Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Whit Blauvelt

    April 13, 2023 at 5:07 pm

    Just read the Tricycle article. Thanks. D.T. Suzuki’s translation of the Diamond Sutra deeply impressed me as a teen. The tie between Zen and the samuri goes back centuries — they were always its chief sponsors in Japan. An argument in favor of this tie is the claim that Japan under the Shogunate (samuri rule rather than imperial) was a long period of relative peace. It was under the imperial restoration that Japan became so dangerously imperialist, with the cult of the emperor. Meanwhile for the broader Japanese population, the more attractive Buddhism was always the Pure Land variant, not Zen.

    I’m named after an uncle shot down by the Japanese over Taiwan. His father had been partner to a Japanese expatriate in New York. They were on a business trip in Tokyo for the ’22 earthquake. My dad was in Japan after the surrender, with the Navy. On the other side of my family, a cousin now maintains our national bonzai collection in DC. I was fortunate to attend a series of Maezumi Roshi’s lectures on Dogen Zenji back in the ’70s, which were wonderful.

    In the context of neo-feudalism, we might discuss whether we’re best with different varieties of RH-restoring spiritual practices, an equivalent of Zen for the elite, and Pure Land for the masses.