jr. April 20, 2012 at 9:44 am | |

    BRAD,

    WHICH ZEN PATRIARCH DOES YOUR PENIS FEEL MOST COMPATIBLE WITH?

  19. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 20, 2012 at 9:47 am | |

    To Gerald (with ofs added)

    I fear those moments of insensate circularity my days are flung out on. That I lacked conviction and was full of it. March went too quickly. My finances are called Peter and too presently continuous to return diminishments beyond the wishful sophistry of it's too long sentence. The idea of courage, perhaps, unlike Key West. Although, I did say something about someone over the phone today and copped for it within minutes. Hell, I can't scud along irony for much longer.

    So. I'm working on these things, amongst the rest, that no doubt have fed into that small, yet genuine desire to not return to this site to read more Jundo-bashing. Heavens!

    I think it comes down to boredom, lagged with a wince, which did it.

    I wish, dear co-visitor, for a finger of fun, a span of salt, and a twist of lemon. Please.

  20. arkcx
    arkcx April 20, 2012 at 9:50 am | |

    Apparently St Francis of Assisi also had issues with succession:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/01/andrew-sullivan-christianity-in-crisis.html

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am | |

    I feel that too little cannot be said

    Do you mean to say that:

    I feel that too little *can* be said'…
    or
    I *fear* that too little cannot be said …

    ?

  22. Not Reblogging Shit
    Not Reblogging Shit April 20, 2012 at 10:08 am | |

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Jundo Boots Another Treeleafer for Speaking Up

    Everyone around these parts is aware of Jundo Cohen (leader of Treeleaf Sangha, sometimes feuding dharma brother of B. Warner). Jundo has frequently come on Hardcore Zen in the comments section and whined about how ill-treated he's been by Gudo and Brad and others, even to the point of posting a bizarre deposition about a fight that took place in Japan some time ago.

    Recently, I took a gander over at the Treeleaf site and found this thread.

    I believe it's a very telling thread in as far as bringing to light the basic way in which Jundo appears to operate. Behind closed doors, Jundo seems to be a very different guy than what he lets on in public. When called out on this seeming "difference" in his private and public persona, he gets indignant.

    The main thrust of the thread, if you don't have the time to read all hundred plus posts, is that one of the students (Chet) at Treeleaf has become unruly to the point where Jundo told him to basically stop engaging on the forum. Later on, it comes out that what really got Jundo hot under the collar was when Chet accused him of never having experienced Kensho.

    The final nail in the coffin comes right at the end of the thread, when Chet brings up B. Warner and indicates that maybe Brad and others were telling the truth about Jundo's antics.

    Chet appears to then be banned from the forum.

  23. Not Reblogging Nothing
    Not Reblogging Nothing April 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | |

    But what stands out to me is Jundo's passive aggressiveness and the consistency of this issue as it comes up again and again. Jundo even posts a private email to Chet where he sounds particularly nasty (probably fearful that Chet would reveal it first). Jundo then seems to intentionally try to mislead people about what the nature of their correspondence really was.

    Long ago, Jundo had called on Gudo to empanel a board of directors, stating that it was important for any Zen group to have such a panel, to make sure that Dogen Sangha did not become problematic in how it handled disputes. Jundo claimed in a discussion that he and I had, that he would at some point do the same for Treeleaf (making excuses as to why it wasn't currently necessary in his case).

    And yet Jundo never really has done what he called on Brad and Gudo to do. Jundo never set up any oversight for his own community. And Treeleaf is not nearly as open as Brad's community, being fairly heavily moderated.

    What does this tell us, in the end, about the nature of Jundo and Brad's dispute? I think the answers become more clear all the time.

  24. Reblogging Jundo
    Reblogging Jundo April 20, 2012 at 10:14 am | |

    That guy had warnings, suggestions, wagged fingers and friendly counsel for about two years.

    I still hope he comes back someday.

    You may claim a "selection bias", but I still do not know what can be more fair than an open, uncensored forum open to all the members and anyone else in which the person who is the subject can say whatever he wants, post whatever he wants in defense, disclose any of the email he wrote me privately, call any friends to speak in his behalf. What the heck is more open then that?

    But, anyway, we'll can that board going too, as an extra check on the process.

    Now, if you want to talk about something unfair on the internet, how about all the innuendo you posted about me and Treeleaf tonight that nobody can correct but you? You tell me about "open and honest, fair and balanced", but your a little bit running the Buddhist Foxnews here, and the Zen Glen Beck. :-)

    Gassho, J

    Gassho, Jundo

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | |

    Gniz, like many critics, you have fingers to point, but offer no real solutions. We are already taking steps to establish an ethical ombudsman committee at Treeleaf to add one more bit of oversight to our way of doing things … but I am already anticipating that you will always be the critic, finding fault yet with few solutions.

