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#1 2007-06-13 12:37:42

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
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"Zen at War" (moved)

"Zen at War"

This on it from an Amazon.com reader's review:

"I was born a decade after the Japanese surrender to the Allies.

About ten years ago, when I was deep in the romantic period that every beginning Zen student goes through, I excitedly told my 96-year-old grandmother about my new-found religion. As I was gushing about the Japanese words and customs I was learning, Grandma interrupted, "If I saw a Jap, I'd shoot him!"

I quickly changed the subject.

I could not understand how my grandmother could be so poorly informed about the Japanese. "Japan is a Buddhist country," I assured myself. "Its culture has been heavily influenced by Zen itself. How could Grandma have acquired such bitterness about a people with whom she had had no real contact?"

In 1995, I became transfixed by the 50th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "How could we possibly have incinerated 200,000 innocent Japanese civilians?" I asked myself. "What could my parents' generation have been thinking?"

A few months ago, I saw an advertisement in Tricycle magazine for the forthcoming publication of "Zen at War." On the cover of the book was an old photograph showing rows of black-robed Zen priests, marching in formation in front of their temple, rifles at their shoulders. As it turned out, the book would not be published for several months. Somehow, however, simply seeing the cover of "Zen at War" served as a warning that it was time for me to face the truth about my Japanese cultural/religious heritage.

I read "The Rape of Nanking," Ienaga's "The Pacific War," "Unit 731," and several other books about the conduct of the Japanese military and government during the 1930's and 40's. The effect was shattering. Although I still did not share it, I now understood my Grandmother's visceral response to the mere mention of the Japanese.

"Zen at War" is the saddest news of all. No Zen student can help but be devastated by learning that our childhood heroes -- Shaku Soen, D.T. Suzuki, Sawaki Kodo, Harada Daiun Sogaku, Yasutani Hakuun, Omori Sogen, Yamada Mumon, and many others -- were enthusiastic supporters of Japanese imperialism. Far from calling for peace, far even from serving as a moderating influence, Japanese Buddhist leaders vocally endorsed the killing of Chinese, Korean, American, or any other people who lacked the supposedly superior understanding of the Japanese people. The pseudo-dharma jibberish that these "enlightened masters" put in print to condone murder and cultural exploitation is agonizing to read.

What the hell went wrong?

The author, Daizen Victoria, does not take us very far in understanding this tragedy. In that respect, the book seems achingly incomplete. Although Victoria does not claim to be in a position to provide the answers, leaving that work to future scholars, one wonders whether it might have been better for him to have waited until he could provide more perspective on what he has discovered. For what he has unearthed, on its face at least, seems to render almost everything we thought about our Japanese ancestors a bitter lie. If my revered Dharma ancestor, Harada Roshi, really meant what he wrote, he would not have hesitated to shoot my father dead.

Who were these men, really? What was in their heart of hearts? Was their enlightenment worth anything, if they could become advocates for genocide? If they dissembled in order to preserve the Buddhist establishment, what kind of choice was that?

Curse you, Daizen Victoria [the Author], for destroying my innocence. Nine bows to you, Daizen Victoria, for having the courage to open first your own eyes, and then mine. "

Regards,

Harry.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#2 2007-06-13 13:14:56

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Buddhism section of 'Fundamentalism' entry on Wikipedia. The New Kadampa Tradition mentioned had somewhat of a scism and detached itself from the Gelug school whose most well known figure in the West is undoubtably the Dalai Lama:

[edit] Buddhism
H.H. the Dalai Lama has agreed that there exist also extremists and fundamentalists in Buddhism,[1] arguing that fundamentalists are not even able to pick up the idea of a possible dialogue.[1]

The Japanese Nichiren sect of Buddhism, which believes that other forms of Buddhism are heretical, is also sometimes labelled fundamentalist. However, Nichiren Buddhism contains influences from Shintoism and a strongly nationalistic streak that would disqualify it from being fundamentalist in the strictest sense.

