The Sasaki Archive

佐々木承周 老師アーカイブ

Joshu Roku™ - 承周錄
The sayings and doings of Joshu Sasaki

"I 'suffered Roshi's abuse' – and it was the closest I ever got to god."
A female student.

“He has become a precious golden Buddha!”

Eshin Godfrey

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1 1969


A 1969 - 1970 interview with
Joshu Sasaki Project/other/dc/sasaki.htm

"In this interview D. is David Chadwick, B. is Halpern, and A. is Roshi’s answer told by the translator.

B. Why did you come to America?

A. Doctor Harmon desired to study Zen so he wrote a letter to Myo shin-ji Temple in Kyoto and Myo shin-ji Temple in Kyoto appointed Roshi to come here.

B. When was that?

A. 1962. The letter came 1961. Up until that time I had no dreams whatever of coming to the United States and further more the temple which I belonged to was so poor that they couldn’t entertain such ideas . However , Myo shin- ji said that I would be very useful in the United States so suggested I come here. Myo shin- ji is the head temple of my group, the Rinzai sect . We consider it the highest and the head of the Rinzai group. Among others under Myo shin- ji is Ryutakuji, famous Ryutakuji Temple."

2 00/00/92


How the Swans Came to the Lake [Paperback]

Rick Fields 

This new updated edition of How the Swans Came to the Lake includes much new information about recent events in Buddhist groups in America and discusses such issues as spiritual authority, the role of women, and social action.




“When Joshu Sasaki-roshi had left Japan, in fact, he had undergone the traditional ceremonies of permanent departure-like Senzaki he said that he was going to bury his bones in America. He had been a monk of a Rinzai Zen temple of the Yoshenji line, and then the resident monk of a small mountain temple, Shoju-an in Nagano prefecture. He arrived in Los Angeles in June of 1962, apparently because two people, a Dr. Harmon and Gladys Weisberg, had asked for a Zen teacher.”

“When he first came to America he saw the country as ‘ripe for spiritual revolution, since the young were not prisoners of tradition.’ But he also worried that many of the students who came to him were ‘social failures,’ and that though they were bigger than the Japanese ‘their navels are much more diminished.’ Certainly none of them laughed as he did, and he recommended standing up and laughing out loud, from the belly, first thing in the morning, and once, when he was asked why he came to America he replied, ‘I let other people do the teaching. I came to have a good time. I want Americans to learn how to truly laugh.’ "

“This man, fresh from the monastery and used to the conventional morality of Japan, had been swept off his feet by the freedom of American women, and had slept with one or more of his students. Someone else was not really qualified to teach. This one knew nothing of koans, that one nothing of shikantaza. Lurking in the background were centuries-old traditions of sectarian rivalry between the Soto and Rinzai schools in Japan, a rivalry that most of the men who came to America had very little patience for, but which seemed, nonetheless, to have a strong influence on how they thought. A major controversy was the running skirmish between those who emphasized going straight for kensho and those who stressed that ‘practice and enlightenment were one.’ "

3 07/06/92


Resignation of Kozan Gentei Sandy Stewart.

"After lengthy consideration, I hereby declare independence for myself as a Zen osho from Rinzai-ji."

"Among the reasons for this decision:"

"my objection to the sexual behavior and sexual teaching techniques of the Head Abbot;"

"my disapproval of the lack of action by the Head Abbot, board of directors or ordained persons of Rinzai-ji to help those who have suffered on account of this behavior;"

"the lack of regulations in the organization with respect to inappropriate sexual behavior between teachers and students;"

"the unwillingness of most of the ordained persons of Rinzai-ji to communicate with me and discuss this or any other issue;"

"the lack of independent thinking which prohibits open discussion; and"

"the atmosphere of secrecy which contributes to the stultification of free expression."

4 12/08/97


A Letter Submitted to this Archive From Brian Lesage.

A Letter From; We, the Undersigned Students,
Monks, and Nuns of Mt. Baldy Zen Center...

"With sadness and confusion we have struggled with your sexual behavior toward women. In the past open discussion was discouraged, and people were left feeling afraid to raise their concerns about this matter. But this fall we have been meeting to air our concerns and to try to come to a better understanding of the problem."

"We have talked to many of your women students who have told us they suffered for years and suffer still as a result of your behavior. Many of your most serious practitioners have told us that they have been disheartened by this situation. It is clear that both men and women have been hurt, and that the sangha as a whole has been weakened as a result."

5 11/00/08 20081100_Kaihan.pdf


Winter 2008

The Newsletter of the North Carolina Zen Center
Severing Relations with Rinzai-Ji Over Sasaki’s Behavior

Sandy Gentei Stewart

“After much consideration, the NC Zen Center board of directors has severed our institutional affiliation with Rinzai-ji, Joshu Roshi’s organization based in Los Angeles. We felt this was a necessary step in light of recent revelations of continued inappropriate behavior and a lack of remedial action.  Sandy has resigned as Rinzai-ji vice abbot for the same reasons.  If you have any questions about these actions, please contact Sandy.”

6 11/16/12


Everybody Knows

Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi and Rinzai ji.

Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the founder and Abbot of Rinzai ji is now 105 years old,


he has engaged in many forms of inappropriate sexual relationship with those who have come to him as students since his arrival here more than 50 years ago.

by Eshu Martin

“His career of misconduct has run the gamut from frequent and repeated non-consensual groping of female students during interview, to sexually coercive after hours ‘tea’ meetings, to affairs and sexual interference in the marriages and relationships of his students. Many individuals that have confronted Sasaki and Rinzai-ji about this behavior have been alienated and eventually excommunicated, or have resigned in frustration when nothing changed; or worst of all, have simply fallen silent and capitulated. For decades, Joshu Roshi’s behavior has been ignored, hushed up, downplayed, justified, and defended by the monks and students that remain loyal to him.”

7 11/20/12


Hardcore Zen

Post by Brad Warner

“If you are keen to seriously dig into this and not just opt out for the knee-jerk response, there are some comments on Eshu Martin’s Facebook page from a woman who was… Well, what was she exactly? One would generally say she was a ‘victim’ of the Roshi’s abuse. But she doesn’t feel that way at all.”

“She says, in part, ‘It’s so easy to make someone wrong. I ‘suffered Roshi’s abuse’ and it was the closest I ever got to god.’ She goes on to state that, ‘Everyone knew about it, everyone talked about it. Oshos (Sasaki Roshi’s higher level assistant priests) were distressed about it. Processes were put in place. We were constantly being offered support around it… well handled I thought.’ ”

8 11/21/12



Posted by: Myoan Grace Schireson
on November 21, 2012

"Eshu Martin has published painful allegations about Mt Baldy Zen Center and Joshu Sasaki's abuse of women students. Rumors about Reverend Sasaki have circulated for decades, but until now, no member of that community has spoken up publicly. What is missing for many observers are the first-hand accounts of women. For a woman to speak up as the object of unwholesome sexual attention is a no-win situation. I was 'groped' by a Zen teacher twenty years ago, I still have only told one close fri end. I feel ashamed. And I know from experience what can happen when I have come forward."

