Asia Online (TAO) Zen Index
"Zen and the Art of I nverting Orientalism: R eligious S tudies and G enealogical N etworks"
In: New Approches to the Study of Religion, eds. Peter Antes, Armin W. Geertz, and Randi R. Warne,
Berlin: Verlag de Gruyter, 2004, Volume 1, Regional, Critical, and Historical Approaches, pp. 451-487.
"Zen and the Art of
the study of the East or the Orient, these years is going through a self-examining
reflection due to strong criticism. With his influencial book Orientalism (1978)
Edward Said made it clear, that the West created the East in its own projected
mirror image. As a special discipline and research approach Orientalism by its
(asserted) use of stereotypes, generalizations and cultural dichotomies, produces
a certain discourse, legitimating itself by its power of representation. For
Said, Orientalism is not just a discipline neutrally being defined by its empirical
object (Orientalism as the study of the Orient) but also ideologically being
determined by its western reference: Orientalism is an "-ism" with
its own project. The discourse of Orientalism, through which the Orientalists
create and represent the Orientals is a "Western style for domination,
restructuring, and having authority over the Orient" (Said 1978, 2-3).
The Orient in the hands of Orientalists is not so much a place, but a concept,
a rhetorical means. Clichés about the passive, mystical, exotic, corrupt
Orientals stand undisputed as they, being the "silent Other" (Said
1985, 17), can not represent themselves. The way is thus open for an essential,
ethnocentric classification of the others, their mentality, culture, and religion
- but also of the West as a categorical contrast to the others. Said's point
is not just to show that the description of the others are reductionistic, but
also to criticize the whole project itself. He wants to expose its very scientific
spirit as one-sided power demonstration, and therefore in a broader perspective
to question the whole idea about the West's representation of the others.
Said's critical project is naturally of common interest to all who are engaged in understanding foriegn cultures and religions, whether Oriental or not. The methodological and practical problems underlying the critique of Orientalism raised by Said are not specifically new - as Faure puts it, Orientalism is merely an "exotic variant of the hermeneutical circle" (Faure 1993, 7). The last two decades they have, however, incarnated in Said's Orientalism, wandered around as post-moderns ghosts aiming at causing a feeling of shame or guilt in the minds of potentially ethnocentric observers and writers.
In this article I do not intend to go into a general discussion of Said, his project, the critique having been raised against him, nor the almost inexhaustible row of problems which his own critique raises. I will neither try to go beyond nor dismiss or ignore Orientalism. Rather, I will put it into perspective by involving an often ignored aspect of the relationship between them and us, between emic and etic discourse, namely the others' response to and systematic use of what Said desribes as the Orientalist project.(1) I am not so much interested in the political as in the epistemological causes and consequences of "Orientalism" and its impact upon religious discourse.
As a starting point I assert that representation of others is not only a one-way construction. The proces of representing and being represented is - and must necessarily be - a reciprocal communication process, with which the critique of Orientalism also has to be put in perspective. There are also "fusion of horizons" as well as "Occidentalisms" and inverted Orientalisms.(2)
First I will describe how Buddhism was "written" in the West. This is followed by the description of an ideological and genealogical network within historical frames, leading towards the influencial Japanese Zen interpreter and apologist D. T. Suzuki.(3) His representation of Zen and Buddhism is characterized by his focus on an a-historical, transcendent and yet uniquely Japanese and eastern concept. The historical relation and the sociology of knowledge around Suzuki is described to show that this Zen-interpretation is neither uniquely "native" nor independent of historical and discourse related contexts. On the contrary, Suzuki-Zen is a product of certain well-defined circumstances, with references to both Protestant Buddhism, theosophy, Swedenborg, text-as-truth-scholars, evolutionists, universalists and spokesmen of religion-as-science.(4) As a counterpart to Said's Orientalists Suzuki-Zen represents reverse, or inverted Orientalism: it uses and structurally inverts Orientalist ideas and metaphors to its own advantage. Independently Bernard Faure (1993) and Robert Sharf (1993) have already brilliantly described and contextualized Suzuki and his Zen.(5) By using and extending their insightful observations and discussions this article intends to further underline and examplify this traffic of ideas and persons behind the interesting relationship between the East and the West, between emic and etic discourses. Suzuki-Zen is but an example of the (very important, but often ignored) inverted Orientalist response to post-colonial modernity in search for religious identity. A discourse only having been made possible because of its inspiration from and cultivation in both "East" and "West". Inverted Orientalism and Suzuki-Zen are products of a cultural mixed marriage - just as Said is himself.(6)
Buddhism in the western mind
always studied and practiced what they have understood to be Buddha's way, or
dharma. But as an object for systematic and scientific study Buddhism was not
born until the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Buddhism and the early science of religion were raised and cultivated in the dialectical relationship between the theoretical paradigms of universalism and evolutionism, between the rationality of enlightenment and the romanticist quest for spiritual truths. The Orient had been re-discovered in what Raymond Schwab calls the "Oriental Rennaissance" (1984). Philosophers, poets, academics and interested laymen were fascinated by the revelation from the new spiritual dimension from the East. In spite - or because - of western colonial power and suppression, the East became the missing link to a mental landscape, a projected Other World. The attitudes toward eastern religions reflected different historical periods and thoughts in the West, placing them in - or structurally beyond - religious evolutionary schemes or ideas of universalism. The (especially French) enlightenment period had already raised Confucius as a rational gentleman, in opposition to the inferior, magical and ritualized "little tradition", Daoism, as well as against the contemporary European Christianity, losing its authority. Later (especially German) romanticism could use the "Hindus as mystics" and Hinduism as "undogmatic Protestantism" (Marshall 1970, 43-44) ."The Chinaman and Hindoo were the true Others" (Inden 1986, 424). Both the rationalistic attitudes towards Chinese (Confucian) enlightenment and romanticist ideas of Indian mysticism were reincarnated in the discovery of Buddhism, later to be called the "religion of knowledge" (Baumann 1997, 275).(7)
Buddha had been identified as an African and mongol, as Noah and Adam, as Osiris and Neptun, and even as Odin. That he was also to be identified with Jesus and Luther and become a "true Victorian gentleman" (Almond 1988, 79) was due to the first serious reception and invention of Buddhism in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Edwin Arnold, who actually had been to India himself, wrote The Light of Asia in 1879, a poetic and romantic story of Buddha (later to be dramatized as teatre, opera and film) causing "an enourmous upsurge in awareness of, and interest in, Buddhism" (Almond 1988, 1). Allan Bennett (Metteya) - sometimes referred to as the first western Buddhist monk - was so fond of it, that he became a Buddhist (Payer 1998, 12.2, 2). Some years earlier, in 1844, the French scholar Eugéne Burnouf (1801-52) wrote L'Introduction a l'histoire du buddhisme indien, "the first detailed scientific study of Indian Buddhist history, doctrines and texts" (Batchelor 1994, 240). With him, Buddhist Studies had begun. Texts were collected, research carried out, Buddhism was interpreted and defined at the desks of energetic buddhologists. The search for the historical Buddha, the quest for the original de-mythologized Buddhism was most professionally organized in the (still existing) Pali Text Society. Created in London in 1881 by Th. Rhys Davids, Pali was found to be the authentic language of early and essential Buddhism. Pali-canonic Theravada Buddhism was, by others, babtized "Protestantism of the East" (Almond, 1988, 74), in opposition to the corrupt, "Catholic" Mahayana Buddhism (and Hinduism) with all its folklore, magic, superstition and idolatry(8). To Victorian Protestants and the "Pali Text Society Spirit" (Faure 1991, 89), monastic life was not interesting, it expressed Catholic practice.(9) Meditation was often seen to express ritualized (and thus legitimate) laziness. Perhaps the most important quality of Buddhism was its status as "dead": Actual living Buddhism was looked upon as a false folk-religion, degenerated from pure and only existing "real" textual Buddhism. Living Buddhists were not true Buddhists. They did not understand their own religion. Religious practice was considered to be a minor and false aspect of religious discourse. From the outset there were built-in dichotomies in the approach to Buddhism; original versus degenerated, theory versus practice, doctrine versus ritual, spiritual essence versus material manifestation etc - with the former part of the dichotomy having the hierachical priority. Buddhism became an invented tradition, and a projected battlefield, reflecting the mind and culture of the "discoverer". (10)
Buddhism and theosophy
in eastern religions as rationalitic and humanistic textual religions was, however,
only one side of the coin. Mysticism and inner, subjective "spiritualism"
were concepts appealing to the "romanticist" side of the Orientalists.
The Theosophical Society played a major role in transmitting ideas of the exotic
and "mystical East", of karma and reincarnation - and of Buddhism.
Searching for universal religious "scientific" truths - somewhat inspired
by Max Müller and his "scientific study of religion" - and esoteric
wisdom, the society played a significant role in creating mental landscapes
of geographic places. Egypt, India, Tibet, and in general "The East"
manifested sacred space in theosophical cosmology. Based on the founder Madam
Blavatsky's personal intuitive insight and magical powers the Theosophical Society
also reflected general thoughts of fin de siecle. They talked about a universal
Wisdom Religion with an underlying essential religious truth, while also using
evolutionary schemes - somewhat inspired by the social Darwinistic ideas of
Herbert Spencer - tracing the purest manifestations and the source of all religion
to eastern religions, emphasizing a religious, cultural, spiritual and cosmic
development, based on distinctions between esoteric truth and exoteric knowledge,
between higher and lower mentalities and religions. Though anti-Christian, the
theosophists often took over "Protestant" ideas and metaphors (inner
individual spirituality and truths through texts versus outer ritualized and
degenerated clergy-mediated religious practice) using them against Christianity
itself and against the living religions of Asia. The theosophists, however,
also helped create a more positive image of the Northern Mahayana Buddhism with
all its magic and mystery.
