No Right, No Wrong (Con’t.)

I object to Pema Chodron’s (Vol. III, No.1) calling the suggestion to publicize the truth about misbehaving teachers “McCarthyism.” Joseph McCarthy slandered people, lied about them, unjustly destroyed their reputations, all in the service of his own political ambition and ideology. The spirit behind the recommendation of the conference of Western dharma teachers is the opposite of this. It is simply to tell the truth. Tell the truth, and let the hearers of that truth decide for themselves what to make of it and what to do about it. Telling the truth is what eventually put McCarthy out of business.

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” Pema Chodron quotes, but the reference is imprecise. Jesus chastised the multitude not for saying what was so, but for being vengeful. There is a big difference between telling and stoning. Besides, if we look more closely at the situation, we see Jesus coming to the rescue of a woman (an “adulteress”) being scapegoated by men for a man’s sexual transgression. With whom would that same Jesus stand in today’s Buddhist scene?

When American (or Asian) Buddhists threaten would-be truth-tellers with ostracism, expulsion, or some form of Buddhist hell—that is McCarthyism, that is stoning.  

Lewis Richmond
Mill Valley, California

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