Zen at War (War and Peace Library)

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9780742539273: Zen at War (War and Peace Library)
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A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars, Brian Victoria shows that Zen served as a powerful foundation for the fanatical and suicidal spirit displayed by the imperial Japanese military. At the same time, the author recounts the dramatic and tragic stories of the handful of Buddhist organizations and individuals that dared to oppose Japan's march to war. He follows this history up through recent apologies by several Zen sects for their support of the war and the way support for militarism was transformed into 'corporate Zen' in postwar Japan. The second edition includes a substantive new chapter on the roots of Zen militarism and an epilogue that explores the potentially volatile mix of religion and war. With the increasing interest in Buddhism in the West, this book is as timely as it is certain to be controversial.

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From the Back Cover:

Zen at War is a wake-up call for all Buddhists. Brian Victoria has shown in a passionate and well documented way that Buddhism is not immune to the kind of distortions that have been used throughout human history by virtually all of the worlds religions to justify so-called holy wars.
John Daido Loori, Roshi, Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery Author of The Heart of Being

Zen at War is a stunning contribution to our understanding of Japanese militarism and the broader issue of war responsibility as it continues to be addressed (and ignored) in contemporary Japan. Brian Victoria's great sensitivity to the perversion and betrayal of Buddhism's teachings about compassion and non-violence makes his indictment of the role played by Imperial Way Buddhists in promoting ultranationalism and aggression all the more strikingand all the more saddening.
Professor John W. Dower, Harvard University Author of War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

In this carefully documented study, Brian Victoria discloses the incredible intellectual dishonesty of Japanese Buddhists who perverted their religion to a jingoistic doctrine of support of the emperor and imperial expansion during the period 1868-1945. Good job! We must face this dark side of our heritage squarely.
Robert Aitken, Roshi, Honolulu Diamond Sangha Author of The Mind of Clover and The Practice of Perfection

About the Author:

Brian D. Victoria is a Soto Zen priest and director of the Buddhist Studies Program in Japan at Antioch College. He has published widely in both Japanese and English, including Zen Master Dogen, which he co-authored, and Zen War Stories.

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9780742539266: Zen at War (2nd Edition)

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ISBN 10:  0742539261 ISBN 13:  9780742539266
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006
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9780834804050: Zen at War

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