Distorting Soviet History – The Case of Soviet Physicist Matvei Bronstein (1906-1938)

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Soviet Physicist Matvei Bronstein

In 1953, the US Government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for being Members of the Communist Party of the USA (a legal entity then as now), and by extension, because they were thought to be spies working for the Soviet Union. The then President of the United States offered the Rosenberg’s a deal whereby if they renounced their Communist beliefs, and ‘admitted’ their guilt – their respective Death Sentences (via the electric chair) would be commuted to ‘life imprisonment’ – both steadfastly refused, and they died within minutes of one another on June 19th, 1953. The mainstream media of the democratic West remained ‘silent’, and was generally supportive of a US that had just suffered numerous military defeats at the hands of Communist China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as it expelled the US-led Western forces from North Korea. Of course, Socialists had been attacked, maimed and killed in the US before, but following the crushing Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during WWII, the US Government, controlled as it is by the demands of big business, had developed a hysteria and paranoia against the Communist Bloc, the like of which could easily be described as a ‘group psychosis’. The capitalists that run America feared their own working class, and were afraid that it would rise-up and sweep away their corruption and class privilege. As a means to counter any working class grassroots movement that looked toward the Soviet Union for inspiration and perhaps material support, the US Government initiated a Cold War ‘disinformation’ campaign designed to turn the Western working class firmly away from any association with the USSR. The basic premise was a simple sleight of hand and inversion of thought; as the Soviet Union viewed itself as the ‘Socialist’ conquering force over Nazi German fascism, the US ideologues generated the lie that there was no difference between the brutal Soviet Union (an ally of the US during WWII), and the maniacal Nazi Germany. Ironically, the country that the US had dropped two atomic bombs upon at the end of WWII – fascist Japan – was quickly ‘rehabilitated’ and suddenly packaged to the world as America’s new best friend.

This all has to be mentioned, because another key aspect of Soviet misrepresentation is to mis-report segments of Soviet history with no historical context whatsoever – as if the Soviet Union was so corrupt that it possessed the ability to exist outside of space and time! Much of how the Soviet Union is interpreted prior to WWII, actually emerged as part of a continuously unfolding anti-Soviet Cold War rhetoric, manufactured after WWII. The false impression is that the post-WWII attitude of the US toward the USSR was exactly the same pre-WWII attitude of the US toward the USSR – an illusion that only holds true if the entirety of the WWII collaboration between the US and USSR is completely omitted from the historical record. Another important issue is the embracing by the West of Leon Trotsky and his peculiar form of collaboration with capitalism which he termed ‘Socialism’ (but never ‘Communism’) following his expulsion from the USSR in 1929. Trotsky sought to destroy the Soviet Union and instigate a system of bourgeois-left leaning capitalism in its place. Western Governments liked this form of ‘Trotskyite’ deception, and encouraged its presence throughout (and within) the Union and Labour Movements of the West. Trotskyism is essentially an anti-Marxist-Leninism ideology, and was viewed by the Western Governments as a preferred alternative for the workers to follow – due to its anti-Soviet underpinnings. From 1929 until his death in 1940, Leon Trotsky received all kinds of support from Western Governments in a bid to undermine the Soviet Union. This included the establishing of ‘cells’ within the Soviet Union linked not only to the Western Democracies, but also with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Trotskyism was (and still is) a counter-revolutionary and anti-workers’ movement, that permeates the Labour Movement, and which psychologically and physically leads workers away from Socialist Revolution, and toward a continued collaboration with capitalism and its oppressive forces throughout society. Trotskyism destroys Labour Movements from within, and is designed to completely disempower the working class on every front.

In 1938, at a Conference representing his ‘Socialist’ ideology, Trotsky called for the victory of the forces of World Fascism over not only the Soviet Union, but also over the Western Democracies as well! In his deluded thinking, this victory of Adolf Hitler would be good for the well-being and freedom of the International Working Class! In the case of Matvei Bronstein – a Soviet physicist specialising in quantum mechanics and nuclear power – he became embroiled with a Trotskyite group operating in the USSR that had direct links to Nazi Germany. As usual, the English wikipedia page is inaccurate and missing vital information, but steadfastly supports the US anti-Soviet position. The Russian language wikipedia page has more official information, but still omits ‘what’ Matvei Bronstein had been found guilty of. The English wikipedia page portrays Bronstein ‘ahistorically’ as a lovable ‘genius’ who spent his spare-time writing children’s books. The implication is that his execution was unjust and an act of barbarism. The Russian Language wikipage – although lacking a crucial piece of information – does provide the following ‘historical’ details:

‘Arrested on August 6, 1937 in Kiev, in his parents’ house, and transported to Leningrad. Included in the firing list “Leningrad region” on February 3, 1938, approved by the signatures of Stalin, Voroshilov, Molotov, Kaganovich.
February 18, 1938 sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR under the chairmanship of Corveneurist Matulevich to be shot under Article 58-8-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR – was shot on the same day. Presumably buried in the Levashovskaya wasteland, where L. Chukovskaya in the 1990’s installed a monument. He was rehabilitated posthumously by order No. 44-028 603/56 of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR of May 9, 1957.’

