First ever English translation of the Hitsuki Shinji

I cannot claim to have made the first translation of the Hitsuki Shinji. It was made in March 1949 by unknown of Okamoto’s followers. Unfortunately I don’t have the whole thing. The top half of it was printed in 『岡本天明伝』 in 2012 and I would have to go to the National Diet Library to see the rest. I don’t have time to do that

[edit: April 2015 — Today I had the time to go to the National Diet Library and inspect the original document. I’ve added some of the remaining English text to the transcript below.]

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SANZENSEKAI — APRTL 8, 99

What is Hikarikyokwai Society?

Jehova revealed Himself to those elects of old Judea in the times when He felt that it is necessary to do so. Books of Moses were written like that and those books of prophets the same. However, if we limit that such a revelation could be given only to them, St. John’s revelation as the last and never afterward, doesn’t it sound unreasonable? Why can’t Jehova have any elects among those nations which are not Jews? Isn’t hat also thinkable that God is willing to reveal Himself to the Asiatic nations sometimes?

Swedenbrog had to explain exactly the same sort of thing while he was woking hard to write down what the Lord has shown him in 18th century. Zeal of these notes is to introduce that we have the same sort of case which has taken place here in Japan since June of 1944.

It was in the suite of Shinto shrine Mahgata, in Kohzu-mura, Chiba prefecture, when a Japanese painter Mr. Okamoto was there. He got a kind of shock and painful impulses to write. He wrote down what he himself could not read at all at the beginning. But it was much afterward that those writings were found to be quite valuable.

They can be said a revelation of Ameno Hitsukunokami dictated by Hitsukunokami, that is a kind of divine revelation that was given to Japanese nation at the close of the war. However, we are convinced that this revelation is not addressed only to Japanese alone but to whole nation of the world, and that’s the reason the Hikarikyokwai Society started to publish this tabloid both in English and Japanese.

Concerning the reasons why it can be said divine revelation addressed to the whole nation of the world, shall be understood with the study of the said revelation itself, which would be introduced here afterwards. However, some characteristic points of the said revelation is that it shows very intimate relationship between so called divine scriptures of the world.

There are many who found very deep truth in it and who are convinced that things shown through the revelation are true and the commandments written in it must be fulfilled. Hikarikyokwai Society is the name to the group of such people.

Following is the English translation of another part from the revelation. [This is from Book 1, Chapter 1. –AHM]

Behold! Fuji has driven off clouds of chaos, and all heavens are cleared.

The time has come at last when true God of kingdom of maruchon will show His mighty power. Buddhism, Christianity, and even Islamism shall be united for this sacred mission.

There shall be no need of difficult theories nor logics, neither any hardship of livelihood. God will provide you such a happy and merry world, therefore, seek after the truth with earnestness, purifying your spirit in cessantly. Hoewver, there lies a tribulation before the Kingdom of God comes. Unless you are purified and cleansed, you shall not be able to preserve yourself through this tribulation. Becauss this is the tribulation, such as was not since the very beginning of the world to this time, nor shall ever be. And the end of this tribulation shall never be brought unles God’s power is revealed.

Everything that shall happen from now on is absolutely beyond the capacity of human conception.

Kingdom consisted of purified souls shall gain real power, however, kingdom of dirty spirit shall not be able domminant any more.

Cities must be purified and the rustic place must be purifies as well, but the most significant of all is the purification of man.

Example of original writing. 一んねんTけ二〇かmaruchonの三三一四もの一二四キ・T一八〇二もか〇二もか三〇つれ十も四で

English translation from the original writing, illustrated. “This revelation can be understood in the measure of the depth of each soul destined to understand. The time has come the divine truth shall be preached. If not even stones shall take the role of human souls. Let us hear that the nature, mountain river and else, is revealing the divine truth day and night.”