9 11/22/12


Rinzai-ji Zen Center Website

Important Announcement

"Recently the Board of Directors of Rinzai-ji has become aware of allegations posted on websites of sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the Abbott of Rinzai-ji. The Board takes allegations of inappropriateness regarding any Rinzai-ji teacher's behavior very seriously. The Board is therefore conferring this weekend to create a plan to address this issue. We will move as quickly as possible and request your patience over the next few days as we develop a process to address these concerns."

10 11/23/12




Posted by: Adam Tebbe

on November 23, 2012

“I spoke to one man who was a therapist in the 1980s. He counseled a lot of people who were coming out of various cults and such. He told me that this woman said that, at the end of sanzen, the roshi groped and fondled her as they hugged. She slapped him in the face and spat at him, exiting the room. Apparently she informed an osho of what happened, who allegedly laughed and said, ‘Oh, that’s just roshi.’ ”

“I have also heard allegations that, during koan interviews, a woman might be asked to manifest a tree, or a flower. Up shoot their arms in the position of the tree. With the men, they might be distracted in all sorts of ways. With the women, however, the method of distraction is reportedly different. Yeah, you can guess how they were distracted…”

11 11/23/12 20121123_O'Hearn_Conscious.pdf

The Conscious Process

Zen and the Emotional/Sexual Contraction

Posted by: Bob O'Hearn on November 23, 2012

“My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, and our lazy dog, Amos, in a lovely little mountain town called Paradise, situated on the ridge of the Little Grand Canyon, in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas.”

“When I arrived at Mt. Baldy, I realized that the monastic Abbess also served as Roshi’s mistress. Soon after my arrival, they apparently had a falling-out due to Roshi’s sexual exploits with another female student. I was to learn that Roshi was quite the horny old fellow, and that sanzen for many female students consisted of a lot of fondling and sex play. Moreover, several of the students were also sexually active with each other, so it came as no surprise that, when one person contracted a sexually transmitted disease, some of the other students eventually got it. It was even suggested that it had started with Roshi.”

“One time in sanzen (formal interview of teacher and student), Roshi took a good look at me and remarked, ‘Zen is not the way of the saint.’ I guess he was seeing my rather eccentric upbringing — I was raised as a Catholic, and had spent 7 years in a Catholic Seminary studying to be a priest. In any case, he told me that I should read ‘dirty books’. He said he enjoyed them (pornography). I felt that was fine for him, but I was not attracted to that pursuit. He told me that I wanted to attach to the Absolute, but needed to first to totally throw myself into the objective world, which included sexuality. I understood his point.”

12 11/24/12


An Unsolicited Email From Shari "Binka" Young,
a Very Early Student of Joshu Sasaki,
to Kobutsu Malone.

"I was a student of Roshi from age 19 until about 23, and was Shoji at Cimarron Zen Center. I attended his first sesshin in the US at Cimarron and first Rohatsu, which was at Mt. Baldy."

"I believe groping and 'showing me your breast' was first put to me as a way to break past my limitations of mind (my words not his). I felt he had enlightened mind, and I was so ignorant, that he must be right. It fell precisely into the 'unequal power' model which I subsequently learned is usual in clergy sexual abuse."

13 11/25/12


An Unsolicited Email From James Green
to Adam Tebbe of Sweeping Zen.

“After reading the article concerning the inappropriate behavior of Sasaki Roshi, I feel that I should respond to an erroneous statement made by the author of the article, Mr. Eshu Martin. The statement in question is, ‘Certainly, as an organization, Rinzai-ji has never accepted the responsibility of putting a stop to this abuse, and has never taken any kind of remedial action.’ Having been a resident monk in the Rinzai-ji sangha from 1970 – 73, I know for a fact that in response to Sasaki Roshi’s sexual indiscretions, the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors asked him to ‘take a wife’ as it were sometime in 1973. Shortly thereafter a middle-aged Japanese woman arrived to fill this role, though I don’t know if there ever was a formal wedding or not. However, since I left Rinzai-ji to study in a Japanese monastery toward the end of 1973, I don’t know how long this arrangement lasted.”

14 11/26/12


An Anonymous Post on Sweeping Zen
by Formerinji

“I was inji for Sasaki Roshi in the 70′s; a friend of mine followed me for the next year. When we discussed this topic many years later, we ‘confessed’ to having said ‘No’ and wondered if we were the only women who had done so. (The topic was not discussed among the women while we were at Baldy). But it seemed to us that ‘standing up and saying ‘no’ to the Roshi’ was part of the practice. While everything he said or did could have been considered a “test”, in this case, here is what happened: I said ‘no’; the Roshi asked ‘why not?’; I said ‘Because I have a boyfriend; Roshi is not my boyfriend.’ He smiled, said ‘good answer’, and that was the last time he made any attempts. My friend described a similar experience.”

15 11/27/12


An Anonymous Post on Sweeping Zen:

“I was a student of Roshi for several years starting in my early twenties. After reading all the articles and comments that have appeared recently, I am perplexed and saddened. First of all, I know there is some truth to the allegations. I was aware several years ago when some oshos left the organization because they were starting to talk about this and were I think told to just keep quiet. They said that Roshi’s sexual behavior was their reason for leaving.”

“Before that was when I was a student, and I really knew very little about this. The entire time, I have only heard one direct story from a female, and she did not seem particularly upset by it, she had said no to him when asked to show him her breasts. She included in the telling of that story, saying that almost all the nuns and female students at some point were at the receiving end of some sort of sexual inappropriateness. I only heard this after I had studied with him already for a year or so. I was surprised because he had behaved with such formality, restraint, care and respect towards me personally. He teaches that the enlightened state of unity is before distinctions of subject or object, men and women, or life and death. With me, he has always been kind, appropriate, and has stuck to his role as a teacher.”

“I have heard some accusations that I know are true, like about groping and asking girls to show him their breasts in Sanzen. I have no idea, on the other hand, if he actually was in jail in japan, if he has ‘several,’ illegitimate children or if arranged meetings for tea were resulting in sex with students. I don’t know if the oshos who worked closely with him were helping him with this or how much they knew or participated. I did know that he had a child somewhere and that he was not the child of his wife. Does anyone know where to find these children of his? In conclusion, this is depressing and psychologicaly confusing. Zen masters are said to have broken the bonds of having a permanent and consistent personality. His primary teaching was about, ‘no thinking,’ and I saw often that this got confused and mutated into things like irresponsible drinking or mindless obsession with rules. I don’t think that even if the whole truth comes out, we will even understand what was going on in his mind. I do hope that the organization he founded can find strength despite this, and that people with more responsibility and an equal level of understanding can take his place as Roshi.”

16 11/28/12


Buddhism and Sex: the Bigger Picture

by Stephen Batchelor

“Wherever people are in a position of power over other people, it is inevitable that some will use that power to pursue and fulfill their own sexual desires.”

“The Buddha himself was accused of having sexual intercourse with the female ascetics Sundari and Cinca.”

“The root of the power disparity between teacher and student lies in the belief that the former is ‘enlightened’ in some sense, while the latter is not.”

“As the Buddhist tradition developed over time into an organized religion, the gap between the ariya and the puthujjana grew wider and wider.”

“It is no coincidence that the majority of cases of abuse reported by students come from the Tibetan and Japanese Zen traditions, i.e. those that place greatest emphasis on submission and obedience.  This is not to say that such abuse is absent in the Theravada schools – it occurs there too; nor does it imply that there are no teachers in the Tibetan and Zen traditions who behave with ethical integrity – for there are many."

