1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

DETROIT ZEN CENTER

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jim7, May 12, 2018.

  1. Jim7

    Jim7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    upload_2018-5-12_6-3-14.png
    CRIMES COMMITTED AT DETROIT ZEN CENTER



    I am a former resident of Detroit Zen Center (from the last week of April, 2012 until mid-July, 2012), and while I lived at the Center I was the victim of several crimes committed by Center Abbot Lundquist and/or Director Moga. Neither of these Center managers were arrested or convicted of these crimes, although they ought to have been.

    Before I arrived at the center by air from California, Director Moga explained to me on the phone that there was an optional collective food purchasing arrangement (which I’ll call the “food plan”) for Center tenants. After arriving, Moga made a great effort to sign me up for the food plan, claiming that the diet based on the food purchased under the food plan could cure almost any illness. I didn’t like the food they purchased, so I elected not to go on their food plan. This turned out to cause great annoyance to Abbot Lundquist and Director Moga, not because they missed a chance to benefit me through a better diet, but because they missed a chance to make more money.

    Money, and work (in the Center’s kale products business) obtained for little (in the form of room and board in the case of fulltime workers) or, more often, for no payment at all, is what the Detroit Zen Center is all about. Lundquist and Moga had almost no interest in the people who came to the Center aside from the work they could get out of them. People came to Lundquist almost entirely for economic reasons–they could get room and board in exchange for work. The value of the room and board they received was far less than the value of the work performed, calculated at minimum wage, but with the scarcity of jobs and the large number of poor people in the Detroit area, Abbot Lundquist was able to find people to work for him without much trouble. By pretending to run a religious center and calling work a form of religious “practice,” he was able to avoid paying the minimum wage to these workers. His primary interest was not in getting people to come to the Center to meditate, but rather to work, and in fact he charged everyone for meditating at the Center the same amount of work as the amount they had meditated, thus making the Center one of the most expensive zen centers in the United States. (The vast majority of zen centers in the US do not charge anything just to attend regularly scheduled meditations, but only to attend special programs, such as lengthy, multi-day meditation programs that involve meditating for eight or more hours per day and eating and sometimes sleeping at the center.) That is, if you meditated for one hour at the Center, then you were required to work for one hour, which is equivalent to paying $7.40, because that is the minimum wage for one hour of work in Michigan. Those fulltime workers who stayed at the Center were housed in “rooms” in the meditation hall which didn’t have walls reaching to the ceiling, or even close to the ceiling, so that there was very little privacy and a worker’s sleeping arrangement was essentially like living in a large, collective room with several people, rather than like a private room. The food he fed them resulted in some of them becoming seriously underweight–a condition which is probably less unhealthy than being seriously overweight, but is unhealthy nonetheless. Contrary to Lundquist’s claims, I doubt very much that people on his food plan would live longer than average. In fact, they were at risk for infertility (if female), anemia, osteoporosis, immune system deficiencies, and other health problems.

    Evidently, Lundquist and Moga decided they weren’t making enough money from me due to my failure to participate in the optional food plan–they had repeatedly expressed their unhappiness that I hadn’t participated in their food plan–and hence they decided to evict me. As it happens, Lundquist and Moga had been repeatedly violating the Michigan landlord-tenant laws for years. They had been throwing tenants out without giving them the required 30-day notice. Their practice was quite different from that of the temporary guest housing at, for example, the Zen Center of Los Angeles, where tenants are allowed to move in only for a fixed term of residency, such as one month, which could be renewed. Lundquist and Moga, on the other hand, were admitting tenants such as myself on an indefinite arrangement with monthly rent payments–an arrangement that requires, by law, a 30-day notice prior to requiring tenants to move out. However, they had been violating the 30-day notice requirement routinely. In fact, Moga herself stated that she had been evicted by Lundquist (illegally, because without 30-day notice) on ten occasions. As the Detroit Zen Center attracts mostly poorly educated tenants who were as unaware of their legal rights as they were of Buddhist principles (thus allowing Center managers to treat them like dirt without questioning whether the managers were in fact following Buddhist precepts), Lundquist had been getting away with his illegal evictions for years. He and Moga were therefore quite taken aback when I pointed out on July 1, 2012 (the day Lundquist asked me to leave within two days), that I was legally entitled to 30-days advance notice. The idea that their tenants had any legal rights whatsoever was anathema to them, and they couldn’t accept it. They had utter contempt for the law, are were willing to commit crimes to force tenants to vacate their rooms. Thus, though I continued to pay for my room and Moga accepted my rent, on July 16, after having confirmed with me just a few hours earlier that I would vacate my room at the end of July, Moga, in her typical self-contradictory manner, flew into a terrible, unprovoked rage at the fact that I had not waived my legal right to 30-days advance notice and vacated my room two weeks earlier. She then announced, in a tone of tremendous hatred and hostility, and at a high volume (typical of her manner of communication with tenants) that she was a “Buddhist monk” and would show me how a Buddhist monk behaves. She then embarked on a series of crimes which showed, among other things, her complete unfitness for Buddhist monastic life or Buddhist practice. Indeed, her ordination as a monk is a great affront to anyone who has any respect for Buddhist teaching.