As her personal sources of inspiration to her knowledge on Asian religions and Buddhism, Blavatsky was at least familiar with the writings of Max Müller, William Jones, Eugéne Burnouf and Edwin Arnold. Regarding the respect for the latter, in her will she asked her friends gather together each year on the anniversary of her death day and read from his Light of Asia and from the Bhagavad-Gita (Cranston 1993, 429).(11)
Though a young
Indian, Krishnamurti, refused to take over the assigned role as the expected
future Buddha Maitreya(12), though the movement split and members publicly doubted
Blavatsky's assessed spiritual and physical journeys to Tibet, since its foundation
in 1875 the movement has had great impact on scholars'as well as laymen's view
of Buddhism.(13) There was a theosophical subgroup of The Buddhist Society in
London, the Buddhist Lodge, and prominent members of The Pali Text Society as
well as other Buddhist scholars such as Christmas Humphreys, Edward Conze and
Alan Watts were themselves Buddhists and somehow related to The Theosophical
Society.(14) Theosophists were in general influenced by the Swedish theologian,
scientist and bricoleur Swedenborg, who wanted to unite religion with occult
science. Buddhism, theosophy and Swedenborgianism were not at all seen as opposites
for the more practically interested audience. The first American Buddhist journals
were "devoted to Buddhism in general, and to the Buddhism in Swedenborg
in particular" (Loy 1996, 89). The first western practicing Buddhist monks,
as well as many practicing laymen, had their first impression about Buddhism
from theosophy and in general the reception and mental image of Buddhism in
the West has gone through somewhat theosophical glasses.(15)
The most obvious theosophical impact on Buddhism itself, however, goes through Henry Steel Olcott.
West in the Buddhist mind: Olcott, Dharmapala and Protestant Buddhism
is a well known person in the Buddhist world. Without him, modern Buddhism might
not have looked the way it does.
He helped start the Theosophical Society as the charismatic Blavatsky's more "rational" partner. He soon found a particular interest in Buddhism, especially after having taken "refuge in the three jewels" in Ceylon in 1880 with Blavatsky - a ritual granting them the status of officially being the first western Buddhists. Olcott was honoured the "White Buddhist" and "the bodhisattva of the nineteenth century" by leading Buddhists, who saw the possibilities of the impact of this energetic man from the West, in a time where Buddhism was in deep crisis. Olcott helped the Ceylonese revive - and invent - their religious and cultural tradition(16). He promoted and helped start Buddhist schools and a Buddhist response to Y.M.C.A., namely Young Men's Buddhist Association.(17) He interceded with the British to have the birth, enlightenment and death anniversaries of the Buddha, Wesak, declared a public holiday (Amunugama 1985, 727). He helped design a Buddhist flag, still used today in the Buddhist world as an ecumenical symbol and as the official flag for the Worlds Fellowship of Buddhists. And he wrote his idea of how true spiritual, rational and textually founded Buddhism ought to be, the Buddhist Catechism, to many having the status as a Buddhist Bible.(18) Olcott in his diaries writes, that he himself conducted the ceremony of giving the refuges to Ceylonese Buddhists - a fact perhaps having extra power due to his magical healing powers(19) - and was asked by Burmese Buddhist priests to do missionary work in Europe. In Sri Lanka today, Buddhists are still celebrating "Olcott Day"(20).
Anagarika Dharmapala (Don David Hevavitarana) was born a Singhalese, educated in Christian schools, and through his friendship with Blavatsky and especially Olcott, he became a theosophist, a proud Buddhist and one of the founders of the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka. Through Olcott he came in close contact with the high priest Hikkaduwe Sumangala. Sumangala was Olcott's personal friend, one of the two leading Buddhist reformers in late nineteenth century Ceylon, and one of the leaders of the Buddhist Theosophical Society. With Olcott as director and Sumangala as president, Dharmapala created the Maha Bodhi Society, a movement with the aim to actively recreate Buddhism - also in India, where the takeover of the Maha Bodhi temple in Bodhgaya became a symbol of the revival. Edwin Arnold was one of the influencial persons who in cooperation with Sumangala and Dharmapala actively supported this Buddhist cause. Influenced by theosophy(21) (and E. Arnold)(22), Dharmapala wanted to define an authentic ("Aryan") Buddhism as scientific, human, rational and spiritual. He was in lead of fighting the colonial power, Christianity and a corrupt priesthood by means of (western and) Protestant Christian ideas and terminology, what Obeyesekere termed the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka "Protestant Buddhism" (1970).(23) In his attempt to make Buddhism a more widespread lay-religion(24), Dharmapala would also make meditation an available means of spiritual purification and a symbol of the new re-created true Buddhism. He taught himself meditation by a book. He found this to be more authentic than learning it through the degenerated priesthood (Gombrich 1983, 26). Buddhist modernity had made not only the sacred texts (translations of the Pali canon into English) but also monastic practice available to the lay Buddhists.
In his homeland Dharmapala became a national hero, he was seen as a bodhisattva, "and he apparently considered himself to be one" (Gombrich 1988, 188) A Sri Lankan prime minister called him "one of the greatest men Ceylon has produced" (Guruge 1965, v). He is seen as a model for modern (lay-) Buddhism, and especially he "initiated the fashion for lay meditation" (Gombrich 1988, 191), a religious practice hitherto reserved for monastic, ritual and textual Buddhism, now a symbol of true spritual training in (almost) all modern Buddhism. With Gandhi he was the main source of influence for a Buddhist liberation movement such as Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement (Bond 1996, 122), and in India he indirectly, being a theosophist, helped activate Hindu revivals and, being a Buddhist, a Buddhist revival. In the West, Dharmapala had great success at the World Parliament of Religions 1893 (to which we shall return below), and many potential Buddhist monks and laymen from the West saw Dharmapala as a true ideal.
With Olcott, he attempted to create an international and ecumenical Buddhism, and both had great impact in general on Buddhist modernity - also in Japan.
Buddhism recreated in Japan
Japan had since the Meiji-restoration in 1868 endured hardships. Its close relationship
with the totalitarian and feudal shogunate made the Japanese identify Buddhism
with a decadent, old-fashioned culture. Buddhism, in the eyes of the critics,
was foreign and anti-social, but also provincial, irrational and superstitious.
Buddhism lost status, and was for a period persecuted. Buddhism needed a new
face to survive. It needed its own "Buddhist modernity" with both
rationalism, science, and spirituality. It needed a basis of legitimacy of both
universal and local character.(25)
Apart from re-organizing the sectarian institutions and promoting lay societies there were also attempts to unite the Buddhist schools accross sectarian boundaries. "Essentials of the Buddhist Sects" and "Buddhist Bibles" (bukkyo seiten) were written, and a unitarian "New Buddhism" (shin bukkyo) was attempted created by especially "young and restless Buddhist reformers .. often referred to as "the young Buddhists" (seinen bukkyoto)" (Thelle 1987, 195).(26) The united Buddhism was variously called the "Shaka Sect", "Mahayana Buddhism", "Eastern Buddhism", or simply "Japanese Buddhism" (Ketelaar 1990, 191).
The concepts of "East" (toyo) and "West" (seiyo) found their way to the Japanese language with new connotations. "Western" universities were built, keimo gakusha ("scholars who illuminate the darkness") could enlighten Japan, and Buddhism and religion (shukyo) became objects of study (bukkyogaku and shukyogaku). The approach to understanding religion in a new light was inspired by two influencial theorists. Max Müller's "science of religion" signalled the idea of religion being rational and scientific and with an underlying universal "essence". Many young Japanese students or promising buddhologists went to Europe to learn science, philosophy and historical, philological and text-critical buddhology, primarily within studies of original Pali and Sanskrit Buddhism. The famous Nanjou Bunyo, among others, went to study Sanskrit under Max Müller. Another influencial thinker for Meiji intellectuals, whom the Japanese "young men were eager for" (Brooks, 1962, 4), was Herbert Spencer and his social (and religious) Darwinism, placing the concept of religion within the cultural ladder of evolution. Two people who helped spread the ideas of Spencer were the Americans Ernest Fenollosa and Lafcadio Hearn, both being students of Edward Morse, of whom (his ninety most promising students) it was said, that "Japanese progress in virtually all the sciences had sprung" (ibid., 10). Hearn and Fenollosa were Buddhists(27), and saw Buddhism as the best expression of Herbert Spencer's ideas, in which they were eagerly absorbed. They taught at Tokyo University in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, and were inspirators for many Meiji enlightenment thinkers and Buddhist modernizers - for instance the founder of the Buddhist School of Philosophy (Tetsugakkan, the present Toyo University) Inoue Enryo, who also went to Europe to study western philosophy, through which he could re-interprete and revive Buddhism. Inoue and other Buddhist revivers were anti-Christian, taking part in the religious discourse by means of the ideas and language of the enemy - just as in the case of Ceylon.(28)
Buddhist history was investigated and produced. A Chinese Buddhist "canon" was written between 1924 and 1929 (Taisho Daizokyo, consisting of 100 volumes) by Japanese buddhologists - a standard edition for both Buddhists and scholars. Japanese Zen buddhologists (who at that time as well as today are often Zen Buddhists themselves) could define the supra-historical dharma-genealogy of the Zen tradition with the new scientific approaches. The study of Zen (zengaku) was created - already at that time there was a talk about a "Zen Boom" (Kirita 1996, 113) - as well as the idea of a Zen religion (zenshu) having roots in and a direct line to the original and pure Buddhism, while also being seen as the culmination of the evolution of Buddhism. In general, "Zen was, for young thinkers at the time, an extraordinarily intellectual religion" (ibid., 132).
