2014 Lectures by Hori Sogen
Seattle Water Moon Dojo hosted four lectures by Victor Sogen Hori on Wednesdays, April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 14, 2014. The topics were:
1 Early Western impressions of Buddhism: Early Christian missionaries
were among the first to encounter Buddhism; they thought it a pagan superstition.
Some early Western scholars during the European Enlightenment however
thought Buddhism to be a rational religion and used the European concept of
"enlightenment" to refer to the Buddha's awakening. Other scholars, more critical,
thought it a religion of nothingness.
2 D T Suzuki's Zen: "The golden age of Zen". This recounts the early history
of Zen in the West, the idealistic presentation that D T Suzuki made, the romantic
reception Zen got from Dharma Bums, John Cage, etc.
3 The Deconstruction of Zen: Since the 1960s, academic scholars have
systematically critiqued Zen. Scholars deconstructed D T Suzuki's picture of
"the golden age of Zen," Bernard Faure deconstructed Zen as rhetoric, scholars
showed Japanese Zen monks supported Japanese militarism and accused Zen
of lacking ethics, Robert Sharf denied there was such a thing as "Zen experience".
4 Looking forward: Academic Zen Studies, at present, is highly critical of Zen.
Where do we go from here?