“According to the earliest texts, the role of the ariya (teacher) is not to make the puthujjana (student) dependent on him, but to enable the person to become ‘ennobled’ by entering the stream (sotapatti) of the eightfold path. Thus the role of the teacher is to help the student to stand on his or own feet as quickly as possible.”

17 11/28/12 20121128_James_Ford.pdf

A Few Random Thoughts in the Midst of Zen’s Various Sex Scandals by James Ford


“I went back to look at what I had to say about Genpo Merzel, Eido Shimano and Joshu Sasaki in my 2006 Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen. It was of course pretty much all written a year or so before the publication date. So, a while ago. I made no reference, I see, to the various scandals attached to Mr Merzel’s leadership in Maine and France prior to his returning to America and setting up shop in Utah. With the Venerable Shimano I noted that from his time in Honolulu there ‘began what would be lasting allegations of improprieties…’ With the Venerable Sasaki I noted ‘there have been allegations of improprieties with students.’ ”

“And of my own teacher John Tarrant, where I see not a predator, but rather someone who simply refuses to be bound by conventional and what I’d call Professional boundaries. I would add here the number of teachers who’ve given Dharma transmission to their spouses or partners – at best to my mind a very messy thing.”

18 12/01/12


Yesterday (11/30/2012), Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser, Osho (of the Albuquerque Zen Center) sent out a letter addressed
“To whom it may concern”
on behalf of Rinzai-ji Oshos.

"The oshos of Joshu Sasaki Roshi are deeply troubled by the allegations of abuse involving some of the students who have practiced at our centers."

"In order to thoroughly address this matter, on the weekend of January 5-6, 2013, the Mount Baldy Zen Center will host a meeting for the oshos of our community together with an independent, professional facilitator trained in addressing such matters. We will also invite representatives of the Mt. Baldy Board, the Rinzai-ji Board, as well as members of the ordained sangha to attend. This meeting will be the necessary first step to clarify within our organization what is an extremely difficult and complex issue. We welcome any suggestions or comments that sangha members might have regarding this meeting and the issues to be discussed. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Please email us at"

19 12/03/12


Rinzai-ji Zen Center Website

Conduct Policy

“Concerns have been raised about allegations of misconduct within the Sangha and our organization’s capacity to address these challenges. In order to address these past concerns, as well as formulate policy for the future, the Board of Directors of Rinzai-ji has now established a formal process that is set forth below, for anyone who feels that a person affiliated with Rinzai-ji has acted in a way that is destructive to a feeling of mutual respect and a trusting environment. The Board is particularly concerned about allegations of unwelcome sexual advances.”

“This policy prohibits any retaliation against anyone making a complaint. Any report of retaliation will be handled as an additional form of harassment according to Rinzai-ji policy.”

“Rinzai-ji is committed to providing a work/study environment within the Sangha, in keeping with religious and moral principles of the organization, free of unlawful harassment.”

“If Rinzai-ji determines that unlawful harassment has occurred, appropriate remedial action will be taken in accordance with the circumstances involved. Any teacher, employee, or student determined by Rinzai-ji to be responsible for unlawful harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Rinzai-ji will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.”

“If you believe that you have experienced sexual harassment, or have witnessed such behavior towards another, by any teacher, employee, student, or other person doing business with or for Rinzai-ji, or that any such person’s comments, gestures or conduct are objectionable, you should report the matter by sending an email to the Ethics Committee confidential email address at You may request to speak directly to a female Zen practitioner ombudsperson, an ordained male Osho designated for this purpose, or an independent female human relations consultant; or, you may directly provide a written complaint, which should include details of the incident or incidents, names of the individuals involved and names of any witnesses.”

20 12/06/12


An Email From Anka Burai Rick Spencer.

December 6, 2012.

"I practised with a Rinzai-ji affiliated group for approximately 10 years in the 1980's. I hesitate to call myself a student of Joshu Sasaki since I only saw him in sesshin 2 or 3 times a year or less. I was never a resident at one of his practise centres. I would see him for a week of sesshin when I could, and that was it. I was never sure if he even remembered who I was from one sesshin to the next. For people like me, he seemed distant, elevated, untouchable."

"More than once I heard ordained members of the Rinzai-ji sangha say, 'If you have a problem with roshi's behaviour, it's your problem.' The implication was that Sasaki had no problems. If you thought he did, that just proved your own lack of understanding."

"This was 'old news' in the 1980's. It's very sad."

21 12/06/12 20121206_Burai_Spencer.jpg

Anka Burai Rick Spencer BIO.

"Anka Rick Spencer (born 1947) finally began to discover in the early 1980's that Zen is a practise and not just a topic for study. He attended his first sesshin with Joshu Sasaki Roshi in 1982 and continued practising for several years in Vancouver, B.C. with a group of of Sasaki Roshi’s students. Rick first met Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 1995 and received lay ordination from Norman in 2000 just before his first trip to Mexico."

22 12/11/12


Some Reflections on Rinzai-ji
By Giko David Rubin

I began Zen practice in High School. I spent two weeks at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center between my freshman and sophomore years of college. Then I first met Denkyo Kyozan Joshu Roshi in 1980 when I was nineteen years old. I did my first sesshin a few months later, was ordained by him in 1983, and made an Osho by him in 1999. Between 1995 and 2007 I translated for well over 2,000 hours of public and private dharma talks and meetings. I probably spent more than that number of hours helping to transcribe and correct the translations. Since 2007 I have been in protest and not participating in Rinzai-ji, although I've had a few private meetings with Joshu Roshi.

Giko David Rubin lives, practices, and teaches in Albuquerque New Mexico. He is a co-founder of Mountain Mahogany Community Charter School.

"From many stories I was told by men and women, and from my long experience translating, I believe Joshu Roshi sometimes used the way he spoke in sanzen, and even in teisho, to coerce women into giving him sex. He implied that resisting his advances was resisting the cosmic activity itself. He also implied surrendering to his requests for sex may lead to the experience of absolute cosmic unity. He punished some women who would not capitulate to his demands by giving them little or no attention. He coerced women by saying, 'This is the only way I can teach you,' 'You should overcome your ego,' 'If you don't have sex with me, you are not manifesting one true nature,' 'You say ‘my body,’ but that is the thought of your incomplete self,' 'You are the only one I ever touch,' 'You have the best energy.' ”

"The argument that his teishos were sometimes sexual coercion is harder to make, but I feel it is true. He went through a phase when he repeated often that following one’s instinctual impulses is the same as following the Dharma activity. I don’t think he really believed that deeply. He also would sometimes emphasize the idea that 'resisting the unification of expansion and contraction was egotistical' so adamantly that I, knowing whom in the audience he was trying to persuade to allow his sexual advances, could no longer serve as his translator in good conscience."

"Some senior students and Oshos, although they knew about his pattern of trying to initiate some sort of sex with his students and especially his Injis, encouraged new students to become his Inji, telling them it was special, an honor and a great opportunity. Then when the new Inji complained about his sexual demands sometimes they were told they should give themselves to him completely."

