Talk:Sanbo Kyodan

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Apologies for Yasutani roshi[edit]

I've added the public apologies of Kubota Ji'un for Yasutani roshi, to make the article more balanced. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 05:25, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Choice of language on this page[edit]

Guys, calling it a CULT implies a negative connotation that is undeserved, in my opinion.

The Apology[edit]

As a final word, I must confess, my friends, that I fail to understand this apology business. Sanbō Kyōdan can apologize on Yasutani's behalf until the cows come home, but that is never going to change one pesky fact: he himself never expressed the slightest regret or remorse for anything he said, nor is there the slightest reason to believe that he changed his views. If someone can show me where and when he did, why then I'll be happy to issue my own official apology. One person or group can not apologize on behalf of another person. This is a corollary of an important moral principle: no person is responsible for the actions of another. Specifically, postwar generations of Japanese are not responsible for any aggression perpetuated by previous generations any more than modern Europeans are responsible for the imperialist aggression carried out by their own ancestors or I am responsible as an American for a war in Vietnam which was waged by other Americans whose policies I detest. Those past generations are the guilty ones, and the only thing modern people of good conscience can do is to disassociate themselves from the ignorance and bestiality of those who are truly guilty. Kubota Rōshi will only do that when he founds his own group and demonstrates that it will be committed to sound moral principles of peace and justice. If he does that, heck, I might even join myself. --Gunnermanz (talk) 19:40, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Balance needed[edit]

I agree with Gunnermanz that there are good reasons for a critical stance toward Sanbo Kyodan. But, Yoleroi is right in asserting that the Sanbo Kyodan has been, and is, very influential in the spread of Zen-buddhism in the United States - and Europe. Maybe the most important factor, actually, given the further influence of the Maezumi-Merzel lineage. Also in Europe the Sanbo Kyodan has been influential; see Enomiya-Lasalle, who was a student of Harada and Yamada. So, balance is needed, even the more when there are personal objections to Sanbo Kyodan. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 05:49, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Contradiction between Sanbo Kyodan Teaching and Buddhist Morality[edit]

I moved this section here. It's interesting, and the questions are worth to be asked, but as it is stated now more akin to opinion than to encyclopedic fact. If there are publications which mention the same questions, it deserves to be placed back. Undoubtedly, there are.

Unfortunately, the Sanbo Kyodan has not yet explained how it is possible that Zen Buddhists "masters" went to China to promote aggression and imperialism, which was totally contrary to the Buddha's teaching. They have not yet explained how they can be called true Buddhists. Rather, it seems that other Japanese Buddhist denominations have visited other Asian countries to pray for the victims of Japanese aggression in the so-called Great East Asian War. They have also not explained how so-called "enlightened" masters could promote murder, rape and aggression against other Asian countries.

Joshua Jonathan (talk) 09:35, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

More Editing[edit]

