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.
This time period saw the Rinzai and Soto actively deny their Chinese cultural roots, and support the government’s anti-China policies. This coincided with the Rinzai and Soto Zen traditions ‘abandoning’ the Vinaya Discipline for ordained monks and nuns because it was viewed as both ‘Indian’ and ‘Chinese’, and therefore ‘un-Japanese’ in nature. This abandoning of the Vinaya Discipline marks a significant deviation of the Japanese Zen tradition from its Chinese Ch’an origin.
It is bizarre to consider that as Japan descended into fascism and racism prior to WWII – the distorted, nationalistic Zen Buddhism of that time was popular in the West amongst intellectuals, despite a number of its masters expressing openly hostile attitudes toward the Western people. It is even more bizarre to consider that after WWII – many of these very same masters remained popular as they quietly pushed their formerly racist rhetoric into the background, and applied a more ‘neutral’ policy toward the acquisition of Enlightenment.
. This paradox is premised upon the understanding of the existence of ‘form’ in emptiness. However, none of this is possible without the cultivation of profound wisdom, compassion, and loving kindness, all of which is required if the mind is to turn around at its deepest level and regain a correct and true conscious awareness. The further paradox is that emptiness is not ‘nothing’, and that consciousness cannot exist without an object.
‘This task is not easy. The ego mind will attempt to throw-up all kinds of illusions to protect its privileged status of control over an individual’s destiny. Perhaps the greatest danger is the egotistical belief that enlightenment has been attained when in fact all that has happened is that the mind, after some initial, shallow training has merely experienced a temporary sense of ‘calmness’, and afterwards assumed the dishonest position that involves the stench of false knowing.’