Adam Tebbe, the proprietor of Sweeping Zen, announced on 15 January that the site was closing. Known as “the definitive online who’s who in Zen,” Sweeping Zen had operated since 2009 as an encyclopedia of Zen, with a focus on the practice in the West. It began as a biographical index of Zen teachers and grew to include a growing body of articles and lively blogs. The site drew a wide range of contributors and weathered long debates and difficult discussions around events including the 2016 US presidential election and scandals involving respected Zen teachers in the US.
In 2012, Tebbe also set out to create a documentary film or series on Zen in North America called Zen in America. For this project he raised more than US$15,000 from 213 supporters and set out on a number of journeys around the US to explore Buddhist sites and interview teachers. The documentary was never completed. In 2013, he took Jukai, a formal receiving of Zen precepts with Myoan Grace Schireson, taking the Dharma name Kō Shin, or Shining Heart.
The main page of the site now redirects to a message from Tebbe, reading as follows:
Dear Sweeping Zen Readers,
Today’s post has been a long time in the making. Many of you are aware that I have become a Christian convert, a process which began in April of 2017. Knowing what to do with my website and the documentary Zen in America has been a cause for concern for me. The easiest solution regarding the website is to simply close it down, as I do not feel God would want me promoting any religion or system of practices that do not lead others to Him. Despite offers to purchase the site or to manage its care, I cannot in good conscience make either of those two choices. I feel that much of what happened to me in 2017 was directly related to my being a so-called evangelist for Buddhism, in addition to many doors I’d opened to the demonic over the years (lust, drugs, Tarot readings, my fortune having being told, having a woman called in to my life by a clairvoyant, and much more).
Regarding Zen in America I am still pondering what to do with the footage. I will likely end up releasing the interviews for free on YouTube with links directing folks to my testimony and some words about what I believe today about the tradition.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the demonic was allowed to come at me with such a ferocity that April while I just so happened to have such a voice in a religion that leads people away from the Way, the Truth and the Life, through whom which no man or woman has access to the Father. I know that most will not hear my words of caution and that I was always viewed with suspicion anyway, an outsider.
My testimony is one of spirits operating through others in my life who were familiar with me and natural laws being violated. I would walk in to a room of strangers and someone would come sit next to me and remind me of some sin I once committed. People who could not have inhabited particular spaces in time would sometimes be standing right before me, halfway across the world. I saw a man’s eyes turn to slits and when I told him what I saw he toyed with me, saying human beings are like pets to them. This was a social worker in a psychiatric hospital, who a few minutes later told me I was lucky I wasn’t sent to Guantanamo. I smelled like a corpse for several days. I remember praying and a woman getting in my face to say, “Our prayers are stronger than yours.” I called her bluff and continued praying, and she uncomfortably turned and walked away.
There is far more to my story of coming to Christ but that’s an appropriate synopsis for the purposes of today’s explanation. Seeing is believing. Once I realized there is a very real and malevolent enemy working against mankind and once Jesus Christ demonstrated his power and authority over these forces in my life there was no turning back. Despite the mass exodus of friends that occurred as I gave my life to Christ and an understandable inability to understand it from those who I knew in Buddhism I am happier and more alive than I ever was sitting on cushions burning incense, trying to find that buddha within. If you’ve been involved in Buddhism for years and are still stuck battling the same patterns you sit to overcome, if you’re still as depressed as ever, you might want to consider whether what you’re doing to address it is helping or hurting the cause.
The original site is currently accessible only at the Internet Archive.