Bronstein was ‘rehabilitated posthumously’ by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev who was himself a Trotskyite. What surprised me was that Bronstein’s Death Sentence was tested and approved by ‘four’ different Soviet legal departments – Stalin’s signature being added last. I had to look in other Russian language sources to discover exactly ‘why’ this action was taken against Bronstein by the Soviet State. Six months had elapsed since his arrest and trial, and every indication is that this was a thorough investigation. Bronstein, of course, experienced every assistance and freedom the Soviet State could give prior to his arrest, and it was known that he had contact with Niel Bohr – the Danish physicist – who is often portrayed in Western literature as opposing Nazism, but Denmark as a nation openly collaborated with Nazi Germany and did not resist the Nazi invasion of 1940 etc, but this association is not the reason Bronstein was arrested. Interestingly, the English wikipedia (designed in the US) omits all details of the trial, whereas the Russian (modern) wikipedia text omits the following (crucial) line of information which explains ‘why’ Bronstein was arrested, tried and executed:

‘Active participation in a counter-revolutionary, fascist-terrorist organization.’

(активное участие в контрреволюционной фашистской террористической организации)

Another Russian language text adds even more information:

‘According to the indictment of January 24, 1938, as part of his “practical anti-Soviet work” the scientist “prepared terrorist acts” and carried-out harmful activities “in the field of subsoil and water resources exploration.”‘

‘Согласно обвинительному заключению от 24 января 1938 года, в своей «практической антисоветской работе» ученый «готовил террористические акты» и вредил «в области разведки недр и водного хозяйства». ‘

Writing in the UK in 2017, I can say that I was not present during these times, and have no way of knowing whether Bronstein was ‘guilty’ or not. Furthermore, like Karl Marx, I disagree with the judicial Death Sentence, whilst equally recognising that the working class has a right to defend itself. The British BBC correspondent Alexander Werth (who was of Russian parentage), spent many years in the USSR, and dedicated much of his later years to providing good quality, first-hand accounts of life in the Soviet Union. Obviously, almost by default, his work continuously counters the false US anti-Soviet propaganda – proving it wrong at every turn. Even Americans living in the USSR in the 1940’s and 1950’s stated that there was no ‘great purge’, and neither were millions of people sent to gulags. Instead, it was admitted that there was perhaps around 10,000 people arrested throughout the USSR in the late 1930’s, with only a small percentage receiving the Death Sentence for spying or collaborating with Nazi Germany, etc. From what I am told by Russian colleagues, it is suspected that Bronstein was preparing to hand-over his work on nuclear studies to a ‘fascist’ enemy – thought to be Nazi Germany.

From the viewpoint of US anti-Soviet propaganda – which a priori assumes the utter corruption of the Soviet State at every turn – why was it considered necessary to ‘omit’ Bronstein’s criminal charge from Western narratives about his life? The English-language wikipedia is a good barometer of US political opinion, as its pages are ‘edited’ to keep this often inaccurate encyclopaedia very much representative of America’s anti-Socialist position. This bias can be seen in the racist attitude employed by wikipedia toward Communist China and North Korea, and its continuous censoring of any critique of the Zionist State of modern Israel. It is interesting that the wikipedia editors chose not to include Bronstein’s criminal charge in their general anti-Soviet narrative.Why would they fail to include a charge, if they thought the charge itself was unjust? Surely the inclusion of such a charge would work in favour of their anti-Soviet cause? The only viable reason I can see for omitting Bronstein’s criminal charge, is that the US Establishment does not want the general reader to know about it. If this is the case, then why would the US Establishment not want the general reader to know ‘exactly’ what Bronstein was charged with? Could it be that Bronstein’s charge can be easily proven to be ‘true’ by accessing other historical records? Or could it include the fact that US espionage was behind Bronstein’s collaboration with fascism? Whatever the reasons may be, it is obvious that in the case of Bronstein, the US Establishment does not want his charge to be widely known.

Finally, whilst at Leningrad University (from 1923-1929), Matvei Bronstein made friends with three other people who would go on to become well-known Soviet scientists. One of these was named ‘Georgiy Gamov’. Despite having a privileged lifestyle and career as a Soviet physicist, Gamov sought to ‘defect’ to the capitalist West at his earliest convenience. This he did (with his wife) in 1933 – after two years of continuous effort. He then ingratiated himself with the Western (capitalist) Establishment, immediately sharing all his previously confidential Soviet science with the enemies of Socialism. His work, which involved Cosmology, quantum tunneling and molecular genetics, was then integrated into the capitalist ‘scientific’ narrative, giving the false impression that ‘greed’ had triumphed over egalitarianism. It is interesting, from a historical point of view, that Bronstein was associated with Gamov. Two of Bronstein’s other friends at the time were Dmitri Ivanenko and Lev Landau, both of whom went on to have glittering scientific careers in the USSR, and remain loyal to the Socialist cause.

