The trouble seems to have started last February, when Gomyo Kevin Seperic, a graffiti artist and Shingon monk affiliated with the Sitting Frog Zen Sangha in Phoenix, went public about a disagreement he was having with its abbot, Dogo Barry Graham, over Graham’s authority to teach. On his Hoodie Monk blog, Seperic said,
How many Sitting Frog Zen Sangha teachers does it take to change a light bulb? Not two, apparently. I’ve just been kicked out of the Sitting Frog Zen Sangha for asking Dogo to show me his inka. Huh….The cheese stands alone.
Soon, the Zen teacher Kobutsu Kevin Malone, with whom Seperic and Graham had both been affiliated, added a comment to Seperic’s post, in which he acknowledged that it was a “a serious error in judgment” on his part to have agreed to serve as Graham’s teacher without checking his credentials. “It has become increasingly apparent that Barry is in serious difficulty and that his words and actions have become increasingly erratic and delusional,” Malone wrote.
A few days later, it was Graham’s turn. “I have been the subject of some scurrilous rumor-mongering by a couple of former friends and colleagues,” he wrote on his own blog. Graham went on to allege that one of his accusers (he omitted the names) had been convicted of assault, and that the other’s own teaching credentials were fabricated.
The flurry of charges and counter-charges between Graham, Seperic, and Malone over inka—the authorization to teach in the Rinzai tradition of Zen—played out before an online audience, quickly blossoming into a fullon dharma smackdown that drew 171 partisan comments from Hoodie Monk readers. But a few found the whole thing painful to watch. The reader rg1313 commented:
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