Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering by Christopher Ives

By Christopher Ives

During the 1st half the 20th century, Zen Buddhist leaders contributed actively to eastern imperialism, giving upward thrust to what has been termed "Imperial-Way Zen" (Kodo Zen). Its most advantageous critic used to be priest, professor, and activist Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), who spent the many years following Japan’s give up virtually single-handedly chronicling Zen’s help of Japan’s imperialist regime and urgent the difficulty of Buddhist conflict accountability. Ichikawa centred his critique at the Zen method of spiritual liberation, the political ramifications of Buddhist metaphysical constructs, the normal collaboration among Buddhism and governments in East Asia, the philosophical approach of Nishida Kitaro (1876–1945), and the vestiges of country Shinto in postwar Japan.

Despite the significance of Ichikawa’s writings, this quantity is the 1st by way of 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 deals 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 concerning the explanations of Imperial-Way Zen. After assessing Brian Victoria’s declare that Imperial-Way Zen was once because of the normal connection among Zen and the samurai, Ives offers his personal argument that Imperial-Way Zen can top be understood as a contemporary example of Buddhism’s conventional position 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 commenced to build a serious Zen social ethic. ultimately, he considers the assets Zen may well provide its modern leaders as they pursue what they themselves have pointed out as a urgent activity: making sure that henceforth Zen will steer clear of turning into embroiled in overseas adventurism and as a substitute devote itself to the merchandising 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 attracted to Buddhism, ethics, Zen perform, and the cooptation of faith within the provider of violence and imperialism.

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Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics

Through the first half the 20 th century, Zen Buddhist leaders contributed actively to jap imperialism, giving upward push to what has been termed "Imperial-Way Zen" (Kodo Zen). Its ultimate critic was once priest, professor, and activist Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), who spent the many years following Japan’s quit virtually single-handedly chronicling Zen’s help of Japan’s imperialist regime and urgent the difficulty of Buddhist struggle accountability.

Extra info for Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics

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Third, officials wanted to consolidate religious organizations and thereby enhance central governmental control of religious institutions and activities. In the case of Buddhism, the subsects of the thirteen main sects were reduced from fifty-six to twenty-eight. 232 As this law went into effect in 1940, Nishi Honganji administrators agreed to edit or delete sections of Shinran’s writings deemed by government censors to be in tension with the kokutai. In October of that year they distributed to branch temples a tract, Wartime Living and Shin Belief (Senji seikatsu to Shinshū shinkō),233 the foreword of which reads, We greet the 2600th anniversary of the founding of the imperial lineage and proclaim the creation of a new political and social system.

Kita was executed for writings that contributed to the radicality of the young officers who plotted the coup attempt on February 26, 1936. 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.

Kita was executed for writings that contributed to the radicality of the young officers who plotted the coup attempt on February 26, 1936. 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.

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