Saturday, March 11, 2006

James Cohen: Internet Psychiatrist (in his own words)

In a message dated 28/01/2006 00:53:55 GMT Standard Time, writes:

Dear Roshi,

Sorry to disturb you and everyone with this again.

Michael's latest post on his homepage is particularly strange, especially the reference to "suicidal thoughts" and "rage" while sitting Zazen. My psychiatrist friend (I have not contacted him again about this) told me that such use of such destructive (self-destructive and other-destructive) violent words by Michael is not accidental.

Gudo Sensei, most of me never wants to speak to Michael again and to just "cut off" all contact. I find him disturbed and disturbing. However, as Buddhists, we need compassion even at the most personally difficult times and difficult persons. So, I recommend the following to you ...

(1) Michael be told that he can return to Dogen Sangha upon furnishing written proof of completion of 1 year of weekly therepy sessions with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, plus proof of continued therapy thereafter if his doctor feels it necessary. Michael will then have to furnish a letter signed by his doctor that the doctor feels further psychological therapy is not necessary, or that Michael is properly continuing to receive treatment after that 1 year.

(2) Until that time, he needs to be cut off by us completely. His posting should be blocked on your Blog, the link to his Blog removed, and we have to use "tough love." That means that we have to have compassion not to encourage him by feeding his hungry ghosts (the term my friend used is "facilitate his illness."). If he gets help, then we welcome our Brother back. Until that time, he needs to take responsibility for himself.

I am cc'ing the other people on the DogenSangha list, but (after thinking about it) not Michael at this time. I will disclose the letter to Michael if that is the consensus of the group.

By the way, compare the following words of Michael to the test that doctors use for PPD: Gassho, Jundo


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association) describes Paranoid Personality Disorder as a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

* suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her;

* is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates;

* is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her;

* reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events;

* persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults , injuries, or slights perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack;

* has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.


Blogger docretro said...

All those postings make me really sad. Neither you nor the other side seem to be in a calm state of mind.
I have not found a teacher yet and you guys make me feel like I never will.

Saturday, March 11, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, docretro. Thank you for listening, and thank you for not administering cheap and easy advice.

I also feel that the situation is sad, and that there is wrongness on both sides.

But to those who say that Gudo, Warner, and Cohen are right and sane, whereas Cross is wrong and paranoid, I say: No, that is not true. The truth is that there is wrongness on both sides.

If I were you, living in Germany, I would visit Gabriele Linnebach. Gabriele is a very sincere student of Master Dogen, and in the fight between Gudo and me, she has never taken sides at all, but always kept the middle way. I advise you to visit Gabriele.

All the best to you.

Saturday, March 11, 2006  
Blogger RepeatDose said...


I understand that you are bearing witness, and in doing so shattering some of the illusions surrounding 'dogen sangha' and its members.

What i do not understand is why this 'bearing witness' then becomes 'passing judgement.'

My own illusions about the truth of Brad Warner's teaching were shattered when he refered to you as a 'total prick,' thus revealing his own hypocrisy and judgemental dualism. I appreciate that you yourself are anything but a hypocrite, so entrenched is your self-deprecation and honesty. What I don't understand is why you retaliate against these people instead of just letting (or allowing) their own words to 'bear witness'.

I'm very wary of succumbing to hypocrisy myself and 'passing judgement' on your actions. However, I can't help thinking that the beauty and truth of your 'bearing witness' is being undermined and sullied by the vulgarity of your 'passing judgement'.

Saturday, March 11, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

This is all very hurtful. I am sorry to see this happen. I wish for all to be relieved of their pain.

There is happiness out there. Luminous and possible; it will return. What's just doesn't always happen; but it is possible, too.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

rd: Do you think that "bearing witness" falls into neat little categories and that everyone can be hugs-n-kisses through it?

Beatufil and Ugly, Nice and Nasty are judgements that we make, they are not inherent in the object or the event itself (Buddhism 101)

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Jundo Jim said...


Jundo James Cohen is my name. A friend told me about this. I am very sad to see it, and I apologize to all for the disturbance it has wrought.

I wrote many of these words at a time when Michael, as he still does, had been pounding my frail 87 year old teacher, Nishijima, for months with what I perceived as angry words and abusive taunts. Nishijima, to his credit, never batted an eye about it all, and just kept working on his Buddhist translations in his little room. After a time, I reacted to Michael, as did Brad and others. A bit of my Brooklyn sarcasm slipped in with my Buddhist equinimity and compassion, and that after months of holding my tongue. We all lose it a little now and then.

But, a Zen student is not an emotionless machine or a cold stone. We are human beings with human lives, and stuff slips out. All we can do is repent the bad Karma that results and get back to our center. I'm back at my center, Mike, and I wish you were able to find yours more.

Look, Michael, when you fixate on Nishijima or Brad or me as devils like you are today ... that's why I initiated discussion in the Sangha about maybe you should talk to a councelor (and I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said we should point you in that direction). I came to Dogen Sangha late, after already doing this Zen thing 20 years. So, it is like my adopted family. I'd never met such an angry Buddhist before. You are like a brother who has some demon inside him that has emerged in recent years, causing him to beat up on his father and siblings. Unfortunately, neither Zazen nor AT can slay all demons, and eventually even patient, old Nishijima had to ask you to leave us.