[Bibliography removed for revisions]

Posted: July 24th, 2013 | Kokoro, Secular-Religious


Wang Yangming on Gornahoor

I have published an essay about the Confucian scholar Wang Yangming on Gornahoor.net. Anyone will be able to enjoy this exposition of Traditional doctrine. Below is an appendix to that post.

Yōmeigaku, the study of Yangming’s teachings in Japan, was especially prominent during the period of modernization. During the Russo-Japanese War, Emperor Meiji did a perfect imitation of Evola’s anecdote:

During the Russo-Japanese War, the emperor never felt impelled to offer advice on the conduct of the war, and he rarely revealed his emotions, even when told of Japanese victories. As soon as he learned of the fall of Port Arthur, the vice chief of the general staff, Nagaoka Gaishi, rushed to the palace to inform the emperor. … Nagaoke, too overcome by joy to even wait for the emperor to be seated, declared that serving as the messenger of glorious news was the greatest blessing of his life. Having blurted out these words, he started to make his report. He looked up at the emperor’s face. It was calm and self-possessed, exactly as it always was, not revealing a trace of emotion. During the fifteen or sixteen minutes while Nagaoka described the victory, the emperor nodded almost imperceptibly a few times … Nagaoka was deeply disappointed. [Donald Keene, Meiji and His World, 619]

During that war, the Admiral of the Japanese Navy is known to have carried a stamp with him that read, “A life dedicated to following the example of Yōmei”.

Yōmeigaku was shoved aside after 1945 to make way for foreign ideologies, but it captured the interest of Yukio Mishima. Just before his failed coup d’état, he wrote an article on “Yōmeigaku as a Revolutionary Philosophy”. The newspapers of 1972 were written by young, postwar-educated reporters who had no idea of even the most basic tenets of Yōmeigaku, but that didn’t stop them from blaming the unfamiliar old tradition for driving Mishima to suicidal heroism, and if you Google any of these terms today you will find all sorts of baseless slanders about the philosophy online. This is a shame, because both Japan and the world have much to learn from Wang Yangming

Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Confucius, Kokoro


Foreign shrinekeeper in Shibuya

Green Shinto reports that a European is now a shrinekeeper at a major shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo. This position required top-level appointment.

Unlike Green Shinto, I don’t consider this a “breakthrough” from the Japanese side. Shintoists have theorized about shrines for other nations since the 19th century. Although there was strong opposition from the populace to letting foreigners enter Japan at all, shrinekeepers have never moved to stop anyone from visiting shrines. On the contrary, shrines are considered so nonsectarian that there was no objection to exporting shrine practices to Hawaii, Brazil, Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Recently a shrine was built in Washington with foreigners as its specific mission.

It is certainly a “breakthrough” on the side of the gentleman who had to learn all the norito, though. Good work, Rev. Wiltschko!

Posted: May 4th, 2013 | Kokoro


The Political Philosophy of Confucianism

Over at Gornahoor, I’ve made a rough translation of a short essay by Okawa Shumei, which you may find here: The Political Philosophy of Confucianism

Okawa never read René Guénon and had no connections to him, but as with my earlier Gornahoor posts, things will make a lot more sense if you have read Guénon.

Posted: February 28th, 2013 | Kokoro, Tradition 3 Comments »


Why Japan Has No Identity

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I thought I’d squeeze in another translation before work. This one’s by KURE Tomofusa, in his A Decoction of Language (言葉の煎じ薬, 2010). Kure needs no introduction.

In September 2006, the new Abe cabinet took office. Leftists and revolutionaries denounced him as a hawk and a nationalist, but how did he do really? Starting by confronting the issue of North Korean kidnappings of Japanese, he said things that naturally needed to be said all over Asia. He did, however, use an inordinate amount of loanwords in his inaugural speech; I didn’t think that very patriotic of him.

The one that made me uncomfortable above all was the phrase Country Identity [in English]. In the first place, it’s an oddly invented loan word, and furthermore isn’t the use of a loanword here an affront to Japan’s own “Country Identity”?

