Flawed Gurus

Recently, and as usual quite belatedly, a tiny thought has emerged: that maybe Zen masters and Buddhist (and other religious) leaders/teachers are probably also human beings, flawed and finite like the rest of us. Some evidence for that hypothesis: the scandals — especially serial sexual predation against female students — described in Shoes Outside the Door (a history of the San Francisco Zen Center, reviewed here a few years ago), the alcoholisms and seductions revealed in obituaries of various roshis, and last week a fascinating (2010) interview-discussion with Stuart Lachs [1], sociologist-analyst of religion and institutions.

In brief, there seems to be:

Not to deny that there may be much good in these twisted people and groups ... but there may be more good in those who are less-visible. More on that in the person of Charlotte Joko Beck, perhaps some day soon ...

^z - 2014-08-11