You’d be forgiven for being shocked that I would recommend an article by Jundo Cohen on Sweeping Zen. But I really have no lingering hard feelings toward either of them And Jundo Cohen’s recent piece about Brian Victoria’s books Zen At War and Zen War Stories is well worth reading.
Victoria made a very important point that during World War II a number of Zen Buddhists gave their support to the Japanese Imperial Army. But, while this is completely true and shameful, Victoria apparently felt the need to try and strengthen his case by deliberately distorting the words of a number of prominent Zen teachers. Among those who got trashed by Victoria was Kodo Sawaki whose quotations were both deliberately mistranslated and taken completely out of contest to make him seem like a war-monger when he was quite the opposite.
Muho at Antaiji published a very detailed account of Sawaki’s actual quotations in context and how Victoria doctored them to make his case. For example, Victoria famously quoted Sawaki as saying, “We gorged ourselves on killing during the Russo-Japanese War.” The phrase Sawaki actually used was はらいっぱいになった (hara ippai ni natta). This means “we became fed up with” not “we gorged ourselves on.” Anyone who has spent as much time in Japan as Victoria has would know that. It’s not at all vague or in doubt what that phrase means. Several other examples are just as damning to Victoria’s case.
Speaking of World War II, I’m in Germany where I am not mentioning the war. (I’m sorry about that segue but it’s the best I can do right now) I have several more events happening here and in The Netherlands and the UK. Please show up! The list is below.
Also, SIGN UP FOR OUR RETREAT AT MT. BALDY!! It’s November 8-10. There’s Yoga! It’s in the incredibly scenic mountains of California! It’s with me!! DO IT!!! DO IT!!!!
• Oct. 6. at 4pm I’m speaking at Benediktushof. I’m sure the info is on their website but I can’t find it.
• October 7th I’m speaking in Frankfurt on at Dogen Zendo. Info is here. Please stop by for a chat about Zen!
• October 9th I’ll be speaking at Dharma Buchladen in Berlin
• On October 11th, I’ll be speaking in Amsterdam.
• On October 12th, I’ll be speaking at Groningen University in the Netherlands.I think the details are somewhere on this page. But it’s in Dutch so I’m not sure.
• On Oct. 13 and 14th I’ll be in Bonn, Germany. The details about that are on this page. The 13th will be an all-day sitting and on the 14th I’ll do a talk in the evening.
• Thursday 17th October
In Conversation with Brad Warner and Jon Robb – The Punk meets the Monk
• 18-19 October Zen Retreat / 20th October Public Talk in Hebden Bridge, England
• 23 October 7pm, I’ll be speaking in London.
Caledonian Road Centre
486 Caledonian Road
London N7 9RP
• 24 October, 8pm, I’ll be speaking in Oxford
Merton College, Oxford
Hosted the Neave Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2203213006/)
**Oxford University students only**
• 25 Oct In Conversation 7pm-9pm / 26 October Zazen Day
Merchant City Yoga Centre Glasgow, Scotland
• November 8-10 Zen and Yoga Retreat at Mount Baldy Zen Center in Southern California (1 & 1/2 hours east of Los Angeles)
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I’m self-financing all of these, so please feel free to help out a little by sending a donation! Thanks!