    First, after accepting rent from me for the first half of July, and after having confirmed with me just a few hours previously on July 16 that I would vacate my room by the end of July, she suddenly reneged on her previous agreement with me and began violating MICHIGAN PENAL CODE 750.411h by engaging in “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.” She came to my room repeatedly to pound on my door and scream and yell at me about how I should vacate my room immediately. She refused to leave when I asked her to leave. She threatened to take all my belongings and dump them in the street if I did not leave within 48 hours. Anyone would have felt frightened, intimidated, and threatened–and I certainly did.

    Second, she then violated MICHIGAN PENAL CODE 750.411a by making a false report of crime to the police. Her offense in this case is quite heinous, and I doubt that Moga would have committed it without first getting Abbot Lundquist’s approval. As a criminal, Moga does a pretty poor job. She was unable to explain to the police after they arrived just why she had called them. She said I had made some “threat,” but was incapable of saying what the threat was, who it had been made to, or when it had been made. Her entire crime, so poorly planned, was very odd, because I hadn’t even spoken to anyone at the Center for 16 days–ever since I’d been given my 30-days notice–except to pay rent, at which times I simply politely ascertained how much money was wanted and received a receipt after handing over payment. Even the police looked puzzled. The police asked ME why Moga had called them. But she had simply made up the entire story about a threat. She called the police only because she did not wish to adhere to Michigan’s landlord-tenant law and she thought she could use the police to avoid complying with the law. The police did not make any arrests, although they ought to have arrested Moga.

    Finally, Moga or Lundquist violated MICHIGAN PENAL CODE 750.552 by entering my room without my permission. They knew they didn’t have my permission because I had a key to my door and I always kept the door locked, thus publicly and clearly expressing my desire that no one enter without my permission, but when I was in the middle of removing my belongings from my room and was out of my room for about two minutes, one of them entered my room without my permission, to remove items.
     
  2. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    29,091
    Ratings:
    +14,868
    Religion:
    Beyond the Light
    You're still whining about something that happened 6 years ago?
     
  3. Ania

    Ania New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Ratings:
    +0
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    6 years later this is still going on! I just moved out after living there 6 months. I am grateful someone wrote about their experience.
     
  4. Ania

    Ania New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Ratings:
    +0
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have had a simular experience.
     
  5. ethan7

    ethan7 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2019
    Messages:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    I was a resident of the Detroit Zen Center. It is run by Abbot Alexander Lundquist (Sunim) and Director Hillary Moga (Myungju). Director Moga had an assistant known as the “lay director,” who had formerly been the Center director. She tried to train the assistant to be as nasty, dishonest, rude, and unhelpful as herself. Eventually, the assistant was evicted, like almost everyone else who has resided at the Center. The assistant had done her best to show complete contempt for the tenants by barking nasty remarks at them whenever she could, although her bark could never quite rise to the level of savagery of Moga’s bark, and the assistant also committed the “offense” of sometimes apologizing afterward. In all likelihood, these are the reasons why the assistant was eventually evicted (illegally, because without the 30-day notice required by law). The assistant had done her best to act like a brute by being as unpleasant and unhelpful as possible. She had also frequently made appointments with me, but she always broke them in order to make it clear that the Center actually had no interest whatsoever in my well-being. But that hadn’t been sufficient for the assistant to avoid being evicted by the abbot and director.

    While Moga occasionally tried to create a false appearance of being helpful, she invariably proved to be actually interested only in causing harm. Moga once announced that her assistant would take me to a furniture store, but this never happened. Moga also announced that I could take any unused furniture found in the Center into my room, but then promptly prohibited me from taking a table into my room. During the entire time I lived at the Center, there wasn’t a single minute when that table was ever used by anybody for anything. It sat there the entire time with just a few things on it which could easily have been moved.

    I do not think that the abbot and director sincerely believe they are engaging in
    Buddhist training. They know quite well that they aren’t benefiting people by constantly lying to and abusing them. They are quite conscious of their hoax, and that is why they dislike having highly educated tenants. It’s much easier for them to deceive poorly educated, unintelligent people who don’t know anything about Buddhism. Such people will simply assume that anyone who puts on strange clothes, shaves his head, and calls himself a monk actually is faithfully teaching Buddhism. But abuse for the sake of abuse, or for the sake of giving pleasure to the abuser, which is what the Detroit Zen Center is all about, has nothing to do with Buddhism.

    Moga once expressed her regret that modern America doesn’t permit monks to physically beat up tenants at zen centers, but she and abbot Lundquist utilize constant verbal abuse, hostility, lies and deceit as a substitute.