English Language Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matvei_Petrovich_Bronstein

Russian Language Reference:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Бронштейн,_Матвей_Петрович

http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/rinagit/post298964829

http://polit.ru/news/2016/12/02/bronshtein/

Dr Alfred Lukyanovich Yarbus (1914 -1986) – How a Soviet Red Army Soldier Progressed Perceptual Science

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Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD

Translater’s Note: Alfred Yarbus was a typical product of the Soviet Education System. Fully inaccordance with the strictures of Scientific Socialism, Soviet Society was organised around the scientific principle which was considered the most effective manner through which humanity could evolve and develop technology and understanding in all fields of scientific endeavour. The onus, very much influeced by ‘Futurism’, was to develop such an advanced and progressive scientific understanding and technology, that all of society’s ills could eventually be eleviated and erdicated. On a personal level, this included the curing of all illnesses, and the development of technoogy so as to make life better for each individual. This approach also included extensive research and development in the area of disability, mobility, and life-fulfilment (the Soviet Union developed the world’s first motorised wheelchair, for instance). Despite Albert Einstein declaring Socialism to be the most logical form of socio-economic organisation, and the fact that Soviet technology was often decades ahead of the capitalist West (including in the areas of flight and space exploration), this has not stopped those mindless followers of US Cold War rhetoric declaring Soviet Science to be ‘corrupt’. The example of Alfred Yarbus (and many like him), prove this type of capitalist ignorance to be not only ‘wrong’, but also ‘pathological’ in its structure and intent. (ACW 3.10.2017)

Dr Alfred Lukyanovich Yarbus [Альфред Лукьянович ЯРБУС } (1914 -1986) was a former Red Army soldier during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), and saw action against the Nazi German invaders and the Japanese fascists. After the war, he became famous as a scientist and a psychologist who made a number of significnt discoveries about eye movements and human perception. Many of his most interesting results were published in a book, translated into English and published in 1967 as Eye Movements and Vision. He was born on April 3, 1914 in Moscow, and under the Soviet System of ‘free’ education, he received the best tutoring. In 1932, he finished his basic schooling. In 1933, he studied drawing and design courses. After graduation, he worked as a draftsman at the Central Institute of Aviation Motors and the Moscow Aviation Technical School. In 1935, he entered the Physics Department of Moscow University. He graduated from the University in 1941. For about a year he worked as an engineer at Plant No. 633.

From 1942 to 1946, he saw action in the ranks of the Soviet Red Army. During this period, he graduated from Leningrad Military Engineering School and was promoted to junior lieutenant. On the Karelian Front, he commanded a pontoon-bridge platoon. In 1944, his Unit was transferred to the area of ​​Vladivostok. There, during the war with Japan, he worked at the headquarters at the front, as an engineer topographer. In 1946, he was demobilised as the Soviet military was scaled-down. From 1946 to 1947, he worked as a junior researcher at the Institute of Crystallography – which was a part of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1947, he enrolled in graduate school, from which he graduated in 1950, receiving the degree of Candidate of Science. From 1950 to 1963, he worked in the Laboratory of Physiological Optics at the Institute of Biophysics of the USSR Academy of Sciences. First in the post of junior researcher, and then as a senior fellow. In 1963, (together with the laboratory) he was transferred to the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1964 he received a Doctorate in Biological Sciences.

AL Yarbus – was one of the greatest specialists in our country, specialising in the field of the ‘psychophysics’ of vision. His work was related to the development of the original technology that involved the recording of eye movements as electrical impulses (recorded through special ‘sucker’ devices affixed to the skin). The same technique was used to record an image that was immobile relative to the retina. This allowed him to make a number of discoveries concerning the ’empty field’ (or perceptual ‘blind spot’) and its properties. The results obtained in studying the patterns of eye movement, as well as studying the properties of the ’empty field’, were essential for understanding the mechanisms of the organ of vision.

The work of Alfred Yarbus regarding the precise recording of eye movements, and perceptual experiments involving a still image relative to the retina, gained wide popularity within the Soviet Union and abroad. The sound scientifc findings obtained are summarized in the monograph ‘The Role of Eye Movements in the Process of Vision’ (Nauka, 1965), which has already been re-published four times abroad (under the title ‘Eye movements and vision’).

