[Buddha-l] Zen War Guilt/Zen and the Sword

Stephen Hopkins stephen.hopkins at ukonline.co.uk
Tue Aug 23 06:36:35 MDT 2005

Denizens -

As I understand it, following the publication of Brian Victoria's 'Zen War
Stories' (together with Ina Buitendijk's letter writing campaign, and, it
appears, also prompted by 9/11) an apology was forthcoming from Myoshin-ji,
and other groups for, baldly speaking, Zen's 'war guilt'.  (As Victoria
points out, the Soto sect had apologised in 1993.)

Do list members know where I might find out more (in English, I'm afraid)
about the current state of play in regard to Japanese Buddhist recognition
of their role in WW2 (and other conflicts), and in regard to the vexed
question of the evolution of the relationship of Zen and the sword?  Are
list members, for example, troubled by Victoria's 1997 question 'is the
vaunted unity between Zen and the sword an orthodox or heretical doctrine?'
(Or, for that matter, his April 2003 statement: "I will go so far as to say
that institutional Zen Buddhism in Japan is not Buddhism. And therefore,
what has passed as Zen has for a very long time been a distortion of
Buddhist teachings'?)  Finally, do list members know of a good post Victoria
reassessment of DT Suzuki?


Steve Hopkins

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