Dogen Sangha International is No More

In one of my comments on the previous posting I said that I might dissolve Dogen Sangha International but not just yet.

 Well, I’ve thought about it some more and I’ve decided that now is the time to put the thing out of its misery. As of today April 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (USA), Dogen Sangha International is no more.

Any groups who wish to continue using the name Dogen Sangha may do so. Not that you need my permission anyway. And that’s that.


 I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time. There’s really no reason to wait any longer. I’m not retiring my position as a monk or discontinuing teaching Zen or anything like that. I’m simply ending Dogen Sangha International.

134 Responses

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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm |


  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm |

    Which solvent is most effective for dissolving a sangha?

    I would guess that it's probably alcohol.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm |

    What am I going to do with my Dogen Sangha Jersey?

  4. Seagal Rinpoche
    Seagal Rinpoche April 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

    Dear Roshi,

    Sorry to disturb you and everyone with this again.

    Michael's latest post on his homepage is particularly strange, especially the reference to "suicidal thoughts" and "rage" while sitting Zazen. My psychiatrist friend (I have not contacted him again about this) told me that such use of such destructive (self-destructive and other-destructive) violent words by Michael is not accidental.

    Gudo Sensei, most of me never wants to speak to Michael again and to just "cut off" all contact. I find him disturbed and disturbing. However, as Buddhists, we need compassion even at the most personally difficult times and difficult persons. So, I recommend the following to you …

    (1) Michael be told that he can return to Dogen Sangha upon furnishing written proof of completion of 1 year of weekly therepy sessions with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, plus proof of continued therapy thereafter if his doctor feels it necessary. Michael will then have to furnish a letter signed by his doctor that the doctor feels further psychological therapy is not necessary, or that Michael is properly continuing to receive treatment after that 1 year.

    (2) Until that time, he needs to be cut off by us completely. His posting should be blocked on your Blog, the link to his Blog removed, and we have to use "tough love." That means that we have to have compassion not to encourage him by feeding his hungry ghosts (the term my friend used is "facilitate his illness."). If he gets help, then we welcome our Brother back. Until that time, he needs to take responsibility for himself.

    I am cc'ing the other people on the DogenSangha list, but (after thinking about it) not Michael at this time. I will disclose the letter to Michael if that is the consensus of the group.

    By the way, compare the following words of Michael to the test that doctors use for PPD: Gassho, Jundo

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association) describes Paranoid Personality Disorder as a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

    * suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her;

    * is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates;

    * is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her;

    * reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events;

    * persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults , injuries, or slights perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack;

    * has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.

  6. Korey
    Korey April 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    Brad I noticed you deleted one of my comments on one of your recent blogs. I hope I didn't offend you or say anything to anger you cause that was not my intention at all. Just wanted to say sorry if I said anything that upset you dude…

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    Look, Michael, when you fixate on Nishijima or me … that's why I initiated discussion in the Sangha about maybe you should talk to a counceler (and I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said we should point you in that direction). I came to Dogen Sangha late, after already doing this Zen thing 20 years. So, it is like my adopted family. I'd never met such an angry Buddhist before. Your like a brother who has some demon inside him that has emerged in recent years, causing him to beat up on his father and siblings. Unfortunately, neither Zazen nor AT can slay all demons, and eventually even patient, old Nishijima had to ask you to leave US.

    Anyway, I have said too much again. Please post this somewhere prominent as my response to all this. I just don't know what to do. I am sorry if any of my frustration and sarcasm has seeped out through the edges of my entrenched Buddhist equinimity.

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    Let's put the Jundo stuff on the last blog post?

  9. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    Hey Brad, congratulations. That's got to be a load off your shoulders. Hopefully this will end speculation and confusion and you and everyone can move on.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    "DSI" (modeled after CSI) would probably make a great ebook. Place it in Japan as a crime team. Just the lightest allegorical treatment to actual people and events would be all that is needed. It would be fantastic!

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    How about a 0DFX cover of this song but sing D-S-I instead?

    It kind of works 🙂

  12. Khru Jr.
    Khru Jr. April 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |





  13. Gudo Gomez
    Gudo Gomez April 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

    Can we make Seagal Rinpoche the Head Helper™ of the NEW Dogen Sangha International?

    Seagal Rinpoche – Head Helper™
    Khru Jr. – Treasurer
    Mysterion – Secretary
    Jundo – Fool

  14. Korey
    Korey April 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm |


    Who's Michael and what is his blog about? I might wanna peep it.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

    He then goes on to say, “But generally I don’t care about any of these people. Some of them are probably nice, well meaning guys. Others are clearly in it for the money. It’s like rock and roll or movies of any other form of mass entertainment. Most of what ends up being big is garbage calculated specifically to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Though on rare occasions something good breaks through. Spirituality in 21st century America is one more form of popular amusement.”