I had trouble getting used to the phrase “Country Identity” from the very beginning. It seems like he really just wanted to say “patriotism”, but that would invite a rain of punishment from the leftists and revolutionaries, so he used this ever-so-slightly different “Country Identity” instead.

There are three different words to refer to a country in English. The first is “country”, broadly 国. Its meaning is essentially derived from a place on the earth, and it also means the countryside, with some rural flavor.

The second is nation, which implies 国民, a conglomerate of people.

The third is state, the political 国家.

The Abe cabinet seemed to choose the term “Country” to demonstrate that they were not nationalists but wanted to emphasize Japan’s cultural and historical strong points. But using English to do that is an elementary contradiction.

Identity“, on the other hand, seems like a more necessary borrowing here, because there is no appropriate translation for this word in native Japanese. The root word is form, idem, which in the original Latin meant “sameness”. When we translate its biological and chemical meanings, we have words like “confirmation” and “speciation”. “Identification” of a person or thing is translated into terms like “self-confirmation”, or “self-sameness”, or “self-verification”, or “independent being”, or even “individuality”. None of these words, though, are quite appropriate. Those all simply state that a thing is itself, but we are looking for a term that more approximates “Japanesey” (日本らしさ).

This loanword began being used in the 1980s. In English, of course, it’s been around a lot longer, but when I looked at English-Japanese dictionaries written before the 1980s, along with “the thing in itself”, I saw the term 正体,true form! It was so spot on the mark that I laughed.

The true form of the big Cyclops was a trickster raccoon.

If we translate this “true form” back into English, it would be “identity“!

The foreigner, whose true form could not be established, slipped through airport security.

Here, too, it wouldn’t be strange to use “identity” for true form正体.

It is quite meaningful that the usual Korean translation for “identity” is 正体性 (true-form-ness). I think this is a very powerful word.

You won’t find the term true form in Chinese dictionaries; it was invented in Japan. If you see any Koreans using it, I’m afraid that is a loanword from the colonial period.

But at the same time, I think this term reflects the “form vs. function” thought of the Shushi (Cheng-Zhu 朱子) school. The Shushi school was a branch of Confucianism that was exceedingly systematic and was exceedingly influential in China and Korea as well as Japan. In Korea it grew out of a political system and had an influence on customs and culture as well.

“Form vs. function” thought distinguishes the essence of something from the purposes it is put to. The modern Japanese grammatical terms for uninflected words [“essential words” 体言] and inflected words [“functional words” 用言] are derived from this way of thinking. When we append true æ­£ to form 体 like in the Korean “true-form-ness”, we get a translation for identity that, much more than “self-confirmation” or “self-samedness”, may be meaningfully applied to culture and history.

Posted: February 20th, 2013 | Kokoro 2 Comments »


The Tao of the East and the Last Samurai’s Testament

ShÅ«mei ÅŒkawa is a Japanese religionist, Islam scholar, and class-A war criminal. On the first day of the Tokyo Trials, upon entering the courtroom he yelled nonsense in German, ran around the room, and whacked Prime Minister Tojo on the head, and was shortly found to be insane. While in the mental hospital, he made the first Japanese translation of the Qu’ran. Upon being released, he wrote a religiously oriented memoir, from which I translate two-thirds of this chapter.

