Zen at War coverThere’s been a lot of debate about the role of Japanese religious establishments during World War II since the 1997 publication of Brian Victoria’s Zen at War. Victoria’s investigations cast what many considered to be an unwelcome spotlight on the complicity of many religious figures revered in Japan and abroad. Scholar and Shin Buddhist priest Kemmyo Taira Sato responded to the part of Victoria’s criticism that concerns D. T. Suzuki in the journal The Eastern Buddhist.

A PDF of Sato’s complete article, which runs to 60 pages, is here. Nelson Foster and Gary Snyder followed up Sato’s article with a piece in the Summer 2010 issue of Tricycle.

We set up a discussion forum at the Tricycle Community to provide a safe and civil space for the debate to continue, and it has. The point of this, of course, is not to engage in Buddhist fisticuffs, but rather to examine our shared past and bring the truth to light in an open-minded, open-hearted way.

So far, Clark Strand and Victoria have discussed the World War II imprisonment of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the founder of Soka Gakkai. Victoria has promised a fuller response to Foster and Snyder.

Join the discussion here. (You’ll need to register for the Tricycle Community, but it’s easy—and free.)

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