Power and its Abuse in a Zen Community
Introduction originally published on 8/19/2013 as Power - A Prelude.
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- This story encompasses a great deal of suffering, suffering that has occurred within the very place that many go in search of refuge – the sangha, or spiritual community. I hope that telling this story as accurately as I can possibly tell it will help bring closure to what has been a very difficult and troubling episode in the spiritual lives of many.
- I hope that other spiritual practitioners who have suffered through similar organizational difficulties will gain some measure of comfort by finding those parts of this story that resonate with them.
- I hope that spiritual practitioners who are currently struggling, or who will one day struggle, with similar difficulties will gain at least some benefit from being able to see the dynamics of their own place of practice with greater clarity.
- Better yet, I hope that thoughtful consideration of the issues raised by this story will keep similar difficulties from ever arising in the first place.
Originally published on 8/19/2013 as Power, Part 1 - Whose Zen Center Is This, Anyway?
Unfortunately, this also means that the train wreck will grind onward for nearly another month. It also means that I have to write another post! Stay tuned!
- That it’s really just your ego creating false appearances whenever you see a problem or an injustice or an ethical lapse. After all, the problem is always YOU. … Gosh, would civil rights progress have ever been made if everyone concluded that the injustices they were witnessing were really just figments of their egoic imagination!
- That you are breaking the precept against calling attention to the faults of others if you point out a problem or an injustice or an ethical lapse. … Ah, yes, the Machiavellian narcissists amongst us can wreak havoc while everyone else remains tight-lipped – hamstrung by their vows. Oh, wait, there are no Machiavellian narcissists. Such perceived behavior is just a figment of our egoic imagination!
- That the teacher is always right and the student is always wrong. … The teacher, of course, has no ego – having gotten rid of it along the arduous path to receiving Dharma transmission. We, on the other hand, still have our egos, and are thereby subject to their flights of fancy. So, if the teacher molests us – he is merely using skillful means to break down this pesky ego. And if the teacher wants to break the law – well, we can’t let mundane concepts like laws and stuff get in the way of the Buddha Dharma! And if the teacher accuses us of splitting the sangha even as he appears to be engaging in honest-to-goodness splitting of the sangha – well, it’s just our egos having their way with us!
Okay, I've got one more post in me - on this matter anyway.
Please give me a couple of days to collect my thoughts and try to make some sense of all of this.