    By the way … life itself is rarely dry, inflexible, one size fits all.

    I have said many times that I regret the tone I took with Brad, not much of what I said to him about his essay on getting a squeezer in a S&M; bar.

    If you wanted to hear some real cussin', you should have been around when I stepped on my son's toy this morning and nearly broke my neck.

    Now, speaking of honesty … I am going to honestly say that you are now the "Zen Glenn Beck" in my book. You mix some valid criticisms and reasonable points with innuendo, half facts, unsubstantiated allegations, smoke and an agenda to push. Unfortunately, soon, one cannot tell where truth ends and the agenda and "muckraking, scandal fabricating gossip columnist" begins. It's obvious to anyone reading what you wrote in your post and since. Glenn … Gniz, you have done some very good work in criticizing Ken Wilber and some other folks who deserved to be called on the carpet, but now your credibility is seriously in question.

    Gassho, Jundo

  26. Turd Ass
    Turd Ass April 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | |

    I didn’t really want to get into the allegations Jundo Cohen has been raising in the comments section. But I feel it now may be necessary.

    First, the short version: After the alleged “assault” that Jundo claimed occurred in Tokyo at a meeting of Dogen Sangha, I read all of Mr. Cohen's claims. I then spoke personally face-to-face with Peter Rocca, the Dogen Sangha teacher Jundo alleges assaulted him. I have known Peter a long time and I trust him to tell me the truth (Peter’s version of events appears in the email below). Furthermore, I spoke with two other people who were present when the so-called “assault” occurred and their versions of events concurred with Peter’s.

    If I had had any reason to believe that Peter Rocca actually assaulted Mr. Cohen, I would have taken appropriate action as the head of Dogen Sangha International. However, I could find no compelling reason to believe he had.

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 10:33 am | |

    Thank you to Brad for allowing me to post here. It is nice of him, despite his concerns.

    I just wished to address a couple of points raised.

    "Jundo HAS NOT identified any witness who agrees with his view of event"

    Mr. Hirom Sit confirmed my general story to Nishijima Roshi during a telephone call in my presence while at da' Roshi's apartment (especially the point that I was polite, interesting and soft spoken the entire time). Mr. Sit, whose photo I put in my affidavit, a friend of Peter, and an all around nice man who is everyone's friend. I will seek to obtain his written statement. If he just says that I was polite the entire time I was there, and didn't try to be rude or disruptive, I will be happy … even let this go (because that was the fact). I never took a swing at Pete.

    I did not seek legal actions at the time as I was working for reconciliation, and to let it slide, until these nefarious stories about what happened began to re-emerge recently.

    As Brad mentioned, it was suggested by someone else that I go to that meeting, and I wrote to Gerhard and Peter days before that I was coming … nobody wrote back (as I remember) that I should not come to the Saturday meeting. I have those emails. I really thought I could talk to Peter and Gerhard there and work things out, and it would not become what it became.

    Let me say that I now regret revealing Peter's name. Please understand that I experienced three days around here of trying to be civil, but being called everything from a thief, rapist, the unibomber … you name it, but liar is the worst.

    Thank you for allowing me to post, Brad. I will use the privilege sparingly.

    Gassho, Jundo

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 20, 2012 at 10:47 am | |

    This is not the account of the Pali Canon, fyi:

    "He arrived with a large group of monks just before the pyre was lit, and insisted that the cremation not take place till he too had paid his last respects to the Buddha."

    Here's the Pali Text Society's translation from "Maha Parinibbana Sutra":

    "Now just at that time four chieftains of the Mallas had bathed their heads and clad themselves in new garments with the intention of setting on fire the funeral pyre of the Exalted One. But, behold, they were unable to set it alight!

    … And when the homage of the venerable Maha Kassapa and of those five hundred brethren (the company of monks with Maha Kassapa) was ended, the funeral pyre of the Exalted One caught fire of itself."

    (D. ii 163, pg 185-186)

    Let me repeat: Maha Kassapa saw a flower, it was not in the hand of the Buddha but in the hand of a naked ascetic, the flower having bloomed and fallen out of season after the death of the Gautamid. Maha Kassapa likely received the robe and bowl because he was the first senior monk at the funeral pyre of the Gautamid, not because he was priviledged with some silent mystical transmission. The order of monks split after the Gautamid's death, not because Mahayana was the great vehicle to Hinayana's small vehicle, but because the future Mahayanists believed it was possible for an Arahant to have a wet-dream while the future Hinayanists did not.

    The incident with the mushrooms in the pig which only Gautama ate; the farmer was not attempting to kill Gautama. He simply didn't know. That's the way it reads as far as I'm concerned. Gautama's cousin did try to kill him, and he did so because he thought Gautama was too lenient. Devadatta wanted the monks to be vegetarian, and to have only three robes, while the Gautamid said they should eat whatever they were given provided meat wasn't killed especially for them, and apparently the Gautamid was not as concerned about the robes.

