[Buddha-l] liturgical languages

Stuart Lachs slachs at worldnet.att.net
Mon May 2 13:40:16 MDT 2005

Dan Wrote:

> Now *that* I would be willing to historically contextualize. Today, as
> current events in China, the Koreas, etc., demonstrate, the degree to
> Japan soul-searched after the war turned out to be superficial. Without
> going into a long discursus on post-War developments, key turning points
> would be the post-war self-scourging in order to get on with things (the
> Emperor had been saved after all), the reinvention of post-War Japan as
> victim of the war (Hiroshima, etc.) rather than sadistic prosecutor and
> initiator, and (2) the very same Japanese "soul" that expressed its
> compassion during the war by merciless carnage throughout Asia and feeding
> its own civilians to lethal and suicidal efforts was suddenly a soul that
> stood for "peace," tranquility, contemplation, spirituality, flower
> arrangement, aesthetic harmony, etc. The latter proved to be great PR for
> exporting a new, redeemed image of Japan overseas -- wildly successful PR.
> Internally the generation of Japanese students who grew up in this
> refashioned image, failing to see social justice, etc., domestically
> they had learned to expect it, began protesting -- to which the govt.
> responded by radically revising the educational system, removing all
> ethical soulsearching elements, engendering a few generations of students
> who no longer think about, much less reflect the pacifistic post-War
> Japanese ethos of the sixties and seventies students (making the
> of remilitarizing in Japan today more than an academic question).

Agreed. But also should be added the American part played in redefining
Japan from
brutal and bloodthirsty enemy to ally in the cold war. Years ago in a used
book store,  I  found a pamphlet issued to G.I.'s being stationed in Japan
in the early 50's that had in the first paragraph, " The Japanese are a
gentle people..."
> For Kapleau to have been impressed with the apparent changes Japanese
> society underwent in the decades after the war is understandable. That
> would lead to where we are today was not on the radar screens of many at
> that time.

I believe Kapleau was talking about the period of the Tokyo War Trials.
> > Kapleau was expecting to receive Dharma transmission if the last visit
> > worked out well. As it happened, it did not work out well.
> One might see this, as you apparently do, as Kapleau fundamentally
> misunderstanding Yasutani. Another possibility is that Kapleau viewed the
> road to inka, etc., as something separate from (above?) the mundane
> intercourse and disagreements of ordinary life -- perhaps the original
> blindness with which he entered into training with Yasutani in the first
> place. All I'm suggesting is that his disappointment was deeper than
> out on a certificate, and may have something to do with the disappointment
> of having so thoroughly misjudged Yasutani and the degree to which certain
> attitudes were entrenched in him.

I find it a bit surprising Dan, that you keep looking to put the most
positive spin on Kapleau without any word or justification coming from
Kapleau. Earlier you mentioned people's fantasy about roshi, but it seems
you keep looking to spin him in only a positive light, imputing motives and
intentions that are totally speculative.

Back to the original discussion- Kapleau did not leave Yasutani. Yasutani
cut- off their relationship for reasons that Kapleau has always kept secret.
If anything, he let the chanting in English being the problem rumor continue
though. In 1986 he only mentions  one point in the letter exchange that took
place between he and Yammada. In that,  he claims  telling Yasutani not to
bring Eido Shimano with him to Rochester because of Eido's behavior was the
problem. That is all Kapleau refers to in reference to Yasutani getting
upset with him and ending their relationship. No mentioning of chanting in
English or anything else.

I also think Kapleau should be commended for this as he was singular in the
Zen community for trying to avoid Shimano and not giving him a place of
honor as  did Aitkin on ocassion.

Kapleau could have cleared up much of the speculation as to the why of their
break, if he had shown the letter that Yasutani sent him ending the
relation. He chose not to. That may be totally justified, however, he never
showed the letter to be translated.

I think the topic of antisemiticism is interesting and very important,
however I do not think Buddha-L is the place to continue this. If you want,
we can go off list.
> Shit-sticks everywhere. We need to come up with a Buddhist pooper-scooper
> just to make buddha-ksetras safe to walk in without stepping into vile
> defilements. That a Buddhist teacher, respected in the West and East
> unabashedly act as a conduit for antisemitism in the name of Truth is a
> sickness and tragedy.

Agreed. Another problem is the very conception that a Buddhist teacher/ Zen
owns truth and so is an expert or more on everything will continually breed
one form of nonsense or another. This idea is deeply enbedded,  to use a
topical term, in Zen mythology at least. I have heard another Chinese
"master" say that he could comment on everything because he understood the
underlying principles [of everything]. This master often put his foot in his
mouth, in spite of those principles.

> _______________________________________________
> buddha-l mailing list
> buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
> http://mailman.swcp.com/mailman/listinfo/buddha-l

More information about the buddha-l mailing list