The Demon said to the swordsman, "Fundamentally, man's mind is not without good. It is simply that from the moment he has life, he is always being brought up with perversity. Thus, having no idea that he has gotten used to being soaked in it, he harms his self-nature and falls into evil. Human desire is the root of this perversity." Woven deeply into the martial traditions and folklore of Japan, the fearsome Tengu dwell in the country's mountain forest. (...) Mythical half-man, half-bird creatures with long noses, Tengu have always inspired dread and awe, inhabiting a liminal world between the human and the demonic, and guarding the most hidden secrets of swordsmanship. In The Demon's Sermon on the MartialArts, a translation of the 18th-century samurai classic by Issai Chozanshi, an anonymous swordsman journeys to the heart of Mt. Kurama, the traditional domain of these formidable beings. There he encounters a host of demon; through a series of discussions and often playful discourse, they reveal to him the very deepest principles of the martialarts, and show how the secrets of sword fighting impart the truths of life itself. The Demon's Sermon opens with The discourses, a collection of whimsical fables concerned with the theme of transformation-for Chozanshi a core phenomenon to the martial artist. Though ostensibly light and fanciful, these stories offer the attentive reader ideas that subvert perceived notions of conflict and the individual's relationship to the outside world. In the main body of work, The Sermon, Chozanshi demonstrates how transformation is fostered and nurtured through ch'i - the vital and fundamental energy that flows through all things, animate and inanimate, and the very bedrock of Chozanshi's themes and the martialarts themselves. This he does using the voice of the Tengu, and the reader is invited to eavesdrop with the swordsman on the demon's revelations of the deepest truths concerning ch'i, the principles of yin and yang, and how these forces shape our existence. In The Dispatch, the themes are brought to an elegant conclusion using the parable of an old and toothless cat who, like the demon, has mastered the art of acting by relying on nothing, and in so doing can defeat even the wiliest and most vicious of rats despite his advanced years. This is the first direct translation from the original text into English by William Scott Wilson, the renowned translator of Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings. It captures the tone and essence of this classic while still making it accessible and meaningful to today's reader. Chozanshi's deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, as well as his insight into the central role of ch'i in the universe, are all given thoughtful treatment in Wilson's introduction and extensive endnotes. A provocative book for the general reader, The Demon's Sermon will also prove an invaluable addition to the libraries of all those interested in the fundamental principles of the martialarts, and how those principles relate to our existence. (shrink)
Introduction: Experiential deconstructive inquiry -- Foundational philosophies and spiritual methods -- Non-duality in Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism -- Ontological differences and non-duality -- Meditative inquiry, questioning, and dialoguing as a means to spiritual insight -- The undoing or deconstruction of dualistic conceptions -- Advaita Vedanta : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- Upaniads that art thou (Tat Tvam Asi) -- Gauapda (c.7th century) : no bondage, no liberation -- Aakara (c.7th-8th century) : there (...) is no apprehender different from this apprehension to apprehend it -- Modern and contemporary masters -- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) : who am I? -- H.W.L Poonja (1910-1997) : you have to do nothing to be who you are! -- Gangaji (b. 1942) : you are that! -- Advaita Vedanta summary : nothing ever happens -- Zen Buddhism : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- The Lakvatra Sutra and the Vajracchedik Prajñpramit Sutra all things ... are not independent of each other and not two -- Ngrjuna (c.113-213) : Sasra is Nirva -- Eihei Dgen (1200-1253) : if I am already enlightened, why must I practice -- Contemporary masters -- Ekai Korematsu (b. 1948) : return to the spine -- Hgen Yamahata (b. 1935) : why not now -- Zen Buddhism summary : neither being nor non-being is to be taken hold of -- Deconstructive techniques and dynamics of experiential undoing -- Deconstructive techniques common to both traditions -- The teacher-student dynamic -- Key deconstructive techniques -- Unfindability analysis -- Bringing everything back to the here and now -- Paradoxical problems -- Negation -- Dynamics of experiential undoing -- Non-dual experiential space -- Experiential mapping : practitioners in the space -- Experiential undoing in Advaita Vedanta -- Experiential undoing in Zen Buddhism -- Conclusion: Deconstruction of reified awareness. (shrink)
The true man without any rank.--Two dimensions of ego consciousness.--Sense and nonsense in Zen Buddhism.--The philosophical problem of articulation.--Thinking and a-thinking through kōan.--The interior and exterior in Zen.--The elimination of color in Far Eastern art and photography.