At the height of the Dorje Shugden Controversy Robert Thurman claimed: "It would not be unfair to call Shugdens the Taliban of Tibetan Buddhism" referring to the Muslim extremists of Afghanistan, who believe in swift and brutal justice.[2] A statement which was rejected by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, founder of the NKT, arguing: "This really is a false accusation against innocent people. We have never done anything wrong. We simply practise our own religion, as passed down through many generations.";[3]

David N. Kay argued in his doctoral research that the New Kadampa Tradition (aka NKT) fit into the criteria of Robert Liftonís definition of the fundamentalist self.[4] Inken Prohl stated: "Kayís argument shows that, due to the NKTís homogenous organizational structure, its attempts to establish a uniformity of belief and practice within the organization, and an emphasis on following one tradition coupled with a critical attitude toward other traditions, the NKT fits into Liftonís category of ďfundamentalismĒ. Kay describes how struggles for control of NKTís institutional sites and NKTís repressed memory of its institutional conflicts both contribute to NKTís later 'fundamentalist' identity."[5] However Prohl states also: "Although this observation presents a convincing and challenging observation of a mechanism at work in Buddhist organizations in the West, I would hesitate to characterize, as Kay does, such organizations as 'fundamentalist' due to the vague and, at the same time, extremely political implications of this term."[5]

Regards,

Harry.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#3 2007-06-13 14:08:38

Alex
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From: Barcelona - Spain
Registered: 2005-10-17
Posts: 138

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Hey Harry,

Hell man! That's serious stuff!

I would have to read the book to fully accept it but I woudln't be too surprised if it was true.

Many of us fall very easy on the "delicate and pure east" versus the "barbarian and corrupted west" thinking and this can help us put certain things into perspective.

I guess after being almost banned in the previous century a number of priests decided to follow the government no matter what (there are mercenaries everywhere!), and even others may actually believe what they were saying (there are bastards everywhere!). I think we tend to forget that Budhism in Japan (I cannot say about other places) for some people it's just a profession, something they do becasue they father did or because the family owns a Temple (some actually earn a lot of money!).

I guess we'll just have to be careful with what we read (although a Budhist priest when I asked him for a good book about Zen he told me "there is none, just meditate!")

Salud!


"An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he's "at" somewhere. You always have to realise that you are constantly in the state of becoming. And as long as you can stay in that realm, you'll sort of be all right"
Bob Dylan

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#4 2007-06-13 14:12:58

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Harry wrote:

The Japanese Nichiren sect of Buddhism, which believes that other forms of Buddhism are heretical, is also sometimes labelled fundamentalist. However, Nichiren Buddhism contains influences from Shintoism and a strongly nationalistic streak that would disqualify it from being fundamentalist in the strictest sense.

Well as far as Nichiren goes THEY are the heretics and fools in this comedy we call our world. Nichiren was pissing on Mikkyo (Shingon and Tendai schools) but in his great Gohonzon Mandala incorporated some Bossatsu and Myoho (Wisdon Kings) That are 100% from the Mikkyo lineage and way of thinking. So when they go around saying they preach true Buddhism they are full of lies and misconception about exactly what they are into anyway. Why is this so? Beccause Nichiren was very selfish person and wanted to build a cult of personality based on him and the way to do so was to basically put down anything that was the establishement in those days. Now when it comes to true Buddhism if there is any school or Dojo that claims to have the real package this should be your FUNDAMENTALIST alarm bell. There is no ture Buddhism in itself all shools are coming from a mix and match of whatever was good at the time in order to preach the WAY.

I remember one Nichiren monk coming to my place and wanting to convert me to their thing. My wife was out there cooking in the kitchen waiting for a disaster to happen especially when he was talking to me about faith and that I should change my whole butsudan etc... it ended up not so bad anyway when I told him that the rice he was eating had been blessed on my wrongfully dedicated butsudan wink

As far as I am concerned Nichiren-Shu IS NOT BUDDHISM. It is a Buddhism based cult that evolved into their own thing deforming the lotus sutra for their own purpose.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#5 2007-06-13 14:42:38

dstone
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From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Historic "pseudo-dharma jibberish" tends to be obvious now, for what it "really" was.  We're so clever now. 

But will the dharma of our time be seen as having some other evil, commercial, innocent, or otherwise misguided agenda in it, a generation from now?  Sure, quite possibly.

This is a reason to return to zazen, I think.  If the person who showed me zazen was an evil dictator and if the students I sat with were murderous terrorists, the zazen would still be worth doing.

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#6 2007-06-13 15:04:37

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

dstone wrote:

Historic "pseudo-dharma jibberish" tends to be obvious now, for what it "really" was.  We're so clever now. 

But will the dharma of our time be seen as having some other evil, commercial, innocent, or otherwise misguided agenda in it, a generation from now?  Sure, quite possibly.

This is a reason to return to zazen, I think.  If the person who showed me zazen was an evil dictator and if the students I sat with were murderous terrorists, the zazen would still be worth doing.

-Darren.

