Prof. Brian Victoria (Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies), asks: Is it possible for a Buddhist, acting in accordance with Buddhist teachings, to take the lives of others out of compassion?
Friday, May 14, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Religious terrorism is today almost exclusively associated with Islam in the popular mind. Yet, though little known in the West, there was a major terrorist incident in early 1930s Japan related to the Zen school of Buddhism, both Rinzai and Sōtō sects. The incident consisted of a series of three assassinations which directly contributed to Japan’s emergence as a totalitarian society, thereby facilitating Japan’s subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor. Popularly known as the “Blood Oath Corps Incident” (J. Ketsumeidan Jiken), Inoue Nisshō, a lay disciple of Rinzai Zen Master Yamamoto Gempō, headed a band of some twenty Zen-trained terrorists. While introducing the historical significance of this incident, the presentation will focus on the Buddhist justification for these terrorist acts.
Brian Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University. He holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University. Brian’s major writings include Zen Terror in Prewar Japan: Portrait of an Assassin (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), a 2nd, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); Zen Master Dōgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yūhō of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill, 1976); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). Brian is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and fully ordained Buddhist priest in the Sōtō Zen sect.
Cost : Free and open to the public, but RSVP and Zoom account required
Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies, Center for the Study of Religion