Since 1975, Alfred Yarbus was occupied with the scientific analysis of the perceptual construction of space and colour within the human mind (as detected through the eye). He was the first to confirm that the human retina possesses a ‘blind-spot’ in its sensory aparatus, whereby the human mind ‘fills-in’ the gap in missing data by ‘adding’ information not present in the original perception. During one of his most famous experiments, Alfred Yarbus asked numerous participants to look at the Russion oil painting ‘An Unexpected Visitor’ (painted by Ilya Repin in 1884), recording what each said they saw:

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Participants recalled completely different aspects of this picture – including details that were not present. No one ‘perceived’ the entire picture correctly or within its proper context. Instead, the mind carefully selected ‘small’ areas relevant to the observer at the point in time the painting was looked at. This meant that each participant ‘perceived’ only that which their minds thought was important to them at the time of observation – filtering-out all other informtion. Some ‘beliefs’ were so strong at the point of observation, that the minds concerned ‘projected’ images and colours that did not exist in the original painting. The subjects were asked to look at this picture in a number of different ways, including a) examining the painting freely, b) estimating the material circumstances of the family, c) assessing the ages of the characters, d) determining the activities of the family prior to the visitor’s arrival, e) recalling the clothes of the characters, and f) surmising how long the visitor had been away from the family. Alfred Yarbus was able to ‘track’ how the various participants used their eye-movements (in different patterns of interrogation) to seek-out and acquire different types of information. Belief affected perception, and the mind fabricated information when blind-spots were present.

Russian Language Article:

http://iitp.ru/ru/about/600.htm

ЯРБУС

Альфред Лукьянович

родился 3 апреля 1914 г. в Москве.

В 1932 г. закончил школу. В 1933 г. учился на чертежно-конструкторских курсах. После окончания курсов работал чертежником в Центральном Институте Авиационного Моторостроения и Московском авиационном техникуме.

В 1935 г. поступил на физический факультет Московского университета. Закончил Университет в 1941 г. Около года проработал инженером на заводе № 633.

С 1942 по 1946 гг. находился в рядах Красной Армии. В этот период закончил Ленинградское Военно-инженерное училище и получил звание младшего лейтенанта. На Карельском фронте командовал понтонно-мостовым взводом. В 1944 г. вместе со своей частью был переброшен в район Владивостока. Там, во время войны с Японией, работал при штабе фронта инженером топографом.

В 1946 г. демобилизовался.

С 1946 по 1947 гг. работал мл.н.сотрудником в Институте Кристаллографии АН СССР. В 1947 г. был зачислен в аспирантуру, которую закончил в 1950 г. и получил ученую степень кандидата наук.

С 1950 по 1963 гг. работал в лаборатории физиологической оптики Института Биофизики АН СССР, сперва в должности мл.н.сотрудника, а затем – ст.н.сотрудника. В 1963 г. вместе с лабораторией был переведен в Институт проблем передачи информации АН СССР. В 1964 г. получил ученую степень доктора биологических наук.

А.Л.Ярбус – одby из крупнейших специалистов в нашей стране в области психофизики зрения. Его работа была связана с разработкой оригинальной методики “присосок”, использованной для регистрации движения глаз.  Эта же методика использована для создания изображения, неподвижного относительно сетчатки. Она позволила сделать ряд открытий, касающихся “пустого поля” и его свойств. Результаты, полученные при изучении закономерностей движения глаз, а также при исследовании свойств “пустого поля”, имеют существенное значение для понимания механизмов работы органа зрения.

Работы А.Л.Ярбуса как по регистрации движений глаз, так и по опытам с изображением, неподвижным относительно сетчатки, приобрели широкую известность в пределах Советского Союза и за рубежом. Полученные материалы суммированы в монографии “Роль движений глаз в процессе зрения” (Изд.”Наука”, 1965 г.), которая уже 4 раза переиздавалась за рубежом (“Eye movements and vision”).

С 1975 г. А.Л.Ярбус занимался построением пространства цветовых ощущений, в котором существуют “цвета” (излучений и окрасок) и “антицвета”, удобно описываемые средствами векторной алгебры. Особое внимание в работе было уделено так называемым “слепым” участкам сетчатки (на периферии глаза), влияющим на ощущения, получаемые со “зрячих” участков.

North Korean Martial Arts Preserved in Northern China

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What many people do not understand is that the martial art of Tae Kwon Do that spread across the world after the Korean War (1950-1953) was invented by the US imperialists after their defeat in that conflict. This was because most of the ‘real’ Korean martial arts masters livid in North Korea and supported the Socialist government for the empowerment of the ordinary Korean people. The US colony of South Korea is a Christianised fabrication with martial arts that stem from fascist Japan!

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Not only this, but much of traditional Korean martial arts are preserved and practised in Northern Chinese provinces such as Jilin – where annual competitions and displays are held. Although ethnic Koreans living in China naturally dominate these events – Communist China is very proud when Chinese practitioners get anywhere near the top three positions in competition! The top picture is of a baking tool used in self-defence in North Korea termed the ‘Fighting Steamed-Dumpling Hammer’ (打糕槌 – Da Gao Chui). North Korea has a long history – once being apart of China – which a very rich and unique martial history. This is why many ethnic Koreans still live in North-East China and preserve their martial traditions.

