I had a long thing about this, as to why in the last 25 years I just stopped going to Zen Centers or Buddhist temples in general. Before that, well I lived in them and was all prepared to make being a career out of being a clergy or staff member of a Zen temple.
So what happened? What caused me to suddenly abandon this path. Many have asked me why I stopped, and in the past I always dodged that question by throwing out a joke or changing the subject.
Nothing bad happened. I need to say that. Sure, there where a few violent individuals I ran-across at the Zen Centers yet they where by far the exception and not the norm. Mostly I have fond memories of my visits and time spent at the centers and temples.
You see, the Zen Centers and temples run by westerners tended to keep asking me, “what brings you here to us?”, as in if I needed something from them, like I was a customer. Well, I don’t want anything from them, and if I stay then they think I want something.
Its a business you see, they want me to have a ‘want’ or ‘desire’ to show them ‘my suffering’ so they can ‘fix it’ and offer me counseling through the guise of Zen mentorship. That is how they are setup, and when someone does not fit their business plan, well they show you the door really fast.
So, there you have it. That is why I stopped going to Zen Centers and Buddhist temples run by westerners.