Rinzai-ji’s Community’s response to reports of misconduct by Joshu Sasaki Roshi
The Transitional Leadership Team and the Administrative Abbots-designate of Rinzai-ji in conjunction with the Rinzai-ji Bearing Witness Group (for more information visit www.rinzaijioshos.org) has released the following announcement in response to recent reports that the Roshi behaved inappropriately with female students, and that our community ignored or covered up this behavior.
Dear current and former members of the Rinzai-ji community,
As most of you know, reports of misconduct have been made against our teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi concerning his behavior with female students. This issue has been made public through various media, including websites, radio, magazines and newspapers.
Members of the Rinzai-ji community met twice at Mt. Baldy Zen Center (in January and March of this year) to discuss how to best respond to these reports. A Bearing Witness Group was formed to investigate different organizations experienced in helping communities like ours deal with similar situations.
Following the recommendation of the Bearing Witness Group, we contracted with a Zen Buddhist nonprofit organization, An Olive Branch, to serve as a neutral third party to receive reports of harm. An Olive Branch will bring reports requiring resolution to the Listening Council, a group of Rinzai-ji sangha members established to respond to these reports with compassion.
The Rinzai-ji community is now inviting people who feel harmed to come forward. As neutral first receiver, An Olive Branch will:
a) Listen in confidentiality to the person reporting harm;
b) Recognize and explore potential resolution to grievances with reporters of harm;
c) Carry any request to the Listening Council for reporters of harm who wish to remain anonymous;
d) Make arrangements for individuals who wish to speak directly to the Rinzai-ji Listening Council.
The Rinzai-ji community encourages those who feel harmed to enter this process of resolution and reconciliation.
An Olive Branch can be reached in any of the following three ways:
124 Willow Ridge Rd. Sewickley, PA 15143
412-996-5483 (Eastern Time Zone 8am-5pm Tues-Sat)