International contacts promoted the Buddhist's case. Japanese Buddhists (monks, priests, laymen) went abroad to Buddhist countries to find other kinds of Buddhisms hitherto being outside the sphere of Japanese Buddhism.(29) One of them was Rinzai Zen-priest Kogaku Soen (1859-1919), better known as Shaku Soen (Shaku being a Buddhist honorary name). Shaku Soen has later been known for his role in modernizing Zen and Buddhism in Japan, being one of the leading generators of the "New Buddhism" and lay Zen Buddhism. After graduation at Keio University (where he studied English and western philosophy(30)), he went to Ceylon in 1887 where he stayed until 1890,(31) to find the original (konpon) Buddhism, and, as he said, to "hide myself from the world of name and fame" (Senzaki 1978, 97). Though already ordained a Zen monk and having trained at Myoshinji and Engakuji,(32) he was ordained as a Theravadin monk with the Ceylonese name Pannaketu. He was taught Pali by Panna Sekara, a disciple of the theosophist and Buddhist modernizer Hikkaduwe Sumangala. Soen (with other Japanese monks) studied at one of the "cradles of Protestant Buddhism" (Gombrich 1988, 185), the Buddhist ecclesiastical college Vidyodaya Pirivena, where Sumangala was principal, Dharmapala was in the management commitee, where Edwin Arnold the year before had been received as an honored guest, and where Olcott had given lectures on Buddhism and theosophy. In Ceylon Soen was in contact with Shaku Konen. Konen was a disciple of the Shingon priest and Buddhist "modernist" Shaku Unsho. He came to Ceylon in 1886 and took the precepts through the afore-mentioned high priest Sumangala, and with his new name Gunaratana, he became another of the first Japanese-born Theravada monks. Konen had close relations to Dharmapala, with whom he went travelling in India, especially with the purpose of a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. With Konen, Soen attended Dharmapalas lectures in Colombo, and Konen also helped him with his Pali studies - later on he was also to be the Pali teacher of a certain D.T. Suzuki.(33)
Perhaps inspired by Ceylonese and theosophical ideas of a unified Buddhism, mixed with the general Meiji-Buddhism unification trend, upon his return to Japan in 1890 Shaku Soen participated in the Bukkyo Kakusho Kyokai ("Buddhist Transsecterian Cooperation"), and among five other leading "new Buddhists" from other sects, he co-edited the "Essentials of the Buddhist Sects" (Ketelaar 197ff and Nishimura 1993, 73). Soen in Ceylon also must have been generally inspired to his efforts in modernizing and internationalizing Buddhism - with Dharmapala he was later to represent Buddhism at an important event, to which we shall return later.
An exchange of Ceylonese and Japanese monks - which to a certain extent is still kept alive today - was established, through the early modernist pioneers of Japan.
Buddhism and theosophy in Japan
There was, however,
also another important factor in these international Buddhist relations.
Having been invited, and sensing the time to be ripe for a United Buddhist World (revived through the Theosophical Society), Olcott and Dharmapala in 1889 went to Japan to propagate for a Buddhist revival. These journeys are given three chapters of over sixty pages in Olcott's Old Diary Leaves, and he is certainly not afraid to mention the succeses all over the country, their visit caused. Olcott held speaches in Buddhist temples, bringing with him an appeal from Sumangala to justify Olcott's status and missionary work. He was met by thousands of Japanese Buddhists, waving with their Buddhist flags, every paper seem to have had interest in his person, he was made an honorary member at the Tokyo Club, he met influential persons (Fenellosa, Bigelow, the prime minister etc). Olcott helped establish a Japanese Theosophical Society (Reichi Kyokai, or Shinchi Kyokai), YMBAs and YWBAs, modelled on the Ceylonese (and Christian) associations - a Women's League Movement even managed to have the emperor's aunt as president. In 1903 an international union of the YMBAs was formed in Tokyo. Because of Olcott, a Japanese Buddhist said, "Buddhists began everywhere to undertake the revival of their ancient faith" (ODL 4, 160).
Olcott did something, no Buddhist had ever done before. He assembled not only the different sects in Japan to a General Council of the heads of all the Sects (ODL 4, 104), he also, on a later journey to the country in 1893, secured signatures from all the sects (except the Jodo Shinshu) of Buddhist Japan, thus representing the Mahayana part of the Buddhist World. These signatures approved a fourteen-point "Buddhist Platform", on which all Buddhist wheels and major countries could now vote for. On paper at least, Olcott had gathered all Buddhists to one common idea, expressed by Olcott's private project.(34) He was, as Prothero (1996, 130) writes, "no longer merely the 'Father of the Sinhalese Buddhists', he was now revered as 'The Apostle of Asia'".
Dharmapala also had success in his private project. Four times he went to the country, which he regarded as "an example of how the Buddhist heritage could contribute to modernization without Westernization" (Bond 1988, 56). Interestingly (though later) turning images of where to find "authentic Buddhism" upside-down, he desribed how "the ancient Buddhist civilization although lost to India ... is still visible in Japan, and it is possible, if necessary, to reconstruct the pure Aryan form of Buddhism from the Japanese storehouse" (Dharmapala 1927, 192).(35) Both Arnold - who spent some of his last years in Japan - and Dharmapala were engaged in establishing a Maha Bodhi Society in Japan(36), and an Indo-Buddhist Society (Indo Busseki Kofuku Society), in cooperation with the Maha Bodhi Society, sent Buddhists to Bodhgaya to carry on the Buddhist propaganda in India. Bodhgaya was seen as a symbol of Buddhist revival, but also a projected image of Japanese Buddhist revival itself. When a Japanese Buddha image was presented to the Maha Bodhi temple in Bodhgaya, it caused some trouble with Hindus, who did not want "their" shrine further Buddhicized, and it became a strong symbol of the united Buddhist struggle for identity. The Obaku-affiliated Zen priest Kawaguchi Ekai(37) entered Tibet in 1899 in order to bring back texts from an unspoilt Buddhist country. In 1899 he met a "Singhalese gentleman" (Kawaguchi 1909, 25), Dharmapala, in Bodhgaya, with whom he had "a very interesting conversation" (ibid.). In Maha Bodhi Society in Calcutta, he met other Japanese students, priests and modernizers on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, among whom was Inoue Enryo.
Among many other Buddhist national and more or less international associations from this period, the Buddhist Propagation Society (Kaigai Senkyokai, "Overseas Missionary Society"(38)), was established, with branch offices in London in 1890 (Thelle 1987, 110). Not all had relations to the theosophists. And though the Theosophical Society was "regarded as an effective means of Buddhist expansion in the West" (ibid.), it could not take all the credit for international Buddhist relations. In the long run, Olcott's missionary work "led to just one lodge, which fizzled out a few years later" (de Tollenaere 1996, 65). Maha Bodhi Society was popular, but it has lost its vigour - though still existing in Japan, run by a Buddhist priest, and still with relations to India and Sri Lanka. Bodhgaya and Sri Lanka are still objects of pilgrimage and respect.
Theosophy in Japan, as well as the names of Olcott and Dharmapala, are only relics today. But they took part in, and were inspiring generators of, an ambitious project. In this sense, it can be argued, that one specific event took over and indirectly accomplished (or laid the ground for accomplishing) their goals; the succesfull revival of the East, of Buddhism, and of (Zen) Buddhism. Buddhism was about to be re-created in Asia.
The World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago 1893
Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 was in many ways signal event
in the religious dialogue between East and West.(39) The meeting was a culmination
of the interest in the East and universal religious truths. While Christians
saw the event as a possibility to finally beating the other religions in public,
for the Orientals it was a welcome chance to manifest themselves through the
battle against Christianity and the West, and - seen retrospectively - to use
those orientalist stereotypes as instruments in their own religious identification
and international marketing.
Dharmapala was chosen by Sumangala as the delegate of the southern Buddhists(40). Especially he and the Hindu delegate Vivekananda impressed the audience and the press, while the Japanese representatives had to wait a little with their success until after the Parliament. These had all somehow been involved in modernizing and reviving Buddhism. They were from different sects (Rinzai Zen, Shingon, Tendai, Jodo Shinshu and two lay representatives, koji), but were on the same trans-secterian track, heading for a common goal; national identification through international recognition.(41) Shaku Soen, representing Rinzai Zen, spoke of Zen Buddhism as a universal religion in harmony with science and philosophy. His paper in the original Japanese was a "precise and well-handled technical exposition of the Buddhist doctrine of co-dependent origination" (Ketelaar 1990, 151). However, the terms used in Chicago, translated by D. T. Suzuki, were "taken directly from language current to contemporary theosophical discourse" (ibid.). This form of more or less conscious "expedient means" (upaya) might have been the most proper way of communicating Buddhist ideas to the spirit-seeking audience. The two lay-participants and translators Noguchi Zenshiro and Hirai Kinza were both theosophists. They had been engaged in bringing Olcott to Japan (ODL 4, 78 and 82), and were both leading members of the Young Men's Buddhist Commitee (one of the YMBAs ). Another bridge to communication was through Soen's contact with Paul Carus (1852-1919), an American philosopher and chief editor of the journals The Open Court and The Monist. Born, raised and educated in Germany, Carus was both a "rationalist" and inspired by the romanticist interest in the Orient. His later goal in America was to find the universal truths of all religions in a "New Religious Era", and to prove that true religion - of which he found Buddhism to be a prime example - was in accordance with both science, rationality, psychology and spirituality. Carus later became friends with Dharmapala, and founded the Maha Bodhi Society in America. Carus and Soen could use each other. Carus could use Soen's Buddhism for his own "science of religion". And Soen could use Carus' fascination with Buddhism as an incentive to his endeavours in spreading Japanese Buddhism abroad and thereby of its prestige at home.(42) In Japan the "champions of Buddhism " (bukkyo no championra) were seen as legitimators of the New Buddhism, being both modern, rational and universal, and yet uniquely Buddhist, Oriental and Japanese.(43) Carus' book The Gospel of Buddha was an attempt to constitute a united Buddhism. He partly succeeded. It was sponsored by Soen and translated by D. T. Suzuki to Japanese in 1895. Soen also wrote a preface, in which he describes the superiority of Buddhism in the hierachy of religions, indicating the lack of western (capability of) knowledge of Buddhism (Snodgrass 1998 325ff).(44) The Gospel of Buddha was "aimed to rival Edwin Arnold's famous poem, The Light of Asia ... but with the academic validation that Arnold's work lacked" (Snodgrass 1998, 323). It was later used - not so much for its "reliability as a source of knowledge concerning Buddhism" as for its "strategic value" (Snodgrass 1998, 340-41) - in Buddhist schools in Japan, Ceylon and other Buddhist countries. Even today the book is sold as an introduction to Buddhism.
