105-year-old California Buddhist teacher accused of sex abuse

February 13, 2013
Joshu Sasaki Roshi

Joshu Sasaki Roshi

A 105-year-old Buddhist teacher in Los Angeles allegedly groped, molested and even raped female followers throughout his decades-long tenure as a leading Buddhist figure. [LA Times]

An investigation conducted by a council of Buddhist leaders suggested that Joshu Sasaki Roshi may have abused hundreds of women in his 50 years since arriving in Los Angeles.

“We see how, knowingly and unknowingly, the community was drawn into an open secret,” the council wrote. “We have reports that those who chose to speak out were silenced, exiled, ridiculed or otherwise punished.”

One victim, Shari Young, said Roshi molested her for about a year in the early 1960s. In one-on-one meetings with Young, Roshi fondled her breasts and groped her body. Young left Roshi’s Jefferson Park Zen center in confusion after a year of abuse.

“The impact on me was so tremendous,” Young said. “It’s kind of a relief and confirming to know I wasn’t just odd,” Young said.

Like Young, Susanna Stewart, 71, turned to Roshi for enlightenment. Roshi, too, abused Stewart. But, Stewart said she felt conflicted about the abuse because she also loved and respected Roshi as a teacher.

The Buddhist council investigation into Roshi began after a Zen website published a letter by Eshu Martin titled, “Everybody know.”

“It’s been sort of a tribal secret for 50 years, and I just wanted to provide an opportunity for people to start talking about this in an open forum that couldn’t be shut up,” Martin said about his letter.

Roshi arrived in Los Angeles 50 years ago as part of a wave of Japanese teachers planning to teach Buddhism to Westerners. The 105-year-old is currently in poor health, and his Buddhist center spokesman says he is too ill to respond to allegations.

 


13 Comments

  1. willieslo says:

    If this is his recent photo, he looks good for a man of 105 years of age
    He must have had at least 40 years of Social Security and SSI while enjoying his life as a swinger

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

    • Slowerfaster says:

      I just think you’re jealous.

      Bringing in the straw man arguments is really quite droll. Pathetic, actually.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  2. R.Hodin says:

    Looking at the headline, I was going to say “Good for him at his age!”

    Alas, the real story is all too common and sad. The take-away for me (as a member of a local Buddhist sangha) is the part about retribution by the Buddhist community (sangha) against the women. That is very sad, and inexcusable. This wasn’t the only sangha that raced through the swinging sixties collecting scars and tearing apart its community. It was a scandal that rocked the entire Western Buddhist population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Zuma7 says:

    Somehow, stories like this don’t surprise me anymore…..sigh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Ted Slanders says:

    “Young left Roshi’s Jefferson Park Zen center in confusion after a year of abuse

    It only took Shari Young a year of fondling to leave her teachings with Joshu Sasaki Roshi? Then Susanna Stewart left as well with the same modus operandi of abuse? What does this tell us about these more than willing Sisters of Eve?

    Let our Hebrew-Christian God tell us what He thinks about this situation since women are easily lead into error; “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.” (2 Timothy 3:6) Enough said?

    Once again, women are second-class citizens within our scriptures and they always will be. They are swayed towards evil in situations like this.

    One must also look into Joshu Sasaki Roshi’s past, because it seems that he was a former Catholic Priest at one time that went astray because he was molesting women instead of young boys!

    A sucker is born every minute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

    • Slowerfaster says:

      Sounds like he was more of a “Bootyist” than a Buddhist, Brother Ted !

      I guess that’s one simple way to find satori.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Willow says:

      “women are second-class citizens within our scriptures and they always will be”

      Wow! Well, then it seems to follow that if we look at all the perpetrators of sin that women fall for, we can then say: “men are first class sinful assholes”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • Ted Slanders says:

        Willow,

        We can all see that you don’t understand Christian logic 101. If you understand the scriptures, then you’d realize the following peraining to the Sisters of Eve; “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; AND THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN IS MAN; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 )

        Since we’re the head of women, we can never be wrong in any dealings with the female gender. Get it?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. SLOTECH90 says:

    George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Higamus, Hogamus; woman is monogamous.
    Hogamus Higamus; man is polygamus.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  6. Slowerfaster says:

    Geez, the Pope takes a powder and now THIS.
    What is this world coming to ?

    I think if Jesus came back, he’d be a bullfrog !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  7. Pelican1 says:

    Confucius say… who checks out woman’s package, doesn’t always work for UPS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 7

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