Christmas Humphreys and the ‘Zen’ of Execution


ALL Japanese martial arts (even archery) originated in China thousands of years ago, as did the original settlers on the island of Japan.  Even the national religion of Japan ‘Shindo’ (神道 – Shen Dao) had its roots in ancient China meaning ‘Spirit Way’, or ‘Spirit Path’, which should be correctly rendered into English as ‘Shindo’.  It is a nature philosophy of tranquillity and peace in society, secured by acting in accordance with the energy (yin and yang) of the universe, but which had been distorted into a fascist vision of Japanese racial superiority after the 1868 Meiji Restoration.  With this distortion of Daoism, the Japanese martial arts were transformed from their original Chinese premise of strength through righteous self-defence, into an aggressive and offensive vehicle for inflicting Japan’s ‘new’ foreign policy of colonization and domination of China, and many other countries in Asia and the pacific. Self-defence was abandoned in favour of self-offence.  Preserving life was replaced with taking life. Self-preservation was replaced with self-annihilation, and so on and so forth.  This ‘rejection’ of ‘Chinese’ morality changed the Japanese martial arts into an effective method for recruiting and training Japanese military personnel who had no moral qualms in committing mass-murder both on and off the battlefield. To ensure this outcome, Chinese Ch’an Buddhism in Japan – known as ‘Zen’ – was ‘stripped’ of its ‘Indian’ morality (sila), and Japanese practitioners taught to co-ordinate killing blows with sword, bayonet and fist, with the inward and outward breath – not allowing the mind to ‘move’ in the direction of ‘moral concern’.  Many of these new-types of Japanese Zen masters (who advocated mass murder in the name of Buddha), later became famous in the West as unquestioned authorities on ‘Zen’ Buddhism, which was admired by such English professionals as the barrister Christmas Humphreys – who thought it ‘karmically’ correct that cognitively disabled Derek Bentley (whose 16 year old friend had shot and killed an unarmed police officer) should be ‘hanged’ in place of his friend, because he (Bentley) happened to be 18 years old at the time in 1953 (in 1993, Derek Bentley was ‘posthumously pardoned’).  Two years later, Christmas Humphreys displayed the same amorality of the Japanese Zen he so admired, by having Ruth Ellis (a historic victim of domestic abuse) executed for fighting back against her abusive husband. His prosecution ensured her hanging in 1955 (she was the last women to be executed in the UK).  The British Buddhist Society that Humphreys founded in the 1920’s has continuously refused to support Chinese Ch’an, but supported the distorted post-Meiji Restoration Japanese Zen Buddhism, both before and after WWII, through the auspices of the Japanese nationalist DT Suzuki.  Humphreys wrote many books on Zen that have continuously served to present entirely a culturally wrong image, and ahistorical context to Westerners.

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