You can still get in on tomorrow’s day-long sitting in London. It’s…
Dec. 2 (Sun) London, England, The Vibast Community Centre, 163 Old Street, EC1V 9NH, for info firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, the world premiere of Shoplifting From American Apparel, the movie I am the star of, takes place on December 7th in Los Angeles at the Los Feliz 3 Theater on Vermont Ave. in lovely Los Feliz. There will be several other showings as well. The full schedule is:
12/7 – LA – LOS FELIZ 3
12/15 – NYC – INDIESCREEN
1/ 3 – PORTLAND -CLINTON STREET THEATER
1/5 – SEATTLE – NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
1/10 – CLEVELAND – CEDAR LEE THEATER
1/12 – SAN FRANCISCO – 4 STAR THEATER
YOU MUST BUY TICKETS ON LINE TO GO! It sucks. We are well aware of the suckiness of this arrangement. We didn’t know about it until like three days ago. To buy tickets on line, go to:
And then click on the city you want to see the movie in. Actually, if I did it right you ought to be able to click on the name of the city in this here blog. Tickets are $11. Even if you don’t like the movie you will still feel much better about supporting independent cinema than you would if you went to see some cruddy Hollywood piece of garbage. And it actually is a very funny, quirky, weird movie.
I’ve been working on bunches of stuff and haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with blogging. Most pressing is the editing of my upcoming book. So far, the title is still There is No God and He is Your Creator. I hate always giving my books such long titles. But God is big, so the title ought to be big as well, I suppose.
I’ve been thinking about the Joshu Sasaki case a lot as I’ve been traveling. I actually posted comments on a couple of the things Adam Tebbe has put up on Sweeping Zen about it. But I just have neither the time nor a reliable enough Internet connection to follow up on my own comments. So I have no idea if I’ve touched off a poop storm over there or just been ignored. Maybe one of these days I’ll go have a look.
I don’t think Adam or some other people over there or even over here really understood what I was trying to say. I guess I’m not making myself clear. So I’ll have another quick go at it for what it’s worth (I doubt any of those people are looking at this blog anyway).
I’m not trying to cast doubt upon what Eshu Martin is saying about Sasaki. He says there have been allegations for years about Sasaki groping girls. There have, indeed, been such allegations. What Eshu Martin is saying is true.
Nor am I trying to say that groping girls in sanzen (aka dokusan, aka private one-on-one meetings between Zen student and Zen teacher) is OK. Groping girls in sanzen is not OK.
What I was trying to say is that (and forgive me if this happens not to apply to you, but I’m guessing what I’m about to say applies to everyone reading this blog) you were not there.
That doesn’t mean you have no right to an opinion. It means you have the right to an opinion as a person who was not there and who cannot ever know precisely what was going on.
Such an opinion may have value. Often it does. Usually it doesn’t. In any case, we hear stories and immediately think we have had the experience described in the story — even if we understand intellectually that it didn’t happen to us. Then we react to it as if it happened to us. Only we’re not actually reacting to the event in question. We’re reacting to the pictures our brains have created in response to the story. And we may not have even understood correctly what the person who told the story is trying to convey.
In this case we have very little to go on. So the pictures we create based on such fragmentary evidence are highly dubious.
We want to divide the world into victims and aggressors. We want to champion the victims and destroy the aggressors. But the world really isn’t like that. It’s not that black and white. Never.
Also, people have a right to their stories. I cited the case of at least one woman who says she could be labeled as a “victim of Roshi’s abuse” but who does not see it that way at all. Why do we get to define her real experience for her based on a couple of sentences we’ve read on the Internet? What makes our definition based on a third hand fragment of a story outweigh her definition as a person who was actually there?
This is important. It does a lot of damage when we do that kind of thing. A lot.
I see that Rinzai-ji, Sasaki Roshi’s organization, is looking into the problem. I’m interested in seeing what comes out of that. Sasaki Roshi is one of the best Zen teachers out there. It would be a shame if his legacy were reduced to “he groped girls in sanzen.” On the other hand, if he really did grope girls in sanzen, maybe that ought to be part of his legacy as well. But so should the stories of people who were allegedly groped but who did not feel that “groped” was a valid definition of what happened to them. And if that makes you mad, keep telling yourself, “I was not actually there. I was not actually there.”
Ah well. I’m sure I messed up in trying to express what I think of this. But there you have it. Another attempt.
If you want to see me try again to explain what I think of things, please consider donating to support this blog.