Returning to the free spirit of the Japanese, I noted in the past that the word we use today to indicate the European words for “religion” (å®—æ•™) is merely a modern translation of that European concept. In the East, not only the Japanese, but also the Chinese and the Indians had no corresponding word for this concept. Religion is derived from the Latin religio, and there are several theories on the origin of religio, but I consider as with Cicero that it must have come from relegere, “to do a thing scrupulously”. As Cicero proceeds to say, “All matters concerning the gods are said to be practiced religiously,” and therefore, the Romans gave the term religio to those ceremonies honoring the gods. Furthermore, not only the Romans but other nations also thought that the existence of “religion” was derived from these ceremonies. In comparison, in the Chinese Book of History there are three words, é¡ž[resemblance], 禋 [sacrifice], and 望 [hope] which refer to ceremonies for the gods, but there is no generalization for the three, and only in the Book of Rites to we start to see such general words 礼祠 [revere-enshrine] and 祭法[honor-law] which could correspond to religio. In Japanese, the terms matsurigoto [lit. “matters of state”] or kamiwaza [“matters of kami”] express the same idea. In India, the word Rita refers to the successful completion of a ceremony. So, there are words in the East which correspond to the Latin religio, but these are not terms which match the word religion used in the present day. Thus, when the Dutch came to our country as the first emissaries of Western civilization, at that time, the first translators invented new terms like 祭祀 [shrine-revere] or 宗祀 [sect-revere] to correspond to the European word religion.
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Posted: February 19th, 2013 | Kokoro 4 Comments »


Naturalized in Japan

新日本人に訊け!
Yoshinori Kobayashi
Asuka Shinsha, 2011

Yoshirin’s goal here was to interview six foreigners who became Japanese citizens, to ask them what they find so special about Japan, and what direction they hope Japan will take in the future. Obviously he picked people who immigrated to Japan as a political decision and not for mere social reasons. The book is intellectually strong because all of his guests already understand the importance of Japan’s self-identity and its role in the world. Rather than ranting about the need to destroy Japan, as some less socialized and more hate-filled expats do, they discuss how they would strengthen it.

However, while reading the book I realized that it could have been stronger if he added to this mix some ordinary folks who got Japanese wives and are contributing to the gene pool. After all, Japan’s self-identity is determined by its people, so how can we ensure that allegiance to Japan is preserved for children of mixed ethnicity, as Yoshirin hopes it will be for those of Ainu and Burakumin descent? Ordinary expats may be uneducated about Japanese history and how society functions, and would disturb the book’s structure, but through exposure to much greater minds we might get them to open up about their own experiences and hopes.

I will focus on the interview with Bill Totten, since he’s the sole representative of the Anglo-Saxon race. The other interviewees are two Chinese, a Taiwanese, a Tibetan, and a Zainichi Korean, who discuss issues in their own countries that I have little grounds to comment on, but many of the ideas Bill discusses, both on the American and Japanese sides, are things I’ve researched and thought about myself, and the way he orders them into a coherent whole made me consider how I arrange them in my own head. In general, I found the talk rather inspiring, and I wish my Japanese was good enough that I could take it in fully.

Yoshirin opens by informing us that unlike the other interviewees, Bill’s spoken Japanese was rough and lacked fluency, and he had to correct it. There are plenty of smart white expats who never achieve fluency; I worry that I may find myself among them in the future, and certainly I recognized some of my own grammatical simplicity in Bill’s language. I think this is due to the richness of readily available Western media, which can often supply us with news about Japan and even advanced research into Japanese history and culture. If we interact too much in English, we risk missing out on the equal richness and complexity of Japanese society. Anyway, Bill seems to agree with me on that theoretical point, and his Japanese was good enough to have a dynamic conversation with Yoshirin, which is much more than I can say of my own.
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Posted: August 25th, 2011 | Book Reviews, Japan, Kokoro 2 Comments »


Kinjiro was an intelligent and thoughtful person

Sakawa River by Hiroshige

I just watched yet another program on Ninomiya Sontoku, aka Kinjiro, that considers him as a statue. Schools throughout Japan have Kinjiro statues, as do some other institutions and many private individuals. These statues were handed down from previous generations and most people don’t quite know who Kinjiro was besides someone who read a lot of books. I know some variety shows do discuss him as an actual person, but they seem to mostly rattle off stats and figures and argue over whether he was a bureaucrat or an economist, or some asinine thing. I’ve never heard anyone tell the following story:

When Kinjiro was born, the family were really in hard straits. To add to their distress, when Kinjiro was five years old, the Sa[kawa] River overflowed its banks and washed away his father’s land, leaving them in abject poverty.