Chinese Language Source:

http://jl.people.com.cn/n/2015/0811/c349771-25930972.html

Richard Sorge (Рихард Зорге) [1895-1944] Hero of the Soviet Union

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On the morning of the 18th October, 1941, Japanese counter-intelligence initiated a number of arrests in Tokyo that smashed a Soviet sky-ring. The Soviet Red Army had humiliated the Japanese Imperial Army a number of times in 1938 and 1939 in battles that occurred in and around the Mongolia-Manchuria border areas. Following the Japanese surrender to the Soviets, the Government of Japan was reluctant to get directly involved in another war with the USSR. However, following the Nazi German invasion of the USSR during June, 1941, the Soviet High Command were not sure whether Japan would attack the USSR from the East. This knowledge was important, particularly as Nazi German forces were sweeping through the USSR from the West, and even reaching the outskirts of Moscow by early October, 1941.

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The Soviet High Command was evacuating Moscow when the Soviet Leader – Joseph Stalin – took the decision to personally stay and over-see the defence of Russia’s capital city. Enter Soviet spy master Richard Sorge (Рихард Зорге) whose dedication to the Soviet Union, and selfless service to the cause of Communism, quite literally ‘saved’ the Soviet Union from the disaster of a complete Nazi German victory, through the vital intelligence he provided. Richard Sorge successfully worked as an undercover Nazi German journalist in Hitler’s Germany (supplying an endless stream of intelligence to the USSR), before securing transfer (as an apparent Nazi German journalist) to Tokyo, Japan in 1940. He is famous for confirming (from Japanese sources) Hitler’s definite plan to invade the USSR (although not the exact date), but his most outstanding contribution is that information secured at great personal cost (as it was guaranteed to blow his cover), when he found out that Imperial Japan, despite appearing to be preparing to invade the Eastern Soviet Union, in fact had no intention whatsoever to initiate this plan. Primarily because the Japanese High Command was preparing to attack the USA (and other extensive targets throughout Asia), and needed to preserve and focus all its available military forces for these operations. Once Joseph Stalin received Richard Sorge’s report (knowing as he did the quality of this Soviet spy’s information), he was free to move the vast (and fresh) Soviet Armies stationed toward the East of the USSR, so as to converge on Moscow, and drive the Nazi German forces out off the outskirts of that city!

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This early victory became the glimmer of light that would eventually turn into the full Soviet counter-offensive that saw the Nazi German Army driven out of the USSR, and the Nazi German regime thoroughly destroyed in Berlin by the Red Army! Richard Sorge, meanwhile, was tried in Japan for being a Soviet spy, and sentenced to Death by hanging. His grave still exists in Japan today, and is treated with respect. All the way through his trial, Richard Sorge maintained his cover story and continued to speak fluent German. Eventually, whilst stood on the trap-door of the gallows, and following the hood and noose being placed over his head – Richard Sorge shouted in Russian ‘Long Live the Soviet Union!’

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Russian Language Sources:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Зорге,_Рихард

