Whenever you mix men and women together, it is inevitable that pairing off will happen, that is just the biological programming in all of us.
Zen Centers are no exception, not even the Zen Monasteries are exempt.
Sex and Zen
The Zen philosophy and the Path of Zen is non-gender specific, meaning that one’s gender is irrelevant when it comes to Zen.
HOWEVER HAVING SAID THAT…
Gender segregation in education was standard only until recent times. The rationale is that when men and women are mixed in an educational environment, that the biological programing in us takes over, and that GREATLY DISTRACTS from the process of learning to the point that nothing is learned!
‘Boys showboat to gain the girls’ attention, and the girls flirt to gain attention from boys’
This is why historically boys and girls were segregated in education, and especially in the monastic world where the sexual tensions would only create havoc and end up destroying the monastic centers’ purpose.
Not everyone gets lucky
In a co-ed environment, where people pair off, well not everyone will pair off either by choice or involuntary simply due to the lack of candidates.
In recent times we now of the INCEL or “Involuntary celibate” where such persons are deeply depressed due to loneliness and may also be suicidal, psychotic, and even commit murder/suicide.
Zen, Love and Romance
For those who pair off at a Zen Center and become a “Couple” then they build their relationship through and around the Zen Center.
But what happens when they break up?
- Typically one or both leaves
- If one or both stay, the tension of that relationship stays
So what happens to a Zen Center where you have coupling and celibates?
- It sets up two social groups. The couples tend to socialize and favor other couples and singles who are about to couple,
- Those who choose to be celibate form another group,
- And those who are Involuntary celibate are in no group.
If you see this as an explosive powder keg, you would be correct!
Basically, the government started co-ed schools to save money. The co-ed trend advanced into the colleges, and into all of our social institutions.
While some this is progressive, many others see this as a setback where children and young adults are not getting the education they need because of the distractions that sexual tensions create when men and women are together.
Was this a good idea?
- Education standards have greatly dropped
- Test scores are low
- People come out of the education systems ignorant and unprepared,
- More dependence on government than ever before
When things go BOOM!
Inevitably, the explosion happens. In the Western Zen Centers, this explosion comes out as a sex scandal, where monks were using women as sex toys, and teachers preying on women and promising them advancement in the Zen Center.
This has lead to Zen Centers closing, Zen teachers leaving or impeached, loss of faith within the membership, and of course distrust in any future relationship with those so affected.
Solutions find their own way
Many of the Yoga and fitness gyms now have Women Only times and classes. Women expressed discomfort with men staring at them, the flirting, and the sexual tensions that are felt when in those environments.
MGTOW is another movement, where Men are reforming MEN ONLY organizations.
Now, many Zen centers have gender-specific retreats (Women Only/Men Only), and even Women only time in the Zendo for meditation.
The overall notion is that co-ed does not work for all things. It is a conclusion that I also agree with.