"At this point I don’t claim to have anywhere near a perfect picture of the facts. However, I have heard the experiences of forty two women, either from them directly or their husbands or boyfriends:"

• Twenty-three of those are no longer practicing with Joshu Roshi and had negative experiences, and many of those have shared their bad experiences with other Buddhist sanghas.

• There was one report to a crisis hotline, one police report, and once I witnessed a woman confronting Joshu Roshi in front of his wife, saying 'Try touching me now when your wife is here!'

• Fourteen of the forty-two would probably say they are still Roshi’s students, nine of them obviously are.

• Of those, two told me their sexual encounters with Roshi were fantastically helpful, healing some sexual problems.

• Five others say only positive, though not so effusively glorious things.

• Six other women still practicing with Roshi (or at least saying they are his student) express more of an “I’ve put up with a lot” attitude.

• Five others had very short, one time encounters, all of whom said they rebuffed Roshi’s advances with a slap, a laugh, or by changing the subject.

• Eleven out of the forty-two told me in detail how Roshi repeatedly grabbed at them despite their saying “No,” sometimes dozens of times in one day, over many months, and sometimes many years. Two of those told me they were pushed to the ground.

• I have also had extensive conversations with two Japanese monks who, for their own reasons had researched Joshu’s history in Japan. They told me Joshu Roshi has biological children in Japan who were not openly acknowledged as his when they were children. I have since met one of them, and I read an email from another. The monk told me that in Japan his sexual activity was a big concern within Myoshin-ji."

"This is an extremely unscientific 'survey,' for which all of the information was randomly and freely given, and 90 percent of the information was obtained after 1997. It is very clear that nobody really knows anything close to everything, and the people who know the most aren’t talking in public. It is hard to say exactly what happened because there has not, as of yet, been an open, honest, caring and respectful investigation into what has happened over these 50 years of Joshu Roshi teaching in North America. Any attempt to extrapolate from my description and guess at the full extent of the activity must factor in many things. It is very common for women to remain silent about these difficult experiences, even with their close friends. Almost all of my information comes from Roshi’s later years, when his activity had decreased significantly. It makes it very difficult to guess, if not impossible."

23 12/13/12


"Joshu Sasaki Roshi, at the age of 105, stepped down from his role as the primary Zen teacher for Rinzai-ji nine months ago due to serious illness. Our community is working to provide a forum where both students and ordained teachers of Rinzai-Ji may voice any concerns regarding organizational structure, student-teacher relationships, and a vision for our collective enterprise: to further study and deepen our understanding of Roshi's Zen Teachings, and to carry them forward into the future for others' benefit."

"Because this is likely to be a significant and time consuming undertaking, the Rinzai-Ji Board of Directors has begun to establish interim policies and procedures to be used pending a collective determination of these issues. The ftrst interim policy and procedure developed sets forth procedures to address complaints about conduct."

24 12/17/12 20121217_Wilder.pdf

"I was a monk at Mt. Baldy. I did my first training period there in 1974-5 and ordained as a monk in April of 1977. I resigned in January 1982. The circumstances of my resigning are directly related to the larger issue of Sasaki's sexual improprieties. I am writing to you because I wish to speak up for both myself and for a woman who has since died."

Stephen Wilder.

"It wasn't until his Inji, who was engaged to be married, came bursting into my room at Bodhi Mandala in New Mexico after lunch one day during an autumn sesshin, sobbing and saying, 'He won't leave me alone', that it finally dawned on me that this was real. Until then I truly did not believe any of the rumors because of my own conditioned ignorance. The Inji was a close personal friend of mine and I cannot describe how disturbing this was for me. I was the jikijitsu at this sesshin, but I was so stunned that I walked out the door and up onto the mesa still wearing my robes and zoris. I sat up there all day trying to resolve this conundrum: the teacher that I believed in and trusted and committed myself to was, through his own unrestrained desires, causing others to suffer. Could I continue to trust him? Could I believe in him? Could I remain a monk? What did it mean if I left him? I returned that evening in a confused state that took months to resolve. I said nothing to Roshi and he did not make mention of my absence. I believe that that was the last time this particular Inji did sesshin with Sasaki. She has since passed away."

"Because of my own personal history and, I think it would be honest to say, my cowardice, I never told Roshi how upset I was and why I was so upset. Still, as much as I was committed to practice, I could not remain with Roshi because to do so would mean that I saw nothing wrong with his behavior, that it was acceptable to cause suffering, that the dharma could be set aside in particular situations by particular people. I knew that I did not believe any of these things and after several months of anguish I resigned. Even then I did not tell Roshi why I was leaving - only that I could 'no longer fulfill my responsibilities as a monk.' "

"Resigning as a monk was devastating for me. I felt I was a failure because I had 'failed' in my attempt to make the best use that I could make of my life- to get clear and to help others do so as well. It took almost 14 years before I again began to practice seriously. I did practice off and on, visiting other teachers and Zendos. Even when I began to sit regularly at the NY Zen Center with Myotai Sensei I did not go for interview for the first two years. I was terrified of committing myself only to be betrayed, and of again 'failing' to make the best use of my life. Fortunately, I was able to find that I could trust the teachers in the Mountain and Rivers Order. Still, it took me a long while before I could again fully commit myself. I did eventually take Jukai with Daido Roshi in 2007. Twenty-five years after leaving Mt. Baldy."

"I greatly regret my silence and my failure to confront my teacher. If I had spoken up perhaps it would not have taken this long for all this to come out and much suffering could have been avoided. For that I am truly sorry."

25 12/19/12 20121219_RJBOD.pdf A Letter From Susana Stewart to
The Rinzai-Ji Board of Directors.

"In light of the recent unfolding of events regarding Joshu Sasaki’s alleged sexual misconduct, I feel compelled to address the matter in a letter to all of you."

"As some of you know, I have been married to Sandy Gentei Stewart for 35 years. Prior to my meeting him, I founded the North Carolina Zen Center. I first became a student of Sasaki Roshi in 1972 and continued until 1985, when I could no longer continue my relationship with him because of my experience of his persistent abuse of power in his efforts to destroy our marriage. Sadly, I was no longer able to practice Zen formally – just to set foot in a zendo was more than I could bear for many years. It was a great loss to me."

"I was appalled to read your posting on Sweeping Zen that implies this was all news to you: 'Concerns have been raised about allegations of misconduct within the Sangha and our organization’s capacity to address these challenges.' Jack Williamson’s statement in an email to Rinzai-ji oshos past and present and the present Rinzai-ji Board of Directors sent December 8, 2012 that 'no complaints concerning conduct have ever been brought before the RJZC [Rinzai-ji Zen Center] board' is simply untrue. I am shocked at this level of fabrication."

26 12/19/12 20121219_Osho_letter.pdf A Letter From Susana Stewart to
The Rinzai-Ji Oshos.

"Cleary most of you have never fully appreciated the gravity of the situation."

"Those of you who were complicit in this activity by enabling Sasaki with his sexual misconduct for decades would help bring forth healing if you at least made a gesture of contrition with your own personal public apology or by resigning."