The Parliament in Chicago was symptomatic of the time. It was a battle ground for religions, but also a foreign and neutral meeting place for "Eastern religions" that otherwise would have no reason to talk to each other. Through the Parliament Soen and Dharmapala met in USA, just as the Buddhist sects had met through Olcott and theosophy in Japan, or Buddhists had met each other through western interpreters or books ("Arnold introduced the world's Buddhists to each other", Fields 1981, 115). The Parliament itself also intensified the tendencies within the intellectual life of the time. Especially because of one single person.
D. T. Suzuki and the West
Teitaro (1870-1966) was Japanese, and strongly influenced by the West. He became
the first Zen-patriarch in America (Fields 1981, 358). Suzuki has been described
as a researcher, translator, religious thinker, philosophical psychologist,
spiritual mentor and popularizer (Fader 1986, 95). Arnold Toynbee said of Suzuki's
introduction of Zen to the West, that it will later be compared to the discovery
of nuclear energy (Franck 1982, 5). Buddhist scholars must agree with him that
the effect has almost been the same. Cultivating his academic career, he was
registered as a special student in the literature department of the school of
humanities at the Imperial University, where he studied English and philosophy.
He was introduced to modern western science and intellectual life(45), and he
became engaged in the early Meiji New Buddhism. With his English translation
of the text Awakening of Faith in Mahayana and as a co-author of a Zen "minimal
canon" (Faure 1993, 52), he hoped to contribute to a united, universal
Buddhism. As a layman (koji) he was instructed in Zen Buddhist philosophy and
meditation under Shaku Soen at the Rinzai monastery Engakuji in Kamakura - thus
also developing an institutional and sectarian "spirit". It was through
Soen, Suzuki later came to America. Although he had already written articles
and his first book before his departure, Suzuki's actual scholarly background
was cultivated in America. From 1897 to 1908 he worked for Carus in La Salle,
translating and writing articles. He was later on employed at different American
and Japanese universities, and became author of more than a hundred books (most
of them in Japanese) on religion, Buddhism and Zen. Especially the first years
with Carus strongly influenced the Zen interpretation that Suzuki was later
to be known for.(46) He eagerly read books on religious thought, psychology
of religion (especially William James and his focus on the religious experience(47)),
Buddhist studies, Arnold's Light of Asia, the American Transcendentalists (he
thought Emerson - who was inspired by Swedenborg and eastern "mysticism"
himself - to have taught Zen [Kirita 1996, 114]), and naturally Carus' science
of religion. He met and, according to Suzuki's close friend and "secretary"
Okamura Mihoko, highly respected Anagarika Dharmapala(48). He also read and
were deeply impressed by Swedenborg, whom he called "Buddha of the North"
(Loy 1996, xv). At the request of the Swedenborg Society he translated three
of his books into Japanese and wrote a book about him, and in Japan he was later
to become a member of a the Order of the Star, a sub-group of the Swedenborg
Society, who met at Suzuki's home in the 1920's (Sharf 1995a, 144). He was also
deeply fascinated by theosophy. He believed that "undoubtedly Madame Blavatsky
had in some way been initiated into the deeper side of Mahayana teaching"
(Suzuki 1970, xiii), and, having seen a picture of Blavatsky, he said "She
was one who attained" (Cranston 1993, 84). Having read Blavatsky's The
Voice of Silence, he sent it to Miss Beatrice Lane, a theosophist who was later
to become Mrs. Suzuki, with the words "Here is the real Mahayana Buddhism"
(ibid, 85). According to a Theosophical Yearbook, Mrs. Suzuki established the
Mahayana Lodge of Theosophists in Kyoto in 1924, she did "enthusiastic
work" in spreading theosophy in Japan, and both Suzukis greeted theosophical
visitors to Japan, including the international president, C. Jinarajadesa, in
1937.(49) Later, Suzuki also hosted the famous Tibet-adventurer and theosophist
Alexandra David-Neel. According to Okamura Mihoko, Suzuki read a lot about theosophy,
and was a host at meetings of theosophists (see note 48). He later came to the
Buddhist Society in London, lecturing on Zen and Buddhism. Here he met the Buddhist
scholars (and theosophists) Christmas Humphreys, Edward Conze and Alan Watts,
who because of meeting Suzuki not only became interested in eastern Buddhism,
but also changed focus from "Buddhist meditation" to "Zen meditation"
(Humphreys 1968, 78-79).With Omori and Anesaki he was a participating member
as one of the Japanese delegates of the Third International Congress for the
History of Religions in Oxford 1909 and later in 1936 he was invited to the
World Congress of Faiths in London. Again in the 1950's he was in America for
long periods, lecturing at universities and almost becoming a religious cult-figure
for a whole beat-generation. In this period Suzuki also was in contact with
influencial individuals in Europe related to (the study of) psychology, mysticism,
and theology. Rudolf Otto and Suzuki had already inspired each other since the
1920's, and Suzuki's friendship and professional correspondence with C.G. Jung,
shows a mutual interest in several themes, especially the religious experience.(50)
Suzuki also participated in the Eranos conferences in Switzerland, where the
"essence" of religion was discussed by contemporary influencial theologians,
psychologists and scholars of religion (i.e. C.G. Jung, M. Eliade, M. Buber,
P. Tillich etc). With several of these he was later to have a relationship of
mutual inspiration, just as the "East-West dialogues"(51) and Buddhist
studies have used his personality and ideas. Until some years ago Suzuki-Zen
monopolized the presentation of Zen Buddhism in the West, and most practicing
Zen Buddhists in the West started out their spiritual quest after having read
D. T., Suzuki.(52)
The many popular books on Zen can thank Suzuki for their existence, among these the amount of books with the title Zen and the art of...
Suzuki's influence in Japan
Like Dharmapala, Suzuki wrote many of his works in English, and in that sense, his audience was to a large extent foreign readers, or the ("western") educated intellectuals. But he also wrote and spoke in his local tongue. He was and is recognized in Japan. And although Zen Buddhism in Japan and East Asia has a much wider theoretical and practical reference than "Suzuki-Zen", he has had lasting influence on Japanese Zen Buddhism. Suzuki was (and to some extent, still is) a living symbol of the modern (mostly intellectual, reform) Zen.
As an expression of his general, official recognition he was honoured by Japan Academy, he was appointed as professor at different universities, he received a cultural medal from emperor Showa, who also presented him with the post-humous title Senior Grade of the Third Court Rank. Among his many lecture tours in Japan, he also lectured for the emperor (later to be published as The Essence Buddhism. The Doctrine of No-Mind). The foreign ministry and the ministry of education sponsored the publications of a few of his books as well as some of his travels to the West, and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science published his book Japanese Spirituality. He had many readers of his books and articles, and many "common people" listened to his lectures, have seen or heard him in TV or on the radio. His 90th birthday, his death and the 30th anniversary of his death (posters announced him as a "cosmopolitan Japanese") was commemorated in publications and exhibitions by Japanese and international scholars, priests and friends.
Suzuki was first of all known as a "thinker" (shisoka). He was not really an academic, though he wrote many books and articles on more or less academic issues. Together with his wife, he was the editor of The Eastern Buddhist, and he was productive in writing articles and forewords to several different Japanese journals related to Zen, Buddhism or religion (for instance Shukyo, Zenshu, Zen Bunka, Daijozen, Hansei Zasshi, The Young East, The Cultural East). With his close friendship and intellectual relationship with the famous philosopher Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945) he directly influenced the "Kyoto School", whose "members" (Nishida, Nishitani, Abe etc) because of Suzuki-Zen has used Zen Buddhism as a means and expression of Japanese philosophy.(53)
Within the Japanese Zen world - first of all Rinzai Zen - Suzuki has received respect and recognition.(54) His collected works are highly esteemed(55) and is part of most Japanese Buddhist universities. At the Rinzai Zen Buddhist Hanazono university in Kyoto students of Buddhism, many of whom will later become temple priests, are expected to have read him, and many students from Kyoto University end up getting an interest in Zen Buddhism through having studied the philosophy of the Kyoto School and Suzuki(56). He is treated by most Zen scholars (Yanagida, Ueda, Abe, Nishimura, Kirita, Furuta, Fujioka, etc), as well as intellectual laymen (Hisamatsu, Akizuki etc). The "Zen Boom" of the last decades in Japan (where "boom" is, however, used more frequently than the English term might suggest) directly or indirectly has been influenced by Suzuki. Because "his style of writing in Japanese was extremely plain, clear, and readable ... generally speaking, his books not only stimulated those in the temple, but also helped common people appriciate Zen as a traditional asset benefitting their own lives" (Kondo 1967, 92). Many Japanese have either read him, or "come to regard Zen more highly because of the attention it has received in the West" (Victoria 1980, 61).(57)
A great part
of modern Japanese Zen Buddhism has been democratized and lay-oriented, thanks
to the Suzuki "tradition", beginning with his masters Shaku Soen and
A former chief priest of Fuji Zen Center in Tokyo says that Shaku Soen gave Suzuki a koji-go (title to recognized lay-Buddhist) "because he saw in Dr. Suzuki an immense capacity for propogating the Dharma" (p. 75). Though journalists and writers mistakingly have called Suzuki a roshi ("master") or jushoku ("priest"), though he has been called a bodhisattva and compared to the 13th century Zen master Dogen, Suzuki was a professional layman, a koji (layman), a sensei ("teacher"), a hakushi (doctor) and a shisoka (thinker).