    I personally place a great value on truth, but the director strongly disagrees. She maintains that if an abbot points to a telephone and states that it is a banana, then the student must take the view that that phone is, in fact, a banana. At first I thought that this remark was a joke, but I soon realized that she meant it to be taken literally at the Detroit Zen Center. For the abbot and director, the teacher-student relationship in zen is essentially a master-slave relationship. A slave must act as though he believes everything his master tells him, even if he knows it to be false, and a tenant at the Center must do likewise with regard to his landlords, Moga and Lundquist. In this way, the Detroit Zen Center encourages falsehood, ignorance, delusion, and the absence of critical intellectual faculties.

    The abbot did his best to encourage the tenants to dislike each other. He frequently made nasty comments about tenants (behind their backs) to other tenants, in order to give each tenant the impression that all the other tenants were worthless trash. The abbot does this because, like Moga, he is only truly happy when he is surrounded by hatred and hostility. He strives to increase the level of hatred and hostility at the Center whenever possible.
    The director maintained she was doing me a big favor by letting me meditate in the zendo (the hall in which meditation is practiced)–this is something like saying she was doing me a favor by letting me use the bathroom at the Center. When you invite someone interested in practicing zen to live in a zen center it’s absurd to try to make him feel that he isn’t really entitled to practice zen there and that you are doing him a favor by letting him meditate in the zendo.

    Moga had a number of bizarre linguistic rules concerning English pronouns and Japanese Buddhist terms, which she always enforced with tremendous hatred and hostility, as if a violation of one of these goofy rules was equivalent to committing a serious crime such as armed robbery. (The extreme intensity of her hostility regarding such unimportant and trivial matters, in fact, was one of the reasons I suspected that she was mentally ill.) For example, tenants aren’t allowed to use the pronoun “they” in reference to the director and abbot. Tenants are not allowed to use the terms “kinhan” (a Japanese term) in reference to walking meditation, or “zendo” (a Japanese term) in reference to the meditation hall. Only Korean or English terms could be used. Tenants could not use “it” in reference to a dog–only gendered pronouns such as “she” or “he” could be used. Tenants were expected to be telepathic, as they were supposed to know these rules without having been informed of them. Once again, inventing these nutty rules, some of which conflict with the rules of standard English grammar, and enforcing them, was nothing more than an excuse for Moga to pleasure herself by screaming and yelling at tenants. Some Japanese words were allowed, such as “roshi” and “zen,” but a tenant would never know which were allowed until after they had been uttered. In some cases, the word was acceptable, but in others, Moga would fly into an insane rage when she heard the word.

    Typical of Moga was her habit of making agreements and then violating them. She explicitly told me to show up to do some work at 7:00 am one day. When I showed up at 7:00 am, she screamed and yelled at me, insisting that I was supposed to show up at 6:45. Moga would also not tell me in advance about schedule changes — and then she would scream and yell that it was “unbelievable” that I would want to be informed. She repeatedly gave me false information about the schedule. Although before I arrived she had told me that I was only required to work two hours per week, she expressed her view, after I arrived, that I should spend all my spare time doing volunteer work for the Center, on the ground that there was nothing else to do anyway. Anything else that I did other than manual work for the Center she regarded as a waste of time, and she screamed this wacky opinion at me on several occasions.

    Despite their great hatred for the people who visited or lived at the Center, Moga and Lundquist both showed tremendous fondness for their dog. In this regard, they remind me of Hitler, a vegetarian and antivivisectionist, who loved animals. Nazi animal welfare laws were unparalleled during the 1930’s and 1940’s. In the same way, Moga and Lundquist gave far better treatment to their dog than to their tenants. I never once saw them abuse their dog.

    A person who knew nothing of Buddhism would be very likely to reject Buddhism as a perverted and sick religion if he moved into the Detroit Zen Center and all he knew of Buddhism was derived from observing abbot Lundquist and director Moga. But the proper perspective to take on the Center is to regard it as not a Buddhist center at all, but rather as a residence managed by two frauds who are pretending to run a Buddhist center while actually only trying to make as much money as they can and abuse everyone around them for fun. The abbot and director claim to be monks in the Korean Bhuddhist tradition, although apart from their unusual clothing and shaved heads there is little sign that either of them have received any training at all. Both of them are complusive liars who constantly violate the fundamental, basic Buddhist precept of always speaking the truth. Both of them constantly violate the precept of non-violence by viciously abusing their tenants as often as possible. Although Buddhism teaches that monks should strive to bring about peace and happiness, Moga and Lundquist do their best to make sure that no one around them is peaceful or happy.

    The Detroit Zen Center abbot and director act only in their own interest. They tell lies. They break agreements. The treat their tenants like dirt. They do not teach Buddhism. They are the complete antithesis of the Buddhist ideal. I do not recommend that anyone try to learn Buddhist practice at the Detroit Zen Center.
     
Loading...