    The use of "Gautamid" to refer to Gautama the Buddha, Gautama was his last name, so it would be like calling me "the Foote"- he was "the" member of the Gautama family, so the Gautamid. That's my understanding.

  29. Reblogging Rob
    Reblogging Rob April 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | |

    I believe that Jundo is a false teacher and twists and spins history like, well, a lawyer. And I think it's important for someone to say so whenever he "pops in here for a minute". Read his announcement. It's spun so hard it makes me dizzy. Read his idea about having a Head Helper run DSI instead of a President. It strikes me as pathetic — if he can't run DSI, than no one can! Who do you think claimed to have "received a secret teaching" from Nishijima?

    Perhaps someone thinking about listening to his BS might read this and look into it further. I came to my conclusion from reading Jundo's online writing on DSB and TL, from Nishijima's responses to him, and from stuff I've heard in private. The last is why I use quotes from Nishijima to demonstrate my points. I recommend anyone interested do a site-search on DSB for Jundo OR Cohen and look for Nishijima responding to him. Notice that every time Jundo says something about Buddhism Nishijima smacks him down. Is there one example of Nishijima praising his Buddhist understanding? There might be, but I haven't run across it. But read it yourself, in context, and make your own decision.

    It seems obvious to me that Jundo's teacher thinks he's full of shit, and that he asked him to leave his sangha. If you still think listening to Jundo is a good idea, more power to you. And if you need a heart surgeon in Los Angeles, try mine. He doesn't know a heart from a pancreas; no hospital will have him and he works out of his van; he's killed most of his previous patients; and I think he got his degree online and off-shore — but he does own his own scrubs and he looks like a surgeon.

    Rob

  30. Tooth
    Tooth April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am | |

    gniz said…
    Hey Rob,

    You make some good points about Jundo but saying that he was going to lie about a "secret teaching" is kind of heavy-duty and should be backed up with something…

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 10:53 am | |

    Oh, why did you say the name of He Who Must Not Be Named? Don't you know that summons Him here?

  32. Chet was banned?
    Chet was banned? April 20, 2012 at 10:55 am | |

    We have only had to ban four people in the four years of daily practice and discussions at Treeleaf forum. One because of health concerns (I required a doctors note from someone), and three because they were fighting with other members, and we were receiving complaints from other members. After several friendly warnings, the problem persisted, especially when some folks seemed to like to participate and drink at the same time. Not a good combination. Nothing was hidden.

    No comment on who those folks were! :-)

    I think 4 cases in 4 years is a very good record, especially for internet forums.

    Gassho, Jundo

  33. Tyrion Lannister
    Tyrion Lannister April 20, 2012 at 11:00 am | |

    Harry said…
    Hey, Jundo,

    'Angry Buddhist', sure, whatever you say, Serenity Boy. Don't you remember the last time you had to make a public apology to me on my blog? (which you clearly went back on in sending me more of your trash)…

    Jundo wrote in March 2009:
    Jordan is right that I have been too aggressive in this discussion, I have been aggitated and it has been bothering me more than I knew, and I was taking it out on you without realizing it. The fact is that Brad's book, Nishijima Roshi's behavior (including racial and strange comments directed at me that I know he does not intend in his old age and which are not him really), and several years of other DS issues which you are too familiar with … well, all came to a head. I did not realize that it would knock me sideways so much.

    Anyway, I should not be using such a harsh, aggressive and "grumpy old man" tone with people. I am very sorry if I did that. I would hope that we can could the discussion sometime in a more mature way, although I understand that you no longer wish to receive any mails from me. I think that I have only sent a couple, but I will send no more.

  34. This is ALL available on the internet
    This is ALL available on the internet April 20, 2012 at 11:13 am | |

    Mike Cross said…

    I say this not only for Sekishin but for all people who are interested in the teaching of Master Nishijima on Fukan-Zazen-Gi.

    Master Dogen taught us to sit in the lotus posture (1) with body, (2) with mind, (3) dropping off body and mind.

    In the teaching of Master Nishijima (1) is explicit, (2) has been transmitted non-verbally, from mind to mind by mind, and (3) is explained as balance of the autonomic nervous system — which is, in my view, the Master’s big mistake; because discussion of the autonomic nervous system belongs not to (3) but to (1).

    There are several Dharma-heirs who, relying on Nishijima Roshi’s teaching, have understood the above teaching of Master Dogen partially — for example, Jeremy Pearson, Denis Le Grand, the monk Taijun, Gabriele Linnebach, et cetera. But because the understanding of these genuine students is only partial they do not have strong confidence to speak out against the charlatan James Cohen.