"The first sentence in Sasaki’s current form of apology states 'Currently, I am suffering, but it seems that everyone else is suffering more.' Notice that he mentions his own suffering first. I hope all of you can do much better than that. Those of you who know women who have stories to tell, please encourage them to get in touch with the any of the members of the Witnessing Council for support and confidential, safe sharing of information:

Jan Chozen Bays,
Great Vow Zen Monastery, Clatskanie, Oregon

Hozan Alan Senauke,
Berkeley Zen Center, Berkeley, California

Myoan Grace Schireson,
Empty Nest Zendo, North Fork, California

"You will be in my thoughts during the upcoming reconciliation process. It is my hope that all of you as well as countless women will experience the healing to which we all are entitled."

"Susanna Stewart"

27 01/01/13


Sexual Complaints About Zen Master Go Back Decades
by Robert Borden
Jemez Thunder
January 1, 2013

"Denkyo Kyozan Joshu Roshi, the 105-year-old Abbott of the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs, has a long history of complaints about sexual harassment dating back to at least the 1980s, causing many Zen practitioners to leave the Rinzai-ji organization in Los Angeles founded by the Roshi. The North Carolina Zen Center severed its affiliation with Rinzai-ji in 2008."

"One man said, 'His career of misconduct has run the gamut from frequent and repeated non-consensual groping of female students during interview, to sexually coercive after hours ‘tea’ meetings, to affairs and sexual interference in the marriages and relationships of his students. Many individuals that have confronted Sasaki and Rinzai-ji about this behavior have been alienated and eventually excommunicated, or have resigned in frustration when nothing changed; or worst of all, have simply fallen silent and capitulated. For decades, Joshu Roshi’s behavior has been ignored, hushed up, downplayed, justified, and defended by the monks and students that remain loyal to him.' ”

28 01/04/13


New York Times


No Religious Exemption When It Comes to Abuse


Published: January 4, 2013

“Take Zen Buddhism, the paragon of open, nonhierarchical spirituality. Anyone may practice Zen meditation; you do not have to convert, be baptized or renounce your old religion. Yet leaders of major Zen centers in Los Angeles and New York have recently been accused, on strong evidence, of exploiting followers for sex. This weekend, Zen teachers ordained by Joshu Sasaki, the semiretired abbot of the Rinzai-ji Zen Center in Los Angeles, are holding a retreat to discuss sexual harassment accusations against Mr. Sasaki. The Zen Studies Society, in New York, is under new leadership after its longtime abbot, Eido Shimano, was forced out after he was accused of inappropriate sexual liaisons with students and other women.”

“Paul Karsten, a board member of the Rinzai-ji Zen Center, said the intense relationship between Zen teacher and student can be trouble. For example, in private meetings, some teachers touch students. The touching is never supposed to be sexual, but there can be misunderstandings, or outright abuse. ‘I know of stories I have heard,’ Mr. Karsten said, ‘where people feel like this experience has been very important to them, and others where they feel like it has been the opposite.’ ”

“Mr. Karsten acknowledged complaints against Mr. Sasaki — largely on the Internet, some anonymous — that the teacher went beyond what most reputable teachers would consider appropriate. But Mr. Karsten seemed torn between valuing extremely close teacher-student relationships and acknowledging the dangers.”

“ ‘People see there has been something going on with students that on the one hand has been remarkable, and on the other hand has been inappropriate in teacher-student practice,’ Mr. Karsten said. ‘And consensual, or nonconsensual?’ ”

“Questions e-mailed to Mr. Karsten for Mr. Sasaki, who is 105, were not answered.”

29 01/07/13



Fall - Winter 2012

The Newsletter of the North Carolina Zen Center

Sandy Gentei Stewart

“In October 2007, shortly before my resignation, I wrote to the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors. Here is the closing paragraph of that letter:”

“As to the whole of Rinzai-ji, silence on this topic creates the impression that we condone illegal sexual behavior. We already have this reputation. If we don’t speak out against it, we are creating a culture of Rinzai-ji in which roshis and oshos will think that having sex with students is an acceptable teaching technique. If, by remaining silent, Rinzai-ji wishes to permit sexual misconduct, then I will not be able to continue my relationship with our organization and will again separate from it, as I did in the past for the same reason – inactivity on this issue. Meanwhile, at a meeting last week, my board of directors decided to discontinue the North Carolina Zen Center’s official relationship with Rinzai-ji until this issue is resolved to their satisfaction. They will send you official notice once the requirements for changing the by-laws have been met.”

“In mid-November of 2012, Eshu Martin of the Victoria Zen Centre posted a short piece on the website Sweeping Zen about Joshu Sasaki’s behavior. On account of the outpouring of comments following this posting, some of the Rinzai-ji oshos realized that the time had come to deal with this issue and are now engaged in the process of examining what has happened and attempting to reorganize so as to prevent further harm. A second website contains a number of postings on this subject.”

“I also love Joshu Roshi as a person and as my teacher. I am absolutely grateful for his teachings, which, he has said, are what his teacher taught him. To me these teachings are the most profound and complete of any I have heard from any of the other Zen masters, teachers, scholars, geshes and rinpoches that I have met. However much I have said and done against his treatment of women, I will continue to carry on his teachings.”

30 01/07/13


An Essay By "Another Former Inji"
Submitted To The Sasaki Archive.

"I thought I was special.  And perhaps that’s one of the ways, or the main way, that a predator like Sasaki Roshi (I’m testing out that way of thinking, of feeling)… perhaps that’s one way we keep silent.  I don’t think he ever told me to keep silent.  Except that, of course, one of the rules you are taught at the beginning, is Never Talk About What Happens in Sanzen.  Why?  That’s part of the practice.  And the practice is so delicious, so interesting, so unusual, that one feels very grateful, until the other crazinesses start getting to you and you run out of there screaming, wondering if it’s just because you’re too weak, since Rinzai is such a 'warrior’s way.'  So, 35-plus years’ later of ambivalence, I’m glad it’s coming out.”

“The kimonos we wore had the most convenient slit openings under the arm, so convenient, a hand slips in and brushes against a breast.  An accident?  A little, a little more, a nipple kneaded, oh what on earth does this mean?  What does it mean to be aroused by your Zen master?” 

“But when some poisonous activity is going on, maybe we need to break the silence.  Maybe silence all week, then once a week a free session where everyone gets to talk openly about problems, questions, worries.  Would I have talked, even then?  Probably not, unless I realized that I was not only not unique, but that there were many, many other women who were getting versions of the same thing.”

“At that time, I still thought I was in a unique position; I was isolated, I spoke to no one completely honestly.” 

“It felt so special to be Inji.  It felt like every one else — or many others — were jealous of that special relationship, since most people never saw him outside of Teisho and Sanzen.  How lucky I was, to be on such intimate grounds, to be able to laugh and talk with him.  But what was I, his Inji, his 'personal attendant?'  We heard how in Japan, it was the job of a very senior monk.  So that puffed us up.”

“I am angry with myself for not speaking out sooner, I’m furious with the Rinzai Ji establishment for not reining him in; and, believe it or not --  it’s still so very hard to be angry with Sasaki Roshi, even now.  The thing I’m most angry about is that I feel like a victim now, and I don’t want to feel that way.” 

“Now that I see a broader picture of the historical pattern of Sasaki Roshi’s behavior, it is deeply insulting and distressing to think that I came to a Zen center, a Zen teacher, for spiritual training, I was given what I thought was a special position, (because of my deep dedication,) but I was a disposable sex object.” 

