Accept, I don't have dharma transmission, wear a brown O'kesa, and sit on the top side of a power dynamic. My words don't have the weight of "teacher."And my wife didn't marry me because she thought I was enlightened.
Brad says in his blog that Zen teachers are like ordinary people (just like me!) and have sexual feelings. They're like your princi-pal, man. And if you consent, as a Zen student, you can have sex with him, despite what your subconscious will be doing when you have sex with an authority figure in a robe-wearing tradition.
I say robe-wearing here, because Brad has deftly dodged the trappings of religiosity, spirituality, and moral accountability, because, like, he's too damn hardcore, too damn cool for all that. It's not okay, it's not okay, it's not okay. This entitlement to sexuality drips with patriarchy.
This is like the 13th step sponsors in AA; it's like an LT seducing a corporal; it's like sleeping with your boss, and worse. Part of Brad's vows (did he take any? I have no idea) to wear the Buddha's robe was "I take refuge in the Sangha as the perfect life" and the Grave precept of not disparaging the triple treasure. It's very hard to say when someone is breaking a precept, and actually, we don't usually say anything like that; What I'm saying is this: is not okay, meaning, when I read about teachers having sex with Zen students, my stomach flips, my knee jerks, my radar goes off.
Even someone as lowly totemed as myself strives to stay beyond the world's dust. Newcomers to our Zen center can't tell the difference between my black robe and blue Rakusu and the Abbesses' black koromo and sky blue O'kesa. I'm asked if I'm a priest, I'm given starry eyes, and I think it is my duty to make sure someone is not "falling" for my getup (which is a very helpful getup, once you're around awhile- more on that later). Maybe they think I can get them on the farm crew, maybe they think I'm up for a roll in the turnip shed; I can't (over 150 applicants a year) and I won't (I'm married to Dancing Mountain!).
I've tried to comment on his blog, but his comment section is a shit flinging contest. I don't mean to fling shit; I do mean to contribute to our community discourse.
Brad's book Hardcore Zen really helped me after I read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, 10 years ago, thus my vested interest. And I grew up listening to Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits and "picking up change" at local Scranton/Wilksbarre punk/hardcore venues; Has anyone ever noticed I'm covered in tattoos? Brad, bassist in a hardcore band, Zer0DFX, was a real bridge for me, as Thich Nhat Hanh made me throw up in my mouth a little.
However, don't let your babies grow up to have heroes. What Brad keeps saying repeatedly, that it's legitimate for zen teachers to have sex with "congregants" upon consent, flies in the face of taking refuge in the Sangha. Sometimes people need support to take refuge from themselves when they activate deep habit energy, like maybe trying to seduce the Zen teacher or saying yes to the Zen teacher.
Yes does not always mean yes, in any context.
I am not like Brad Warner, but I am not separate from him, nor am I immune from the same capacity to do harm.
- Farmer monk
- I was given the name Kogen, which means ancient source. I'm a resident of Green Gulch Farm & Zen center with my wife, where I farm organically, study Zen Buddhism, and also practice Tea ceremony and calligraphy. Currently, my Dharma study in in the Lankavatara Sutra. My farming study is about how to make vegetables grow! (Currently reading Elliot Coleman). My married life study is by the seat of my pants and skin of my teeth! The point of this blog is to be transparent, honest, beneficial, timely, and to improve the blogosphere. I apologize ahead of time for my many mistakes!