This book is the first to engage Zen Buddhism philosophically on crucial issues from a perspective that is informed by the traditions of western philosophy and religion. It focuses on one renowned Zen master, Huang Po, whose recorded sayings exemplify the spirit of the 'golden age' of Zen in medieval China, and on the transmission of these writings to the West. The author makes a bold attempt to articulate a post-romantic understanding of Zen applicable to contemporary world culture. While (...) deeply sympathetic to the Zen tradition, he raises serious questions about the kinds of claims that can be made on its behalf. (shrink)
The comparative study of mysticism and inter-religious spirituality has gained more space in universities and research centers that radiate everywhere. They are also research involving Eastern religions, in its peculiar mystical trait. Also in the context of Buddhism one can talk on spirituality, understood as a search path of liberation. This article presents the theme of Zen Buddhist spirituality based on the reflection of Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253), one of the most important and prominent teachers of the (...) Soto Zen Tradition. This text aims to show the richness of spirituality and its peculiarity concerning the everyday reality. To promote understanding of the central question presented, the theme of spirituality was situated within the historical context of the birth of Zen Buddhism and the insertion of the presence of Dogen in its field of action. The theme of Zen spirituality was becoming evident in the approach to the problem of search of the Dharma in Dogen and his attention to small signs of everyday life. Keywords: Spirituality. Buddhism. Zen. Daily life. Religions. Resumo Os estudos de mística comparada e de espiritualidade interreligiosa vão ganhando espaço cada vez mais singular nas universidades e núcleos de pesquisa que se irradiam por toda parte. São pesquisas que envolvem também as religiões orientais, em seu traço místico peculiar. Também no âmbito do budismo pode-se falar em espiritualidade, entendida como um caminho de busca da libertação. Esse artigo visa apresentar o tema da espiritualidade zen budista, com base na reflexão de Eihei Dôgen Zenji (1200-1253), um dos mais importantes e destacados mestres da tradição Soto Zen. O objetivo é mostrar a riqueza dessa espiritualidade e sua peculiaridade de adesão à realidade cotidiana. Para favorecer a compreensão da questão central apresentada, visou-se situar a temática no âmbito do contexto histórico do nascimento do zen budismo e da inserção da presença de Dôgen em seu campo de ação. A temática da espiritualidade zen foi se evidenciando na abordagem da problemática da busca do Dharma em Dôgen e de sua atenção aos pequenos sinais do cotidiano. Palavras-Chave : Espiritualidade. Budismo. Zen. Cotidiano. Religiões. (shrink)
In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)
When I was eleven, my form teacher, Mr Howard, showed some of my class how to punch. We were waiting for the rest of the class to finish changing after gym, and he took a stance that I would now call shizentai yoi and snapped his right fist forward into a head-level straight punch, pulling his left back to his side at the same time. Then he punched with his left, pulling back on his right. We all lined up in (...) our ties and sensible shoes (this was England) and copied him—left, right, left, right—and afterwards he told us that if we practised in the air with sufficient devotion for three years, then we would be able to use our punches to kill a bull with one blow. I worshipped Mr Howard (though I would sooner have died than told him that) and so, as a skinny, eleven-year-old girl, I came to believe that if I practised, I would be able to kill a bull with one blow by the time I was fourteen. This essay is about epistemic viciousness in the martialarts, and this story is illustrates just that. Though the word ‘viciousness’ normally suggests deliberate cruelty and violence, I will be using it here with the more old-fashioned meaning, possessing of vices. Vices (such as avarice, alcoholism and nail-biting) are common, and most of us struggle with a few, but ‘epistemic’ means ‘having to do with knowledge and the justification of belief’ and so epistemic viciousness is the possession of vices that make one bad at acquiring true beliefs, or give one a tendency to form false ones. My eleven-year-old self possessed the epistemic vice of gullibility and hence showed a streak of epistemic viciousness, which led to the formation of a false belief. Other kinds of epistemic vice can lead to us failing to form true beliefs when we ought to. Consider the internet-surfing karate-sensei who stumbles upon an article claiming that chocolate milk is better than water or sports drinks for promoting recovery after strenuous exercise, and describing an experiment using stationary bikes performed at the University of Indiana, purporting to support this claim.. (shrink)
Transformation of the sparrow and the butterfly -- Meeting the gods of poverty in a dream -- The greatest joys of the cicada and its cast-off shell -- The owl's understanding -- The centipede questions the snake -- The toad's way of the gods -- The mysterious technique of the cat -- Afterword by William Scott Wilson.
