UPDATED: See second press release below. (See also these previous posts: Statement from Zen Studies Society, and Eido Shimano Roshi and Dai Bosatsu.) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Organization: Zen Studies Society: Dai Bosatsu International Zendo in NY, Shobo-JI in NYC Contact: Joe (Soun) Dowling, Board President Phone: 646 704 3405 Email: email@example.com Pertinent Web site: http://www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html Zen Studies Society Announces Ethics Investigation The Zen Studies Society (ZSS) recently revised and posted updated Guidelines for Ethical Behavior, including a grievance procedure, (www.daibosatsu.org/ethical.html). Late in June of this year, a woman revealed that there was an inappropriate relationship between herself and Eido Roshi. Shortly thereafter Eido Roshi and his wife Aiho-san resigned from the Board of Directors to assist us in honestly processing this matter. The ZSS board is committed to fully investigating, clarifying and bringing resolution to all breaches of our ethical guidelines. After discussion with senior members of the American Zen Teachers Association, the ZSS board decided to seek professional assistance from the FaithTrust Institute, a multifaith organization that addresses ethical violations by spiritual leaders, to move this process forward with openness and compassion for all. In addition the Board has embarked on a review of organizational and financial structures. New Preamble Announcement to Zen Studies Society Ethical Guidelines: The Zen Studies Society acknowledges that there have been occurrences of improper relationships between teachers and students. In the past, attempts to address concerns about such relationships were not satisfactory. The present board has revised and posted the following Guidelines for Ethical Behavior, including a grievance procedure. The board is adamant that these guidelines be upheld. We are grateful beyond words for the incomparable gift of Eido Roshi’s Dharma treasure, and for his unstinting efforts to root Rinzai Zen Buddhism in American soil. Ever at home in the unconditional realm, he spurs us to go beyond the relative vista. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the world of causation; each of our actions has a result. On July 4, 2010, Eido Shimano Roshi and his wife, Aiho-san Shimano, stepped down from the board of directors of the Zen Studies Society (ZSS). This was prompted when a recent inappropriate relationship was revealed between a student and Roshi. The ZSS is committed to fully investigating, clarifying and bringing resolution to this matter. It was with deepest gratitude and respect for their years of service to this organization and their efforts to assist us in honestly processing this matter, that their resignations from the ZSS Board were accepted. Shinge Roshi Roko Sherry Chayat, who will be installed as Vice Abbot, Dec. 31, 2010, will offer dokusan from January 2011 on. Roshi will actively continue in his role as Abbot of the society until he retires, April 8, 2012, but he will not be seeing new students for dokusan. Eido Roshi has said he will remain committed to ordained and long-time students for as long as his health allows. After discussion with senior members of the American Zen Teachers Association, the ZSS Board has decided to seek professional assistance from the FaithTrust Institute, a multifaith organization that addresses ethical violations by spiritual leaders. If you are reading this and feel your concerns have not been acknowledged or heard, or are aware of ethical matters that need to be addressed, please email your written communication to the ethics committee. With guidance from the FaithTrust Institute, the Ethics Committee will respond and process every communication we receive in a timely and appropriate manner. The Zen Studies Society Ethics Committee can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the Board will be reviewing the organizational and financial structures of the Zen Studies Society. The Board asks for your support as we undertake these painful but necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the Zen Studies Society and its future as a sound and healthy organization. The ZSS Board can be reached at email@example.com. Update August 19th, 2020: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Organization: Zen Studies Society: Dai Bosatsu International Zendo in NY, Shobo-JI in NYC Contact: Joe (Soun) Dowling, Board President Phone: 646 704 3405 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Pertinent Web site: http://www.daibosatsu.org Zen Studies Society Announces Transitions in Leadership Shinge Roshi Roko Sherry Chayat will be installed as Vice Abbot of Dai Bosatsu Zendo, the mountain monastery of the Zen Studies Society, on Dec. 31, 2010. Shinge Roshi is abbot of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji in Syracuse, NY. She is a long-time student of Eido Shimano Roshi. Chayat studied Buddhism on her own during the early 1960’s, while pursuing a degree in creative writing at Vassar College and doing graduate work in painting at the New York Studio School. She began Zen practice in 1967 with Eido Roshi in New York City, where she also studied with Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Soen Nakagawa Roshi on their periodic trips to the United States. She received lay ordination from Maurine Stuart at the Cambridge Buddhist Association in 1985 and full ordination from Eido Roshi at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in 1991. Eido Roshi acknowledged her as a Dharma teacher in the Rinzai tradition on December 8, 1992, and installed her as abbot of the Zen Center of Syracuse on October 18, 1996. Two years later, he gave her inka shomei, Dharma transmission, in the Hakuin/Torei lineage. She thus became the first American woman to receive official Rinzai Zen transmission. On October 12, 2008, after a 10-year process of advanced training culminating in a ceremony called shitsugo, literally, “room-name,” she received the title of Roshi and the name Shinge (“Heart/Mind Flowering”) from Eido Roshi. Shinge Roshi compiled, edited, and wrote the introduction for Eloquent Silence: Nyogen Senzaki’s Gateless Gate and Other Previously Unpublished Teachings and Letters. With Eido Tai Shimano Roshi and Kazuaki Tanahashi, she compiled, translated, and edited Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa. She wrote the introduction to, compiled, and edited Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart (both 1996: Shambhala Publications). Her book Life Lessons: The Art of Jerome Witkin (Syracuse University Press) is in its second edition. She has also written for such journals as Buddhadharma, Shambhala Sun and Tricycle. She is a member of the Round Table of Faith Leaders of InterFaith Works of Central New York, and is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association. New and old students will be able to work with Shinge Roshi, beginning Jan. 1, 2011. Eido Roshi has set the completion of retirement date for April 8, 2012. A new director for New York Zendo Shobo-Ji, in New York City, will be appointed January 1st, 2011. Present director Aiho Shimano will become Director Emeritus at that time, and Eido Roshi will become Abbot Emeritus upon his retirement.
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