Anyway, I have said too much again. Please post this somewhere prominent as my response to all this. I just don't know what to do. I am sorry if any of my frustration and sarcasm has seeped out through the edges of my Buddhist equinimity.

Gassho, Jundo

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you very much, repeatdose.

Absolutely, I am guilty as charged. (See my latest post.)

Thank you again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Tom.

Sometimes the most effective way to stop a bully from bullying is to hurt him. You might not find that fact in Buddhist sutras, but it is a truth played out in every school playground. I am guessing that repeatdose knows exactly what I am talking about.

Britain bombed Dresden. The US bombed Hiroshima. Whether those actions were necessary or not in order to defeat Hitler and Hirohito, we can debate. But that those actions happened is not up for debate. They happened.

Beatiful thoughts are all very well, but we are living in reality.

How would I react today if Britain were threatened by invasion from a totalitarian power? I do not know. I hope that I would resist by all possible means, and be prepared to lay down my life if necessary.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, md.

The point I take from repeatdose is that in bearing witness, I should endeavor, as far as possible, to do so on the basis of reason and fact, not on the basis of emotion-clouded judgements and the instinctive desire to retaliate.

This instinctive desire to retaliate is very very strongly inherent in me. The principle of "turning the other cheek" does not come naturally to me at all. But a military man, or a martial artist, knows that battles are rarely won by blind following of instinctive desire.

And the whole point of Zen practice/Alexander work, as I understand it, is to be less of a slave to instinct.

So it is back to drawing board, again. And again. And again.

I go back to the drawing board and ask: "What does it mean, as I sit here in lotus, to truly allow the head to be released out from the very depths of my being?"

I do not know.

But the great thing is, whatever is going on, inside or outside, THE QUESTION IS ALWAYS THE SAME.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Hello Jundo Jim.

Jundo Jim writes of:

"My Buddhist equinimity and compassion"

Is that the equanimity and compassion that knows itself?


You really are a true fraud, Jundo Jim. The fraud who does not even begin to suspect what a fraud he is.

Do you not see that, for pursuing the Buddha's truth, the skills of a lawyer are utterly useless?

Jundo Jim writes: "I'd never met such an angry Buddhist before." Perhaps he would like to share with us all where this meeting with the angry Buddhist took place?

Was it a real place, Jundo Jim -- somewhere on this planet? Or did the meeting take place only in the mirror of your own deluded mind?

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger RepeatDose said...

'rd: Do you think that "bearing witness" falls into neat little categories and that everyone can be hugs-n-kisses through it?

Beatufil and Ugly, Nice and Nasty are judgements that we make, they are not inherent in the object or the event itself (Buddhism 101)'

(Mike Doe)

As I understand it, 'bearing witness' does not involve 'categories' at all. It is the unfolding of truth without catergories or the embellishments of judgement.

This does not mean, however, that it is all 'hugs and kisses.' When Mike bears witness to an 'ugly fact' of life, that fact is what we see. We must 'bear witness' to ugly facts of life because they are the ones that are often repressed. However, when those facts are judged, all we see is the judgement, in all its subjective, attatching, dualistic murk. The ugly fact is now obscured, it is now easier for us to repress because all we see is the judgement, and the egoism of the one who judges.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you again, repeatdose.

Once more, I sense an incisive military mind at work, and I like it.

But then I reflect: I have just proclaimed to Jundo Jim that the skills of a lawyer are useless for pursuing the Buddha's truth. What about the skills of a military man? Am I in fact just expressing my own prejudices, my own likes and dislikes, my own conditioning of an old rugby player and karate man? (Tendency to like men who fight openly; tendency to dislike lawyers, women, et cetera, who don't.) Yes, I probably am.

"Without embellishments" is another nice translation of MU-I, I think. Without embellishments of judgement, of prejudice, of like and dislike, of male conditioning.

How to manifest the Buddha mind-seal, as it truly is, without embellishments?

I do not know. I honestly do not know. But I love the question.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

rd: I see facts. They are written here. Any ugliness or beauty I see arises in my mind, not in the facts. So I can see simlutaneously two things - that which is here and that which arises in me. One does not obscure or negate the other in any way. I do not confuse one with the other.

To call a fact 'ugly' is a judgement. It is not the fact.

In the last three weeks I have killed maybe 10 mice in my house using mousetraps. That is a fact. Whether or not it is an ugly fact depends only on the mind of the reader. Mice and Cats would differ certainly on their interpretation of this fact.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

All the emotions expressed are part of the 'facts' they are not separate in any way from them as are the judgements we make of them. Everything together, the totality of our perception are the facts. It is part of being human.

When emotions do not arise then they no longer form part of the facts. Until then, they do.

The only way that I could come to terms with some facts in my life was to also come to terms with the emotions associated with them. It wasn't a pretty process.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Just to clarify and emphasize one fact: Jundo Jim Cohen has never met me even once, not even in the ordinary sense of the word "meet."

Sunday, March 12, 2006  
Blogger RepeatDose said...

Mike Doe,

You misunderstand me. When I use the term 'ugly fact' I mean a fact to which we often attach the judgemental epithet 'ugly.'

It is true to say, as you put it that:

'To call a fact 'ugly' is a judgement. It is not the fact.'

The problem, as i see it, is that it is very difficult to reach the stage where one can:

'see simlutaneously two things - that which is here and that which arises in me.'

If you can truly do this, then you must be a very skillful practitioner indeed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006  

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