Suzuki-Zen did, however, also leave certain impressions on the monastic world. Several roshis or temple priests (for instance Shibayama, Morimoto, Omori, Nanshinken) knew Suzuki personally or his ideas and writings.(58) On several occasions he also lectured in Zen monasteries, and as the former priest of Ryokoin (Daitokuji, Kyoto) wrote: "One of the main achievements of Dr. Suzuki was his success in communicating the incommunicable" (Kobori 1967). The Sanbo Kyodan movement is a direct outcome of Suzuki- Zen, the East-West meeting and Buddhist modernity in Japan(59)
Apart from his
adventures and cult-status in the West, Suzuki has also been more directly influencial
in terms of international propagation from Japan. Together with his wife he
founded and edited the Buddhism-promoting journals The Eastern Buddhist and
The Young East(60), and they were counsellors in The International Buddhist
Society (Kokusai Bukkyo Kyokai). Through Suzuki's status and relations, Zen
priests and roshis were invited to the Buddhist Society in London, and through
Suzuki's paving the way, already in the beginning of this century Japanese Zen
monks went abroad to America (Zen Bunka Kenkyusho 1990). The Zen Studies Society
was founded in 1956 in order to help Suzuki introduce Zen to the West. It has
been managed by influencial Zen Buddhists, and has created relations between
Japanese and American Zen studies and practices. At the International Zen Center
in Kyoto and other places in Japan, where westerners are invited to join the
Zen practice, Suzuki's books are part of the literature, visitors can read or
buy. The Suzuki-inspired layman's Zen organisation FAS (founded by Hisamatsu)
is situated in a subtemple of Shokokuji (Kyoto), and many Zen priests attend
the regular meditation sessions.
Suzuki invented Zen in the West. But, to a certain extent, he was also influencial in re-inventing it in his home country.
Buddhist pizza-effect with a taste of Zen
Suzuki's recognition and influence in the West as well as in his home country is not only due to his publications and personality, but also to his place in history. As a product of East and West in a time where both worlds needed a spiritual bridge-builder and mediator, Suzuki managed not only to get Zen to the West, but also had an important role to play in getting it back to Japan - not in its "original" shape, but in a transformed form. What Bernard Faure has called the "Suzuki-effect" (1993, 54), corresponds (in its Japanese effect) in an interesting way to what the Indian anthropologist Bharati called the "pizza-effect" (1970, 273): In its home country the pizza was a simple bread, a snack, but was later imported and transformed into a main dish by the Americans, an individual meal in many different sizes, with different tastes and shapes. The point of the pizza-effect is the fact, that this Americanized form was re-imported by the Italians themselves. The pizza as a meal and concept got a new shape and meaning in its home country after having been transformed abroad. Another metaphor is the "Hollywood-effect"; the meaning and shape of for instance an "original" fairytale being "Americanized" and re-imported to European children who think that the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen are actually supposed to have a happy Hollywood ending. To extend the metaphor, one might even talk of an "inverted" (or in principal holographycally infinite reflected) pizza-effect, when "unique European philosophers" (for instance Heidegger) appear to have been significantly inspired by eastern thought - an eastern thought itself presented through "Protestant" or "western" eyes. This transformation is naturally not a unique phenomenon in religious studies, where interpretations, re-interpretations and inventions are seen as common characteristics of religion. For Buddhism, the meeting with the West and modernity has had the character of a pizza-effect in different ways, perhaps best illustrated by the "Protestant Buddhism" in Ceylon(61).
Zen and the art of inverting Orientalism
context and the religious discourse of which Suzuki was a part is important
for understanding his project. He played and systematically reversed the game
Especially from his time with Carus Suzuki was obsessed with proving Buddhism as a unified tradition to be scientific and in accordance with modern, universal culture. He calls it "rational" and "positivistic" (1959a, x) and "radical empericism" (1974, 2). "Buddhism is reality, reality is Buddhism" (1970D, 7), it is an "ultimate fact of all philosophy and religion" (1956, 111). Like his Victorian predecessors, he rejected all ritualistic activity as merely symbolic (or as a spiritual gestus towards the unenlightened folk believers). Only meditation (or rituals enacted "meditatively") is the correct soteriological and spiritual "means of attaining truth" (1970A, 94). Suzuki often uses the etymological identification between Zen and meditation, justifying Zen practice and the Zen school as being truly spiritual, spirituality being seen as a complementary counterpart to rationality and science. Zen meditation is the symbol of Zen modernity, it is both "scientific" (as a non-ritual technique to "pure experience") of reality, direct and unmediated) and "spiritual" (what is experienced is beyond language and conceptual knowledge). Zen is therefore also irrational (or anti-rational), and can only be experienced subjectively: "To study Zen means to have Zen experience" (1967, 123). Emphasizing the "special transmission outside the scriptures", kyoge betsuden, and the religious experience (keiken) in meditation, koan-practice and satori (kensho), Suzuki thus underlines the "Protestant" anti-ritualism and romanticist anti-intellectualism, while also giving room to a spiritual and "scientific", subjective and direct perception of psychological, ontological and epistemological "pure" and unmediated truths.(63) Suzuki's "Zen" is not the Zen of the Zen sect (or school, Zenshu) as an institutional and living religion. "True Zen" is defined through its (classical) texts, taking them at face value to represent (an idealized) reality. Zen becomes a concept, a transcendent essence, underlying Buddhism and all religions in their different manifestations. Zen study therefore is the way to "Zen" (Kirita 1996, 114). Zen is the quitessence of the "religious counsciousness of mankind" (1970A, preface), of "the human spirit" (1970C, 347) and - though Rudolf Otto seems to have been more inspired by Suzuki than the other way round - Zen gets a taste of "The Holy". "Zen is the ocean, Zen is the air ... Zen is man" (1969B, 45), and "the spirit of all religions and philosophies" (ibid., 44). Suzuki can therefore also find "Zen" in both Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Daoism and Confucianism (1956, 111) and among both Swedenborg, Emerson, Blavatsky, Eckhart and other western mystics.
Suzuki found Zen perfectly suitable to modernity. Or rather, he found modernity perfectly suitable to Zen. But - like the spiritual theosophists, the romanticists, the mystical depth psychologists, the essentialist historians of religion - Suzuki could only sustain this spiritualism by rejecting or complementing modernity and universalism.
He also finds a more evolutionary model suitable to envelope Zen, and systematically inverts Orientalist ideas, dichotomies and metaphors.
First, Suzuki inverts the western Orientalist idea of the "original", Southern, canonic and "true" Buddhism, being opposed to a degenerated Mahayana Buddhism.(64) He regards the first as a "primitive Hinayana", while Mahayana is seen as not just "the genius of the entire East", but also as "a great monument of the human soul" waiting to be excavated (1921, 85). But Suzuki goes further. Zen Buddhism represents not just true Buddhism (the "essence of Buddhism" being transmitted without faith and words, 1956, 28) but is the goal of a teleological development, "the culmination of the development of Buddhism" (1970D, 13). This is explained by for instance meditation, both as a concept and as a religious practice. On the one hand, he distinguishes between "traditional" Buddhist dhyana meditation as a means, a way to enlightenment, as opposed to the more unique Chan/Zen prajna meditation, which is identical with, and an expression of, enlightenment itself. Each and every Zen meditation therefore is a spiritual act expressing the wisdom of Zen and the entire East. On the other hand he distinguishes between - and qualitatively judges - the koan meditation of the Rinzai school and shikantaza meditation of the Soto school, identifying the two approaches with dhyana (shikantaza and Soto) versus prajna (koan and Rinzai). Soto meditation is seen as quietism and "gradual", while koan meditation is "sudden" and non-dualistic(65). Both being expressions of Japanese Zen, however, they are also seen as complementary - with "Zen in between" (1969a, 95). Suzuki also later negates the relation between Zen and mysticism, as the concept of mysticism cannot cover the unique Zen spiritual essence (see Faure 1993, 60ff.), or at least "Zen is a mysticism of its own order" (1969B, 45). Also a scientific and rational analysis will be mistaken; "our so-called rationalistic way of thinking has apparently no use in evaluating the truth or untruth of Zen" (1930, 20), a critique directed towards the Chinese (Suzuki-critical) Chan/Zen scholar Hu-shih's historical and objectivist approach. In his "dialogue" with Christianity, he clearly places this western religion below Zen. Christian faith is a dualistic faith in God, while Zen is faith in oneself (1969a, 79), Christians are looking heavenwards, Zen Buddhists are looking within themselves (ibid., 81). Zen has neither rituals, ceremonies nor gods (1969B, 39). In many ways, Suzuki's Zen seems more "Protestant" than the Christianity, with which he (also) describes Zen.
