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Zen at War (2nd Edition) ePub download

by Brian Daizen Victoria

  • Author: Brian Daizen Victoria
  • ISBN: 0742539261
  • ISBN13: 978-0742539266
  • ePub: 1166 kb | FB2: 1111 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: World
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.; 2nd edition (June 22, 2006)
  • Pages: 310
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Votes: 689
  • Format: mbr doc docx txt
Zen at War (2nd Edition) ePub download

Zen at War is a book written by Brian Daizen Victoria, first published in 1997.

Zen at War is a book written by Brian Daizen Victoria, first published in 1997. The book meticulously documents Zen Buddhism's support of Japanese militarism from the time of the Meiji Restoration through the World War II and the post-War period. It describes the influence of state policy on Buddhism in Japan, and particularly the influence of Zen on the military of the Empire of Japan.

Brian Daizen A. Victoria is a Zen-priest, living with his family in New Zealand. He is very active in the Human Rights Movement and author of many books about Buddhism. Books by Brian Daizen Victoria. Mor. rivia About Zen at War.

Brian D. Victoria is a Soto Zen priest and director of the Buddhist Studies Program in Japan at Antioch College. He has published widely in both Japanese and English, including Zen Master Dogen, which he co-authored, and Zen War Stories. Библиографические данные. Zen at War War and Peace Library. Brian Daizen Victoria.

Brian Daizen Victoria. A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars, Brian Victoria shows that Zen served as a powerful foundation for the fanatical and suicidal spirit displayed by the imperial Japanese military

By Brian Daizen Victoria. Lanham, M. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. With a brand new introduction and conclusion, this fully revised text discusses: The implications of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry, the Laming Report, the Green Paper Every Child Matters and the 2004 Children Act. The 1989 Children Act and the conflicting duties of the social worker to prevent and intervene in child abuse and also to promote 'the family'. The book focuses on the history of Zen Buddhism and Japanese militarism from the time of the Meiji Restoration through the Second World War and the post-War period. The book focuses on the history of Zen Buddhism and Japanese militarism from the time of the Meiji Restoration through the Second World War and the post-War period See all.

Brian Daizen Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 1961 graduate .

Brian Daizen Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 1961 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a P. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University.

item 6 Zen at War (War and Peace Library) by Brian Daizen Victoria. Zen at War (War and Peace Library) by Brian Daizen Victoria. Presenting a history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book documents the unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. It draws on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars.

Few books in recent years have so deeply influenced the thinking of Buddhists in Japan and elsewhere as Brian Daizen Victoria’s Zen at War (Victoria 1997).

A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars, Brian Victoria shows that Zen served as a powerful foundation for the fanatical and suicidal spirit displayed by the imperial Japanese military. At the same time, the author recounts the dramatic and tragic stories of the handful of Buddhist organizations and individuals that dared to oppose Japan's march to war. He follows this history up through recent apologies by several Zen sects for their support of the war and the way support for militarism was transformed into 'corporate Zen' in postwar Japan. The second edition includes a substantive new chapter on the roots of Zen militarism and an epilogue that explores the potentially volatile mix of religion and war. With the increasing interest in Buddhism in the West, this book is as timely as it is certain to be controversial.
Burirus
Victoria's examination of this painful and difficult subject, one avoided by most of the first generation of Japanese and American teachers of Zen, is careful serious examination of the issue and persons involved in the near fatal alliance between Zen Buddhist leadership and the Militarists who led Japan through episodic wars of conquest from the turn of the 20th Century and in an even greater, virtually non-stop assault on East Asia from 1932 to 1942, and then finally in a series of defensive actions as the USA rallied it's industrial power toward the destruction of Japanese hegemony from 1942 through 1945. Zen survived this alliance (an alliance much more needed by Zen than the Japanese government represents a great failure of the Sangha and in a very real sense the Dharma as understood in the Zen heirarchy. Victoria peels back the issues and personages with clarity and precisi0n of concern. No one is let off the hook, but neither is this a rage against the night.
Miromice
Many readers interested in zen have heard of, or have read about, Brian Victoria. This is the guy who had the courage, audacity, and honesty to pull back the cover on Japanese zen's dark side, much to the chagrin of not only mainline Japanese zen organizations, but also to the chagrin of Western zen students, many if not most who naively worshipped famous Japanese zen teachers as "enlightened" masters. In general, Victoria's expose', in his articles and two books ("Zen at War" and "Zen War Stories"), thoroughly ripped open a painful underbelly of Japanese far-right political/military brainwashing and brutality, especially- but not only- during the 2nd World War. As someone involved in Japanese culture myself for many years and pretty familiar with the Japanese psyche (for a gaijin, anyway), I've always wanted to comment on Mr. Victoria's heroic efforts at some point, so now I do so.