Darren,

Revisionist history can seem, or be, a bit... smug, I agree. But the book really records and remembers Zen's contributuion to the very aggresive Japanese imperialist militarism of the time, which I think may be a bit more worthy of making note of than our present Zen fumblings and bumblings in terms of its potential for harm. Fundamentalism is one of the great world dangers of our time also. That Amazon review is a personal account from a reader, the study in the book is a bit more academic in tone.

I agree that Zazen itself is beyond this in a sense, and I personally have no doubt that many of the teachers of wartime Zen taught and practiced Zazen beyond discrimination too.

Regards,

Harry.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#7 2007-06-13 15:37:22

kyoreiflutes
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From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2005-10-27
Posts: 364
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Ah, Japan. So much beauty, so much terrible tragedy, both from within and without. As I get older and learn more about the reaility of the world, I find that Japan doesn't really have that shiny a past. The military there certainly did some amazing horrendous stuff, but we also dropped bombs on them. Is that right, or was it more "right" of us to stop them by dropping bombs? In the end, if people wish to be controlled, taken over, or killed, isn't that thier choice? Who are we to dictate such things? Last I heard, only God can do that. Granted, I don't believe in such things, but that's what they say. wink

I've been struggling for years now on how a being can call themselves enlightened, yet still take lives, or at least condone it, even by non-action. Our current war brings this out into the light of day: Bush, as well as many members of his Cabal, and also a great many of the soldiers in Iraq, are "Christians", yet they still continue to war. I thought the Bible said, "thou shalt NOT kill", not "thou shall kill only thy enemy". Christianity is supposedly all about Peace, yet most Christians don't sesem to care one way or the other about killing and death. If they did follow ANYthing from thier own Doctrine, they'd be very much opposed to any war, as most religions would.

I've just always found it fascinating that people can either put aside thier supposed "deepest beliefs" in order to kill a man, or find some way to use thier religion to justify it. I say if you're pro-Jesus, you're also anti-war, anti-establishment, and should be horrified with what's going on around you.

Not to get on a soapbox... It's terribly interesting how this same thing has gone on for centuries, isn't it? And the sad part is we all know what's wrong, but few do anything about it. heck, I feel bad sometimes posessing a sword or even a Tanto, knowing that it was created for the purpose of harming another.

Then again... what if the Universe has no "rules", and killing is fine? Logically, we know little to nothing about the true nature of the Universe... who is to really say what is right or wrong? Yes, we FEEL that we know, but until you die, you really just don't know. And even then you might not find out, depending on how the Universe works. Or doesn't.

So do we keep fighting against war, knowing that it's a losing battle? Or do we just say it's okay, it's how the universe works? I mean, things are destroyed all the time, and perhaps even entire civilizations have been wiped out since the Universe was created, just from two Galaxies colliding. Should something like that be stopped?

I'm babbling, but I find this whole idea of "what is right, what is wrong, what is zen?" fascinating.

-E


"The Universe does not play favorites, and is not fair by its very Nature; Humans, however, are uniquely capable of making the world they live in fair to all."    - D.E. Lloyd

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."    -John Donne

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#8 2007-06-13 16:04:14

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

-E,

Some BIG questions there. What's 'right' and 'wrong' seems fairly relative, and corruptable, as you point to. I prefer to think of it in terms of 'helpful' and 'harmful' and 'not harmful or less harmful'.

Of course, these are quite unrealistic seperations; what's helpful to one being might be harmful to another... we could fret our lives away with the detail, but what seems clear about the universe is that pain hurts, and sometimes we can help a little.

Regards,

Harry.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#9 2007-06-13 16:08:52

jb
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Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 24

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Hi.

The time: early 1950s

The place: a history classroom in a public highschool with high academic standards

The discussion: The Soviet Union and its Iron Curtain.  The evil Soviets did not allow truthful information about the great USA through.  The USA on the other hand was open and free.

My contribution:  "Don't you think the Iron Curtain works both ways?"

The response from another student:  "If you're not a communist, you deserve to be one."  The teacher did not intervene.  This statement was allowed to stand unchallenged.

Brown v. Board of Education was in the future.  Segregation, Jim Crow and Lynching were daily events.

Is this a fair basis to use to condemn the USA?