    These quotes provide the perfect snapshot of my issue with Brad’s writing. First, note the most obvious inconsistancy. He doesn’t know who these people are or follow the “Buddhist scene in America,” but he constantly opines about said other teachers and the Buddhist scene in America. That to me doesn’t make a bit of sense.

    I also note his self-assuredness. While the title of his piece “Why All Spiritual Teachers Other Than Me, Nishijima Roshi and Dogen SUCK ASS!!!!” is tongue-in-cheek, it also fairly accurately reflects Brad’s writings. He often does this, actually, where he’ll say one thing in jest to try and lessen the narrow-minded impact it has on the reader.

    Brad writes later, “Maybe Reggie Ray isn’t like that. Maybe he really is great. I don’t know and I’m not all that interested in finding out. No disrespect to Mr. Ray intended. It’s just that I have a teacher. I don’t really feel any great need to find someone else or to sample all the flavors out there on the spiritual buffet table. I’m just not into that sort of thing.”

    This is like Brad’s mantra. One needs only one teacher, and his is the only one he will listen to. Yikes! To my eyes, at any rate, isn’t this attitutde dismissive and narrow-minded? Just because you have a teacher doesn’t mean you shut your eyes and ears off to anything else. That’s just weird to me. What Brad calls a spiritual buffet is what most of us call being open and not knowing everything.

    I’m just wary of anyone who sets themselves up as the guy who is authentic – the real Buddha dope. I think people should seek out all kinds teachers in life. To decide you’ve settled that matter, case-closed, strikes me as stagnant, arrogant and childish. Anyway, not sure why I felt like putting my foot in this but there it is.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    E-Sangha is Being Sued

    Posted by Jundo Cohen

    I feel that there has been a long history of sect bashing, discriminatory actions, impositions of punishment, disparagement and the like, by the non-Zen Buddhist administrators (mostly Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and various priests from conservative traditions) directed specifically at Zen Buddhist practitioners and clergy … especially those expressing what the administrators see as Buddhist teachings conflicting with their own views of Buddhism (for example, the administrators would regularly pop into the "Soto Zen" forum, delete postings explaining Soto Zen doctrine by various Soto Zen clergy, substitute their own interpretations of Buddhist doctrine as "correct" in place of views that were not "the Buddha's teachings" as they see them … and ban or censor anyone protesting).

    The situation became so bad that it was felt some action should be taken. All attempts at reasonable discussion failed, emails were not answered, any suggestions to fix the problems were not even responded to.

    I am now a retired lawyer. I am a Buddhist priest. Truly, I do not believe in most any kind of dispute, and I believe that very little in life is worth fighting about … but when it comes to matters of free speech, racial or religious discrimination, sect defamation and the like, well, that is a different story and goes right to the heart of what is still worth defending in our society … even by Buddhists.

    So, to make a long story short, Singapore, the home base of E-Sangha and of its owners, happens to have some of the world's most aggressive legal protections against religious intolerance. For example, they possess a licensing authority for the internet, not unlike the FCC for broadcast stations in America, and E-Sangha's actions can be challenged there as an act "causing feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups and sects." We decided to file a petition there and with certain other civil authorities in Singapore as our one available, effective avenue of protest. There will also be a civil claim filed to accompany this.

    And that is why the administrators of E-Sangha, instead of talking with us about these issues, took their usual stance … they simply shut down the "Soto Zen" forum altogether in an attempt to fully silence all discussion.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    What the FUCK is Dharma Wheel?!?

    "by Dechen Norbu » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:59 pm


    I'm not even going to comment the sheer amount of things that disqualify you as a Buddhist, in my personal opinion, let alone as a Buddhist teacher. But that's my take, and you surely disagree.
    In my opinion, you are that kind of guy who makes a living as lifeguard, all geared up and everything, in spite of not having the slightest idea about how to swim. Result? When you enter the water to save someone, both drown.
    Just notice, as a friendly reminder, that this isn't ZFI. The sort of "teachings" you pass as Buddhadharma over there won't be allowed here unless in the Dharma-free-for-all subforum, opened to debate under its rules.

    To all,

    A fantastic meal with a drop of poison will kills you guys, not mattering how yummy it seems. Keep that in mind.
    Poison in disguise is still poison. Some of Jundo's teachings and opinions are very controversial, even if very eloquent and well presented in this day and age. They are seen by many as gross corruptions of the Buddhist teachings. So, caveat emptor."