Simon P. James' Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics offers an engaging, sophisticated, and well-argued defence of the notion that Zen Buddhism has something positive to offer the environmental movement. James' goal is two-fold: first, dispel criticism that Zen (by virtue of its anti-philosophical stance) lacks an ethical program (because it shuns conventional morality), has no concern for the environment at large (because it adopts a thoroughly anthropocentric stance), and deprives living entities of any intrinsic worth (because it operates (...) from the standpoint of the doctrine of emptiness); second, to argue that Zen's quietist stance in fact fosters the development of certain character traits (compassion, non-violence, selflessness, etc.) that in turn lead to having an enlightened attitude toward the environment. (shrink)
Following the lead of daisetz t. Suzuki, The authors of almost all english-Language commentaries on zen buddhism are in general agreement that zen is not a philosophy. The primary purpose of this paper is to show how and why this view is fundamentally mistaken and that the continued espousal of it is counterproductive for furthering an understanding of any facet of zen, Philosophical or otherwise.
In reviewing four works from the 1990s-monographs by Christopher Ives and Phillip Olson on Zen Buddhist ethics, Damien Keown's treatment of Indian Buddhist ethics, and an edited collection on Buddhism and human rights-this article examines recent scholarship on Zen Buddhist ethics in light of issues in Buddhist and comparative ethics. It highlights selected themes in the notional and real encounter of Zen Buddhism with Western thought and culture as presented in the reviewed works and identifies issues and problems (...) for further consideration, in particular, problems of comparative and cross-cultural understanding and the articulation and redefinition of Zen Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
The goal of tranquility through non-Assertion, Advocated by sextus empiricus, Is examined and his method criticized. His understanding of non-Assertion is compared with that of seng-Chao (383-414) and chi-Tsang (549-623). Zen buddhism shares the quest for tranquility, But offers more than sextus did to help us attain it, And avoids the excessively metaphysical thought of these two chinese buddhists. Wittgenstein, Whose goal was that philosophical problems completely disappear, And austin, Who rejected many standard western dichotomies, Offer a method superior (...) to that of sextus, Or to that of chi-Tsang and seng-Chao, But an ideal short of the tranquility sought by all the rest. The thought that zen buddhism and ordinary language philosophy may be looking in the same direction is supported by appealing to john canfield's article "wittgenstein and zen" and his analysis of "understanding without thought.". (shrink)
Martial-arts practice is not quite anything else: it is like sport, but is not sport; it constantly refers to and as it were cohabits with violence, but is not violent; it is dance-like but not dance. It shares a common athleticism with sports and dance, yet stands apart from both, especially through its paradoxical commitment to the external value of being an instrument of violence. My discussion seeks to illuminate martialarts practice by systematic contrast to (...) games of sport and works of performance art, especially dance. (shrink)
There is an impression among western students of zen buddhism that faith does not play an important role in the zen tradition. This paper argues that in fact faith does have an important function in zen. The analysis relates this function to both the distinctly intuitive nature of enlightenment and the practice of meditation. The thesis is that these two phenomena can be more fully understood when related to the phenomenon of faith rather than simply distinguished from faith. Faith (...) is analyzed in terms of belief, Trust, Steadfastness, And confidence. (shrink)
A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article proposes that, despite endless debates within Zen Buddhism between quietist tendencies (“sitting quietly, doing nothing”) and the instruction to act in the world (“go wash the dishes”), Zen has always held a nondualist approach that denies any contradiction between these seemingly distinct ways. Zen has never really seen them as distinct. The article does survey, however, several quietist sources for Zen in early Indian (...) and Daoist thought and practice, and it also surveys the debates between these and more activist tendencies. Raz goes on to show how these became unified in a nondualist approach in the writings and teachings of prominent Chinese and Japanese teachers from the beginning of Zen (Chan) in China down to the twentieth century. (shrink)
