Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2013)—The Atlantic Books, the digital imprint of The Atlantic, today released a new e-book, The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side, by Mark Oppenheimer. Featuring exclusive reporting and interviews, the book is a powerful true story of secrets and sexual exploitation perpetrated under the guise of religion—and a cautionary tale of the dark side of Zen in America.
Nearly 50 years ago, a Zen Buddhist monk—fleeing a cloud of suspicion—arrived in Manhattan, penniless and alone. Eido Shimano would quickly build an unrivaled community of followers: Zen students he culled from the heights of New York society to form arguably the most prestigious Japanese Buddhist organization in the country. Authors, entertainers, and scions of vast fortunes, all questing for spiritual enlightenment, flocked to study and live in his spacious compound. But always there were whispers that things were not what they seemed.
For decades, Shimano preyed on the women who studied with him at the Zen Studies Society, seducing a multitude of them into affairs that only recently prompted his ouster. Through exclusive interviews with Shimano—who rarely speaks publicly—and current and former ZSS members, Oppenheimer reveals how Shimano’s behavior was tolerated by many in a religion that has no prohibition against promiscuity or adultery. With sexual-abuse allegations against Zen leaders in the U.S. now stunningly common, The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side examines a dangerously complicated corner of the tradition—and shows how aspects of Buddhist practice may actually facilitate abuse.
The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side is available via Amazon’s Kindle store for $2.99. For more information, visit www.theatlantic.com/ebooks.
An essayist, reporter, and critic, Mark Oppenheimer is one of the country’s leading investigators of religion. He writes a religion column for The New York Times and also writes for The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Slate, The Forward, and Tablet, among other publications. Oppenheimer has a doctorate in American religious history and directs the Yale Journalism Initiative. The author of three previous books, he lives with his family in New Haven, Connecticut. For more information, visit markoppenheimer.com.
The Atlantic Books is part of The Atlantic’s expanding paid-content initiatives, which also include The Atlantic Weekly, a digital publication showcasing some of the best journalism presented each week on The Atlantic’s Web sites.
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