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Within Japan Proper

Within the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere

After the Restoration of the Meiji the popularity of Zen began to wane, and for some thirty years remained in inactivity; but since the Russo-Japanese War its revival has taken place. And now it is looked upon as an ideal faith, both for a nation full of hope and energy, and for a person who has to fight his own way in the strife of life. Bushido, or the code of chivalry, should be observed not only by the soldier in the battlefield, but by every citizen in the struggle for existence. If a person be a person and not a beast, then he must be a samurai brave, generous, upright, faithful, and manly, full of self respect and self-confidence, and at the same time full of the spirit of self-sacrifice. NukariyaKaiten (1867-1934) Religion of the Samurai: A Study of Zen Philosophy and Discipline in China and Japan There was a time when the phrase for the sake of the state wielded such a power as to suppress all other considerations, making the people subservient to the despotic will of statesmen, and even the spiritual leaders had meekly to submit to their sometimes arrogant and inflexible orders. This was all right if the state was representative of things that are good, just and humane; but as history tells us, no state has ever proved in the past to be such a symbol. In fact, every one of the states that prospered and disappeared, or that are now prospering, has been anything but symbolic of justice and love and liberty . OtaniSonyu (1886-1939) Administrative head of Nishi Honganji of the Shin Sect If the East is one and there is something that differentiates it from the West, the differentia must be sought in the thought embodied in Buddhism. For it is in the Buddhist thought and in no other that India, China, and Japan representing the East, could be united as one . When the East as unity is made to confront the West, Buddhism supplies the bond. D.T. Suzuki

Organized Resistance: Shinko BukkyoSeinenDomei (Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism) 1931 1937 - Seno Giro -Statement of Principles
We revere Buddha Shakyamuni whose character is unexcelled among human

Individual Resistance

beings. We seek to make possible the construction of a Buddha Land according to the teachings of faith in and love for our fellow human beings. We recognize that all existing sects are corpses which desecrate the spirit of Buddhism. We look forward to the elimination of this type of Buddhism and the promotion of a Buddhism consistent with the new age. We recognize that the organization of our current capitalist economy is contrary to the spirit of Buddhism and injurious to the well-being of the masses. Reforming this, we look forward to the coming of a new society.

Priests, war resistors, and war crime resistors Buddhism and the states policies must be united Without this it would be

like the situation in England where religion and the state were going their separate ways. This would be troubling. I therefore call on both Buddhists and Shintoists to pay close attention to this issue and strive to become one with the state. Prime Minster Hayashi Senjuro

Buddhism and the Imperial State


Buddhism and War

Saeki Join When this faith in the great compassion and mercy of the Tathagata is applied to the political world, there is not a single member of the Japanese nation who is not a child of the emperor This expresses in the political realm the ideal of a system centered on the emperor. Fukuda Gyoei Japan is where pure Mahayana [Buddhism] was to be found. ShiioBenkyo Nation Protecting Buddhism Buddhism in India collapsed due to [the nature of] Indian culture. Buddhism in China collapsed because it ran directly contrary to the history and nature of the Chinese state, and was therefore only able to produce a few mountain temples. On the other hand, thanks to the rich cultivation Japanese Buddhism received on Japanese soil, it gradually developed into that which the Buddhist teaching was aiming toward. Nichiren Sect Imperial-way Buddhism is the condensed expression of the divine unity of sovereign and Buddha. Shin Sect the Shin sect takes the Law of the Sovereign as its basis, teaching to reverently and faithfully follow imperial commands without question. HayashiyaTomjiro and ShimakageChikai Myowa Kai - In order to establish eternal peace in East Asia, arousing the great benevolence and compassion of Buddhism, we are sometimes accepting and sometimes forceful. We now have no choice but to exercise the benevolent forcefulness of killing one in order that many may live (issatsutasho). This is something which Mahayana Buddhism approves of only with the greatest of seriousness Furukawa Taigo All Buddhists in the country! Resolutely arise and participate in this rarest of holy enterprises. What difference does it make what the League of Nations does? Just who do England and the United States think they are anyway? The arrow has already left the bow. Do not hesitate in the least. A firm will makes even demons run away. The only thing is to push on resolutely.

Zen and the Warrior Ethos

Zen and the Imperial Military

Emptiness, realism, atheism and self-reliance, practical stance, plain and frugal life, active and dynamic force Seki Seisetsu The true significance of military power is to transcend self-interest, to hope for peace. This is the ultimate goal of the military arts. Whatever the battle may be, that battle is necessarily fought in anticipation of peace. When one learns the art of cutting people down, it is always done with the goal of not having to cut people down, it is always done with the goal of not having to cut people down. The true spirit of Bushido is to make people obey without drawing ones sword and to win without fighting. In Zen ciricles this is called the sword that gives life. Those who possess the sword that kills must on the other hand, necessarily wield the sword which gives life. Stop such foolishness as respecting Confucius, revering Christ, or believing in Shakyamuni! Believe in the emperor, the embodiment of Supreme Truth, the one God of the universe! Revere the emperor for all eternity! Imperial subjects of Japan should not seek their own personal salvation. Rather, their goal should be the expansion of imperial power. Warriors who sacrifice their lives for the emperor will not die. They will live forever. Truly they should be called gods and Buddhas for whom there is no life or death. As far as the power of his practice of the Way is concerned, I believe he [Sugimoto] reached the point where there was no difference between him and the chief abbot of this or that branch [of Zen]. I think that when a person esteems practice, respects the Way, and thoroughly penetrates the self as he did, he is qualified to be the teacher of other Zen practitioners. That is how accomplished he was. In my opinion his practice was complete.

Lieutenant Colonel Sugimoto Goro, the Zen Military Ideal

Sugimotos Zen Master, Yamazaki Ekiju