“I did not, absolutely did not get that I was one of a crowd.  Silly me, I thought I was special.  But we didn’t talk about it.  NO ONE talked about it.  I never remember ever hearing anyone talk about it until much later.  Even then, I had NO IDEA how excessive it was, that it wasn’t a few, or a dozen, but hundreds.  IF I had known, if anyone had warned me, my response would have been completely different.” 

“Once when driving him and Leonard Cohen to dinner, then sharing dinner with these two stars, he offered me to Leonard, who seemed somewhat taken aback, and embarrassed in his refusal.” 

“A friend tells me that I told him once that Leonard had said to me, in another context, “You think he’s such a nice old man, but he’s a monster,” but I can’t remember that now, though I believe it’s true that he said that.  You can’t remember everything.”

“Seeing it in print has made it seem real.  Seeing people come forward.  I don’t know Eshu Martin, he may be as fucked up as some of the anonymous posters claim.  I don’t care; I’m grateful that he started this, and I’m grateful for the others that have come forward.”

“I’ve gone through denial, for 35+ years, and now, suddenly, shame, embarrassment, and livid anger, and I think I’m approaching acceptance --  I was just another sincere and hopeful person, who got nailed by someone who, whatever positive qualities he may have had, miss-used his position of power.”

“The most important thing for me is the LieA sin of omission implicit in my behavior.  For 35 years, I lied, (by not talking about what had happened,) and that lie and the perceived necessity for it, poisoned everything about experience of the Zen center and with Sasaki.” 

“So the only important and relevant truth is that I had sexual contact, almost daily, for many months with Sasaki.    The rest of my writing is my emotional reaction to realizing the context in which that took place: the context of sexual abuse by an irresponsible and probably sociopathic predator.”  

31 01/08/13 20130108_Oshos_Announcement.pdf

Rinzai-ji Oshos

Zen Teachers in the lineage of Kyozan Joshu, Roshi

Meeting of Oshos, Representatives of Ordained Sangha, and Members of Board of Directors of Rinzai-ji | 5, 6 January 2013

Summary Report


“Day One”

“Facilitator introduces the three principles for Council Circle: 1) not knowing / no-self—being open to all that arises, thereby giving up fixed ideas about myself, others, and the world; 2) bearing witness by listening and speaking from the heart—deep listening to all that arises within the circle without judgment or blame, thereby becoming one with what is shared; and 3) healing action (also called liberating action, or loving action)—allowing an action that serves the whole to arise from the practice of not-knowing and bearing witness.”

 “Convening of the circle is preceded by a short period of silent meditation.  Both morning and afternoon sessions begin with a brief check-in, a witnessing by each member of the circle as a way of ‘taking the temperature’ of the group.”

“The facilitator introduces the guidelines for Council practice.  These include: return to not-knowing (being open); bearing witness by speaking leanly and, at the same time, saying what is important for one to say; listening without judgment; speaking only from one’s own experience using 'I' statements; holding silence as an option; no preparing of one’s sharing, simply plunging.”

“We used a talking piece (held by each person while speaking) and had an agreement of confidentiality.”

“Both morning and afternoon sessions end with a brief witnessing reflection by each member of the circle; many remark on the value and effectiveness of the Council circle.”

Day Two

“Facilitator offers her list of Guiding Questions based on what has arisen on Day One. These will be distributed to all those present to use/or not use as we wish."

“Facilitator communicates specific objectives for action suggested by the planning committee: 1) create a Bearing Witness Council which can design and execute a process by which those who have been hurt may come forward; 2) create a Statement of Response to the current situation about concerns about sexual conduct that has brought about harm; and 3) draft a report of the meeting to Kyozan Joshu Roshi, oshos not present, ordained sangha, and members of boards of directors of the Rinzai-ji sangha.”

“Before addressing these objectives, the circle hears three letters that had been submitted to the planning committee with the request that they be read during the meeting.”

“The facilitator invites individuals to choose one of three objectives and work with others in the group so-formed.  From recommendations arrived at through small group discussions and discussion within the larger circle that follows, the circle arrives at the agreements that are given below.”

32 01/11/13 20130111_On_Authority.pdf

One of Four Papers.

Independent Witness Council Report.

"When ongoing questions of misuse of sexuality or power unfold in a spiritual community, it is rarely a matter of one person’s actions.  Reading through the painful and heartfelt accounts documenting Joshu Sasaki’s sexual relationships with students at Rinzaiji down through the years, we see how, knowingly and unknowingly, the community was drawn into an open secret, and people’s ability to practice the dharma suffered. Despite individual and collective attempts to address boundaries, repentance, and rectification, these behaviors appear to have continued over more than four decades. We have reports that those who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed, or otherwise punished."

33 01/11/13 20130111_Council_Outline.pdf

Two of Four Papers.

Independent Witness Council Report.

"Twenty-five individuals have either sent emails, consulted the Council for confidential interviews, published articles or have done both types of reporting. There are more than fifty pages of these reports. These reports (encoded by number), confidential interviews and published articles are listed in a redacted index to insure anonymity. Twenty-four respondents were Sasaki’s students or former students. The numbers below represent the coded reports in which the issues and allegations appear. While there were only twenty-five respondents, there were forty-six documents. The numbers listed refer to the document from which the comment is quoted."  

"Eleven respondents gave first hand reports (by women) of attempted or actual sexual contact (* used to identify first hand reporters of sexual contact or attempt here and in index), thirteen respondents gave second hand reports of sexual contact, and one respondent (not a Sasaki student) only reported on Sasaki’s prison sentence for misappropriation of temple funds in Japan, and Sasaki’s disinterest in caring for a child fathered there outside of marriage."

34 01/11/13 20130111_Summary_Findings.pdf

Three of Four Papers.

Independent Witness Council Report.

"The Witness Council was formed in November, 2012, when allegations arose concerning long-standing sexual behaviors by Joshu Sasaki.  Many Zen teachers expressed concern about these allegations. Some had heard rumors for many years, but all said they did not feel they could comment or consider taking action without a foundation of credible information. Because there was an expressed need for information, the Witness Council was formed. The Witness Council consists of three individuals, with extensive experience and training in the field of behaviors by Buddhist and other spiritual teachers, who volunteered to be available to collect and summarize relevant information in a sensitive, confidential manner.  The three people in the Witness Council are independent of Sasaki's Rinzai-ji centers — an important consideration, as many survivors and other witnesses are not comfortable discussing their experiences or concerns openly with members of a group from which they are disaffected."

35 01/11/13 20130111_Redacted_Index.pdf

Four of Four Papers.

Independent Witness Council Report.

1.     Web post 1

2.     Dec 1 interview

3.     Dec 4 interview

4.     Dec 5 interview

5.     Dec 6 interview

6.     Dec 6 submission

7.     Dec 9 interview

8.     Dec 10 interview add’l remarks

36 01/11/13 20130111_Open_Letter.pdf

An Open Letter to the American Zen Community
From The Osho Council of Rinzai-ji.

"Open letter to our fellow practitioners and the American Buddhist community" 

"Recently there has been the allegation of long-term sexual misconduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi, as well as the inability on the part of the senior practitioners to appropriately address the problem." 

"Sadly, we cannot deny these accusations. This issue has been a sore on the body of our Sangha for decades, and we are eager and relieved to finally open it to the light of day."