This paper intends to understand the experience of enlightenment in Zen Buddhism from a perspective of poetics. Enlightenment is understood as an existential breakthrough, which delivers people from the habitual or conventional mind set into new horizon of consciousness. This breakthrough takes place in one’s overall consciousness rather than only in cognitive thought. Therefore, it cannot be adequately described on an abstract level with a conceptual paradigm. The poetic language provides a significant alternative for capturing this leap and revealing (...) the spiritual meaning and the practical wisdom of enlightenment. Enlightenment, as concrete experiences in the “flux” of the mind, can be most directly expressed and effectively transmitted in poetic language. (shrink)
If we reflect on the history of Buddhism, we should be able to acknowledge as an anomaly the present yawning chasm to be seen between North American / Japanese academic scholarship that deals with Zen/Chan and the corresponding practice community. We have on one hand a religious tradition that has, due to a combination of its own rhetorical choices and various historical turns, become largely bereft of the ongoing production of significant scholarship concerning its own history and doctrine (...) (leaving aside for the moment the case of Korea). This is juxtaposed with an academic scholarly tradition, generated from its own radically different historical roots that has a historical-philological orientation that ends up being almost completely disconnected from the concerns of the practitioner within the tradition, be she/he a monastic or lay adherent. What is further interesting about this situation is the extent to which it has, despite its peculiarity, come to be taken for granted as normative—at least within Western and Japanese scholarship. (shrink)
Courtesy seems to be an essential part of budō , the Japanese martial ways. Yet there is no prima facie relationship between fighting and courtesy. Indeed, we might think that violence and aggression are antithetical to etiquette and care. By situating budō within the three great Japanese traditions of Shintō, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism, this article reveals the intimate relationship between courtesy and the martialarts. It suggests that courtesy cultivates, and is cultivated by, purity of (...) work and deed, mutually beneficial cooperation, and loving brutality. These individual and social virtues are not only complementary but also essential to budō. (shrink)
While there has been a surge in scholarship on Imperial Way Buddhism (kōdō Bukkyō) in the past several decades, little attention has been paid, particularly in Western scholarship, to the life and work of Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), the most prominent and sophisticated postwar critic of the role of Buddhism, and particularly Zen, in modern Japanese militarism. By way of a thorough and critical investigation of Ichikawa’s critique, Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen’s Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics by (...) Christopher Ives seeks to provide answers to a number of important questions regarding Zen ethics in the context of modern Japan. Particularly fruitful is Ives’ discussion, in chapter 7, of the .. (shrink)
In heidegger's philosophy, Getting back to the ground of metaphysics--Transcending metaphysics--Entails a transcendence of the ordinary function of human consciousness. Zen's transcendence however--Especially with regard to subject-Object duality--Is much more radical than heidegger's. Even the late heidegger, Heidegger iii, Presents his "ereignis" as a third, Appropriating ontological link, Existing beyond being and nonbeing. But in zen this would be classified as "relative" "sunyata", Not "absolute" "sunyata", Which is neither relative nor relational but paradoxical to the extent that it does not (...) even have itself. And in view of heidegger's concern--Obsession--With dread, His "homecoming" itself is questionable. Zen would say that heidegger's difficulty, Right to the end, Was that he was still thinking metaphysically, Despite his effort otherwise; moreover, That his thinking was never genuinely transmetaphysical but at best quasi-Metaphysical. (shrink)
It is a perennial theme in the literature on environmental ethics that the exploitation of the environment is the result of a blindness to (or perhaps a refusal to recognize) the intrinsic value of natural beings. The general story here is that Western traditions of thought have tended to accord natural beings value only to the extent that they prove useful to humans, that they have tended to see nature as only instrumentally valuable. By contrast, it is said that a (...) new, environmentally friendly understanding of the world would value nature 'for its own sake', would conceive natural beings as having intrinsic value. In the light of such an understanding, the oak tree, for instance, would be seen not merely as a source of timber or shade or as a decoration for the front lawn, but as valuable 'in itself', as having an intrinsic value that ought to be respected (see further, O'Neill 1993, chapter 2). (shrink)