People make mistakes, ugly mistakes.  Mass movements are dangerous on all continents.  Groups lose higher functions (like reason).  That's the world we live in.  Only the ignorant are surprised by the sins of others.  If I use my intellect for self awareness, my sins seem overwhelming.  Every man's life (and that includes women's lives, too) contains ugly parts.  I try and I believe everyone tries to do better than their worst.  How many lifetimes are you from enlightenment?

jb

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#10 2007-06-13 23:40:55

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

I read Zen at War a year or several years ago.  It was kind of sad to read that none of the Zen masters spoke out against the war -- most were very supportive of it  -- but in Japan a famous proverb is "the nail that sticks out will get hammered down," and in comparison with the West, Japan doesn't have a strong tradition of individuals taking a stand against authority.  Christianity would seem to have a better historical track record of including groups (usually small in number relative to the rest of Christendom) that have consistently spoken out against war or refused to be drafted in times of conflict -- the Quakers and Amish, to mention a few.  Then again, Buddhist countries generally haven't gone to war over religion, in contrast to Christian kingdoms.  Of the Buddhist sects prominent in Japan today only Nichiren seems to have that fundamentalist mindset but go back in history and you have groups such as the warrior monks of Hieizan, who were not averse to trying to achieve temporal power through force of arms.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2007-06-14 04:37:39)

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#11 2007-06-14 10:52:17

indigo
Member
From: Brooklyn, New York
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 52

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

hello everybody

men fight each other to the death in all geographic locations

please tell me if there is such a place where violence is absent

i believe one of our greatest Shakuhachi Traditions comes directly from Kinko Kurosawa himself a samurai, a person of martial position in the 1700s in Japan

recently i was looking into the history of chi gung, accupuncture etc. and found an inseperable relationship to martial reality

the Shaolin are buddhist monk martial artists etc.

even hatha yoga has the famous warrior poses

if someone were to kill those clossest to me i too would consider violence

so it goes in endless cycles

being fortunate so far i am not forced into violence and i feel sad when confronted with the violent cultural imperatives arround me

for me attempting to play the music of the Japanese Shakuhachi tradition gives not only physical well being but i find that progress depends on a compassionate view like merri notes are soft and flatter than 1/2 step above the next note down and the dynamic of TA da as opposed to ta DA etc.

thankyou all for writing  in this forum, i read it everyday

sincerely

indigo

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#12 2007-06-14 16:50:52

dstone
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From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

indigo wrote:

please tell me if there is such a place where violence is absent

This is an interesting question.  What scale of non-violent "place" did you have in mind?
The earth?  No.
A nation?  No.
Some neighborhoods?  Maybe. 
Some households?  Probably.
Some people?  Yes.

So that's where we start.  There can be as many places absent of violence as there are people on the planet.  That's a lot. 

Yes, this count will grow and shrink in cycles, as you point out, but it's absolutely within our control.

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#13 2007-06-14 17:28:53

Ash
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2007-04-29
Posts: 9

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

I read Zen at War a year or several years ago.  It was kind of sad to read that none of the Zen masters spoke out against the war -- most were very supportive of it  -- but in Japan a famous proverb is "the nail that sticks out will get hammered down," and in comparison with the West, Japan doesn't have a strong tradition of individuals taking a stand against authority.

This is a bit of a wild stab, so I'd be happy to receive any corrections or other ideas on the matter. smile

Buddhism and Shinto have, for the most part, co-existed rather well in Japan since Buddhism's introduction, bar a few moments such as the Meiji Restoration where an official separation was ordered. At this time it seems like Buddhism took something of a backseat to Shinto (since, naturally, if you're restoring the Emperor to power then his religious authority within Shinto is quite significant). Buddhism eventually adapted to the Emperor-based political system but perhaps never held as much sway as State Shinto, and many of us know what considerable effect State Shinto had on the people of Japan. My guess is that whilst I've no doubt some people genuinely believed in what they were saying, perhaps other Buddhist figures in Japan were simply parroting what the nationalists said, as how Daniel Ryudo mentioned in the "nail that sticks out" analogy, as a means to divert conflict from the Buddhism that, at the time, was somewhat in the shadow of Shinto - even well into WW2 after Meiji was gone. Nowadays it's a very divisise tactic to say "you're unAmerican/unAustralian/unsupporting of the country/etc", maybe the same applied back then?

Again, as I said, it's something of a guess, but I just thought I'd throw it in. smile

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#14 2007-06-14 18:11:27

Harazda
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Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Ash, I think that's a very interesting analysis.  Back here in the States, Democrats supported the Iraq debacle early on.  Perhaps if they hadn't, they'd've been politically "hammered down." 

