I heard this morning that Joshu Sasaki Roshi, founder of the Mt. Baldy Zen Center, passed away on Sunday July 27th at the age of 107. I found this out just a few hours after I arrived in Portland to visit my friend Logan who has stage four esophageal cancer.
I decided I should post something about Sasaki’s death to my Facebook page. So I said what I thought was just about the most neutral thing possible. I said, “One of the greats. Whatever else you might say about him…”
This elicited what, in retrospect, was a predictable series of comments. One said I was obligated to say what I meant by “one of the greats.” One wished for the desecration of his body. One said that his case proved that “MOST (in all caps) spiritual teachers are all sexual predators.” Hitler was invoked. It just keeps on coming.
A few said he was not one of the greats. But that’s wrong. If he were not one of the greats, there would be no conversation to be had. He made an impact on a lot of lives. No one can deny that.
But y’know what? I’m not in the mood right now to engage in any conversation or debate on the matter. I’m here in Portland to hang out with a very sick friend. Here is where you can go to donate to help him deal with the horrendous expenses of being ill in the USA.
The last time this “conversation” got started, it quickly turned very ugly and shrill. I was attacked for not joining in the chorus of accusations and character assassination against Sasaki and found myself being labeled as a “psychotic sexual predator” for that. Forgive me for not wanting to engage again right now.
But if you’d like to speak to me in person about this topic or any other, there’s a list below of where I’ll be.
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Visiting sick friends on the other side of the country is expensive! Your donations help a lot! Thank you!
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My on-line retreat at Tricycle.com is still happening. Check it out!
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Here’s my upcoming touring schedule:
Aug. 2 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM Half Day Zazen at Dogen Sangha Los Angeles in the Veteran’s Memorial Building 4117 Overland Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230
Aug. 16 9:30 AM – Noon at Dogen Sangha Los Angeles in the Veteran’s Memorial Building 4117 Overland Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230
Sept. 6 Houston Zen Center All Day Zazen
Sept. 9 Austin Zen Center
Oct. 3-5 Helsinki, Finland all events to be determined
Oct. 6 Movie Screening in Espoo, Finland
Oct. 8 Lecture in Munich, Germany
Oct. 9-11 Retreat in Munich, Germany
Oct. 12-17 Retreat at Benediktushof near Würzburg, Germany
Oct 18-19 Retreat in Bonn, Germany
Oct 20 Hamburg, Germany
Oct 24: Lecture in Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 25: Day-long zazen in Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 26: Lecture in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Oct 27: Evening zazen in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Oct 28: Evening zazen in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Oct 29: Lecture in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Oct 30: Lecture in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oct 31: Movie screening in Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 1-2: Retreat in Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 4-6 (or 3-5 possibly) Retreat in Hebden Bridge, UK
Nov 7-8 Something in Manchester, UK (to be determined)