[…]

When Kinjiro was about twelve years of age, he went to work for a year with a farmer in the neighborhood. At the end of the year, before starting for home, he received, in addition to his board and lodging, a Japanese kimono and about two yen. His mother expected him early and was waiting for him, but when at night he had not returned, she became quite anxious. Shortly after dark he came rushing in, all out of breath, and full of excitement. When his mother reproved him for being late, he told her that in the morning he had received from his master a kimono and two yen, and had immediately set out for home. On the way he had met a man with a lot of little pine trees for sale. The poor man was very disheartened, because he had not succeeded in selling a single tree, and told Kinjiro that unless he could find a buyer he would be very much distressed. Kinjiro was sorry for the man, and an idea struck him whereby he could not only help the man, but could at the same time do the whole community a good service. As we already know, the Sa[kawa] River sometimes overflowed its banks. Kinjiro thought if a couple of rows of pine trees were planted along the banks of the river, and once took root, it would remedy this difficulty. So he bought all the trees and spent the remainder of the day planting them. He felt sure his work would have its reward. To-day those trees are large, and not only support the river bank, but add much to the beauty of the scenery. They stand as a living monument of little Kinjiro’s thoughtfulness.

“Just before the dawn: the life and work of Ninomiya Sontoku” by Robert Cornell Armstrong (1912)

Let’s put aside the fact that Kinjiro gave the fruits of a year’s labor to save a local farmer. What is clear is that the problem Kinjiro solved is one that was also faced by the people of Japan in the 1960s. Rivers in Japan frequently overflow and damage riverside structures. Or, at least, they used to. Nearly all the rivers in Japan have been filled in completely with concrete. Nobody ever thought to plant multiple rows of trees on the riverbanks. The Sakawa River itself has been dammed, and Kinjiro’s surviving trees were almost chopped down by thoughtless bureaucrats; the townspeople saved them.

Kinjiro was beloved by the people of his area because of his wisdom and his big heart. The people of Odawara City where he was born still remember him fondly today, referring to him as “Sontoku-sama”, and honoring the trees he planted there. A few websites therefore relate the story of the planting, but nobody seems to have made this connection with the state of Japan’s rivers today. Would that we had more like Kinjiro, and fewer building statues of him.

Posted: February 11th, 2011 | Kokoro


The Oldest Historiography in Japan

Have you ever had a Japanese person come up to you on the street and tell you about the oldest XYZ in Japan which you can find in this particular area? This happened to me for the second time today. My friends and I were looking vaguely out at the harbor in Dejima, and a complete stranger–naturally, an ojisan–approached us and talked about the oldest Protestant seminary in alllll of Japan which used to be on Dejima but was moved somewhere else. The first time was on my study abroad, when a stranger, also an ojisan, sat next to me on the train holding a binder full of laminated newspaper clippings, ascertained that I didn’t know enough Japanese to comprehend his vital message, and went to tell my program director about how this particular area of Kyoto was in fact the oldest human settlement in Japan, but had been covered up by an official conspiracy.

I reflected on these unusual events after hearing my professor friend say this evening, “It’s not that Japanese people don’t have an opinion about history, but we don’t speak about our opinions.” This is both true and false in extremely important ways. As I understand it so far, not quite knowing enough Japanese to read Beat Takeshi’s History of 20th Century Japan, there are five ways in which Japanese people are interested in history. The first is the usual, bookish memorization of names and dates as taught in middle schools, and keeping any underlying narrative to oneself. The rekijo seem to be mostly of this first category. Indeed, this normal mode of history is purely about facts and has nothing to do with opinions other than those of the “rules-sucks” type.

The second is the myopic obsession with blaming people from history for the problems of today, which has caused endless Japan-bashing. The third is the equally myopic defense of every Japanese person in all of history against the attacks of the critics, which is just as lame. These two types of interpreting history are based on very deeply held opinions, but the one thing people hate to do in these discussions is admit they have an opinion; thus they will present their opinion as an unbiased exposition of the facts, even when this strains credulity, which only adds rancor to the discussion.