Especially in his later works, Suzuki more aggressively explains this religious teleologically closed evolution by differences in culture and mentality. Zen is unique for "the original mind" (1970A, preface), for the "Far Eastern Culture" (1970B, 91), it expresses the "spirit of the East" (1970C, 347), in Zen (though at other times being non-philosophical) "all the philosophy of the East is crystallized" (1969B, 38). Though Chan/Zen as a distinct school originated in China, the true spirit of Zen is uniquely Japanese. "The Zen life of the Japanese came to full flower in Japanese spirituality" (1972, 18-19), "it has been due to the Japanese that its technique has been completed" (1967, 122). He talks about the "Zen character of Japanese spirituality", and in his book Zen and Japanese Culture (1959b), he explains everything Japanese - from culture, mentality, personality character, love of nature, to the samurai-spirit - to be "Zen-like". In other words, those attributes Zen might have in common with other "Japanese things" by metaphorical association are ascribed an essential quality, revealing a relation of assigned identity. This metaphorical association is transferred to more general differences between "East" and "West", two essential phenomena and concepts from the discourse of Orientalism, now in an inverted qualitative relationship. To underline the Oriental qualities Suzuki inverts and transforms the traditionally negative stereotypes into positive characteristica.(66) Thus, "In many ways the East no doubt appears dumb and stupid, as Eastern people are not so discriminate and demonstrative and do not show so many visible, tangible marks of intelligence. They are chaotic and apparently indifferent" (Suzuki et al 1960, 6). The West becomes The Other, being characterized by a "relative ego" versus the "transcendental Ego" of the East (1957, 131), the West uses logic, the East uses intuition (1959b, 219), westerners are alienated towards nature, the Orientals are close to nature (Suzuki et al 1960, 2), and "the idea of conquest (nature) was imported from the West" (1958, 141). Christianity is an "autocratic, domineering power", but Buddhism a "religion of peace" (1957, 138). And: "The Western mind is ... analytical, discriminative, differential, inductive, individualistic, intellectual, objective, scientific, generalizing, conceptual, schematic, impersonal, legalistic, organizing, power-wielding, self-assertive, disposed to impose its will upon others" (Suzuki et al 1960, 5). The East is "... synthetic, totalizing, integrative, non-discriminative, deductive, non-systematic, dogmatic, intuitive (rather, affective), nondiscursive, subjective, spiritually individualistic and socially group-minded" (ibid.). The differences are not of degree but categorical and essential. In an interview with Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Suzuki says that he has neither met nor heard of westerners having understood Zen (Shore 1986, 19-23). "Zen is the keynote of Oriental culture; it is what makes the West frequently fail to fathom exactly the depths of the Oriental mind" (1969B, 35).
The hermeneutical circle seems hermetically closed to westerners.
Zen, inverted Orientalism and the art of studying Buddhism in religious studies
D. T. Suzuki
transmitted Zen to the West - and to some extent back to Japan. As a product
of both East and West he acted as a translator of cultures, as a spiritual bridge-builder
and "midwife", and had he been a mythological figure, he could have
been called a culture-hero. Suzuki did not transmit Zen in a one-way directly
transmitted "objective" way. He was not alone in constructing "Suzuki-Zen".
He was part of a well-defined discourse, an almost neutral part of a fine-meshed
interrelated network, a human sign among a web of signifiers, an infinite frame
of reference where ideas, ideals and metaphors were part of a communicative
This network - from Meiji Buddhists, to buddhologists, theosophists, Swedenborgians, spokesmen of religion-as-science, psychologists of religion, theologians, Zen practitioners from the West - should not be understood as perls on a string (as the idea of the Zen patriarch's transmission "from mind to mind"), but as a genealogical network of interrelated individuals, whose personal relations and mutual influence of ideas (rooted in different paradigms such as universalism, evolutionism, spiritualism, rationalism and "Protestant" anti-ritualism, etc) in many ways seem more homogenous than the Zen tradition he wanted to reveal.
Suzuki-Zen is thus also a performative network of active individuals, creating the discourse, constituting the tradition itself. D.T. Suzuki could therefore also step out of the discourse to create his own personal account of Zen. By taking over and transforming ideas and metaphorical dichotomies (East/West, Mahayana/Hinayana, Japan/Asia, Zen/Buddhism, wisdom/belief, meditation/ritual, spiritualism/materialism, up/down, in/out, doctrines/beyond doctrines, etc), Suzuki structurally inverted and invented religious parameters pointing at a new cultural and religious hierachy. Instead of a de-mystification and de-Orientalization of the Orient (as Said asked for), Suzuki-Zen is an expression of a project, a "strategic Occidentalism" (Ketelaar 1991) which through Orientalism could re-mystify, re-mythologize, re-essentialize and re-Orientalize the Orient (and, especially Japanese Zen).
D. T. Suzuki
has been criticized by a new generation of academic Zen scholars. As an interpretor
of Zen he had many inaccuracies. Since Suzuki, time has changed. Many desriptions
and approaches to the study of Zen still have to be re-written and re-considered
in the post-Suzuki-Zen study. But Suzuki was not, and did not see himself as
being, historian of religion. Suzuki-Zen is not primarily (as often understood
in the West) describing or writing about Zen, but performatively prescribing
an idealized Zen and Buddhism, being more a model for, than a model of Zen and
Suzuki is primarily to be seen as an apologetic voice of the tradition, he interpreted and "revealed". As such he was unique, but also a product of a cultural communication, a fusion of horizons in a creative "mirroring" reciprocity of ideas and mental images. D. T. Suzuki can still be read as a creative thinker, a Zen theologian with many enlightening thoughts. As an "emic voice" he is not "wrong". Judging his existential and religious ideas as right or wrong would repeat the old etnocentric and "Protestant" dichotomies of true and essential versus misunderstood and degenerated Buddhism. As the Platform Sutra says about the mirror, "how can there be dust?".
an interesting expedient means (upaya) for self-reflection. Suzuki-Zen has forced
the study of Zen Buddhism to see and acknowledge the hermeneutical web of relationships
between emic and etic discourse, between "us" and "them".
Just as their apologetic religious discourse has coloured our interpretations
(as the case Suzuki is a prime example of), so our descriptions of them are
"an act, a performance" (Faure 1993, 146) with ideological and hermeneutical
consequences for them. The blurred overlappings between Orientalism(s), inverted
Orientalism(s) and Occidentalism(s) have not made it easier to represent them
(as the "others"), nor to understand ourselves. Acknowledging these
conditions, however, there might be a point in polishing the mirror, after all.
By distinguishing (though not transcending) the emic-etic discourses, by revealing
the sociology of knowledge behind certain ideological and methodological differences
might reveal that some models, after all, are more useful than others. In retrospect
Suzuki opened doors to another world - but he also made us see it in blinkers.
In his apologetic attempt to elevate, transcend and essentialize Zen, he reduced
it, with the effect that until recently studies on institutional, social, ritual
and in general "religious" aspects of Zen Buddhism have been virtually
Studying religion is not like looking through a window. It is necessary to see with glasses, to use models and maps to see religion not as a metaphysical truth to be perceived, but as a cultural phenomenon, itself a construction, a living reality. Our "constructions" need not be in harmony with theirs. But ideally they need to be potentially reflecting each other(67). Though a mirror can be used to reflection and illumination, the images reflected in the mirror are not the thing itself. Historians of religion are not supposed to reveal a "truth", but to reflect on an always ongoing discourse about their truths - and on our own discourse. Suzuki-Zen and related case stories - with or without the discussions on Orientalism - are good opportunities to keep polishing our mirrors.
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Zen Bunka Kenkyusho
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1. Said himself
mentions that "Orientalist notions influenced the people who were called
Orientals" (1978, 42), but sees only this as an expression of the relationship
between the power of the Orientalists and the Orientals' passive acceptance
of this. In Culture and Imperialism (1993) focus is changed to the resistance
towards western dominance, but neither here is left space for the reciprocal
relations there were and are between West and non-West.
2. Carrier 1995 distinguishes between four related terms in a typology useful for illustrating the complex of problems. Apart from Orientalism (the West's essentialization of the others), he defines its contrast, "ethno-Orientalism", as "essentialist renderings of alien societies by the members of those societies themselves" (198), Occidentalism as "essentialist renderings of the West by Westerners", and "ethno-Occidentalism as "essentialist renderings of the West by members of alien societies" (ibid). To further expand the confusion of ideas, see Lindstrom's (1995) introduction of the terms "auto-Occidentalism", "internal-Orientalism", "pseudo-Orientalism" etc. Probably Bernard Faure was the first to use the concept "reverse Orientalism" (1993, 53).
3. Though Said did not have much to say about this cultural and religious area the problems are naturally relevant - also in spite of the fact that Japan was never colonized, and Buddhism in general has always had a more positive image in the West, compared to the Islamic Middle East. See Lopez 1995 on post-colonial Buddhist studies.
4. Like Said, I also believe in the "determining imprint of individual writers upon the otherwise anonymous collective body of texts constituting a discursive formation like Orientalism", because "Orientalism is after all a system for citing works and authors" (1978, 23).
5. Faure, for instance calls it "Zen Orientalism" (1993, 52) and "secondary Orientalism" (ibid, 5): "despite his nativist tendency, Suzuki relied heavily on the categories of nineteenth-century Orientalism. He simply inverted the old schemas to serve his own purposes" (ibid., 64).
6. In the words of J. J. Clarke: "The perceived otherness of the Orient is not exclusively one of mutual antipathy, nor just a means of affirming Europe's triumphant superiority, but also provides a conceptual framework that allows much fertile cross-referencing, the discovery of similarities, analogies, and models; in other words, the underpinning of a productive hermeneutical relashionship (1997, 27).
7. The well-known buddhologist Edward Conze was later to identify Buddhism as a kind of Gnosticism.
8. See Stcherbatsky 1977 (1923) for a comparison of these two "types" of Buddhism.
9. To some Catholic missionaries, however, Buddhist monks were considered to be living (often degenerated) remains from earlier, often mythical, missionary efforts. The legendary founder of Chan Buddhism, Bodhidharma, for instance, was considered to be a misunderstood copy of the apostle Thomas (Faure 1993, 45ff.) When Xavier met the Japanese Buddhists he thought them to be fallen Christians - just as some of his opponents thought of Christianity as a strange Buddhist sect (App 1997).
