By Christopher Ives
During the 1st 1/2 the 20th century, Zen Buddhist leaders contributed actively to eastern imperialism, giving upward push to what has been termed "Imperial-Way Zen" (Kodo Zen). Its optimal critic was once priest, professor, and activist Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), who spent the many years following Japan’s hand over virtually single-handedly chronicling Zen’s aid of Japan’s imperialist regime and urgent the difficulty of Buddhist battle accountability. Ichikawa targeted his critique at the Zen method of spiritual liberation, the political ramifications of Buddhist metaphysical constructs, the conventional collaboration among Buddhism and governments in East Asia, the philosophical approach of Nishida Kitaro (1876–1945), and the vestiges of kingdom Shinto in postwar Japan.
Despite the significance of Ichikawa’s writings, this quantity is the 1st via any pupil to stipulate his critique. as well as detailing the activities and beliefs of Imperial-Way Zen and Ichikawa’s ripostes to them, Christopher Ives bargains his personal reflections on Buddhist ethics in mild of the phenomenon. He devotes chapters to outlining Buddhist nationalism from the 1868 Meiji recovery to 1945 and summarizing Ichikawa’s arguments in regards to the explanations of Imperial-Way Zen. After assessing Brian Victoria’s declare that Imperial-Way Zen was once attributable to the conventional connection among Zen and the samurai, Ives provides his personal argument that Imperial-Way Zen can most sensible be understood as a contemporary example of Buddhism’s conventional function as protector of the area. Turning to postwar Japan, Ives examines the level to which Zen leaders have mirrored on their wartime political stances and began to build a serious Zen social ethic. ultimately, he considers the assets Zen may possibly supply its modern leaders as they pursue what they themselves have pointed out as a urgent activity: making sure that henceforth Zen will stay away from turning into embroiled in foreign adventurism and in its place commit itself to the advertising of peace and human rights.
Lucid and balanced in its method and good grounded in textual research, Imperial-Way Zen will allure students, scholars, and others drawn to Buddhism, ethics, Zen perform, and the cooptation of faith within the carrier of violence and imperialism.
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Additional resources for Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics
119 After this meeting, the Buddhist Federation sent instructions to temples about what they should do to support the educational initiatives of the Ministry of Education. Those initiatives would be announced over the next few years in conjunction with other governmental measures to increase thought control: the Public Order Preservation Law of 1925; the roundup of more than sixteen hundred leftist intellectuals and communists on March 15, 1928;120 the disbanding of the Communist Party, the Labor Farmer Party (Rōdō Nōmin Tō), and the All-Japan Proletarian Youth Alliance (Zen-Nihon Musan Seinen Dōmei) the following month; the concurrent expansion of the Special Higher Police (Tokkō)121 into a nationwide apparatus; the June 1928 addition of the death penalty and life imprisonment to the range of punishments sanctioned by the Public Order Preservation Law; the establishment of a “thought section” in the Department of Military Police (Kenpeitai) in July 1928; and another roundup of leftists in April 1929.
191 Zen figures also signed on to the jingoistic rhetoric of the time, with influential scholars and masters voicing clear support for Japanese imperialism and military action. In 1937, two Sōtō Zen writers, Hayashiya Tomojirō and Shimakage Chikai, published The Buddhist View of War (Bukkyō no sensō-kan), in which they wrote, “In order to establish eternal peace in East Asia, arousing the great benevolence and compassion of Buddhism, we are sometimes accepting and sometimes forceful. We now have no choice but to exercise the benevolent forcefulness of ‘killing one so that many may live’ (issatsu tashō)”;192 they added, “Japanese Buddhists .
141 Although Buddhist sects from the beginning of the Taishō period increased their institutional security by supporting government thought-guidance programs and measures against new religions, they too faced pressures: Marxist rejections of religion, criticism by Buddhist reformers, and government censorship and restrictions. In the late 1920s Japanese Marxists started publishing a barrage of essays on the dangers of religion. Facing this onslaught, in the spring of 1930 the Buddhist USEFUL BUDDHISM, 1868–1945 newspaper Chūgai Nippō ran a series of articles by Buddhist apologists, including Kimura Taiken, Takashima Beihō, and Itō Shōshin, as well as articles by critics, such as Takatsu Seidō and Hattori Shiō,142 with Miki Kiyoshi contributing to the debate.