It would relieve my mind if it were true that the 1930's-40's Zen leadership in Japan knuckled under in an effort to preserve the unique Buddhadharma that existed there.  Perhaps their complicity is one reason why we have global Zen Buddhism and Zen arts like the playing of shakuhachi today.  Perhaps this is inaccurate to a degree... just a thought...

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#15 2007-06-14 18:37:17

jb
Member
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 24

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Hi.

During the war in Viet Nam, the cardinal of NY said that Catholics could not use their religion as evidence of a claim of conscientious objection to the war.  The hierarchy of the church sided with the government of the US.  Power sided with power.

The Dalai Lama (formerly the absolute ruler of Tibet) did not institute a parliament until his government was in exile in India.  Power sided with the status quo.

Falwell said that if George W. Bush wanted to abolish the income tax or double it, Falwell would endorse the idea.

Religion, Buddhist or Christian, Jewish or Hindu, can take the wrong side of any argument.

The idea of univesal art or religion is a dream.  Wherever it went, Buddhism took on qualities of the culture it invaded.  So did Christianity and every other religion.  20 years ago, it wa very important to perform rituals in Tibetan and now English is the recommended language.  The older generation of lamas is dying out and more modern ideas are surfacing.  Zen took on Japanese culture.  I don't like either Tibetan or Japanese culture.  I am American.  I cannot look at anything with eyes that are not American eyes.  A language is a world view & each language has its own image of reality.  Sound, per se, is not culturally bound, but try to learn just intonation or a scale from a foreign culture.  It ain't eary.  Sound may be a universal, undifferentiated medium, but its manifestations all take place within a culture.  On the other hand, maybe there is a scale or chord in Esperanto.

jb

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#16 2007-06-14 18:46:18

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Japan was closed to the West until 1878 and thereafter they had very little contact with other cultures. Most likely these Zen masters had no other context to consider than a totally Japan centric one. It may have been outside of their scope to think of anything other than supporting the Japanese Emperor and war machine. Comparing traditional Japanese in the 1940's to the globe trotting European or American liberals of today is silly.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#17 2007-06-14 20:06:18

Elliot K
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From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 132
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Apropos of this interesting discussion is a section of David Chadwick's biography of Shunryu Suzuki (Suzuki-roshi was the founding abbot of the San Francisco's Zen Center in the '60s). Chapter six of "Crooked Cucumber" covers the war years. From that chapter:

   In this precarious political climate Shunryu felt compelled to help his society as best he could. Most people didn't want to think about what was happening [i.e., the build-up to war], but he had a special rapport with young people, whose minds were more open.
   
   "Even before the war I had strong feelings against war. I organized young men in my area to have the right understanding of the situation in Japan at the time. We invited good people from the government to come and answer our questions. My focus was not so much on preventing war as on trying to counter one-sided views of Japan's situation, of ourselves, and of human nature. I didn't have any big purpose for my group; I just didn't want my friends to be involved in the kind of nationalism which I thought might destroy Japan completely. It's more dangerous than war."

    Suzuki was in charge of a small local temple in which he could, to a point, get away with that attitude.  But he was more than aware of the possible repercussions of his actions.  Many other monks had lost their positions, some were simply arrested for openly speaking out against the war. The "nails that stuck out" were quickly hammered down and it became obvious, particularly after Pearl Harbor, that things would come to a head.  His superiors in the Soto Zen organization asked Suzuki to head a new organization to promote "patriotic imperial Buddhism". He understood that, if he refused, his career was over, his family disgraced and put in genuine jeopardy. So he accepted, attended the celebratory dinner party, then resigned the next day. As Chadwick writes:

  The subtle distinction between refusing and resigning made all the difference. When he returned to Rinso-in, neither he nor the temple had lost face.

Suzuki's attitude toward the war was even criticized by his own Zen teacher, Kishizawa.  Chadwick writes:

   Kishizawa was leading Buddhism's support to the nation's war effort.  He wrote a book on the precepts in which he expressed support for Japan's militarism. He told yound men to fire their guns with the mind of Buddha, like the samurai of old, with no thought of life and death.

Chadwick writes of Suzuki's experiences after the beginning of the Pacific war, when it was impossible to speak out without immediate retribution. There's a very moving anecdote of the day the government came to Rinso-in and took their temple bell to be melted down for war materials.
Highly recommended reading!