  19. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    E-Sangha is Being Sued. Posted by Jundo Cohen

    This is ancient history. E-Sangha is no more, it's been gone for a good while. Is there some reason people are dredging up Jundo's past history? I don't follow what he's doing.

  20. alan sailer
    alan sailer April 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm |


    I don't follow all these controversies closely enough to know if they are current or old news.

    However it is an interesting question as to why some people, mostly Anonymous, jump in whenever certain subjects come up and start posting transcripts or links to material like this.

    Are they just trying to whip up a controversy? What's the point?

    Random troll stuff? That kind of mind set is so far from anything I would ever consider posting that I kind of draw a blank.

    At least the 9/11 Truthers seem to have a clear agenda…..


  21. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

    I'm already secretary of District 159…

    never mind.

    I thought Jumping Jundo wanted Brad to be Head Helper®.

    Oh well…

    Since I have "New, Improved Pure Land," someone else will have to take DSI.

    Congrats Brad! You can now just get on with the life of a wandering mendicant – mythological style.

    Tame horses, befriend towns folk…

    or not.

  22. Khru Jr
    Khru Jr April 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    I'm really mysterion if you hadn't guessed by now Brad.

  23. Khru Jr
    Khru Jr April 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    I've always loved you..

  24. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

    I am not "___________" fill in the blank.

    I am nobody.

    I am nobody at all.

    I have my own "New, Improved Pure Land Buddhism."

    Jodo Shu (pure land)


    Jodo Shinshu (New Pure Land)

    and since it could be improved once, it could be improved twice yielding

    "New, Improved Pure Land Buddhism."

    It has no leader, no follower, no nonsense and no sense. In short, it is improved to the point of removing all stains! And, it kill both ticks and fleas!

    Be a flashlight unto yourself!*

    *Batteries not included.

  25. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

    I did look up Khru.

    Khru means teacher.

    All that matters to me is THIS little critter…

    And the truth about lies.

    Since I like truth, I dislike religions.

    I don't hate anything or anyone. Hate is a waste of time and effort.

    Dislike simply means "not taking the time to appreciate."

    I suspect Khru Jr. is only a scientologist.

    The difference between a scientologist and a catfish is one is a low-life scum-sucking bottom-feeder and the other one is a fish.

  26. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

    There was plotting and conspiracy within Shin!

    Thus, to be pure, Improved® can have no leaders, no followers, no nonsense and no sense. There is no other way!

    Hope a little fetchin' up helped ya'all.

  27. anonymous anonymous
    anonymous anonymous April 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm |

    Anonymous mysterion said, "I suspect Khru Jr. is only a scientologist."

    Anonymous chairman wao said…

    "Mc Billy Bob, pinkboy, you're tooo stoopid even for bad Darwinism ala EO. You're no scientist, having flunked the first year of yr LVN studies. You're a…….. scientologist! (and hope yr preacher doesn't catch you posting Darwin! .. .you'd lose yr..firm handshake rights at First Church of the Blessed Yokel)".

    mysterion may be edgeucated but he is stoopid as a box of rocks! I mean common.. Does anyone not see what this guy really is?

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm |


    you tossed the baby out with the bath water.


  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

    i was thinking about it all day long, thinking that this is such a waste of an oppertunity. the idea was close to me because i don't believe in culture (just that people do what they have to do in order to meet the same needs)…but that difference is moderately significant…i guess… actually a dogen sangha international, with a code of conduct and rules and whatnot would stagnant 'zen'(may be even buddhism if it got popular enough). because it wouldn't be allowed to grow in the different 'cultures', to be expressed in the many myraid ways.

    my apologies…may be you actually did dogen a favour. let everyone practise dogen's teaching's their own way…actually, we are doing that with shakymuni's 'buddhism'.


  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 1:52 am |


    Just because some guy hands you his baggage doesn't mean you have to carry it for him!!!!

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 3:46 am |

    Did all this come out of Chet's post on Treeleaf? A Rube Goldberg car crash? Hilarious.

  32. Harry
    Harry April 21, 2012 at 4:53 am |

    Interesting (long) piece on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness from our old buddy Trungpa:

    … even to apply bare attention to what we are doing is impossible. If we try, we have two personalities: one personality is the bare attention; the other personality is doing things. Real bare attention is being there all at once. We do not apply bare attention to what we are doing; we are not mindful of what we are doing. That is impossible. Mindfulness is the act as well as the experience, happening at the same time. Obviously, we could have a somewhat dualistic attitude at the beginning, before we get into real mindfulness, that we are willing to be mindful, willing to surrender, willing to discipline ourselves. But then we do the thing; we just do it. It is like the famous Zen saying "When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep." You just do it, with absolutely no implication behind what you are doing, not even of mindfulness.



