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Old 03-29-2011, 06:20 AM   #5
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,240
Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
As long as it is not a prisoner of war....

But seriously, Niall, you realise that you are presenting a very specific interpretation of Zen, I hope? One that is very modernist and closely connected with often inaccurate 19th century samurai myths and 20th century (Japanese, but ironically enough even German) nationalism? And late 20th century marketing lingo?

An alternative view would stress the character of zen/ ch'an, for almost all of its history, as essentially Mahayana buddhism, and challenge its appropriation for the political and ideological purposes of 20th century Japan. As well es the decontextualisation ("everything is somehow zen", "zen cannot be spoken about" and the like) that came with it.

Not meaning to be disrespectful, just pointing it out.
Yes. A number of books, supplementary to those in Niall's list, which are worthy of attention here are:
Shoji Yamada, Shots in the Dark: Japan, Zen and the West (2009), which is a study of Eugen Herrigel and his Zen and the Art of Archery;
Brian Daizen Victoria, Zen At War (1997, second edition, 2006). This may be supplemented by the same author's Zen War Stories (2003).
All the above books discuss D T Suzuki and his writings on Zen. In the background are Nishida Kitaro, the philosopher of zen, and his disciples in what is known as the Kyoto School. In addition to Michiko Yusa's Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro (2002), there is also a collection of essays, entitled, Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School & the Question of Nationalism (1994), edited by James Heisig and John C Maraldo. These essays need to be balanced by David Williams' Defending Japan's Pacific War: The Kyoto School Philosophers and post-White power (2004). Those would like a real intellectual and linguistic challenge might like to try Nishida in Japanese: 西田幾多郎哲学全集 (Iwanami Bunko, 1967-1989).

I aim to discuss some germane issues in the next few columns.


P A Goldsbury
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