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Zen and WW II [Hazard J Gibbons] [MIGRATE]

Zen and WW II [Hazard J Gibbons]


Hazard J Gibbons - 2014-04-27 16:48:34 - Zen and WW II

Zen and the Art of Divebombing: http://www.friesian.com/divebomb.htm

I'm posting this here because it deals with morality. I've been watching the Takaashe Miike movie '"Izo", over and over, and the more I watch it the more I'm convinced that its about digging up the bloody skeletons of the Japanese collective unconscious and throwing it in the nation's face, to force a "coming to terms" with its history. This can be seen from his use of found footage of WWII marches and violence, inter-cut with scenes in Zen monasteries and the final scene involving a confrontation with a Japanese general holding a skull in front of a blood splashed Rising Sun. The whole movie seems to be a meditation on the human drive to commit violence; perhaps an American parallel would be Cormac McCarthy's work.

  Zen was highly successful in supporting a "human being lawnmower" ( to quote the MC5) , but failed to see the moral dimension of things like Nanking, etc. I haven't talked to my sensei about this, as she's one of the most gentle people I've ever met, but I'd be interested to hear her take on it. Basically, as the article states, Taoism was reluctant to talk about morality, but this was checked by the influence of Confucianism, and the "mandate of heaven" was taken seriously. When Taoism got exported to Japan, Confucianism was replaced by Bushido, and without that "mandate", the stage was set for the wedding of Zen practice and military discipline. 

I'm becoming more interested in the Jodo school, rather than Zen, because it seems to have more parallels with the Tibetan systems; the Pure Land visions seem to be the equivalent of the sand mandalas, which are just the externalization of an internal mindscape. Zen goes straight to Emptiness, but just seems to stop there, whereas the other schools seem to emphasize the art of reality building in the mind. I wonder if this goes to the heart of why Zen failed so spectacularly in the case of WWII, as detailed in the article.