Victoria's books are an object-lesson to anyone interested in buddhism. Not just folks interested in zen, but all schools of buddhism. Object-lesson for what, you ask...? For one thing, they are certainly a wake-up-call to quit being so naive about one's chosen authority figures. Yes, even famous ones who are supposedly "enlightened"...as Victoria reveals time and time again, Japan's most famous zen masters (and other thinkers) supported the war effort and perverted the buddhist message of compassion into a brutal militaristic form of brainwashing, twisting the traditional doctrine of "no-self" (mushin) into a exhortation to kill without reflective thinking or remorse. Certainly many Asian countries involved in the War (China, Korea, Philippines, etc.) can testify the brainwashing was highly effective on Japanese soldiers, and Japan has yet to fully acknowledge it's guilt in all the resulting brutality. Indeed, national apologies are painful to admit. Japan has come some way in acknowledging some of this inhumanity, but as Victoria reveals, and as other countries are well-aware, the efforts have come decades too late and the apologies have been feeble...

Why did all this support for militaristic brutality occur, and what happened to turn highly-regarded religious figures into war-mongers? The answer lies in the peculiar culture of Japan itself. In essence, the cult of the sword goes back to the very origins of the nation. I see several traditional influences at work here, although Mr. Victoria doesn't go into heavy sociological analysis of Japan's warrior past. One factor is, in indigenous Shinto, the early animistic religion of the island, the sword was regarded as a sacred symbol. One can easily see how easily an early belief in the divinity of the sword could play into Japan's militaristic history...and in fact did. As for Japan's long "warrior" tradition, readers need no reminding how huge the samurai image has been throughout Japan's history...it pretty much defines Japanese culture even up to today. Heck, comic books today are full of legends of swordsmen heroes that continue to inspire Japanese youth...

Another factor in shaping the W.W. II Japanese mentality was a revival of Emperor worship, which the author shows was linked with many right-wing ideologies. Japan's right wing had long been distrustful of the Meiji Period's collaboration with the West, and with what they saw as a weakening concession to Western powers. To right-wingers, Japan's entrance into the modern Western technological age heralded a loss of the nation's "spiritual" essence. As a result, these right-wing groups reacted against Westernization by insisting that the Emperor's (symbolic) ruling powers actually be restored ("tenno-syugi"). In short, a "cult of the Emperor" was seen as an antidote to foreign influences. This should NOT be seen, however, as any particular affection or devotion for the emperor; many right-wingers actually despised the empty shell the emperor role had become. While old Shinto ideas on the "divinity" of the emperor were promoted, these images were deliberately used by ultra-nationalist thinkers to foster national unity and a sense of cultural identity. Religion, after all, is a great tool for "group-think"- send the people to the shrines, and make them all think the same way...
Add to all these influences a widespread racial superiority complex, still held today by some right-wing Japanese in important positions in government and industry, and you have a recipe for potential problems.

Well, in W.W.II, all these factors merged together and produced an ugly mentality- a huge nationalistic pride, a conviction Japan was destined for greatness, and a perception that other Asians (not to mention gaijin, i.e., foreigners) were inferior and could be conquered by the "Japanese spirit". Alas, Japanese leaders made fatal errors in judging the ability of Western nations to win the war, despite the West's obvious advantage in technological and industrial might. The defeat of Japan was a crushing national psychological blow to this myth of Japanese spiritual superiority, needless to say.

But enough about W.W. II, veterans and history buffs need no reminding about the infamous Japanese military psyche. For our purposes here, what is instructive is how supposedly "enlightened" buddhist teachers in Japan were sucked into the nationalistic spiel and themselves encouraged and contributed to military brainwashing of soldiers, resulting in a brutal inhuman treatment of other nations. It is not only a dark period of Japanese religious history, the situation speaks in general of the failure of so-called "enlightenment" experiences ("satori" or "kensho") to transform a buddhist authority figure into the bodhisattva ideal they are supposed to become...in fact, tellingly, it made no difference.

Ah, well, somebody might say, that all happened in the past- of what relevance is that today? The answer is not completely comforting because, unfortunately, the same elements are still in place in Japan, lurking somewhat below the surface in the right-wing ideologies held by powerful factions in business and industry. And unfortunately, the buddhism in Japan is always susceptible to these influences. (Interested readers of Victoria's books will also find instructive an expansion of the theme of zen and Japanese nationalism in articles by buddhist scholar Robert Sharf). In saying this, one should not associate these militaristic right-wing feelings with the typical Japanese citizen, who might well be horrified at these inhuman events if they thought about it much, but of course young (and old) Japanese are reluctant to revisit a painful past.