    …..

    Jundo James Cohen, you are a kind of animal that has attached itself to Nishijima Roshi for the purpose of getting your own fame and profit. You slander Zazen. You insult the Buddha-Dharma. You have not yet understood Nishijima Roshi’s fundamental teaching at all. Nevertheless, you have no attitude to wish to deepen your understanding of Fukan-Zazen-Gi, because the meager and wrong understanding which you have got already seems to have been sufficient already for you to get the kind of things you want — e.g. an impressive-looking Zen photo of you and Nishijima Roshi together, your own book to which you hold the sole copyright, a certificate of Dharma-transmission, et cetera, et cetera. Being a stupid oaf, you do not realize that, without true understanding of Fukan-Zazen-Gi, those things are all utterly as nothing.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 11:16 am | |

    That Mike Cross fellow seems to go above and beyond with his dislike of Jundo.

    IMO

  36. Anonymous because honesty compels
    Anonymous because honesty compels April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | |

    It's funny how a post about "betrayal of the spirit" turned into a dialog about Jundo and Treeleaf.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | |

    "Cross" is a synonym for "angry".
    Just sayin'.

  38. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | |

    Interesting stuff, these posts about Jundo, Treeleaf, Dogen Sangha, Dogen Sangha International, Gudo Nishijima, and Brad. Jundo wonders about the significance of the precepts in Gudo's vision of Dogen Sangha International, and claims to see a difference between his point of view and Brad's. I would presume that's what's going on?

    In the same Maha-Paranibbana sutta, the Gautamid says:

    "Be ye a refuge onto yourselves.

    … And how, Ananda, is (one) to be a lamp unto (themselves)…

    Herein, O mendicants, (one) continues, as to the body, so to look upon the body that (they) remain strenuous, self-possessed, and mindful, having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. [And in the same way] as to feelings… moods… ideas, (one) continues so to look upon each that (they) remain strenuous, self-possessed, and mindful, having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world."

    (D. ii 100, pg 108)

    Close to his death, the Gautamid excuses his order from observing all of the precepts, except three. What the three were, is not recorded, and no one could say for sure what they were, so the order to this day continues to observe them all (can't find the chapter and verse at the moment, but I'm sure it's there).

  39. Buzzy
    Buzzy April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | |

    Mike Cross called Jundo "a stupid oaf?"

    At least he (Mike) pulled his punches.

    At least Jundo has a thick, Levitican Cult, skin.

  40. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm | |

    By writing "I feel that too little cannot be said…", I was expressing the sentiment that the slightest mention is already too much (spoken or written).

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm | |

    ahh, thank you, I never did understand that phrase. It looks like a lot got said. Perhaps you could ask for more instead?

    Oh please keep writing about Jundo!

  42. Soft Roll
    Soft Roll April 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | |

    "Chet" hijacks two blogs in a week. next up: American Airlines.

    I say let Treeleaf (what an insipid name for anything, really) eat its own.

    Curiously, all of this is on topic. Wish sometime other Nishijima sprouts would speak up other than the previously described oaf with his self-serving rebuttals, though.

    Goes to show how closely he and his blog pals monitor this blog. They're probably responsible for most of the anonymous trash talk.

    And Mark, that explanation for "the Gautamid" is strange. Referring to you by your family name should we say "the Footed?" Pretty funny how you keep trying to steer the conversation back to the topic that interests you.

    Fie on all this.

  43. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm | |

    It *is* interesting when people steer topics to those that interest them. Why do you think that happens?

  44. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm | |

    Now I am thinking that I must establish Dogen Sangha Universal from the 1st of May this year. Since I have exited Dogen Sangha International, I was expected by many people to establish Dogen Sangha Universal, which now can joined by everyone in the world. At the same time I have redoubled my efforts to establish and keep Treeleaf Sangha, throughout the world, relying upon the efforts of many people, who have listened to my Buddhist podcasts, read my advice, learned from my teaching and received Dharma Transmission from me over the internet.

  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm | |

    Hey anybody want to get together for a bowl of Count Chocula? Do they still make that? How about Boo-Berry? Cocoa Pebbles?

  46. Khru Jr.
    Khru Jr. April 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm | |

    Hey Brad:

    Post a cock pic.

    Thinking about this a bit, why don't you get a cockring and tattoo?

  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm | |

    K Jr.

    When I read words I see the pictures in the mind.

    Please stop, or put it in a box at least.

    Thankyou

  48. anonymous anonymous
    anonymous anonymous April 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm | |

    Khru Jr. is really mysterion.

  49. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm | |

    LOL, every time Mysterion posts Khru Jr. is right behind him.

    Coincidence? No fucking way.

    Dude's obsessed with Brad in every way possible.

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