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Media Review

Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature

“Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature”

Connie Zweig (Editor) & Jeremiah Abrams (Editor)
TarcherPerigee, 1991. 1st edition April 1, 1991
ISBN 087477618X, 978-0874776188
Paperback. 335 pages.

Perspective: Zen Buddhism and Jung


Selected excerpts:

“As a member of San Francisco Zen Center in the 1980s, I was mystified by my own failure - and the failure of my friends - to challenge the behaviour of our teacher, Richard Baker-roshi, when it seemed to defy common sense. Since then, friends from alcoholic families have told me that our community reproduced patterns of denial and enablement similar to those in their families. When our teacher kept us waiting, failed to meditate and was extravagant with money, we ignored it or explained it away as a teaching. A cadre of well-organized subordinates picked up the pieces behind him, just as the wife of an alcoholic might cover her husband’s bounced check or bail him out of jail. This “enabling”, as alcoholism counsellors call it, allowed damaging behaviour to continue to grow. It insulated our teacher from the consequences of his actions and deprived him of the chance to learn from his mistakes. The process damaged us as well: We habitually denied what was in front of our faces, felt powerless and lost touch with our inner experience.”

“Similar patterns were acknowledged at Zen Center of Los Angeles in 1983, when their teacher, the respected Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi-roshi, entered a treatment program and acknowledged his alcoholism. “We were all co-alcoholics,” one of Maezumi’s students told Buddhist historian Sandy Boucher. “We in subtle ways encouraged his alcoholism [because when he was drunk] he would become piercingly honest.”

“A similar process may have taken place at Vajradhatu in the 1970s, as students attempted to come to terms with their teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a maverick, Oxford-educated Tibetan exile who was brilliant, compassionate and alcoholic.”

“...drunk and speeding, he once crashed a sports car into the side of a joke shop and was left partly paralysed. He openly slept with students. In Boulder , he lectured brilliantly, yet sometimes so drunk that he had to be carried off-stage or held upright in his chair... When Trungpa Rinpoche lay dying in 1986 at the age of 47, only an inner circle knew the symptoms of his final illness. Few could bear to acknowledge that their beloved and brilliant teacher was dying of terminal alcoholism...”


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