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)
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)
Review of Leesa S. Davis, Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism: Deconstructive Modes of Spiritual Inquiry Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0297-1 Authors David R. Loy, Boulder, CO, United States Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527.
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)
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)
Part I 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)
Prof. Matsumoto Shirō and his colleague, Prof. Hakamaya Noriaki, have together produced a number of lengthy essays on a theme called hihan bukkyō (批判仏教), in English, "Critical Buddhism."1 At the core of their project is the conviction that the concepts of tathāgatagarbha and innate enlightenment (本覺思想) are alien to Buddhism, due to the fact that those concepts imply a belief in a hypostasized self--a type of atman, which Buddhism originally and distinctively sought to refute through the conceptual (...) framework of pratītya-samutpāda (dependent origination). (shrink)
Zen Training is a comprehensive handbook for zazen , seated meditation practice, and an authoritative presentation of the Zen path. The book marked a turning point in Zen literature in its critical reevaluation of the enlightenment experience, which the author believes has often been emphasized at the expense of other important aspects of Zen training. In addition, Zen Training goes beyond the first flashes of enlightenment to explore how one lives as well as trains in Zen. The author also draws (...) many significant parallels between Zen and Western philosophy and psychology, comparing traditional Zen concepts with the theories of being and cognition of such thinkers as Heidegger and Husserl. (shrink)
To live life fully and die serenely--surely we all share these goals, so inextricably entwined. Yet a spiritual dimension is too often lacking in the attitudes, circumstances, and rites of death in modern society. Kapleau explores the subject of death and dying on a deeply personal level, interweaving the writings of Western religions with insights from his own Zen practice, and offers practical advice for the dying and their families.
1 Be Still Sitting is a natural slowing down of this rushing, self-centered, mind-body chattering that we often live. This is the practice of realization, which is what we are, and this practice allows us to be who we are.
would probably have taken over the translating profession by now. At best, computer translations read awkwardly, and some of them are downright humorous. Precise, word-for-word, humanrendered translations fare no better.
A personal leadership fable on applying principles of Zen to work and life choices The Shibumi Strategy is a little book about a big breakthrough. It tells the story of a hardworking family man who finds himself in crisis when his company closes. Through his struggle, and guidance from unlikely sources, he learns subtle lessons in the form of "personal zen" principles, coming to understand that it is often the involuntary challenge, the setbacks, that harbor the power to transform. When (...) approached as an opportunity - no easy task-unforeseen trials can sometimes result in an altogether new lease on life. Shows how "personal leadership" can lead to real (and not always easy) breakthroughs Includes key lessons on commitment, preparation, struggle, breakthrough, and transformation Is based on Shibumi, a Japanese word without literal definition the describes the height of personal excellence, elegant performance, and effortless effectiveness For those struggling with personal breakthroughs, The Shubimi Strategy offers a new way to face work and life challenges for balanced solutions. (shrink)