Elliot

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#18 2007-06-14 21:40:22

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Hey jb,

In my Tibetan lineage, the Karma KagyŁ, we absolutely use Tibetan for every sadhana we do.  No one would ever even DREAM of not using Tibetan.  Tibetan, unlike English, is a spiritual language, like Sanskrit.  I don't know who it is who's using English or whatever, but whoever it is is definitely the odd bird.  Tibetan sadhanas are correctly done using the 7 or 9 syllable meter that the Tibetan language and tradition builds into them.

Plus, I don't know about Esperanto, but I always liked Tonto.

Last edited by Harazda (2007-06-14 21:41:37)

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#19 2007-06-14 22:29:13

dstone
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From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Harazda wrote:

Tibetan, unlike English, is a spiritual language, like Sanskrit.

I have so much to learn here.  I'm trying to keep track of all the things that aren't spiritual.  First, the jiari shakuhachi, then the English language.  What's next?  The internet?!  Oy.

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#20 2007-06-15 04:15:07

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

I'm not spiritual, will there be a place in Nirvana for me?

Regards,

Harry.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#21 2007-06-15 04:45:46

marek
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From: Czech Republic
Registered: 2007-03-02
Posts: 187
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Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

jb wrote:

I don't like either Tibetan or Japanese culture.  I am American.  I cannot look at anything with eyes that are not American eyes.  A language is a world view & each language has its own image of reality.  Sound, per se, is not culturally bound, but try to learn just intonation or a scale from a foreign culture. It ain't eary. 
jb

Please excuse my plain sarcasm and trailing off the subject, but what overall American culture are you implying?

Is it the language that conditions a culture? How come then, that many different cultures(or shall we say sub-cultures) developed within English or adopted it, each having quite distinct view of reality, yet sharing the same language?
Are you saying that because we have grown up within other-than-Japanese culture we cannot understand it nor even like it?

Id rather stop now. I guess it is too many questions.

yours bewildered,

Marek


"what are you gawping at!?"
                                          Uchiyama Roshi

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#22 2007-06-15 04:52:24

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Tairaku made the interesting comment  "Most likely these Zen masters had no other context to consider than a totally Japan centric one. It may have been outside of their scope to think of anything other than supporting the Japanese Emperor and war machine. Comparing traditional Japanese in the 1940's to the globe trotting European or American liberals of today is silly."

That may be true, but even within that Japan centric context there were some very interesting characters who did think of things other than supporting the Emperor and the war machine. Perhaps some readers may be familiar with Onisaburo Deguchi, the founder of the Omoto-kyo religion, which some see as an offshoot of Shintoism.  Onisaburo stated that "art is the mother of religion"  He had a rather flamboyant personality, was antigovernment, sometimes outspokenly so, opposed militarism and promoted pacificism, and liked to dress up as various Buddhist and Shinto deities.  He also promoted Esperanto starting in 1923,  created original artworks in pottery and painting, and accumulated an estimated 3-5 million followers, which made the government a bit nervous.  He was accused of lese' majesty (crime against the dignity of the Emperor) for riding a white horse or something like that in the 1920s and thrown into prison for several years.  Some years after getting out he became involved in a scheme to harbor the last emperor of China, Pu Yi, at his religious headquarters in Kameoka, Japan.  Six years to the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military razed his religious headquarters to the ground, using tanks and more than 1500 sticks of dynamite, and dumping any traces remaining into the ocean.  Most of his followers were imprisoned for years, tortured, and not released until the American army let them out.  If that's what was going to happen to you in Japan if you decided to go against the system small wonder that Zen monks weren't too interested in speaking out against the war.  Onisaburo's most well known legacy is the martial art of aikido, as he was the religious teacher of Morihei Ueshiba, aikido's founder. It is said that Ueshiba was not happy with Japan's wartime activities and that when the war began he regretted having taught military personnel and left his dojo,  taking refuge in the Japanese wilderness somewhere in the Kii peninsula for the duration of the war years, doing shugyo (austerity training) and not resurfacing till the end of World War II.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2007-06-15 04:55:11)

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#23 2007-06-15 06:29:12

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

THANK YOU, Daniel, for that illuminating post.  Wow!  There's a lot there I never knew.

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#24 2007-06-15 10:09:12

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

Very interesting Ryudo!

To bring it closer to the subject of shakuhachi, Watazumi Doso Roshi taught martial arts to the Imperial Army during the war. And Yokoyama Rampo, father of Yokoyama Katsuya (currently one of the most influential shakuhachi iemoto) donated flutes to the kamikaze pilots.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#25 2007-06-15 13:59:58

Harry
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: "Zen at War" (moved)

http://www.zenflute.com/flutes/kamikaze.jpg


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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