Sunday, July 10, 2016

a half-assed job

Last night, because I said I would, I read a long-ish and wonderfully-well-researched draft essay about D. T. Suzuki and his involvement in Zen Buddhism and the promotion of totalitarianism both at home in Japan and abroad, among other places, in Nazi Germany.

D.T. Suzuki is/was an expositor of Zen Buddhism in the West. His works and work qualify him in many minds as being worthy of high praise, if not deification. And yet Suzuki aided and abetted the Japanese militarisms in China and on into WWII. Buddhism, of which Suzuki was an expositor of great stature, has a precept that says simply, "don't kill." But Suzuki worked hard to bring the spiritual purity of Zen to the aid of various wars and attitudes.

Anyway, the essay went on and on and on, adducing evidence that might be brought against any religion ... when it comes to war, god (by whatever name) is on our side. The state is to be defended. If mayhem and death are the price, then so be it -- lay on the icing, spiritual and otherwise.

I wasn't much of a copy editor. I couldn't get my mind in the game. I'm tired. Religion as a supporter of the killing it claims to prohibit is just one of those hypocrisies that is not going to end. Everyone wants to do what they want to do and they'll do damned near anything to be well-thought-of for doing it.

Oh well ... something else I did a half-assed job at. As once I cared and was outraged, now I may be glad that others continue to carry the baton. But it's too heavy for me.


  1. Felisha and i passed on the baton a couple weeks back. We handed the control panel for the transgender chat room to a younger and sufficiently skillful individual. We consult and remain as moderators but, i haven't logged in since we surrendered control. The consulting bit is busy enough, emails about this or that problem. The web is so dynamic now that people proofing is just off the table. We left them with a good crew, and a bad outlook regarding tools. We wish them well, hope for the best, etc. We just ran out of gas. We're circling the drain slowly and trimming the to do lists in every way possible. Getting old sucks, but is interesting.

  2. Sounds like someone is trying to make a living by trying to activate critical thought. Commendable.

    I find what seems to be the essential implicit premise disingenuous -- that Buddhism is built on moral absolutism. Buddha himself was clearly not a moral absolutist, even if he seems to have been a rather strict disciplinarian with his closest followers, the monks and nuns.

    As for totalitarianism Buddhism has been both plagued by it and elevated by it over its 2500-odd years.

    If I had a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy, I'd be writing about things like global warming and corporatism and how Buddhist principles may be seen to apply to issues that have an effect on billions around the planet, not about what D.T. said and wrote. With respect to his views onJapanese culture or Zen Buddhism D. T. seems barely relevant to today's prospective Buddhist practitioners or the general public other than, perhaps, to encourage more critical thought in this age of constant instant messaging, instant answers via internet searches, and glib blogs.