http://fb.ru/article/193498/kem-byil-rihard-zorge-velikiy-razvedchik-zorge

http://ordenrf.ru/geroi-rossii/geroi-sssr/razvedchik-rikhard-zorge.php

The Zen of No Ch’an

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There are two ways of approaching this subject, one is ‘ahistorically’ (i.e. existing outside of the realms of observable, verifiable and recordable history), and the other ‘historically’ (i.e. existing within of the realms of observable, verifiable and recordable history).  To add a clarification, the former is purely ‘psychological’ in nature, whilst the latter is ‘material’ in nature.  Ahistorical Ch’an and Zen does not depend upon the passing of history, or the recognition of cultural trends and cultural difference, whilst historical Ch’an and Zen is defined by the sum total of its recorded historical experience.  If it is assumed that the Ch’an and Zen schools share a commonality in history that purports to ‘reveal’ or ‘discover’ an underlying realm of psychological reality that is realisable by all beings, and which shares certain and definite identifying markers not dependent upon the passing of history (as regardless of the epoch, this realisable state always manifests in the same way), then Ch’an and Zen are ‘ahistorically’ identical.  However, if Ch’an and Zen are interpreted through the rubric of unfolding material history (as observed on the physical plane), then it is obvious that from this ‘historical’ point of view, Chinese Ch’an Buddhism and Japanese Zen Buddhism are not the same.  Richard Hunn (1949-2006) dedicated the last 15 years of his life to researching on the ground, the roots of Chinese Ch’an in Japan.  To facilitate this study, he relocated to Kyoto in 1991, and centred his studies around Manpuku-Ji, or the Chinese Ch’an Manpuku Temple, situated in the Uji area of Kyoto.  This temple was founded in 1661 by the Chinese Ch’an monks Yin Yuan Long Qí, and Mu Yan.  However, although the Chinese Ch’an lineage of Linji (Rinzai) had already been established in Japan many centuries earlier, the Linji tradition as conveyed from China at this time was viewed as ‘different’ by the Japanese to their existing ‘Rinzai’ lineage.  In other words, the ancient tradition of Linji Ch’an as conveyed to Japan from Mount Huangpo (situated in China’s Fujian province), during the early Qing Dynasty, was not accepted as ‘Rinzai’ Zen by the Japanese, but instead given the separate designation of ‘Obaku’ Zen.  What distinguished this transmission of Ch’an to Japan was that it was brought directly by Chinese Ch’an monks, and not conveyed by Japanese monks who had first travelled to China to learn, before bringing that knowledge back to their homeland.  This is why, even today, the Manpuku Temple is viewed as ‘Chinese’, despite now being staffed by Japanese Zen monks.  This indicates that even then, there was a ‘disconnect’ between Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen, a widening gulf of difference that was compounded by the teachings of Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1786) – who radically ‘altered’ the manner in which the ‘koan’ was used within Linji Japanese Zen, departing considerably from the Chinese Ch’an teachings regarding the use and purpose of the ‘gongan’.  The Meiji Restoration of 1868 saw a rapid modernisation of Japan and the embracing of a rightwing nationalism that viewed Buddhism as ‘foreign’.  Buddhist schools were encouraged to move away from their Chinese roots and become more ‘Japanese’.  This led to the Soto (Caodong) lineage of Japanese Zen abandoning koan practice altogether and embracing a form of ‘quietism’ not known within the original Caodong teachings in China. Japan’s defeat during WWII, and its subsequent re-emergence as a major bulwark of US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region, has led to a number of continuing misconceptions in the West.  Japanese Zen as it exists today is used as a filter to interpret Chinese Ch’an Buddhist history and culture (excluding any ‘Chinese’ view of their own history).  This is an obvious inversion of reality, as Japanese Zen did not give rise to Chinese Ch’an – on the contrary – it was Chinese Ch’an that gave rise to Japanese Zen, and it is Japanese Zen that has developed away from that original blue-print.  So prolific has this misunderstanding become, that in 2000, the American academic Andrew Ferguson felt compelled to publish his book entitled ‘Zen’s Chinese Heritage – The Masters and Their Heritage’, as something of the corrective of the Western habit of conflating Japanese Zen with Chinese Ch’an.  Even JC and Thomas Cleary, in their numerous (and excellent) translations of Chinese Ch’an Buddhist texts into English, always referred to ‘Ch’an’ as ‘Zen’.  In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Charles Luk (1898-1978) was forced (by his British publishers) to call his English translations of Chinese Ch’an texts ‘Ch’an and Zen’, when in fact his work had absolutely nothing to do with Japanese Zen.

