Buddhism Has Its Own Anti-Semitism Problem https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/history-ideas/2021/02/buddhism-has-its-own-anti-semitism-problem/

February 26, 2021 | Christopher Schilling
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While it may surprise Westerners with a romanticized view of Buddhism, hostility toward Jews is not uncommon among its practitioners, and, moreover, anti-Semitism had a particular hold on some of those most influential in bringing the religion to the West. Christopher Schilling writes:

[The scholar] Arno Tausch found in his analysis of the [2017] World Values Survey that participants with a Buddhist background “are much more anti-Semitic than the adherents of mainstream Western Christianity, [Eastern] Orthodoxy, or people without any denomination.” In fact, the World Values Survey found that 33 percent of its Buddhist respondents [said they wouldn’t want to have a] Jewish neighbor, compared to 19.9 percent of Protestants and 17.7 percent of Roman Catholics (the highest-ranking religious group were Shiite Muslims at 83 percent). This may largely be due to a xenophobic confusion of Jews as Muslims.

Anti-Semitism became part of Buddhist Modernism in Japan. The Zen master Hakuun Yasutani (1885-1973), the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan organization of Japanese Zen, who later became famous in the West through Philip Kapleau’s book The Three Pillars of Zen, was a virulent anti-Semite and did not hesitate to publish his anti-Semitic views. While the majority of Zen masters in Japan actively supported Japanese militarism during World War II, Hakuun Yasutani actively supported the killings of “as many [enemies] as possible.” . . . After World War II, Yasutani traveled to the United States and became a principal teacher of influential people in the American Buddhist community.

Another controversial figure who was highly influential in introducing Zen Buddhism to the United States was the Japanese author D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966), who went on a lecture tour of American universities and taught at Columbia University in the 1950s. The killing of enemy soldiers he called an act of “religion during an emergency.” Regarding the Jewish fate under the Nazis, Suzuki [suggested that perhaps] “for a time, some sort of extreme action is necessary in order to preserve the [German] nation.” Brian Victoria, author of Zen at War, has demonstrated in his fascinating work Suzuki’s multiple contacts with leading Nazis in wartime Japan, particularly the Nazi propagandist (and later Zen master) Karlfried Dürkheim.

Read more on Jewish Political Studies Review: https://jcpa.org/article/buddhist-anti-semitism/

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