My topic concerns the martialarts – or at least the East Asian martialarts, such as karatedo, taekwondo, kendo, wushu. To what extent what I have to say applies to other martialarts, such as boxing, silat, capoeira, I leave as an open question. I will illustrate much of what I have to say with reference to karatedo, since that is the art with which I am most familiar; but I am sure that (...) matters are much the same with other East Asian martialarts. (shrink)
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)
The first book to focus on the intersection of Western philosophy and the Asian martialarts, _Striking Beauty_ comparatively studies the historical and philosophical traditions of martialarts practice and their ethical value in the modern world. Expanding Western philosophy's global outlook, the book forces a theoretical reckoning with the concerns of Chinese philosophy and the aesthetic and technical dimensions of martialarts practice. _Striking Beauty_ explains the relationship between Asian martialarts (...) and the Chinese philosophical traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, in addition to Sunzi's _Art of War_. It connects martialarts practice to the Western concepts of mind-body dualism and materialism, sports aesthetics, and the ethics of violence. The work ameliorates Western philosophy's hostility toward the body, emphasizing the pleasure of watching and engaging in martialarts, along with their beauty and the ethical problem of their violence. (shrink)
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 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.
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 now-global phenomenon of Asian martialarts traces back to something that began in China. The idea the Chinese communicated was the dual cultivation of the spiritual and the martial, each perfected in the other, with the proof of perfection being an effortless mastery of violence. I look at one phase of the interaction between Asian martialarts and Chinese thought, with a reading of the Zhuangzi 莊子 and the Daodejing 道德經 from a martial (...)arts perspective. I do not claim that the authors knew about martialarts. It was not Daoist masters who took up martialarts, but martialarts masters who, at a specific time, turned to Daoism to explain the significance of their art. Today, though, Daoist concepts are ubiquitous in martialarts literature, and a reading of these classics from a martialarts perspective shows how they lend themselves to philosophical thinking about this practice. (shrink)
A key point of feminist moral philosophy is that social and political conditions continue to work against women’s ability to flourish as moral agents. By pointing to how violence against women undermines both autonomy and integrity I uncover a significant means through which women are undermined in society. My focus is on violence against women as a pervasive, inescapable social condition that women can counter through self-defence training.
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)
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 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)
Zen and Japanese Culture is one of the twentieth century's leading works on Zen, and a valuable source for those wishing to understand its concepts in the context of Japanese life and art. In simple, often poetic, language, Daisetz Suzuki describes his conception of Zen and its historical evolution. He connects Zen to the philosophy of the samurai, and subtly portrays the relationship between Zen and swordsmanship, haiku, tea ceremonies, and the Japanese love of nature. Suzuki's contemplative work is enhanced (...) by anecdotes, poetry, and illustrations showing silk screens, calligraphy, and examples of architecture. Since its original publication in 1938, this important work has played a major role in shaping conceptions of Zen's influence on Japanese traditional arts. Richard Jaffe's introduction acquaints a new generation of readers with Suzuki's life and career in both Japan and America. Jaffe discusses how Zen and Japanese Culture was received upon its first publication and analyzes the book in light of contemporary criticism, especially by scholars of Japanese Buddhism. (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)
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.
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)
Although women have long been participants in martialarts and other contact sports, the introduction of a women’s division in the Ultimate Fighting Challenge in 2012 brought women in combat sports into the media spotlight in an arguably unprecedented way. Yet, the increasing acceptance of women’s participation in combat sports does not necessarily mean that these sports are equally accessible to people of all genders. This article, extending insights from Iris Marion Young’s “Throwing Like a Girl,” will argue (...) that the modalities of feminine bodily existence pose barriers to women’s success in combat sports. Young discusses ways in... (shrink)
Barry Allen draws on his practical experience with a range of martial-arts traditions and his academic training in philosophy as he investigates the relationship between Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, and Asian martialarts. The writing is accessible, and the work as a whole provides insights in this area of interdisciplinary philosophy that will be of interest to martial artists and academics from a range of disciplines. Allen writes that his purpose is not to develop a (...) comprehensive philosophy of the martialarts but to instead study “selected features of Asian martialarts practice and tradition from a comparative philosophical perspective, identifying qualities that seem to me to... (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.
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)
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)
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)
Steven Heine’s latest book on the history of kōans, Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Kōan in Zen Buddhism, is his second monograph dedicated to a single kōan case record. The author’s first such offering, Shifting Shape, Shaping Text: Philosophy and Folklore in the Fox Kōan, focused on the second case record of the thirteenth-century Gateless Gate collection. Published at the end of the 1990s the text was a response, in many ways, to the two authors who dominated (...) the field of Zen studies during that decade, Bernard Faure and William Bodiford, particularly in regard to the historical relation between monastic Chan/Zen and popular forms of supernatural belief and practice... (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)
Buddhism first came to the West many centuries ago through the Greeks, who also influenced some of the culture and practices of Indian Buddhism. As Buddhism has spread beyond India, it has always been affected by the indigenous traditions of its new homes. When Buddhism appeared in America and Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, it encountered contemporary psychology and psychotherapy, rather than religious traditions. Since the 1990s, many efforts have been made by Westerners to analyze (...) and integrate the similarities and differences between Buddhism and it therapeutic ancestors, particularly Jungian psychology. Taking Japanese Zen-Buddhism as its starting point, this volume is a collection of critiques, commentaries, and histories about a particular meeting of Buddhism and psychology. It is based on the Zen Buddhism and Psychotherapy conference that took place in Kyoto, Japan, in 1999, expanded by additional papers, and includes: new perspectives on Buddhism and psychology, East and West cautions and insights about potential confusions traditional ideas in a new light. It also features a new translation of the conversation between Schin'ichi Hisamatsu and Carl Jung which took place in 1958. _Awakening and Insight_ expresses a meeting of minds, Japanese and Western, in a way that opens new questions about and sheds new light on our subjective lives. It will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and analytical psychology, as well as anyone involved in Zen Buddhism. (shrink)
Return to the ordinary as extraordinary has become the signature motif for the Emersonian perfectionism of Stanley Cavell in contemporary American philosophy. In this article I develop Cavell's notion of “the ordinary” as an intercultural theme for exploring aspects of traditional Chinese philosophy, especially Confucianism and Chan Buddhism. I further use Cavell's philosophy of the ordinary to examine Sino-Japanese thought as found in the Zen tradition of Japan and its reformulation by Nishida Kitarô in modern Japanese philosophy. It will (...) be seen how for both Cavell and Sino-Japanese philosophy, perfection is achieved not by transcendence of the ordinary, but through continuous return to and affirmation of the ordinary as extraordinary. I thus endeavor to illuminate the quotidian as articulated by Cavell, Chinese philosophy, and the Sino-Japanese 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. 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)
Zen students described their experiences when working with koans, and a phenomenological method was used to identify the structure of those experiences. Zen koans are statements or stories developed in China and Japan by Zen masters in order to help students transform their conscious awareness of the world. Eight participants including 3 females and 5 males from Southern California with 1 to 30 years of experience in Zen answered open-ended questions about koan practice in one tape-recorded session for each participant. (...) Refl ection yielded the following thematic clusters: (a) motivation, (b) approaches to working with koans, (c) experiences while working with koans, (d) experiences of insight into koans, (e) working with a teacher, and (f ) transformation. Participants described positive transformations including better control of emotions and concentration, better awareness of prejudices and biases with the ability to suppress those types of habitual associations, and a new relation to and acceptance of spiritual questions and doubts. (shrink)