Thread: BUDO and ZEN?
01-02-2009, 17:58 #1
BUDO and ZEN?
I have explored more sites. This is very provocative and serious issue. Some 20 years ago I was young enthusiast thinking and writing about Buddhism, particularly ZEN. Later on, I turned back to my atheism. Meantime, I keep practicing martial arts of Japanese origin (I deliberately not say "Japanese martial arts", there is a difference), insisting all the time that ZEN is essentially NOT Buddhism, is NOT ethical and is unnecessary for modern budo ("martial way" - or call it "SpotsuDO" practitioner.
I wonder if there are more well expirienced martial artists and teachers who are in "budo" for decades like me and who also share my views? For example, we stili do mokuso on our classes, but - is it really of any use, or is it just a sequel from old ZEN influence?
Sometimes I believe ZEN was used as an additional tool to brainwash the samurai...
01-03-2009, 00:03 #2
I believe that there is a bit of a misunderstanding of what "Zen" is here..and how it relates to Buddhism...and how either of them relate to national politics...or martial arts."Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant." - Tsukahara Bokuden.
"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun Tzu
01-03-2009, 07:37 #3
- David Craik
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I think the influence of Zen on the samurai is often overstated, and that state-supported shrine Shinto was likely more to blame for the fanatical state of Imperial Japan. This is what taught that Japan was 'the land of the gods' and that the Emperor was divine, not Buddhism.
I am not Buddhist, nor do I see that Zen or even Mikkyo Buddhism is neccesary to practice budo. I don't see that it is 'unethical' either though. Intensive Buddhist training was hardly visited upon active warriors, as for a taisho or daimyo this would obviously be a waste of time for a nearly constant state of war where warriors didn't last very long anyway. They wanted men that could kill the enemy and advance their power, not guys that could recite sutras. Oda burned monks to death by the hundreds, if not thousands.
The 'brainwashing' was more a result of the feudal and national Shinto culture than due to any form of Buddhism in my opinion. "Zen" is simply the translation of "Chan" Buddhism in China..it's not expressly Japanese. Yet they don't seem particularly "brainwashed" past the normal period Confucianist society.
Last edited by David Craik; 01-03-2009 at 13:06.