Hello my dear friends. I hate to be a gadfly, but I've edited the page again to remove apparent attempts to promote this sect. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It is not a forum for those who wish to promote either themselves or the religious or political group they belong to. I respectfully disagree with my colleague below regarding the word "cult." I have also deleted spurious references that are clearly intended to promote this group and its leading figures without mentioning their darker sides. I assume this was done because the editor in question was either unaware of their history or is a supporter of this cult. In any event, the references do not conform to Wikipedia's policy of NPOV. I must also object to implications that this group is widely recognized here in Japan, which it is not. I also believe the image of the Buddha should be removed. Most Buddhists will object to any claim by a competing sect as being the definitive representative of Buddhist teaching, as such artwork implies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gunnermanz (talkcontribs) 10:53, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi Gunnermanz. I do understand your objections against the SB, but please, provide sources when adding text on 'war support' and 'sexual abuse'. These are sensitive topics, which have already led to heated discussions on several pages, such as Eido Shimano and Dennis Merzel. Providing sources at least makes claims controllable, for both sides. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 11:04, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
So, I found a source. Still, I doubt if criticism should be stated in this way. It would be more interesting to place the SK within the context of the Meiji-restoration, and New Religious Movements and charismatic authority. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 11:19, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Dear Jonathan, Thanks for your message. Fire is easily seen and therefore safely avoided. If someone sticks a gun in your face to rob you, you know him as a robber from then on. But if someone lies and deceives you, then he can bleed you dry. My concern is with truth and the separation of Church and State (in this case, "State" being Wikipedia). As for my sources, the issue of war support of Nakagawa has been well documented by Victoria. As for Shimano, please Google "The Zen Site" and read the related information. This scandal at the Diamond Sanga was related to the horrible interaction Robert Aitken had with this so-called monk, Shimano. But why do I have to tell you this? Have you not read this material? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gunnermanz (talkcontribs) 12:48, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I have. I hope you read the references I've added. Point is, that supporteers are not easily convinced. See my talkpage. Also take a look at this It's the kind of discussion that really can get on your nerves, and cost a lot of time. So, providing sources helps. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 13:05, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I do not criticize you, sir. Indeed, the Shimano case never went to trial. Thus, no "sources" or criminal convictions are available (I suppose partly because one of Shimano's victims committed suicide, unless I am mistaken). I did, I believe, say "accused." My only point was that the editors of Wikipedia have a grave responsibility to conform to NPOV, and this is not just politics but religion and cults. Someone, among the other related pages, it seems, is neglecting their responsibility because it seems to me that the devotees of this cult are determined to whitewash their ugly side.--Gunnermanz (talk) 18:47, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for my critical tone. I think we totally agree at the issue of NPOV. Keep up the critical work! Joshua Jonathan (talk) 06:34, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Shimano and Sanbo Kyodan[edit]

Have I missed something? Though I did once sit with a Sanbo Kyodan teacher, I have never heard of Shimano, and when I read the entry on him, I saw no mention of a "connection" to Sanbo Kyodan. Shimano was a Rinzai teacher in the lineage of Soen Nakagawa (not Sanbo Kyodan); he was linked (in the west) with the Zen Studies Society associated with D. T. Suzuki (not Sanbo Kyodan), and with Aitken's Diamond Sangha (not Sanbo Kyodan, though Aitken was in the Harada-Yasutani lineage). Myopic Bookworm (talk) 22:27, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Read the first page of "Nine Headed Dragon River". Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:27, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. But that only shows that Yasutani and Nakagawa, along with the latter's student Shimano, met and worked together: the same book does not show either Shimano or Soen Nakagawa as being in Yasutani's lineage or as involved in the Sanbo Kyodan; so although I appreciate that Shimano is relevant to the development of Western (or at least American) Zen, I still don't see why he is relevant specially to the Sanbo Kyodan as such, the subject of this entry, rather than the broader topic of Western Zen. Surely not everyone associated with the Harada-Yasutani school is automatically part of the "Sanbo Kyodan"?
(I'll happily confess a personal interest: my first Zen teacher was from the Sanbo Kyodan tradition and not, like Aitken and Maezumi, separated from it in a distinct organization; my current teacher is a dharma-heir of the adulterous alcoholic Maezumi-roshi (a student of Yasutani but not, so far as I know, a member of the Sanbo Kyodan) and a member of his White Plum Asanga, at one time headed by the sexually predatory Dennis Merzel (Genpo-roshi).) Myopic Bookworm (talk) 22:05, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Myopic Bookworm. I'll try to give more background info. Soen Nakagawa was a Zen roshi in his own right, but he also attended sesshins lead by Harada Daiun Sogaku roshi, the teacher of Yasutani (Endless Vow p.20-21). At Nakagawa's request, Shimano also attended two sesshin lead by Harada (Endless Vow p.21) Nakagawa was also a close friend of Yamada Koun, the successor of Yasutani. They went to school and university together, and both served in Manchuria during the war. Yamada Koun played a central role in Aitken's diamond sangha, one of his dharma successors. Shimano was sent to Aitken in the early 1960s; the rest is history, as you probably do know. So, Shimano is closely linked to Sanbo Kyodan.
The topic of this entry is 'war support' and 'sexual abuse'. See Zen at War for the first topic; see [1] for the second topic. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:07, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
The topic of this entry is 'war support' and 'sexual abuse'. No it isn't! The topic of this entry is the Sanbo Kyodan. Myopic Bookworm (talk) 16:54, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
I mean, of this particular thread at the Talk Page! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Paying attention to edges[edit]