"The Rinzai-ji community of practitioners has struggled with our teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi’s sexual misconduct for a significant portion of his career in the United States. Senior members of our community have made several earnest and serious attempts over the years to correct this problem. Ultimately, these attempts failed.   Our hearts were not firm enough, our minds were not clear enough, and our practices were not strong enough so that we might persist until the problem was resolved. We fully acknowledge now, without any reservation, and with the heaviest of hearts, that because of our failure to address our teacher’s sexual misconduct, women and also men have been hurt, women and men who trusted us with their Zen practices, and whose trust we failed to honor in a fundamental way."

37 01/00/13 20130100_Complaint.pdf

An Undated Annonymous Criminal Complaint,
Allegedly Filed With The New Mexico
Attorney's General Office.

"I would like to report criminal activity occurring in Sandoval County, New Mexico and I request that you investigate. This is the state law that prohibits this:

New Mexico. Chapter 30 Criminal Offenses. (30-9-10)

Article 9. Sexual Offenses.

As used in Sections 30-9-10 through 30-9-16 NMSA 1978:

A. 'force or coercion' means:

(5) the perpetration of criminal sexual penetration or criminal sexual contact by a psychotherapist on his patient with or without the patient's consent during the course of psychotherapy or within a period of one year following the termination of psychotherapy.

F. 'psychotherapist' means a person who is or purports to be a: (11) minister, Priest, rabbi or other similar functionary of a religious organization acting in his role as a pastoral counselor ..."

38 01/00/13


抜粋:志の寺 瑞龍寺・北海道道場百年史話




"注l 宮城県塩釜東園寺千坂成也師談この東園寺のお世話だったのであろうか、十四歳のとき承周師は、志を立てて北海道に渡り、札幌の瑞龍寺で三浦承天老師の弟子となる。大正十年(一九一一このことである。札幌の瑞龍寺に着いたのは四月八日、すなわちお釈迦様の誕生の日であった。承周少年はこの日に入寺するべく、あらかじめスケジュールを考えていたという。"

39 02/00/13


Excerpts from: Kokorozashi no Tera: Zuiryu-ji,
Hokkaido dojo no hyakunen shiwa

 志の寺 瑞龍寺・北海道道場百年史話  

(The Temple of Aspiration: Zuiryu-ji,
a One-Hundred Year History of the Hokkaido Dojo)

Compiled by Matsumoto Tokuji.

English Translation by Jundo Cohen-osho

"However, with two full years passing after Jōten Roshi’s appointment as Abbot, not long after entering the third year of 1952, an unbelievably big incident would occur. This was that Joshu Roshi, the Fusu of Zuiganji, would end up being the object of a criminal prosecution [刑事訴追] involving the affair. This is what is popularly known as the 'Zuiganji Affair'. The details of the affair are unclear due to records no longer remaining at Zuiganji today, but it seems that the inquiry concerned management oversight responsibilities [管理責任] for the funds received from the national government for purposes of the above described “Great Showa Period Renovation’."

"In response, Rev. Joshu answered only that all came down to his own personal blame [translator: or 'indiscretion'; literally 'moral failings'; すべてを自分の不徳の致すところとのみ答え], and it is said that he ended up recognizing/admitting all of the fault [translator: or more literally, 'offenses'; 罪] as his own [すべての罪をご自分のこととして認めてしまわれた]. For this reason, it is said that even the people at the temple administration office [寺務局] who were anticipating Rev. Joshu’s words in defense [弁護] were left without their own room to make a defense. Furthermore, Rev. Joshu, who while held in confinement [収監中] sat in the Full Lotus position (Kekkafuza = the cross legged way of sitting Zazen) all day long on top of the hard bed, impressed the penal guards [刑務官], and further a guard who could not bear to see it is said to have slipped him a Zabuton cushion."

"However, when a Head Priest is sent off to be Abbot of a Head Temple, and so for Zuiganji as well, it is probably naturally to be expected that somehow tangible and intangible funds [有形無形の資金] would become necessary. What’s more, for Zuiganji itself, even if we say that there had been recovery from the Meiji [Era] impoverishment, it was a fact that it was in a condition quite far from the wealthy temple that can be seen at Zuiganji today. This writer is thinking that it might have been an affair which makes one recall the bitter labor of Joshu Roshi, who was in the position of having to work as Fusu amid all that."

"It is said that, when first notice of this affair entered the ears of Jōten Roshi, the Roshi left the Head Temple in a flash. He could not be found in the Kohojo [the Abbot’s quarters; 小方丈], nor wherever they looked at Myoshinji Head Temple, and there was no sign of His Eminence the Roshi [管長祝下]. By around the time that Myoshinji Head Temple fell into a big uproar from top to bottom searching for His Eminence the Roshi, Jōten Roshi had already gotten back to Zuiganji. Later, he of course left his letter of resignation as Abbot. Thus, Jōten Miura resigned as Head [Kancho] of the Myoshinji School [妙心寺派の管長]. Roshi was a full 79 years old at the time. He was succeeded by Taiko Furukawa Roshi."

"Tokuji Matsumoto [松本篤二]"

"Born in Sapporo in 1929. Graduated from the Physics Department in the Science Faculty of Hokkaido University. Subprofessor [文部教官] and Assistant in the Science Faculty of Hokkaido University, engaged in a domestic exchange program with the Hitotsubashi University Department of Business Management in the Faculty of Commercial Sciences. In 1957, joined the Hinomaru Sangyo Co. in Sapporo. After serving as a Managing Director and Senior Managing Director, retired from the company in 1983. In the same year, became a trainer for Recruit Co. internal company training. Retired in 1999."

40 02/03/13



Zen 'Master' Molested Students in N.M.

By Mike Gallagher


“A leading Zen Buddhist spiritual leader and teacher sexually abused female students in New Mexico and California for more than 50 years under the guise of Zen teachings, an independent commission of Buddhist leaders has concluded.”

“The allegations against 105-year-old Joshu Sasaki Roshi ('Roshi' roughly translates to 'master') range from fondling adult female students’ breasts to sexual intercourse during one-on-one study sessions over many years.”

“The allegations came up time and again beginning in the 1960s and critics, including former followers, say the misconduct was covered up.”

“Since arriving in the United States from Japan in the early 1960s, Sasaki and his followers established Zen Buddhist centers and retreat houses in Los Angeles, Mount Baldy outside Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Jemez Springs and more than 25 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.”

“The alleged sexual assaults occurred primarily at the retreat houses at Mount Baldy and at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center at Jemez Springs — which is down the road from the now infamous headquarters for the Servants of the Paraclete, the religious order that treated Catholic priest sex abusers before they were returned to parishes.”

“The Bodhi Manda Zen Center has been affiliated with the University of New Mexico summer seminar on Buddhism for many years. There have been no formal allegations that UNM students are among Sasaki’s victims.”

41 02/06/13


Sexual allegations shut down Zen retreat

No UNM students among those allegedly groped by Zen master

By John Tyczkowski

New Mexico Daily Lobo

“A UNM summer seminar was canceled after multiple allegations emerged accusing its instructor, 105-year-old Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi, of molesting female students at sites in New Mexico and California.”

