Zen and patriotism

Viach
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Zen and patriotism

Post by Viach » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm

Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
P.S. Did Zen Buddhists participate in the Second World War?

humble.student
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by humble.student » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:18 pm

Addressing the post-script: See Brian Victoria's books.

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Astus
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Astus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:44 pm

Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
It depends on one's level of Buddhism. For ordinary people they are compatible, as long as one maintains the precepts. For those with bodhisattva motivation, it is something to be left behind for the sake of universal compassion and unbiased view.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Viach
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Viach » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:51 pm

humble.student wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:18 pm
Addressing the post-script: See Brian Victoria's books.
Have you read the books? What does he think about my topic in brief?

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Yavana
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Yavana » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:43 pm

For what my input on the topic is worth, I think the point of using Zen during WWII was that the skill of dissolving all of one's emotions, (and for that matter, any ideas that might bring guilt, remorse, or hesitation,) into shunyata and acting with single-minded concentration was useful in war. AFAIK, Zen was appropriated as a kind of ideological tool which doesn't really "support" or "not support" patriotism. Haven't read the books listed but I did research the topic to an extent.

Matylda
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Matylda » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:00 pm

Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
P.S. Did Zen Buddhists participate in the Second World War?
As human beings? of course they are... most Americn zen buddhist whom I met, were very much patriots. Very American whatever political or ideaolgical option they had. People are simply connected to one or the other country and it concerns their safety etc.
it was interesting to meet friends from two countries between which broke war.. in Europe actually.. both parties were rather nationalist like and since I met them before on few occasions it was kind of surprise to see very much conflicted and aggressive towards each other.. zen or not zen, does not matter.. poeple have emotions and needs... therefore they will be kind of emotional about their countries.

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Grigoris
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Grigoris » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:27 pm

Matylda wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:00 pm
People are simply connected to one or the other country and it concerns their safety etc.
Connected or attached?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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KeithA
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by KeithA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:40 pm

Matylda wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:00 pm
Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
P.S. Did Zen Buddhists participate in the Second World War?
As human beings? of course they are... most Americn zen buddhist whom I met, were very much patriots. Very American whatever political or ideaolgical option they had. People are simply connected to one or the other country and it concerns their safety etc.
it was interesting to meet friends from two countries between which broke war.. in Europe actually.. both parties were rather nationalist like and since I met them before on few occasions it was kind of surprise to see very much conflicted and aggressive towards each other.. zen or not zen, does not matter.. poeple have emotions and needs... therefore they will be kind of emotional about their countries.
Sigh...it would be good to increase the sample size before making such a remarkabley ignorant statement.

As to the op, someone once said words to the effect of nationalism being the disease of mankind. Seem about right to me. The direction of practice is to help the world, and patriotism is pretty much the polar opposite direction. To be honest, “patriots “ scare the crap out of me.

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Grigoris
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Grigoris » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:52 pm

KeithA wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:40 pm
To be honest, “patriots “ scare the crap out of me.
For me the problem with patriotism is not so much the "loving where you are from" bit , but the "hating where everybody else is from" aspect. Most so-called patriots are at best parochialists and at worst nationalists.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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anjali
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by anjali » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:24 pm

Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
P.S. Did Zen Buddhists participate in the Second World War?
One of the more interesting stories I know about Buddhism and patriotism comes from an introduction to the book, The Mirror of Zen: The Classic Guide to Buddhist Practice by Zen Master So Sahn. But the story is not so much about Buddhism and patriotism per se, but about Buddhism and action to preserve the Dharma. The relevant excerpt:
Japan invaded Korea in 1592, and began a bloody march up and down the peninsula, destroying its greatest masterpieces or looting them and sending them off to Japan. The Korean people, long schooled by Confucian mores against the training of a standing army, were absolutely powerless in the face of this onslaught, with barely any fighting force. Marauding invaders moved throughout the cities and countryside with total impunity, its women, innumerable cultural masterpieces, and greatest artisans carted off to Japan. The nation was on the verge of collapse.

Until that time, Confucian leaders had been suppressing Buddhism, which had been the state religion for many centuries, until the rise of Confucian government. But with many thousands of monks confined to vast monasteries, the government had no choice: The highly disciplined training and organization of Buddhist monastic communities provided the only chance for the royal Confucian government—constantly on the run from the tightening noose of Japanese aggression—to mount any kind of effective defense. It was a pool of manpower not to be overlooked.
Confucian leaders appealed to the most influential monk of the time to bring this extraordinary resource to the aid of the nation, but there was little chance of success. How could men schooled in the tenets of compassion and non-harming be convinced to participate in the defense of the nation, the state—a worldly entity admittedly part of the artificial world of samsaric appearances?

Master So Sahn was known as a reconciler of seeming opposites. He had unified the Zen meditation and Sutra schools, despite their deep-rooted differences. Could he reconcile the mortal peril of the nation with a monastic tradition based squarely on teachings that emphasized compassion and non-harming, much less avoiding killing any life?