So why should buddhists in general be humbled by all these war revelations? Apart from demonstrating that claims of "enlightenment" are no guarantee that famous teachers have transformed lives, another observation is that we see a great deal of gullibility on the part of zen students everywhere. This, in a religion supposedly teaching students how to see things clearly... Those who are familiar with numerous scandals in the United States, for instance, concerning certain teachers (American and Asian) in both the Tibetan and Zen traditions, not to mention scandals of corruption in Japan, etc., should realize buddhism hardly fares better than other religions in tales of human fraility. It is human nature to attach to one's teacher and be uncritical when the latter's behavior gets questionable, but since we now have documented proof "enlightened" masters are no better than others, one begins to wonder when buddhist devotees, particularly Western students, will learn from past mistakes about putting esteemed teachers (Asian or otherwise) on a pedestal. It was truly a shock that these Japanese heroes held in such high esteem turned out to be such brutal human beings... The entire master/student relationship as defined in traditional Asian culture, with all of the problems this cultural expectation entails when brought into Western culture, needs to be discussed regarding these naive tendencies of students. It is a fascinating topic in itself, but we don't have space here.

Wait just a minute, Christians and other religions, you're not off the hook either...there is always a tendency to venerate one's authority figure and be (sometimes willingly) blind toward the latter's faults and failings or abuses, but this gullibility needs to be addressed. There certainly seems to be something in the typical religious mentality that venerates authority figures beyond what common sense should allow, an observation that skeptics of religion see very clearly. Alas, the true believers tend not to see the problems here...just witness the blind eye believers have toward the material excesses of your typical TV evangelical preachers.
Not a desirable situation by any means. Gullibility on the part of believers; deception and greed on the part of leaders. Of course this picture does not describe everybody, but if it weren't a continuing pattern, nobody would need to bring it up.

To sum up, Mr. Victoria deserves all the acclaim and praise his books have generated; his work in uncovering the realities of the situation in Japan is a monumental effort and one many would not liked to have tackled. I'm sure he didn't like it. But honesty and integrity are obviously very important to him. What else can I say? I'm grateful. We all should be.
Ieregr
I think most of us have an image of Zen Buddhism as gentle, kind, non-violent. And maybe it is in its teachings. But this study shows that follows of Zen Buddhism in Japan prior to WWII were as subject to the human condition as the rest of us.

Big surprise.

The war mongering and violence these people perpetrated is no better or worse than what the rest of us who profess to follow a religious pass come to. Think of "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." We do what we would not do.

I think it is typical, too, that when we read about the philosophies or religious of another culture, we tend to see the best and forget to put it in a human context. All over the world, there are wonderful Christians, wonderful Muslims, wonderful Jews, wonderful Zen Buddhists, wonderful Tibetan Buddhists, wonderful Hindus, etc, etc. But is also just as equally true that you can find serial murderers in each group, mean spirited people, violent people, hateful people, and bigoted people. It is just the way reality cuts through the heart of things.

So, I truly enjoyed this book. What I especially liked was the painstaking research that still produced a very readable work. And it is always enlightening to see the way spiritual words can be twisted to serve this world.

I highly recommend this book.
Whiteflame
The shock value is not so great, as I've been aware of the basic contents for sometime. Japan is an island and the Japanese are an insular people. The emphasis in their culture is group conformity. Zen is not the transformer of personality as it was once marketed, and it should not surprise us to learn that Zen leaders in Japan followed the lead of the Japanese government and Army into widespread war.
JoJogar
Well written, cruelly honest and it shattered my notion of Buddhist behavior. I am sad that the facts happened and thankful to have read about them. As a Buddhist, it was a reminder that we must be ever looking at our own practice. Do read this book.
Nuliax
Zen At War is an amazing book.
This book shows very clearly what you get when you let someone else run your spiritual life: You get Jonestown.
I don't like what the Japanese Buddhists did during the war. I don't like what the Christians did either.
Both religions have precepts/commandments that include : Do not kill!
If you are prepared to kill if "necessary" then it's hypocritical to condemn the Japanese Buddhists for being willing to do so too. Personally, I am not prepared to kill another human being, although I waver sometimes when I think "would I kill someone to save my wife's/children's life?"
What I don't like, is the way it is almost impossible to discuss this subject in the Zendo, and I've tried.
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