Smell the glove
Joining the ranks of gallivanting gurus Chogyam Trungpa and Richard Baker, Leonard Cohen’s Zen teacher, Joshu Sasaki, is getting some heat for getting all touchy/feely with dozens of his female students. In an article in the New York Times, it is being reported that Sasaki was…
[...] asking women to show him their breasts, as part of ‘answering’ a koan” — a Zen riddle — “or to demonstrate ‘non-attachment.’ ”
When one woman complained that Sasaki instructed her to massage his penis, she got little comfort from her Zen companions. In fact, the theory among some of the teacher’s inner circle was “that such physicality could check a woman’s overly strong ego.” Ah, the Zen art of humiliation.
I wonder if there’s a dating handbook for gurus (A Zen Monk’s Guide To Getting Laid. maybe?) that includes timeless and highly effective lines like “you need to feel my dick to feel your bliss” and the Old Skool Klassic “No, that’s not a prayer wheel in my kimono, I’m just happy to see you.”
In this photo of a card sent to Sasaki from his student, Leonard Cohen, it appears the student knows what the teacher likes:
Sasaki is 105 years old and is growing too feeble to get his grope on. The folks running things at Rinzai-ji Zen center in Los Angeles, the mothership to 30 affiliated Zen centers that follow the teachings of Sasaki, aren’t sure exactly what to do with their wayward monk. May I suggest they stick the Roshi in a corner, shove sticks of incense into his fists, and hope people mistake him for a sculpture of the Buddha, the one who kept his prick under his robes.
If you haven’t noticed, I find this whole thing amusing. I’ve been through it, the whole left hand school, the entire fucking “Crazy Wisdom” shitstorm. My guru was a drunken poonhound (see link below) who taught me a shitload about life. His weakness for women and booze gave him a certain human frailty that made him more accessible, more real, flesh. Whatever shit happened, it left few scars and taught most of us who were there to question authority, no matter how “holy” it might claim to be.
Most people attracted to the spiritual stuff are adults who’ve been around long enough they shouldn’t have a problem distinguishing between a hand-job and sitting Zazen for an hour and a half. If they do, they have a problem: they’re fucking stupid. Some are so God-intoxicated they can’t tell the difference.
Perhaps pulling a monk’s pud IS a mystical teaching intended to get you the fuck out of the Zendo. You’re in, you’re out. Karma on speed-dial.
I’m not buying the shit about Sasaki abusing his position of power. The only reason he’s got any power is because human beings, many of whom are idiots, give him that power. Hunger for enlightenment shouldn’t supercede common sense. As a Zen teacher once said “life is an illusion but you should still look both ways when crossing the street.” If your guru asks to see your tits, that’s probably not going to lead to anything other than your guru seeing your tits. If he asks to see your tits and you kick him in the teeth, the teacher/student dynamic will have been reversed and the impact of your Birkenstocks wiping the beatitude off his face will bring him “into the moment.” And that’s what Zen is all about - being in the moment. Let’s call it Zen Bootism.
In the end, letting an old trickster like Joshu Sasaki compel you to degrade yourself in the hope of achieving enlightenment is a form of spiritual materialism, an attempt to buy enlightenment. If all it took to get to nirvana was baring your tits, then there’d be a shitload of old strippers teaching the Dharma. If handjobs got you to heaven, I know a few women who got there quicker on my account.
Zen teaches you to lose ego not self-respect.
Here’s an excerpt of a documentary on Joshu Sasaki. Fortunately, the film is unfinished, giving the director an opportunity for a twist ending. The filmmakers are also looking for funding to complete the film. I’ll commit five grand if they change the title to The Dharma in Miss Jones.
Update 2/14: As you see the video has been removed, which suggests the film makers are ashamed of their documentary or simply can’t handle the attention it is generating. Too bad. They’re unlikely to find many articles that deal with their teacher with the balance of this one. The clip, which featured interviews with Leonard Cohen and other students of Joshu Sasaki, was rather fawning and naive but hardly something that, given the recent attention to Sasaki’s sexual exploits, was incriminating or embarrassing. Deleting it just adds more smoke to the fire. Or could be perceived as a retro-active attempt to clean up a guru’s karma. In which case, it wasn’t necessary.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Buddha made me cut my hair: The teachings of my imperfect Master