Approached by court officials in his solitary retirement—some of the very officials charged with carrying out the suppression of Buddhism—Great Master So Sahn reflected deeply on the dilemma. Considering the uniqueness and depth of the Korean Buddhist tradition, he knew that if the nation were to fall, the world would potentially lose a vessel of the Dharma that was greater than merely the loss of a government or a state or even a particular race. He quickly determined that, for the sake of preserving this unique treasure of Dharma that was Korean Buddhism, he had to protect the culture and the nation that had built and sustained it.

At the age of sixty-nine, and with great heaviness hanging in his heart for the unavoidable suffering that would certainly result from his decision, Master So Sahn traveled the length and breadth of the country, raising an army of thousands of monk soldiers in the cause of justice and loyalty. Their discipline and fortitude and dedication to a singular goal were qualities that changed the course of the invasion. The Japanese were overwhelmed at the sight of these legions of Buddhist monks marching through the countryside, defending their country yet committing no atrocities against their invaders. Those attackers who had the good fortune to fall into the hands of Master So Sahn’s army were not beheaded or even tortured (as was the minimum custom afforded most prisoners of war in those days), but treated with humanity and compassion. And yet it must be said that the fighting prowess of this “monk army” was up to the power of the Japanese invaders, and even surpassed it in several major battles.

Master So Sahn and his vast monk army were a constant thorn in the side of the Japanese, and contributed greatly to the early withdrawal of Japanese forces from the Korean peninsula. ...
Image

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KeithA
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by KeithA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:13 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:52 pm
KeithA wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:40 pm
To be honest, “patriots “ scare the crap out of me.
For me the problem with patriotism is not so much the "loving where you are from" bit , but the "hating where everybody else is from" aspect. Most so-called patriots are at best parochialists and at worst nationalists.
Agreed. As you said above, attachment is problem.

Matylda
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Matylda » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:49 am

everyone has attachments. To the country or to the view it does not matter. humankind is sick by its nature, isnt it? One who by chance is zen buddhist or any other budhist is no exception. when there is a feeling of possession there will be always problem and it is. I have never met anyone free of it. Not a single person. I am quite sure that in the situation of danger for ones own country 99% of buddhists would be pretty 'patriotic'. I met zen buddhists from Balkans etc. and there was no even single one free of those emotions when they spoke about war between Balkan countries in the 90's. Just very recent event.

stevie
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by stevie » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 pm

Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
I am not a Zen buddhist but I would be astonished if loving one's own family/tribe and homeland should be ethically 'bad'.

Matylda
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Matylda » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:27 pm

stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 pm
Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
I am not a Zen buddhist but I would be astonished if loving one's own family/tribe and homeland should be ethically 'bad'.
:D

i remember meeting well known Tibetan Rinpoche who in the end of teachings asked al to chant their respective anthem, there were American, Isreali, German and some other European anthems. :)

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Grigoris
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:13 pm

stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 pm
Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
I am not a Zen buddhist but I would be astonished if loving one's own family/tribe and homeland should be ethically 'bad'.
Generally speaking, in Buddhism, attachment is viewed as something negative.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Matylda
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Matylda » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:45 pm

non-attachment as people understand it now leads to pure negativism and finally to nihilistic views.
it is for sure not mahayana teaching. neither zen mahayana.

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Grigoris
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:50 pm

Matylda wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:45 pm
non-attachment as people understand it now leads to pure negativism and finally to nihilistic views.
No. I do believe you are talking about aversion. Which generally speaking, in Buddhism, is viewed as something negative.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Astus
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Astus » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:16 pm

Matylda wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:45 pm
non-attachment as people understand it now leads to pure negativism and finally to nihilistic views.
it is for sure not mahayana teaching. neither zen mahayana.
What do you base that on?

"The essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances. The sutras say, Detachment is enlightenment because it negates appearances."
(Bodhidharma: Wake-Up Sermon)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Viach
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by Viach » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:42 am

Patriotism or Peace
by Leo Tolstoy :
…the blindness in our time of the nations that extol patriotism, bring up their young generations in the superstition of patriotism, and, at the same time, do not wish for the inevitable consequence of patriotism – war – has, it seems to me, reached such a level that the simplest reflection, which begs for utterance in the mouth of every unprejudiced man, is sufficient in order that men may see the crying contradiction in which they are… I have several times had occasion to write about patriotism and about its absolute incompatibility, not only with the teaching of Christ in its ideal sense, but even with the lowest demands of morality in a Christian society… My ideas have frequently been repeated in an abbreviated form, and, instead of retorting to them, it was added that they were nothing but cosmopolitanism – as though this word “cosmopolitanism” unanswerably overthrew all my arguments.
(Tolstoy speaks about Christianity, but the same can be said about Buddhism, I think)

stevie
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Re: Zen and patriotism

Post by stevie » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:58 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:13 pm
stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 pm
Viach wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 pm
Is Zen Buddhism compatible with patriotism: after all, in the Buddhism context, patriotism is only a kind of affection?
I am not a Zen buddhist but I would be astonished if loving one's own family/tribe and homeland should be ethically 'bad'.
Generally speaking, in Buddhism, attachment is viewed as something negative.
If love is categorically equated with attachment then the cultivation of love in buddhism would be a cultivation of attachment. Therefore I do no think that loving one's own family/tribe as a buddhist has to be necessarily attachment.

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