Those who have lived through any historical point covering the last 60 years or so in the West, will have been exposed to the ahistorical notion that contemporary Japanese Zen Buddhism is exactly the same as, and superior to, its progenitor Chinese Ch’an Buddhism.  To put it bluntly, this is a racially inspired lie perpetuated through the development of Japanese fascistic nationalism (after 1868), and its encouragement to be accepted as the ‘norm’ by the forces of Western imperialism prior to WWII, and the post-WWII US-led anti-Communist movement, that was designated by its Western perpetuators as the ‘Cold War’.  This Western embracing of a corrupted Japanese Zen was intensified after WWII, when the ‘New China’ was declared (and established) in 1949.  Correct Japanese Zen that operates respectfully within the philosophical and traditional confines of its Chinese Ch’an past does still exist in Japan, but it is not this type of Zen that the Japanese government exported abroad throughout the international community, and it is not this Zen which has taken root in the West.  This is because after 1868, Japan embarked upon a rapid modernisation plan which sought to mimic the outward military power of the Western imperial presence throughout Asia, together with the draconian, hierarchical and non-democratic policies and rhetoric of European colonies.  In other words, Japan adapted its traditional martial culture to serve a form of fascistic modernity (imported from the West), that was enthused with notions of racial superiority.  To this, the Japanese added a sense of ‘spiritual’ superiority.  Therefore, the inhabitants of any country that surrounded the island nation of Japan, were automatically deemed racially and spiritually ‘inferior’ simply because they were not ‘Japanese’.  Post-1868 Japan took-on the Western habit of colonial domination and set about establishing their own overseas empire, which included the invasion of China from the early 1930’s until Japan’s eventual defeat in 1945 – although, of course, this included the Japanese colonial domination of the Chinese island of Taiwan from 1895-1945. Japan had been steadily re-writing its own history from 1868 onwards, slowly but surely extricating itself from its obvious Chinese cultural past.  Overnight, new myths and legends were created to falsely explain Japan’s past, which included allusions to gods, dragons and swords, but no mention of China – even the Japanese language – which was originally Chinese script, was ‘altered’ to make it appear ‘less Chinese’.  Chinese Ch’an Buddhism in Japan became a major target for this revisionist make-over.  Trends within the Rinzai (Linji) and Soto (Caodong) lineages developed methods and dogmas that did not exist within Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, and which were not viewed as effective or genuine by the Chinese Ch’an masters.  It is this breakaway from authentic Chinese Ch’an wisdom and knowledge that became established in the West as being a true representation of Japanese Zen, and the subsequent academic and practical conflation of this Japanese-generated distortion of Zen with authentic Chinese Ch’an Buddhism as practised on Mainland China (and throughout the Chinese diaspora).  The Rinzai School developed the manic holding and repeating of a ‘koan’ (Ch: ‘gong-an’) in the mind – a teaching which does not exist in the Tang Dynasty Records of the Linji School preserved in China, whilst the Soto School resorted to a form of ‘silent illumination’ that also cannot be found within the same Tang Dynasty Records explaining the Caodong approach.  In reality, the Linji School did not stress sitting with a koan, and the Caodong did not emphasis sitting with an empty (and undirected) mind.  Both schools (like the other three established ‘Houses’) emphasised the ‘turning about’ of the mind at its deepest recesses by any means that worked. This included (in both the Linji and Caodong Schools) meeting the right masters, sudden actions, enlightened statements, Dharma combat, seated meditation (without sutra reading), sutra reading, and everyday activities.  A gong-an was not artificially held as a device to ‘still’ the mind, but was rather the product of enlightened dialogue and exchanges between a master and his students.  These methods either created complete enlightenment ‘here and now’, or carried the dedicated student through various stages of understanding to the final goal.  The hua tou method (originating as it does within the Surangama Sutra), turns the mind’s awareness back to the empty mind ground.  This was the preferred method of the Caodong School, but it must also be acknowledged that the Tang Dynasty Records (and other such Ch’an texts) reveal that the realisation of enlightenment occurred ‘outside’ of the meditation hall, during ordinary and mundane activities.  This was the result of the previously correct and committed (and ongoing) practice of disciplining the mind and body during formal periods of training.  Simply sitting without direction, or manically ‘attaching’ the mind to the very words and phrases that the Ch’an method exists beyond, do not constitute genuine Ch’an practice, and do not lead to authentic enlightenment breakthroughs.  The Ch’an Dynasty Records regarding the ‘Five Houses’ of Ch’an can be read in English translation in Charles Luk’s ‘Ch’an and Zen Teaching – Second Series’ (Rider, 1987).  For an academic study of the denigration of modern Japanese Zen Buddhism, please access the excellent ‘Zen At War’ by Brian Daizen Victoria – a Soto Zen priest in modern Japan.  Many Japanese Zen masters imported into the West by the US government after WWII (as part of an anti-Chinese Communist policy of turning the Western attention away from Chinese culture and political influence), were in fact complicit in Japanese war atrocities (either directly or indirectly) during WWII, but at the time, ordinary Westerners, many of whom could not read, write or speak the Japanese language, had no way of discovering this disturbing past.  This included well-known masters such as DT Suzuki, Sawaki Kodo, Daiun Harada Roshi, Namtembo, Lida Toin, Daiun Giko, Seki Seisetsu, Yamazaki Ekiju,  Harada Daiun Sogaku, Yanagida Seizan, Yamada Mumon, Asahina Sogen, Ichikawa Hakugen, Yasutani Hakuan and Omori Sogen, amongst many others.  Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, on the other hand, was the recipient of this Japanese imperialist aggression both before and during WWII – witnessing the many atrocities.  Master Xu Yun (1840-1959), recorded in his autobiography (Empty Cloud) many such incidents.  One such story has him responding to the Japanese attempted bombing of the Buddhist temple he was in, by sitting in Ch’an contemplation in the Meditation Hall, so that the Japanese aeroplanes collided with one another and their dropped bombs did not explode.  Master Xu Yun was of the opinion that the degradation of Japanese Zen Buddhism was in part due to that country abandoning the requirement of its Buddhist monastics to follow the Vinaya Discipline after ordination.  This deficiency meant that the supposed monastics were in fact not ‘monastics’ at all as defined by the Buddha, and remained lay people, regardless of shaving heads, wearing robes and assuming a monastic name.