10. That Buddhism as a concept was created (and later taken over by the Buddhists themselves) in itself is naturally not a problem, but expresses a phenomenological and conceptual necessity within the comparitive study of religion. In this broad generalization it must also be stressed that some scholars were more scientifically minded than others. If early Buddhism is identified with the Pali canon - and this is a topic of discussion - it can of course also be argued that "the representation of early Buddhism as rationalist and free of ritual was not simply a creation of westerners like Rhys Davids but reflected the attitudes of their Asian informants as well" (Nattier 1997, 471).
11. Edwin Arnold was also influenced by Blavatsky, and he was impressed by the theosophical movement which has had "an excellent effect upon humanity" (Cranston 1993, 428). Light of Asia was even more widely known in America than in England, maybe because it was introduced through the Transcendentalist circle (Wright 1957, 73). Arnold was a personal friend of Emerson, whose name he gave to his youngest son.
12. As a child Krishnamurti was recognized by two leading theosophists, A. Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, as the new World Teacher. He was adopted by Besant and raised by Leadbeater, and as a spiritual leader he played this role until 1929 when he declared not to be a savior, and with the death of Besant in 1933 he finally broke with the society.
13. Though being inspired by Buddhist scholars, however, many theosophists were against their too "theoretical" approach to religion - just as many academics (for instance Rhys Davids and Max Müller) were critical of the popular and amateurish approach of the theosophists. Olcott himself writes, after having met Max Müller, that they "agreed to disagree" on Buddhist matters (ODL 4,59) - especially Müller insisted that esoteric teachings had no place in Buddhism.
14. Humphreys, who started the Buddhist Lodge in 1924, also wrote a book about, and forewords to some of the books by, Blavatsky. According to Mircia Eliade, Edward Conze admired Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, and thought she was the reincarnation of Tsonkapa (Eliade 1978, 208).
15. Ananda Metteyya (Allan Bennett), Nyanatiloka (Anthon Gueth), Anagarika Govinda (Ernst Lothar Hoffmann), Alexandra David-Neel and Evans-Wentz for instance were all somehow inspired by or related to the Theosophical Society. Whether expressing influence or not, the present Dalai Lama had his first book published by the Theosophical Society, and has visited and given speeches at the headquarters several times. In general the theosophists have also founded the way for what Donald Lopez calls "New Age-Orientalism" (1994).
16. Not all Sri Lankan Buddhists, however, were in favour of theosophy. Some saw the society as promoting own ideas instead of Buddhism. See Malalgoda 1976, 242ff.
17. The politically influencial lay organization All Ceylon Buddhist Congrees grew out of YMBA. Theosophically inspired politics is not unique: In India many of the founding members of the National Congress were theosophists, including Gandhi and of course Annie Besant. Interestingly, Gandhi was introduced to his beloved Bhagavadgita through Edwin Arnold's translation in his book The Song Celestial (Sharpe 1985, 60).
18. According to Olcott himself, the catechism was used at Sorbonne, where he was an Honorary Member of the Société d'Ethnographie: the lecturer "told his pupils that they would find more real Buddhism in it than in any of the books published by Orientalists"(ODL 4, 276). Another Buddhist modernizer and supporter of the theosophists, Gunananda Mohottivatte, who translated parts of Blavatsky's Isis unveiled into Sinhalese, a few years later wrote his own Buddhist catechism, inspired by, and as a rival to, Olcott's catechism (Malalgoda 1976, 252). A German convert, Subhadra Bhiksu (Friedrich Zimmermann), in 1894 wrote his Buddhistischen Katechismus.
19. Both monks, priests, laymen and Indian brahmins were healed by Olcott's miracles - supposingly because of his siddhis (magical power) he received through telepathic contact with the theosophical "masters", but probably also due to the fact that he was white. George Bond explains the related phenomenon that contemporary Sri Lankans accept western meditation teachers, as the "Olcott complex"; "foreigners who espouse one's own tradition enhance it's credibility and increase one's appreciation of it" (1988, 191).
20. Prothero 1996, 1 describes the way the Sinhalese Buddhists celebrate Olcott-day. Obeyesekere, however, is rather sceptical about his descriptions, as he has "worked in Sri Lanka for over forty years and have not once come across the devotional phenomenon noted by Prothero" (1997, 1).
21. Blavatsky advised Dharmapala to study Pali and become a Buddhist missionary (Guruge 1965, 687). Before his later break with the movement, he "considered himself more of a theosophist than a Buddhist" (de Tollenaere 1996, 277).
22. He visited him in London in 1893, and was deeply inspired by his book Light of Asia, which he praises as one of the agencies behind the popularity of Buddhism - the other being the Theosophical Society (Hansom 1894, 378). When Arnold in 1886 arrived in Ceylon "the clergy turned out in crowds to honor him and hear him speak" (Wright 1957, 115).
23. "The essence of Protestantism as we understand it lies in the individual's seeking his or her ultimate goal without intermediaries" (Gombrich & Obeyesekere 1988, 215). Other characteristics are universalism, individualism, egalitarianism, internalization and lay orientation.
Obeyesekere - in contrast to general Orientalist and "Protestant Buddhist" approaches - saw modern Buddhism in Sri Lanka as a degenerate movement from a religion of the heart to one of the head, being "the dark underside of Buddhism" (1991, 238). The concept "Protestant Buddhism" naturally has been criticized for being an inadequate and etnocentric term. As an analytical tool for making phenomenological analogies, as a concept "good to think with" personally I find it rather useful. The biased dichotomy between "Protestant" and "Catholic" has itself in Sri Lanka contributed to anti-Mahayana prejudice (Gombrich and Obeyesekere 1988, 220). Interestingly, "the Protestant missionaries who were the models for the first Protestant Buddhists were fundamentalists" (ibid., 220).
24. His name "Anagarika" which originally in Pali and Sanskrit means "homeless", i.e. a monk's status, was by Dharmapala transformed to designate a status in between monk and layman. In spite of his resistance towards the traditional priest- and monkhood, he became a monk himself in 1933, shortly before his death.
25. That the Tokugawa period was represented as dark and backward is only half a truth, politically and rhetorically legitimating the "new age". Naturally it is also problematic too onesidedly to focus on this proces as a religious respons to socio-historical factors. Internally Buddhism already during the Tokugawa period had started "modernizing". Ketelaar 1990 has thoroughly investigated Buddhism before, during and immediately after the Meiji-restoration.
26. The concept and idea behind the "New Buddhism" (shin bukkyo) as opposed to the "Old Buddhism" (kyu bukkyo) was borrowed from the Japanese terms for Catholicism and Protestantism, "Old doctrine" (kyu-kyo) and "New Doctrine" (shin-kyo). See Thelle 1987 194ff.
27. Fenollosa had converted to Buddhism in 1885. Hearn had his own personal way of using what he called "Higher Buddhism".
28. Buddhism not only learnt to express itself in Christian and "western" terms. Several aspects of institutional and religious practice were inspired by Christianity. Arnold's book on Christ, The Light of the World, on the other hand, resulted in the "tendency of Christians to interpret Christianity by the help of Buddhism" (Thelle 1987, 308n. 62). The conflict between Buddhists and Christians in Japan, however, later on turned into dialogue, see Thelle 1987. With regard to philosophy Shimomura says it was "a re-cognition, a re-interpretation of eastern thought as philosophy with the help of Western philosophy" (1967, 21).
29. The Japan Weekly Mail in 1891 writes of the Nishi and Honganji sects in Kyoto having "sent priests to China, Siam, India, Thibet and Turkey to report on the history and progress of the faith in these countries, and thus to furnish material for a Japanese history of foreign Buddhism" (quoted by Dharmapala in Guruge 1965, 824).
30. Among the western thinkers Soen was presented to was Herbert Spencer and his social Darwinism, Nishimura 1993.
31. Among the subscribers supporting his trip was the Meiji intellectual Fukuzawa Yakichi, the founder of Keio University (Tsunemitsu 1994, 221).
32. At Engakuji he got the certification of the seal of dharma transmission, inka shomei, by Kosen Soon, better known as Imakita Kosen (1816-92). At Engakuji he later became a well-known abbot. See Sharf 1993 and Furuta 1967.
33. On his return, Konen wanted to transplant original Ceylonese Buddhism to Japan, especially the practice of taking (and keeping) the precepts. For this purpose he founded the Shakuson Shofukai ("Assembly of right-style Buddha") He escorted Ceylonese monks to Japan and helped Japanese monks to go to Ceylon to become Southern monks. Konen also actively took part in a seinenkai (YMBA) with Unsho. On Shaku Konen, see Tsunemitsu 1968 and Fujiyoshi 1968.
34. Inspired by Olcott's unifying attempts, the theosophist and founder of the Buddhist Society in London, Christmas Humphreys, some years later succeeded in gathering the largest Buddhist sects in Japan to accept his "Twelve Principles of Buddhism ". Neither in Japan nor in other Buddhist countries (to which they were also directed) these principles, however, - like Olcott's project - ever had any practical significance in the long run. Whether D. T. Suzuki through his close friendship with Humphreys was also involved in constructing the principles or in organizing the implementations of them is still to be found out.
In 1932 the American Dwight Goddard wrote his "Buddhist Bible". This book was an inspirational source for the "Teaching of the Buddha", published and meant to be a Buddhist Bible by the Federation of All Young Buddhist Association of Japan in 1932.
35. Also Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, who later visited Japan with the aim of finding support for marketing a common Asian religious culture, had similar ideas about Japan.
36. Arnold, who was later given the Order of the Rising Sun (as well as other orders from Asian countries), lectured to groups of priest about Bodh Gaya arousing "enough interest in his audience so that a society was formed to promote interest in Gaya among Japanese Buddhists" (Wright 1957, 117).
