• 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.
o Of those, two told me their sexual encounters with Roshi were fantastically helpful, healing some sexual problems.
o Five others say only positive, though not so effusively glorious things.
o 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.
o 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.
And in resistance to such allegations, replied:
, “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.”
From Sweeping Zen
Pushing women to the ground sounds a little too much like rape. When I said I'd like to grab Sasaki roshi by the scruff of his neck and drag him out into the snow and put him out of his misery, my wife suggested I was speaking from anger. Maybe what sounds like rape makes me angry. I think I misspoke, but I'm not sure.
I know, I know, as an aspiring priest, I'm supposed to be non-violent and compassionate and kind, but this is how I felt, not how I'm acting. I'm a bodhisattva in training.
But when is an ass kicking not some shred of patriarchal conditioning, and is just an ass kicking, like a mother lion swatting at a hyena?
Of course, this information is 3rd hand by the time it gets to me on Sweeping Zen. I don't know what really happened. And I don't really want to kick Sasaki roshi's ass. However, I'd like to see him removed, I'd like to see our teachers show up and collect his kesa.
My view feels tight and limited and closed. What can I do? I fear I myself am not able wear the Buddha's robe.