“Japanese Zen in North America is like Valentine’s Day in Japan?”


 “Japanese Zen in North America is like Valentine’s Day in Japan?

In The Faces of Buddhism in America, edited by C. Prebish and K. Tanaka, G. Victor Sogen Hori, in the chapter entitled “Japanese Zen in America: Americanizing the Face in the Mirror,” compares Japanese Zen practice in America to how chocolate manufacturers have framed Valentine’s Day in Japan.

Intrigued? Before you join our discussion via the video, here’s a couple of links to info talked about in the class:

Buddhism in North America timeline

and From Diversity to Pluralism

As was referenced in the “R” post and in last week’s class page, a “Four Buddhism” (in terms of how to call different groups of Buddhist practitioners) was offered during this week’s talk; and which I’ll explicate a bit more here:

What if we call ourselves by the generation when-the-lineage-we’re-practicing-in came to our country?

For instance, I would be “4th-generation, Shunryu Suzuki lineage;” which works out like this:

1st generation = Shunryu Suzuki (who brought his style of Soto Zen to SF’s Japanese community and then the SFZC)
2nd = Sojun Mel Weistman
3rd = Zenkei Blanche Hartman (my teacher; see “Lineage“)
4th = Keiryu Liên Shutt

The “generational” component mimics the sociological categorizing of immigration obviously. In doing so, this would 1) explicitly account for the transplant nature of that Buddhist practice and 2) this method would acknowledge the source/teacher/master who brought it to one’s continent or country. My thinking is that these acknowledgements take away the possibility for appropriation that’s so rampant within what’s currently called “convert Buddhism.”

Works? ….Perhaps a bit awkward at first but more accountable and respectful, I think. Feel free to lmk what you think.

We ran out of time during the class but I’d wanted to include this poem from my friend and fellow Buddhist teacher, Patricia Y. Ikeda (Mushim). To me, it really gives a good sense of how Buddhism and culture has generational resonance:  Card Game, Kinjiro Sawada (1)

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Picture by Diego Miglioli who’s in Kyoto right now; in the midst of such blossoms!

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