The fourth type, just to acknowledge its existence, is the actual opinionated narrative that directly contradicts my professor friend’s statement. I am guessing Beat Takeshi’s book is one such example, based on the Amazon reviews. It is nice to know what Japanese people think about their own history, and even nicer to read it in a book instead of painstakingly exacting it during a conversation. These books are still rare, though.

But the fifth type most interests me, because it is absent from Western historiography. There are a large number of middle-aged men in Japan (and perhaps a rekijo or two) who have scientifically and accurately determined that some whatsit in their hometown is the OLDEST WHATSIT IN ALL JAPAN, and must get the word out about this old whatsit to the entire world, especially notifying any foreigners that happen to come pass through the area. Of course, every country in some way has a mania for the ancient. The only country that has not traditionally obsessed over its own age is India, and even that is now changing. But in Japan this manifests in a unique way. Perhaps these ojisans are continuing that great kokugaku quest to find the purity of ancient times. (Speaking of which, doesn’t that make this historiography predate the other four kinds of historiographies? You know, I think it does!) Perhaps they just have too much free time on their hands, and spend every Sunday patrolling for possible recruits to their cult of the old thingamabob. Who knows? It is something to explore if you ever encounter it in Japan. Just learn Japanese first, because they often don’t know English.

Posted: September 26th, 2010 | Kokoro


Buddhism and the Emerging World Civilization

Today I decided to read every book in my university library with the call number BQ (Buddhism). I don’t have a way to calculate exactly how many titles this is, but I believe there are roughly 2,000 books here. I don’t expect to make 2,000 blog posts, and I expect to do a lot of skimming. However, when I run across a hidden gem, it is my intention to give it the respectful mindfulness it deserves.

Buddhism and the Emerging World Civilization
Southern Illinois University Press, 1996. BQ120.B8123

Opening the first page of my first book, I discover it is written in honor of a man after my own heart, a certain Nolan Pliny Jacobson, who hoped to constructed a life-affirming “world civilization” free of any ideology or belief system. “His writings celebrate all that brings together and brings out the joyful and vibrant qualities of the whole earth and the living creatures that inhabit it.” (xii) How does this optimism translate into practice?

The first writer, an analytic philosopher named Bart Gruzalski, provides an analysis of Buddhist terms in English. Since my readers may be unfamiliar with Buddhism, this discussion may be useful. He demonstrates how acting “without desire” in Buddhism is not a move towards apathy, as those attached to the idea of devotional love might characterize it. Instead, it represents a move away from emotional blindness and towards compassionate understanding. He similarly differentiates between a mere habit, i.e. something we do with neither (conscious) desire nor mindfulness, and a skill, something we have obtained through attentive practice. It is important when translating from the Buddha’s original language that we understand how terms like “skillful” and “attentive” are closely related in the dhamma, and separated from terms like “habit” or “rote”. Concluding, this writer describes a Buddha as a person who is “a skillfully compassionate being, fully awake and nonattached.” (12)

In the next essay, by Cedric Heppler, we learn that Professor Jacobson’s worldview began with the prospect of a “natural religion”, an old 18th century term that I want to rescue from the changes in meaning both words have undergone by renaming it “human inclinations”. He considered in 1948 that human beings are naturally inclined towards “a warm mutuality and fellow-feeling”, which he felt at the time to be one expression of the word “God” (this later changed), but that a confusion over how this could be achieved had created “mental disorder, alcoholism, suicide,” and so forth. (18) After reading about how he revitalized Hume with modern language, we look at Professor Jacobson’s view after his Buddhist “conversion”: he still insists on a reliance on natural, human inclinations, but has given up on trying to redefine “God” and now, quoting a guy named Whitehead, places his own thought in opposition to God/Brahma/Allah, that “great refusal of rationality to assert its rights.” (27) If you can figure out the Hegelian self-alienation being employed, I suppose this turn of phrase seems rather clever, as it undoubtedly did to the three authors through which it came to me: Whitehead, Jacobson, and Heppler. I am not a big fan of the concealed psychoanalysis, though. It seems to Orientalize previous philosophers somewhat. Some of the other writers in this book also have this tendency to put down other ways of thought (83), but I agree with Durkheim that nobody likes to think of themselves as irrational or insufficiently rational. Assuming superiority is not the proper way for Buddhists to approach other cultures.