As moral discipline (sila) is the foundation of good quality meditation (dhyana), no enlightenment (prajna) could be realised.  The Japanese abandonment of the Vinaya Discipline was the abandonment of the heart of Ch’an Buddhism.  In the early 1950’s, Master Xu Yun persuaded the new government of China to integrate the Buddhist Vinaya Discipline into its secular law, and make it a matter of ‘legal’ responsibility for individual Buddhist monks and nuns in China to uphold the Vinaya Discipline.  This secular requirement also means that no Buddhist group, lineage or school in China can unilaterally decide to ‘abandon’ the practice of the Vinaya Discipline. As modern Japan continues its historical abandonment of the Vinaya Discipline, it is obvious that contemporary Chinese Ch’an Buddhism is very different in practice to Japanese Zen Buddhism.  This distinction is further compounded by the divergent practises developed by the Japanese Rinzai and Soto Zen Schools, that are neither practised or recognised as ‘valid’ within the Chinese Buddhist cultural milieu.  Of course, this does not necessarily mean that there are no authentic Zen Buddhists in Japan or the West, as there undoubtedly are, but these practitioners understand the purpose of the Vinaya Discipline and voluntarily apply its strictures to their daily practice.  On the other hand, although Ch’an does not distinguish in essence between a monastic and a lay person (as both emerge equally from the empty mind ground, and can both realise enlightenment), nevertheless, it is also true that a ‘monastic’ is a monastic, and a ‘lay person’ is a lay person.  The former follows all the Vinaya Discipline, whilst the latter follows only a small part of the Vinaya Discipline.  There does exist legitimate Zen Buddhism in Japan, but this is not the same as the Japanese Zen that spread across the globe following WWII.  The corruption of this kind of Zen has been noted by a number of academics, including Thomas Cleary.  Needless to say, the traditional Chinese Ch’an Buddhist – Master Xu Yun – had no formal or informal ties or connections to Japanese Zen Buddhism, and never practised (or advocated others to practice) a Japanese Zen that does not follow the Vinaya Disciple, and which deviates from established Ch’an practice.

White Racists Dropped Atomic Bombs on Japan!

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The ‘White’ US Government used anti-Japanese racism leading up to, and throughout the Pacific War.  This is why ‘White’ German-Americans were allowed to march around in Nazi uniforms carrying Nazi German flags in the US as part of their ‘freedom of speech’, whilst innocent Japanese-Americans were held in US Concentration Camps.  It was exactly the same ‘White’ US Government (continuing the pursuance of its anti-Japanese racist policy) that dropped two Hydrogen Bombs on Japan (with a third planned for Tokyo), when at the time, the forces of Nazi Germany remained a much more potent threat to the allies.  The Chinese side of my family suffered atrocities at the hands of the Japanese invaders of China, but the fact remains that the White racists of the US could have dropped their bombs on any non-White ethnic group to retain their racial dominance – it just so happened to be the ‘Yellow’ Japanese.  No right-minded Black, Brown, or Yellow person would ever support the dropping of a mass terror-weapon by White racists on non-White people.  When Chinese people are asked ‘who defeated the Japanese?’, they invariably reply the ‘Soviet Red Army’ – and never the US.  Why?  Just five years after the end of WWII – the US Government threatened Mao Zedong’s Communist China with new and improved nuclear weapons, if China did not stop ‘resisting’ US imperialism in Korea.  Only those Chinese people ‘taken-in’ by the false glitter of capitalism, think that dropping atomic weapons on innocent women, children and old men was in anyway ‘correct’.  Although the Chinese people suffered terribly under Japanese military occupation of their country, when the Japanese beat a hasty retreat out of Manchuria (north-east China), they unbelievably left many vulnerable young children behind, such was the panic.  How did the Chinese people respond?  They took these children into their homes and brought them up as ‘Chinese’.  None of these children were harmed in anyway, despite the barbarous behaviour of their parents, or elders.  This is important because it makes a mockery of those Westerners who support the atomic bombs on Japan because of what was done to ‘White’ prisoners of war, or (usually as an after-thought, or rhetorical back-up), because of their behaviour in China.  I have to state that Chinese people, in no way whatsoever, want to be associated with the ‘White’ racism that motivated the mass murder of tens of thousands of innocent Japanese people toward the end of WWII. Those Japanese who committed atrocities in China remained in China, and were certainly not in Hiroshima or Nagasaki at the time of the atomic bombs.  This matters, because of the US hypocrisy of encouraging the very Japanese nationalism and racism after WWII that led to the atrocities in China (and throughout Asia) as a counter-ideology to Chinese Communism.  The US switched its tactics from the propagation of ‘race-hate’ toward the Japanese and Japanese nationalism, to one of open support for Japanese culture and Japanese nationalism after WWII, which included the deliberate spreading of Japanese martial arts and Japanese ‘Zen’ Buddhism throughout the West.  This policy was supposed to divert the attention of the West away from the far-older culture of China – incase its appreciation might lead to an adopting of Scientific Socialism.  As a consequence, because of this US support, Japan has never acknowledged its guilt for the atrocities it committed in China – the very same atrocities that many revisionist ‘White’ Americans use to justify the bombings!  The White Racist American Government has ‘used’ the people of Japan for decades, and this exploitative relationship does not look like ending anytime soon.  China does not, and will never support the use of nuclear weapons against any nation, and this includes a rejection of the racist US ideology that led to the bombing of Japan.

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