This point develops the impetus of my comments on Shimano. The recent addition of a comprehensive lineage chart is useful in showing the influence of the Harada-Yasutani tradition, but it also practically equates the Sanbo Kyodan organization with the entire dharma-lineage of Yasutani-roshi. This does not appear to be legitimate or accurate, but rather misleading. It is possible to receive dharma transmission in the Harada-Yasutani lineage, and yet to have no personal allegiance to or affiliation with the Sanbo Kyodan organization. A number of teachers in succession to Yasutani have explicitly left the Sanbo Kyodan, or founded organizations entirely distinct from it (including Aitken's Diamond Sangha), and may or may not have maintained amicable working relationships with its teachers. The White Plum Asanga derived from Maezumi is entirely independent of the Sanbo Kyodan, both in its organization and in its style of Zen teaching. (So far as I understand it, Charlotte Joko Beck, who is listed on the lineage chart as though she were a member of the Sanbo Kyodan, was not only not a member of this organization, despite studying with Yasutani, but even dissociated herself from her own teacher, Maezumi; so she is "not Sanbo Kyodan" by two removes.)

I appreciate that there are some unpleasant things in the complex history of these Zen groups which need to be acknowledged, and that there is a strong dislike or even rejection of the Sanbo Kyodan in some circles; I'm not particularly comfortable with their approach to Zen myself, and have found other pathways. But I think that going out of one's way to mention immoral or suspect behaviour by anyone who ever worked with Yasutani or sat in his zendo looks like an attempt to smear the organization by association. The Sanbo Kyodan is not simply identical with the Harada-Yasutani lineage of Zen. It is a distinct organization, consisting essentially of those teachers who continue to acknowledge the authority of only one of Yasutani's various dharma-heirs, Yamada-roshi.

Myopic Bookworm (talk) 16:53, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

I do see your point about "guilty by association". Some people really don't like Yasutani; others probably had a good relation with him. But even if you don't like him, it doesn't change the fact that he's been one of the main persons in bringing Zen tot he west.
The topic is broader than war crimes, alcoholism or sexual abuse; the really interesting issue is the modernisation of Japan and of (Zen-)Buddhism, under influence of western colinialism and orientalism, and the efforts by people like Yasutani to modernize Buddhism and give common people acccess to it's practices and teachings. Unfortunately, this can't be seen separate from Japanese nationalism and authoritarianism (which shaped the support for the japanese war-efforts), and from western Orientalism (which shaped the expectation of the perfect, enlightended Zen-master). It's a breath-taking mix of influences and historical developments. Personally, I do feel sad about all those scandals, and have felt quite some disappointments about all the nice stories which appeared to be no more than that, stories. Nevertheless, I'm still practicing, and trying to behave in a compassionate way. mankind sin't perfect... Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:35, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Zen and Buddhism[edit]

To the gentleman describing himself as 'myopic bookworm,' there are a lot of historical issues involved in this issue. Today, Japan is a modern country, and a good country. I live here. Modern Japanese are not guilty of the sins of their forefathers, and thank heaven, since I would not want to be guilty of the sins of mine. Countries are not people. They are more like mitochondria with cells living and dying. Countries are delusions. Death (and taxes, of course) is the only reality, but death is far more important. You don't believe these bad 'stories' about the 'masters' you choose to bow before? Well, I do. I do believe they were and are bad men. Yes, of course, there were and are bad Christians too. But they are dissemblers. Each one of us in this life must choose to ally himself with good or bad. Each one of us must decide to delude ourselves or not. Being good is hard, but the point is how much you try. This, I think, is what Buddha and Christ taught. But I do hope your spiritual efforts bear fruit. --Gunnermanz (talk) 03:56, 5 November 2013 (UTC)