In the essay “Creativity and the Emerging World Civilization”, by David Lee Miller, I learn a new fascinating tidbit: Professor Jacobson went to study in Burma in 1961, during the brief period when it was a somewhat functioning democracy. Now I’m very interested in this guy! I have several Burmese friends, and I believe that within their country, sealed off by the military regime, is an untapped wealth of knowledge and compassion as well as other powerful expressions of the heart. (I say “untapped” because very little is written about Burma for us moderns to digest, although certainly the Burmese tap into their own cultural reservoir all the time.) However, the essay digresses into a discussion of creativity. Jacobson interestingly defines creativity as the opposite of suffering, and therefore the power that can save us from suffering. He wrote: “Buddhism is humankind’s most persevering effort to participate in the creativity incarnate in the passing now.” (44) This is an intriguing statement, but it is kind of mystical and difficult for me to understand. Is this Burmese Buddhism? It seems to me to be at the very least a new and lively expression of natural religion. But we take our leave here. Hmm, this essay leaves a lot of questions unanswered… another author quotes Jacobson attributing much of his life’s insights to this year in Burma (97), but with no further context. Alas, his book is not in this library.

While this book goes into great detail regarding the overlaps between Buddhism and process philosophy, not many of its essays actually deal with community, society, or civilization, because Buddhism does not have much to say about these pressing issues (although I think the construction of the sangha has been vastly understudied in Western literature). One interesting exception is “One Out of Many: The Way of Creation Toward a Planetary Community”, written by Howard L. Parsons in the style of the Epcot World Showcase. We learn in this vacuous essay that “worldwide technology, science, and a scientific community are growing and becoming integrated,” “a revolution in information and communication–by radio, television, telephone, computer, and other equipment–is taking place,” “trucks, trains, ships and airplanes carry cargo”, and so forth. (155-6) I didn’t see Buddhism mentioned in this essay, though.

This book leaves me with an interest in Professor Jacobson’s work, although it does not seem to add to his existing corpus in any appreciable way. I am intrigued by his work in Burma, as well as his authorship of a book called Nihon-do: The Japan Way that looks at Japan from a holistic rather than myopically “religious” perspective. (192) These writings overlap with my personal interests and probably have a lot to say that the book did not. I will leave you with a quote from the excellent final essay, “Buddhism and the Emerging World Civilization” by Seizo Ohe:

Most people say, “Science is cool, religion is warm.” But many astronauts, looking at the earth from above, seem to feel the genuine bond of all men and women who live on the green planet. And contemporary ecologists feel their sincere fellowship not only with human beings, animals, and plants but with other nonliving things, just as the Buddha taught more than two thousand years ago. (208)

Try to protect young men and women from expanding sensual desires with recent technological progress, and keep them within the sound order of the great harmony of nature. Try to help their love of their native land continuously grow into their love of humankind, by preventing them from corruption of all sorts of sociopolitical power and monetary pollution. … Then our grown-up children, young men and women, will be happier with themselves than they are today. (211)

This is a sort of test post, since it’s the first book I read. I learned from writing this review that I should read the entire book before I write the post. Also, I will read multiple books every day and choose only one to write about. In this way I hope to bring you some interesting insights every day. So, please subscribe 🙂

This book is $0.99 at Amazon: http://amzn.it/3c4
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Posted: March 15th, 2010 | Book Reviews, Kokoro 1 Comment »