  33. Uku
    Uku April 21, 2012 at 5:23 am |

    Respect, Brad! I truly believe that people will now find more Nishijima's and Dogen's teachings instead of some bizarre McDogenSangha brand. That's why I changed 2010 (or was it 2011?) my Zen group's name Dogen Sangha Finland into Kajo Zendo because so many seemed to think we're following some strange McDS brand. Hell no.

    Long live Dogen's and Nishijima's teachings! I believe this is a good day for us all and especially for Dogen's and Nishijima's precious heritage.

    Good decision!

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  35. Harry
    Harry April 21, 2012 at 5:29 am |

    Hi Uku,

    Yeah, now your group can follow your very own strange McUku brand. Advantage?



  36. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 5:45 am |

    Would you like to SuperSize™ that?

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 6:13 am |

    If you meet Dogen Sangha International on the road, kill Dogen Sangha International.

  38. Harry
    Harry April 21, 2012 at 6:20 am |


    It's probably better that DSI (Dharma Scene Inverstigation) doesn't exist under a 'leader' who feels that he has sole say over whether the entity, and/or non-entity, should exist or not.

    Organisations are not the problem. Organisation can be good. Leaders are the problem.



  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 6:24 am |

    mysterion and chairman wao are the same person and belong to the McUku Cult.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 6:27 am |

    Anonymous mysterion said, "I suspect Khru Jr. is only a scientologist."

    Anonymous chairman wao said…

    "You're a…….. scientologist! (and hope yr preacher doesn't catch you posting Darwin! .. .you'd lose yr..firm handshake rights at First Church of the Blessed Yokel)".

    First Church of the Blessed Yokel = McUku Cult

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |

    What's with all the fascination with Dogen? I think you should broaden your horizons a little bit now that you've dissolved your organization. The assertion that one zen master was the awesomest zen master and that's all we're going to study is not going to fly in America. At some point you have to start speaking from your own realization and stop referencing Dogen and Gudo like a mindless puppet. I don't care what Dogen said or Gudo said, tell me how it is right now for you at this very moment. That's really all there is to Buddhism. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something, like audio books and magazine subscriptions.

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 9:51 am |

    Fuck you, previous Anonymous. No one cares what you think and no one wants to impress you.

  43. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 21, 2012 at 10:28 am |

    mothers, mothers! Let's get a grip!

    Like the Trungpa quote, Mr. H., thanks for that. Like the Westy pictures. Like that Mysterion has his own Gollum.

    Brad dissolves his mind, before he makes it up. Has a cup of tea. Goes back to bed, waking up. Oranges, and marigolds, another day in the sun for Crum. Why does it seem like women are the issue?

    I hope the Los Angeles D.S. and the Kajo Zendo prosper and have potlucks. I'd like to attend; we can stream consciousness like a video, and wonder that nothing really happened.

    People that like to sit, and don't really know why they should, join hands and sing together? Could Dogen carry a tune?

  44. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 21, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    No but he liked tuna fish (not big ones).

  45. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Anonymous Anonymous said…
    "What's with all the fascination with Dogen?"

    To Dogen is attributed the founding of Soto Zen – the largest (most popular) form of Zen Buddhism in Japan, the form adopted by the beatnicks in America in the 1950s, and the form popularized by Alan Watts (the Anglican Alcoholic).

    Therefore newbie Zen-lite wanna-bees gravitate toward the recordings of Alan Watts or the limited writings of Dogen – assuming that they are in the habit of reading anything. They also avoid the embarrassment of Koan Study.

    One must understand that there are approximately 200 popular forms of Buddhism extant in the same way that there are 200+ popular forms of Christianity in today's religious marketplace – including Sarah Palin's Pentecostal Tong-lashers.

    The cult of Dogen is somewhat centered on Shobogenzo. Like punk, it's a way to be kewl.

    or not.

  46. Moni
    Moni April 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |

    I do not like institutional things too much and do not know anything about the history of Dogen Sangha International either.

    But this seems like a long awaited break up, which always does good to the soul and creates a large amount of energy :).

  47. Bradford Warner
    Bradford Warner April 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    "… Zen-lite wanna-bees… "

    And by contrast, you are? Don't try and make this all about how long you've been sitting. Tell me about your deeper understanding and knowledge that allows you to look down on others like you frequently do.

  48. Smiley
    Smiley April 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    That's too bad, especially after all the time you put into the logo 🙁

  49. Uku
    Uku April 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

    Smiley, that logo is originally Dogen Sangha Finland's logo. Finland has removed and replaced with International. 🙂
    My good friend Rammu made the original logo (and also KZ's logo).

    I 'n I Buddhafari, like my friend Tuomas once wrote!

Comments are closed.