Sunday, November 7, 2010

Takuan on "the central Buddhist teaching of no-self that sees no evil in killing"

"The uplifted sword has no will of its own, it is all of emptiness.  It is like a flash of lightning.  The man who is about to be struck down is also of emptiness, and so is the one who wields the sword.  None of them are possessed of a mind that has any substantiality.  As each of them is of emptiness and has no 'mind', the striking man is not a man, the sword in his hands is not a sword and the 'I' who is about to be struck down is like the splitting of the spring breeze in a flash of lightning."

"the seventeenth-century Zen Master Takuan," as quoted by Katherine Wharton, in her review of Buddhist warfare (ed. Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2010)) entitled "Pen and the sword:  the doctrine of no-self sees no evil in killing," Times literary supplement, October 1, 2010, p. 10 (10-11).  Wharton speaks of "the overwhelming historical evidence of human evil set out in Buddhist Warfare", and, following the essay therein by Brian Victoria, implicates especially D. T. Suzuki in "unqualified support" for "the 'unity of Zen and the sword'".

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