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Philosophy and Religion in Japan

Philosophy and Religion in Japan

The Philosophies section and Japan’s Religions aims to present and reflect on these very important dimensions of Japanese reality. We ask all members of AAPJ and tosdos Japan’s friends who have knowledge and work in this area that make us get their opinions and work, so we can publish them here. We begin by you speak of Zen, which is due to the fact of being a “Japanese religion” that is practiced in Portugal and the terms partners with expertise in this area, being a religion that deeply penetrated the Japanese soul, as can be seen in Ceremony tea in Ikebana, the Sabre Art, etç. On the influence of Zen in Japanese life look up the all-important DT Suzuki tests, including “The contribution of Buddhism, especially Zen, for Japanese culture”, which is part of the “Essays on Zen Buddhism,” III Seire (this author see annex).


Zen has its source in the experience of the Lord Buddha Shakyamuni who, two thousand five hundred years old, sitting in Zazen posture, held awakening. After a deployment of nearly a thousand years in India, the monk Bodhidharma took the fifth century (AD) the teaching to China. The Zen (Chan) then met a major expansion in this country. In the thirteenth century, the Japanese monk Dogen, after a stay in China, led the Zen to Japan. Founder of Soto Zen School, Master Dogen is considered one of the greatest philosophers of Buddhism. Zen deeply influenced the whole Japanese culture. In the twentieth century, the West began to be interested in the Zen, while at the same time in Japan, Kodo Sawaki Master gave a new impetus to its very weakened practice. On the death of Kodo Sawaki, his successor Taisen Deshimaru (see Annex) went to France and brought to the West the essence of this teaching. With the coming of Master Taisen Deshimaru to Europe, Zen became accessible to Europeans.

aapj- filosofia zen
Disciple of Kodo Sawaki, Taisen Deshimaru arrived in Paris in 1967. He founded the temple of La Gendronnière and Zen International Association (AZI). Deshimaru Master is regarded as the patriarch of Zen-founder in the West. He managed to make Zen accessible to Westerners, yet still continue faithful to the tradition of the Patriarchs.
When he reached France, Deshimaru Master was fifty-three years. Was full of energy and dynamism and did not bring with him than the Kesa1 delivered by his master who also entrusted him with their notebooks. Zen was not then known in Europe but by a minority of intellectuals. For fifteen years, Master Deshimaru specifically educated his disciples and ordered many monks, nuns and bodhisattvas2, opened about 200 Dojos3 and zazen groups, and with the help of his disciples, published numerous translations and comments of essential Zen texts.
1 Manto commonly used by Buddhist monks. It is very revered and symbolizes symbolizes the transmission of Buddhist knowledge from master to disciple. 2 Bodhisattva, in this sense, is the person who received the ordination of bodhisattva. Means and marks the entry into the community of Buddhist practitioners. It can be said it is equivalent to baptism for Christians. 3 Dojo or Zendo is where practicing zazen (meditation) and do other religious ceremonies.

aapj - zen Portugal Japão

After his death, which occurred on April 30, 1982, its main disciples continued their mission and created several temples, notably in France and Spain. In Lisbon there is a Zen Dojo where practicing the Zen Soto (http://www.dojozenlisboa.org/), which is distinguished by intensive practice of meditation (Zazen), because, as said Daichi Sokei (1290-1366 ): “If someone asks what is the real Zen, it is not necessary you open your mouth to explain. Show all aspects of your zazen posture. Then the spring wind will blow and will hatch the wonderful plum blossom. “.

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Notes D. T. Suzuki

D. T. Suzuki (Suzuki Daisetsu, October 18, 1870 – July 22, 1966) was a famous Japanese author of books on Buddhism, Zen and Jodo Shinshu largely responsible for the introduction of these philosophies in the West. Suzuki was also a prolific translator of Chinese literature, Japanese and Sanskrit. Suzuki spent several long periods teaching or lecturing in Western universities and devoted several years of his professorship in a Japanese Buddhist university, Otani.



• Essays in Zen Buddhism: First Series (1927), New York: Grove Press.

• Essays in Zen Buddhism: Second Series (1933), New York: Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1953-1971. Edited by Christmas Humphreys.

• Essays in Zen Buddhism: Third Series (1934), York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1953. Edited by Christmas Humphreys.

• An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, Kyoto: Eastern Buddhist Soc. 1934. Republished with Foreword by C.G. Jung, London: Rider & Company, 1948.

• Manual of Zen Buddhism, Kyoto: Eastern Buddhist Soc. 1934. London: Rider & Company, 1950, 1956.A collection of Buddhist sutras, classic texts from the masters, icons & images,including the “Ten Ox-Herding Pictures”.

• “Zen-Budismo e Psicanálise” por Suzuki, Fromm e Martino. Editora Cultrix. São Paulo: 1960.

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