John Riggs wrote:
...an issue on your wording of "accepts violence and war". My understanding as a student that Buddhism sees no justification for killing anything. However, it recognizes that there may be situations where there is no choice. The person must, however, recognize the karmic implications of taking a life. Buddhism is based on reality-violence and war are realities. However, to say Buddhism accepts war and violence is inaccurate-it recognizes it is part of reality and does occur.
Contradictions abound. In Japan, devout Buddhists bought caged animals to release to gain merit, blithely ignoring the fact that they had been collected precisely for such a market. The Dalai Lama writes of the injustice of butchers bearing the taint of death selling animal meat to people who provide the market for it and regard said butchers as beneath them.
In the article I cite above (sorry for the double-byte infelicities), "Mushin, Morals, and Martial Arts", MacFarlane writes:
"The active operation of compassion by buddhas and bodhi- sattvas is achieved by "skillful means" (upayakausalya, ??@! fang pien /hoben). I t is clear from many Mahayana texts that, in applying compassion and skillful means, buddhas and bodhisattvas may be obliged to set aside moral and doctrinal norms in order to effectively teach beings and lead them out of suffering. The Lotus Sutra (Sad- dharmapundarika-sutra / MybhB-renge-kyb) contains many examples or paradigm cases of the operation of skillful means in such contexts (PYE 1978, chs. 2, 3, 4). A famous one in chapter three of the siitra is where the rich householder "lies" to his children to tempt them out of the burning house, promising toy carts which he does not have....Some texts use ethical or karmic dilemmas to illustrate the notion of skillful means and its ethical adaptability. The Ta ch'eng fang pien hui k;583@@ (Skillful means in the Maha- yana) in the Chinese Maharatnakata collection describes how the Buddha, in a previous life, kills a bandit with a spear to save five hundred traders, and to save the man from the consequences of his intended actions (T 310, 11.604~; see CHANG 1983, pp. 456-57). The same text uses the vivid image of concealed sword mastery (used to protect a caravan of traders) as an illustration of the bodhi- sattva's use of skillful means and the "sword of wisdom" (T 310, 11.597b; see CHANG 1983, pp. 435-36).2 The Mahayana Maha- parinirvd?za-satra offers some even more extreme cases. The Buddha in a previous life kills some Brahmins who defame the Dharma, to save them from a worse fate in hell. Earlier, the same stitra approves the principle of taking up arms in defense of the Dharma (T 374, 12.459a460b & 383b-384a; see also DEMIEVILLE 1973, pp. 292-98).
Christopher Rogers wrote:
From such books as Suzuki's "Zen and Japanese Culture", i got the impression that zen and bujutsu were much more tightly knit together.
So maybe it is better to focus on the particular details of Shingon (very different from other sects) to see how buddhist ethics complimented bushido...
I think you're on the right track. Karl Friday (on Iaido-L) also cite's Saicho's influence (Tendai).
Suzuki gets a hiding from Robert Sharf:
"The paper entitled "The Zen of Japanese Nationalism," which I presented to the symposium on which this volume is based, is to appear in Donald S. Lopez, Jr., ed., Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). An earlier version appeared in History of Religions 33/1 (1993): 1--43. I offer below some further reflections on the topic, stimulated by the often intense exchanges at the symposium." (See also http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/...ings/Sharf.pdf
which this citation is copied from.)
Also of interest: The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery by Yamada Shoji (Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Spring 2001, 28/1. http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/...rs/pdf/586.pdf
What they say about not watching sausages and law made if you like them fits here. Yamada exposes Herrigel as farce. In sum, Awa, Herrigel's vaunted Zen master, didn't even practice Zen—or pretend to. He was such an odd bird that even his students criticized him, extraordinary in hierarchy-conscious Japan. Also, Herrigel didn't speak Japanese, Awa didn't speak German, and the translator lied. I am not making this up.
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Have you read:
Zen and the Way of the Sword: Arming the Samurai Psyche
Winston L. King
I've seen this slammed wholeheartedly for passing on received--and wrong--wisdom. Caveat emptor.