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"Zen as a Cult of Death...."

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
Of possible interest to Zen students -- Brian Victoria's "Zen as a Cult of Death in the Wartime Writings of D.T. Suzuki."

Comments

  • life is a death cult.
    Thanks for the article, bookmarked it for full reading when able.
    lobster
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    edited August 2013
    It's actually heartening that in order to get people to kill each other they must be elaborately tricked.
    lobster
  • About halfway through the article I became too depressed to continue. The one line at the beginning says it all: a nation's religions always support the war effort. Buddhism is nothing special when it comes to that.
    lobsterzenff
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    Aw, man...
  • Quick scan...didn't note anything particularly provocative or distasteful, seen to be a fair historical academic note. I thought it was insightful about the 2 handed sword attitude which I'd endorse as skillful.

    Perhaps I'm distorted and idk....but through war one comes to appreciate peace and fears not death.
  • I appreciate the sentiment and am aware of the history, so won't be reading - gosh I am trying to be skilful again . . .

    It might interest you to consider the Sufi wisdom adage, 'die before you die', which refers to ego death. A lot of advanced zeniths appear to be emotionless zombies, the undead. However that is a phase. They come out grinning in the end.
    :clap:
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    Brian Victoria shows a healthy disrespect for teachers in the Zen-tradition.
    What I mean is that I for one have been reciting the names of the lineage, in gassho with a devout look on my face. But that lineage included Yasutani Roshi who is mentioned in the article as a radical proponent of the War.

    There’s something wrong with uncritical adoration of teachers (Roshi or not). It’s not just that these Japanese “enlightened beings” were enthusiastic about a Nationalistic war, aimed at territorial expansion.
    When you take a look – with the proper disrespect – you see that all teachers are human beings like you and me. Some are drunks, some are sexual abusers, some are both, and some are actually pretty decent people, as far as we can tell.

    It is not a miracle that Japanese teachers made wrong choices. The real noteworthy fact is that we’re shocked about that. We thought Zen masters were beacons of wisdom and compassion.
    Well, they’re not.
    Invincible_summer
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Some are.
    Beacons of wisdom do exist.
    Although even that is problematic to some western zen practitioners who have imbibed a knee-jerk anti-authoritarianism with their green tea. And are forced as a result to constantly hack away at the branch they are sitting on.
    lobsterriverflowInvincible_summer
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    You must have seen the glare in peoples’ eyes when they talk about their Teacher as a super-human being.
    I’m not anti-authoritarian (and don’t drink too much green tea).
    The uncritical adoration is unhealthy; that’s my point.
    And as to beacons; at some point we grow up and we try to be our own.
    riverflow
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    @Citta
    The green tea; by the way what was that about? Was that about the drunken teacher being tough or masculine or something?
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    Also referring to a “western” zen-practitioner as a quick disqualification isn’t very helpful.
    Japanese Zen-practitioners wouldn’t dream of criticizing their teacher. So that must be the best approach?
  • Japan was a Shinto country. Plus the people who used Zen were cults.
  • It wasn't the will Zen tradition.
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    Citta said:

    Some are.
    Beacons of wisdom do exist.
    Although even that is problematic to some western zen practitioners who have imbibed a knee-jerk anti-authoritarianism with their green tea. And are forced as a result to constantly hack away at the branch they are sitting on.

    And you are pro-authoritarianism? :p

    For myself, I've merely had a natural progression from naïveté to seeing "Zen Masters" for the ordinary people that they actually are. Any Zen master would be the first to agree that they are ordinary, right? Ordinary people are rarely wise, unfortunately. Ordinary people are sometimes quite foolish, unfortunately. Ordinary people are ordinarily ordinary. :buck:

    I just finished reading an interesting book about sociopathy. According to the book about 4% of the population (ordinary people) are sociopaths. Zen masters being ordinary people, we can expect that 1 in 25 Zen masters are sociopaths, and we can see evidence which supports this estimation. Also see:
    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/index.html
    Invincible_summer
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