Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Non-Self Killing

Buddhism has a rep in this country as being the REAL religion of peace. But a bit of historical study can disabuse you of the notion that devout Buddhists are always peaceful. Even today there are militant Buddhist monks who are given to attacking Hindus and Muslims. But the really big example is the role Zen Buddhism played in Japan, quite notably the role played during WWII, where all the leading Zen religious figures lined up to support Japan's imperial ambitions.

“During the Asia-Pacific War (1937-1945) all Japanese soldiers were indoctrinated with a program of Bushido-promoting “spiritual education” (seishin kyoiku) based on the metaphysical foundation of the unities of Zen and the sword, life and death. Once trained, they were dispatched to the battlefield where nearly three million of them died ‘selflessly’ even as they killed more than twenty million Chinese and other ‘selfless’ enemies in the process. The fact that even today, both in Japan and the West, this corrupted Zen understanding of ‘selflessness’ has, but with few exceptions, remained unchallenged cannot but be regarded as one of the world’s most successful religious deceptions.”

And that's a Zen monk talking, albeit an American one.

You see, if my non-self kills your non-self, and death and life are really one, then my killing you is not so morally significant!

The basic attitude is actually dramatized quite well in James Clavell's novel, Shogun.

Call me unenlightened,
Call me foolishly frightened,
But my non-self would rather not be gored
By anyone's samurai sword.

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