The founder and charismatic Buddhist teacher at Salt Lake City’s Kanzeon Zen Center has stepped away after acknowledging a sexual affair with an advanced Zen follower.It's not like TMR is surprised in the least:
Dennis Merzel, known by his Buddhist name and honorific title “Genpo Roshi,” is a nationally respected Zen master who leads trainings all over the world.
He first acknowledged the affair in late January to hundreds of students in Holland. Shortly after his return to Salt Lake City, Merzel addressed an open meeting at the center, took responsibility for his actions and apologized for “the pain, anger, concerns, questions and feelings of his wife, family and sangha members,” according to a statement on the center’s website.
Merzel voluntarily “disrobed” as a Zen priest and also resigned as an elder in the White Plum Asanga, a consortium of Zen centers led by students of Taizan Maezumi.
Merzel was on retreat Friday and not available for comment. But he did post an apology on his own website, http://bigmind.org/Responsibility.html.
“My behavior was not in alignment with the Buddhist precepts. I feel ‘disrobing’ is just a small part of an appropriate response,” Merzel wrote. “Experiencing all the pain and suffering I have caused has touched my heart and been the greatest teacher.”
Since then, Merzel’s actions have been discussed and dissected throughout the American Zen community.
Such sexual behavior “cuts the legs from under Zen practice in this country,” said Franz Metcalf, a Buddhist scholar in Los Angeles. “It’s a tragedy on various levels.”
Considering their BS belief system, a Buddhist can't be expected to do anything right.