When Zen goes so wrong
The LARPing game
Sometimes the Zen Centers seem to be the Society of Creative Anachronism, The Ancient Japanese Version! (with commentary)
- Western Students speaking a broken-english – mimicking Japanese people speaking english. It’s the style, right?
- Performing in ancient Japanese play-acting, as if episodes of Kung-fu are being played out. The bowing and gasho at everything and everyone.
- Fantasy Zen. Sitting around, wearing robes and drinking tea,
- Raise your fist, not your understanding! When Zen students get violent. Ouch
This phenomena of the LARPing Game plays out all the time, even in large established Zen centers, and those that claim a lineage to the Far-east temples.
New Age, Yoga mysticism, and Metaphysics
It is unavoidable that non-Zen teachings will intermingle with zen. There is a lot of contamination from the Therivadians, those yellow robe monks, with their Later-day Buddhist nihilistic philosophies. Therivadians are to buddhism as Mormons are to Christianity. Even Hare Krishna gets mixed in!
Then there is Pop psychology, politics, Woke, and patriotic. What happens when a Zen Center raises the American Flag?
The New Age teaching are also unavoidable, they seem to creep in and find a home in most Zen Centers. Some centers the Zen teacher is also a New Age guru too.
Psychological outpatient clinic
We call them the ‘Suiside Buddhist’, those who come to the center looking for a death to their misery. They say funny things like:
“We just sit around waiting to die” and “When I am enlightened, Ill no longer have these problems”.
When I was last at a Zen Center, about 45% of the students where on some sort of antidepressant medication. That was like 20 years ago, so I am sure its far more now days.
Zen teachers spend a lot of time doing low-level FREE psychoanalysis. Is that what the Zen Centers are about?
Nothing to see here, move along
So, what happens when the Zen Center fails. Well, I can tell you:
- The vampires move in – those who will leach the students of money, time and energy
- The predators stalk – those who will look for easy pray to get what they want: Sex, money, or free labor
- Refugees from other failed paths come: Rashnishies, Hare Krishna, and others.
- Students and teachers gasp at anything to keep alive, even bringing in guest teachers, such as foreigner Zen teachers who have significant substance abuse issues, or even from an entire different sect (tibetan or Therivadan)
The casualty list
The typical result of a failed Zen Center is that the more able students leave, and the weaker ones get eaten up by whatever dark creatures now lurk in the failed Zen center.
I know people who simply won’t ever go to a Zen center ever again, because of the harm caused by the evil lurkers that they have encountered when they where there.
If our goal is to Save All Sentient Beings, perhaps we should first –
In the end…
We have squandered our time, our energies and resources. We leave worse than when we went in.
Where we wanted to heal scars and old wounds, we only created more.
There is Hope, redemption and Salvation
- Keep vigile, always call out those who sway us from The Path,
- Help each other, for when a brother or sister falls we all fall, and is our hand that helps them up to return to The Path.
- Most importantly; always question everything. For evil lurks when there is ignorance, and when there is wisdom and knowledge – Evil is vanquished.