Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Zen Social Ethics: Zen, Ideology, and Prophetic Critique

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Not Buying into Words and Letters: Zen, Ideology, and Prophetic Critique

Christopher Ives
Stonehill College

Judging from the active participation of Zen leaders and institutions in modern Japanese imperialism, one might conclude that by its very nature Zen succumbs easily to ideological co-optation. Several facets of Zen epistemology and institutional history support this conclusion. At the same time, a close examination of Zen theory and praxis indicates that the tradition does possess resources for resisting dominant ideologies and engaging in ideology critique.

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Zen Social Ethics: A Response

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Saving Zen From Moral Ineptitude: A Response to
Zen Social Ethics: Historical Constraints and Present Prospects

John C. Maraldo
University of North Florida

The four articles on the historical constraints and present prospects of a Zen social ethics are ethical essays in an exemplary sense: although they reflect on what Zen social ethics actually is or has been, their primary concern is with what a Zen social ethics could be or should be. Insofar as the papers are descriptive, they describe a lack or a failure of ethics in the Zen tradition, the failure for example to avert complicity in Japanese militarism and the suffering caused from it. Even where they point to ethical resources within the Zen tradition they do so in the awareness that such resources were not explored, much less utilized, in the past. Yet…

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