37. Kawaguchi was a scholarly disciple of Nanjo Bunyu and Buddhist modernizer Shaku Unsho. Among some of Kawaguchi's own disciples counts Myoshinji kancho Yamada Mumon. Kawaguchi was described as "Shramana" by Olcott ( ODL 4, 6). D.T. Suzuki was informed about Kawaguchi's Tibet travels. In a letter from America he asked for a copy of his Chibetto Ryokouki (Inoue 1989, 292-93). Whether the fact that his book Three Years in Tibet (1909) was published by the Theosophist Office in Madras indicates more personal interests in, and relations to, the society is still to be found out.
38. The society was first called Obei Bukkyo Tsushinkai ("The Society for Communication with Western Buddhists"), when it was created in 1887 (Thelle 1987, 110). It probably had its inspiration from the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism in Ceylon, which was later run by the Buddhist Theosophical Society.
39. Fader 1982, Ketelaar 1990 136ff and Sharf 1993 examine the influence of the Parliament on Zen in the West.
40. Guruge (1965, xxxvi) suggests, that the invitation was due to the success of the Maha Bodhi Journal, which Dharmapala had created and edited.
41. During the Parliament the delegates held public meetings, handed out tens of thousands of pamphlets on Mahayana Buddhism as "missionary efforts, the first ever by modern Buddhists" (Ketelaar 1990, 163).
42. In Japan Carus was "respected as an authority on the West and on Western philosophy" (Snodgrass 1998, 334).
43. Shaku Soen and D. T. Suzuki in 1896 arranged a Buddhist-Christian conference, the "Little Parliament of Religions" (Thelle 1987, 226ff).
44. Soen was, however, conscious about the western contribution to the understanding and popularity of Buddhism; "Swedenborg came to Buddhism through his interest in mysticism; Arnold through his elegant poetic vision; Olcott through his interest in superior intellect; Müller through his interest in the refined Sanskrit language" (quoted in Snodgrass 1998, 330).
45. Kirita (1996, 115 and 130) suggests that Suzuki must have read and been inspired by both Inoue Enryo and Herbert Spencer.
46. On the relationship between Suzuki and Carus, see Sharf 1993, 13ff.
47. Carrithers thinks that William James in general has "influenced the Western understanding of Buddhist meditation" (1983, 18). James himself was inspired by theosophy and was familiar with Swedenborg. And during a lecture in 1903 he gave Dharmapala his chair with the words "You are better equipped to lecture on psychology than I am" (Guruge 1965, 681). James' ideas of unmediated experience influenced not only Suzuki but also the philosopher Nishida Kitaro.
48. Interview in Kyoto, March 1997.
49. Ellwood 1979, 182n1.1924 was also the year when the same Jinarajadesa helped Humphreys establish the subgroup of the Theosophical Society, the Buddhist Lodge.
50. Apart from his friendship with several Orientalists (and a general knowledge of their writings) Jung was himself influenced by the theosophist's understanding of eastern religion. On Tibet, theosophy and the psychologization of Buddhism, see Pedersen 1997.
51. Suzuki was active in or indirectly an inspirational force behind for instance the East-West Conferences in Hawaii and the Buddhist-Christian dialogues and exchanges of monks (Zen and Catholic). Most of the many Christian priests or theologians with theoretical of practical interest in Zen, also were inspired by, or in contact with, Suzuki. Thomas Merton, in gratitude to Suzuki, compares him with Einstein and Gandhi (1967, 3-9).
52. For instance the first westerner to become a Zen priest in Japan, Ruth Fuller Sasaki - late in life married to Sokei-an/Sasaki Shigetsu, a dharma heir of Shaku Soen - was introduced to Nanzenji and Daitokuji in Kyoto through Suzuki and Mrs Suzuki, both of whom she knew. It was Suzuki who had given her instruction in zazen, before attending "real" monastic life. Sasaki later edited Suzuki's Essays in Zen Buddhism, and founded the First Zen Institute of America in Japan at Ryosen-an, Daitokuji, giving this temple a revival. Here scholars-to-be (such as Yanagida Seizan and Philip Yampolsky) as well as intellectuals and "beatniks" (such as Gary Snyder) met to discuss, read and practice Zen Buddhism. Suzuki has in general been instrumental in bringing about contact between westerners and Zen institutions in Japan. Also gurus and representatives from eastern religions have used the publications of Suzuki, i.e. Rajneesh and Thich Nhat Hanh.
53. The Kyoto School and The New Kyoto School has generally been engaged in dialogue between (Zen) Buddhism and Christianity, between western and eastern philosophy. In the recent years, however, the nationalistic tendencies of these schools have been criticized, and it has been suggested, that the "dialogue" has been used as a rhetorical promotion of the uniqueness of Japanese culture, mentality and thinking - a discourse known as nihonjinron. See for instance Faure 1993 and 1995. Bernard Faure calls these Suzuki-inspired schools for "Zen Occidentalism" (1995, 270) and "reverse Orientalism" (ibid., 245).
54. As Suzuki had an almost sectarian approach in favouring Rinzai as opposed to Soto, he has not had the same significance within the Soto world. However, some of the English publications from the Soto Headquarters (Sotoshu Shumucho) has definately borrowed the terminology of Suzuki-Zen. Soto priest Koho also approves: "the work of Dr. Suzuki has been phenomenal" (1960 p. 85).
55. Fujioka (1994, 241f) comments on the introduction to the Japanese editions of Suzuki's collected works: "it shows the high esteem in which he was held in Japan. Few Japanese have received such extravagant praise".
56. Interview with Tanaka Soyo (formerly student at Kyoto University) from Nagaoka Zenjuku, a Zen monastery for laymen, where Morimoto Shonen was formerly a roshi.
57. The Vietnamese Thich Nhat Hanh, who in the West in many ways has received the same status as Suzuki, says about the phenomenon: "Because Westerners are interested in Zen, many Asians have returned to their spiritual tradition" (1995, 159). It is interesting, however, that no "Zen Boom" apparently has struck the ethnic Japanese in USA (Tagami 1986).
58. Sharf (1993) does not believe Suzuki had any significance for the monastic and institutional world; he was too intellectual, and, if we accept the assertion, that Suzuki Zen is a kind of "Protestant Zen", it is only natural, that institutional and monastic Zen Buddhism would have to negate an approach in no need of a clergy, of rituals, of institutions. However, though it is naturally problematic to measure indications for such influence, my general impression (through Japanese sources and talks with Zen scholars and priests) is that Suzuki in the Zen monastic world was not at all counted as being "marginal", though a bit to the "intellectual" side. A more systematic study of Suzuki's impact on the monastic world would naturally be an interesting project to pursue.
59. Sanbo Kyodan is an independent Zen sect with elements from both Rinzai, Soto and western Zen. Sharf (1995c) calls it a new religious movement, and equals its relationship to Japanese Zen with that of Jehovas Witnesses and Christianity in the West. Harada and Yasutani are perhaps controversial figures, but generally respected by many as "genuine masters" - and not only considered marginal, as Sharf suggests. An interesting counterpart to Dharmapala's lay Buddhism is the way in which Sanbo Kyodan uses texts as authority and bases the religious practice on taking the texts at face value. See ibid., 427.
60. The Young East saw itself as the successor of the Bijou of Asia , the journal published by the Buddhist Propagation Society. It also compares its role as propagator of Buddhism with that of The Eastern Buddhist (Takakusu 1929, 254).
61. See Obeyesekere 1970. Interestingly, Sharf calls the aforementioned Sanbo Kyodan movement for "Protestent Zen" (1995c, 250). For related subjects, see also Ketelaar 1991 (on "strategic Occidentalism"), Bharati 1970 (on neo-Hinduism and its use of Orientalism), Lopez 1996 (on the way both Chinese and Tibetans use Orientalist clichés to own advantage), Kopf 1985 (on the way Shakto-Tantrism was negated or de-sexualized and later idealized in India in response to Orientalist puritanism and Wesern sexual emancipation), Sharpe 1985 (on western interpretations of the Bhagavadgita and also on Indian responses and re-interpretations). As an illustrative example of the fact that mutual reflection is not just a Orient/Occident incident, but rather a general expression of the way religions work, see Kohn 1995 (on ways Buddhism and Daoism use each others' ideas and myths to identify and legitimate themselves).
62. It is not my intention to reduce Suzuki's numerous litterature to this "project". Suzuki had much higher ambitions, but Orientalism can be seen as the frames, within which Suzuki-Zen could and had to operate.
63. See Sharf 1995b on "Buddhist modernism and the rhetoric of meditative experience", where he asserts, that both vipassana meditation and Zen Buddhist emphasis on satori and kensho as concepts expressing experience are modern constructs.
64. The ideas of Mahayana as more developed or subtle than Hinayana is of course a rhetorical division within the Buddhist traditions themselves. A Buddhist hierachical system of classification was developed further in China (panjiao), which has also been used in Japan by different schools. But it is Suzuki who must be credited for having transformed the equalization or favoring of Mahayana to the West, where the Southern Buddhists' own presentation of originality and authority had traditionally been accepted.
65. See for instance 1969a, 42, 67 and 95. "If everyone just kept thinking like Soto, who would give us bread?" (42). On the third Japanese Zen sect, Obaku, he says "this branch has nothing to do with the doctrine of Zen" (1958, 44).
66. In this article I have only examplified from Suzuki's English works. Among some of the titles on some of his many books in Japanese can be mentioned Building a Spiritual Japan, East and West, The Mind of the Orient, see Hisamatsu et al 1970 for a translated list of content of The Complete Works of Suzuki Daisetz.
67. Sharf: "like Narcissus, Western enthusiasts failed to recognize their own reflection in the mirror being held out to them" (1993, 39).