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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
54 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly winter 2014 been running the center for thirty years had to be removed. Knowing many friends, both teachers and students, involved with the San Francisco Zen Center, I’m aware that thirty-plus years after the events surrounding Richard Baker and his departure, people are still healing. It’s a long process. DAVID WhITEhORN: Yes, these are very long-term issues, per- haps lifelong or beyond. Shambhala has two hundred cen- ters all over the world, and periodically we hold gatherings for representatives from all the centers. At one of these, we were to discuss twelve major issues that the leadership had determined were of interest to the wider sangha. But all of a sudden a bunch of people jumped up and said, “Wait a minute. We want to talk about what happened with the Regent, Osel Tendzin, fifteen years ago.” So we formed a new group to discuss it. It was wonderful to have that spontaneous, genuine response. Our sangha did split years ago when Osel Tendzin left; a separate organization was created. And there continue to be questions regarding the extent to which the Regent’s contribution to the development of Shambhala should be acknowledged. ShINGE ChAYAT: That’s a big issue, isn’t it? How to acknowl- edge the good someone has done while also deploring the hurt they have caused for many people. DAVID WhITEhORN: The process of trying to determine the extent to which someone who has been guilty of miscon- duct can become a contributing member of the community is not easy. Is the person in a position of authority that they really can’t handle? They may be removed from that position at least temporarily, but then after working with them, the question is, can they go back or not? Is it appro- priate? You’re never really sure; there’s a lot of uncertainty. Compassion is so important, in the sense of seeing what the person can really do and who they really are. It’s not compassionate to put them in a position they can’t handle. BUDDhADhARMA: Given that healing from traumatic events is such a long-term process, perhaps we can’t ever talk about them as being completely in the past. But in the time that has elapsed, how have these events and their aftermath affected the culture of your communities? Have the inter- nal dynamics changed? ShINGE ChAYAT: Initially, the events affected us in a negative way. We were attacked on all sides; people who were really concerned about the women who were harmed felt that we weren’t acting quickly enough to make things right. We were cautious in ways that felt necessary. It takes time to do something from a place of right action; you can’t just have knee-jerk reactivity. But some people were so angry that they left and will never come back. A number of sangha members decided to follow Eido Roshi. They felt that his greatness as a teacher superseded his flaws. They believed what he had to offer as a teacher was far beyond what anyone else could give them, so they wanted to stay with him. That division initially left us understaffed at the monastery and at the New York temple as well. Egyoku Roshi of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, who has been a tremendous source of advice and support, said, “Those who need to go should go; don’t worry about it. New people will come.” And sure enough, after three and a half years, we have a cohesive community. More and more peo- ple are feeling the faith in what we’re doing and are drawn