“The UNM philosophy department canceled the seminar for summer 2013 after learning of multiple allegations against Sasaki on SweepingZen, a website that provides biographies of Zen teachers and archives of their teachings. This latest round of allegations included statements from high-ranking teachers in Sasaki' s order.”

" ‘The department has categorically stated that they have never received any reports of (sexual molestation) happening to UNM students (at Sodhi Manda Zen Center),’ Blair said. ‘The allegations we've heard about happened 30-40 years ago.’ "

42 02/10/13



Zen abuse: My own painful response

By Leslie Linthicum


“My husband was a student of Joshu Sasaki Roshi for more than 20 years after picking up a book about mindfulness meditation during a particularly rough spot in his life and then finding a spiritual home at the Albuquerque Zen Center, one of the Sasaki Roshi’s outposts in New Mexico.”

“In September, he was asked to take over the Albuquerque Zen Center as the resident administrator. In November, our moving plans under way, the depth of the sex scandal was revealed on the Internet – a detailed accounting of a pattern of abuse that involved many more women than we knew and more than groping. No one in the organization disputed the allegations, and still the roshi did not apologize or step down.”

“In December, we canceled the move, unpacked our boxes, and my husband resigned after 23 years with the organization. He is now a monk seeking a new spiritual home, and we are a family searching for answers to questions that seem surreal. Why did he stay when he knew about a few women and groping but leave when the picture grew to include more than 100 women and more harmful abuse?”

“How could an organization built around a teacher turn a blind eye to the harm that teacher was doing to women?”

“How could serious practitioners of Buddhism, which teaches compassion and clarity above all, act so callously and be so blind?”

“What on earth were we thinking?”

“If we ignore the harm done by others (so convenient), are we also practicing harm?”

“If we’ve hidden some of the truth, isn’t that the same as lying?”

“If we put the teacher before all else, have we really learned anything? If the teacher allows that, does he have any business calling himself a teacher?”

“What stories do we tell to let ourselves off the hook?”

43 02/11/13


Zen Groups Distressed by Accusations Against Teacher

by Mark Oppenheimer and Ian Lovett

The New York Times – February 11, 2013

“The allegations against Mr. Sasaki have upset and obsessed Zen Buddhists across the country, who are part of a close-knit world in which many participants seem to know, or at least know of, the principal teachers.”

“Mr. Sasaki did not respond to requests for interviews made through Paul Karsten, a member of the board of Rinzai-ji, his main center in Los Angeles. Mr. Karsten said that Mr. Sasaki’s senior priests are conducting their own inquiry. And he cautioned that the independent council took the accounts it heard from dozens of students at face value and did not investigate any ‘for veracity.’ ”

“Because Mr. Sasaki has founded or sponsored so many Zen centers, and because he has the prestige of having trained in Japan, the charges that he behaved unethically — and that his supporters looked the other way — have implications for an entire way of life.”

“Disaffected students wrote letters to the board of one of Mr. Sasaki’s Zen centers as early as 1991. Yet it was only last November, when Eshu Martin, a Zen priest who studied under Mr. Sasaki from 1997 to 2008, posted a letter to, a popular Web site, that the wider Zen world noticed.”

“Mr. Martin, now a Zen abbot in Victoria, British Columbia, accused Mr. Sasaki of a ‘career of misconduct,’ from ‘frequent and repeated non-consensual groping of female students’ to ‘sexually coercive after-hours ‘tea’ meetings, to affairs,’ as well as interfering in his students’ marriages. Soon thereafter, the independent ‘witnessing council’ of noted Zen teachers began interviewing 25 current or former students of Mr. Sasaki.”

“Some former students are now speaking out, including seven interviewed for this article, and their stories provide insight into the culture of Rinzai-ji and the other places where Mr. Sasaki taught. Women say they were encouraged to believe that being touched by Mr. Sasaki was part of their Zen training.”

44 02/12/13


105-year-old Zen Buddhist master is accused
of groping female students

Mail Online – U.K.

PUBLISHED: 07:36 EST, 12 February 2013


• Elderly Zen Buddhist teacher accused of sexually abusing his students.

• Joshu Sasaki, aged 105, groped and harassed women for 50 years.

• Complaints have circulated since the 70s but have been ignored.

• Majority of those who brought up abuse were isolated or excommunicated.

45 02/12/13


Sex abuse allegations surround L.A. Buddhist teacher

By Corina Knoll

Los Angeles Times – February 12, 2013, 11:25 p.m.

“At 19, Shari Young was in search of enlightenment. She thought she had found it at the Cimarron Zen Center (now known as Rinzai-ji) in Jefferson Park and in a Buddhist teacher, a man named Joshu Sasaki Roshi.”

“But she said Roshi, as his followers call him, began using their one-on-one meetings to fondle her breasts and grope her body. She consented in confusion but left after nearly a year.”

“That was in the early '60s, she said. A recent investigation by an independent council of Buddhist leaders has suggested that Roshi, a leading figure in Zen Buddhism in the United States, may have abused hundreds of others for decades. According to the group's report, that abuse included allegations of molestation and rape, and some of the incidents had been reported to the Rinzai-ji board, which had taken no effective action.”

" ‘We see how, knowingly and unknowingly, the community was drawn into an open secret,’ the council wrote, adding: ‘We have reports that those who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed or otherwise punished.’ "

46 02/12/13



Zen Buddhist Master, 105, Accused Of

Sexual Harassment

Posted: February 12, 2013


"Mount Baldy, CA — Joshu Sasaki, a revered Buddhist master who has taught in the United States since 1965, has been accused of groping female students for decades during private training sessions."

"Sasaki, age 105, has been teaching Zen Buddhism primarily in the Los Angeles area since moving to America from Japan in 1962."

47 02/12/13 Joshu Sasaki Portrait Movie
Video From LA Times Link.
This Video Has Been Removed (For Whatever Reason). A Friend Captured It And Provided It Here.

48 02/12/13


Histórico maestro del budismo Zen en escándalo sexual

"WASHINGTON, 12 (ANSA)- Pionero del budismo Zen en Estados Unidos, venerado maestro durante más de 50 años por miles de seguidores, el mítico maestro Joshu Sasaki, el monje que en 1962 trajo de Japón a Los Angeles una moda de espiritualidad, es centro de un escándalo de sexo desenfrenado."

49 02/12/13

Zen Buddhist Leader Groped Female Followers


"Since arriving in Los Angeles from Japan in 1962, the Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki, who is 105 years old, has taught thousands of Americans at his two Zen centers in the area and one in New Mexico. He has influenced thousands more enlightenment seekers through a chain of some 30 affiliated Zen centers from the Puget Sound to Princeton to Berlin. And he is known as a Buddhist teacher of Leonard Cohen, the poet and songwriter."

50 02/12/13



105-year-old Zen Master Also an Alleged Serial Sexual Harasser

 Katie J.M. Baker


“Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki is a legend: the 105-year-old has worked with thousands of people (including Leonard Cohen) at his two Los Angeles Zen centers and one in New Mexico, spreading his teachings through his chain of about 30 affiliated Zen centers around the world.”

“But according to a recent investigation by an independent council of Buddhist leaders — and many of his former disciples who've tried to speak out for decades but were shushed up — he's also used his stature as a famous roshi (master) to get away with groping and sexually harassing countless female students.”

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