By Theodore Shoebat (EXLCUSIVE)
I once had a conversation with an American who converted to Buddhism. He continued to repeat the typical mantra, that Buddhism is a religion of peace. After hearing his case long enough, I told him, “The men who bombed Pearl Harbour, which religion did they belong to?”
He stood silent for a number of seconds, and then said, “They are bad elements within all religions.”
This is the dilemma we are in, where the acceptance of a religion as “peaceful” or “violent,” is solely based on whether or not its followers are killing anybody. For years my father was warning Americans on the threat of Islam, and people laughed at him. Why? Because that was in the 1990s, and Muslims were making very little trouble in that time. As soon as 9/11 came about, people’s perception of Islam shifted very quickly.
The current situation in Japan is something not to overlook, or see as frivolous. There is indeed a change in public opinion in Japan in regards to independence from the US, and to military might and power. Walter Hamilton, a very reputable Australian journalist who has covered Japan for 35 years, always blew off any concerns of a rising Japan. Now he has changed his opinion. In an article written on February 23 of 2014, just four days after my first article on a dangerous Japan, Hamilton wrote:
After 35 years following Japanese affairs I am coming around to a different view of the present situation. The danger comes, I think, not from the shady bellicose fringe, with its links to the yakuza and their fellow travellers, but from the political mainstream, supported by a broad shift in public opinion. …Now, for the first time since the emerging generation of Japanese voters became politically sentient, they are being offered, in Abe’s new nationalism and so-called Abe-nomics, a ‘feelgood’ solution. It is among the young, not geriatrics like (the now deceased) Akao and his ilk, that we must look for signs of patriotic resurgence.
Abe is offering to cut the Gordian knot of the piled-up problems of decades. Instead of a future of lost vigour and purpose, he wants to preserve Japan’s greatness by standing up to China, acquiring a more credible military capability, breaking down structural impediments to growth (such as monopoly capital and barriers to female advancement in the workplace), burnishing the historical record to recast the nation’s past in a better light, emphasising cultural and social uniformity in preference to diversity, and championing symbols of national pride that range from Yasukuni Shrine (which honours the war dead) to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Opinion polls suggest that most Japanese are happy to be told they should feel better about themselves, to resume using the phrase ‘we Japanese’ with all the complacency of former days.
Why did it take this foremost expert on Japan so long to realize the dangers of Japan? For the same reason why so many experts on the Middle East take so long to realize the dangers of Islam. During, and a little bit after the Egyptian revolution, very few of the so-called Middle East experts emphasized on the Islamic aspirations of the rebels. The experts almost never look to the religious factor, and focus so much on being secular. In the case of Japan, the experts are not paying any attention to the dangers of Buddhism as it gradually tries to revive itself.
Shinzo Abe’s emphasis on rewriting the history of Imperial Japan is probably the most concerning part of his strategy. For, tyrants change history to reestablish old and forgotten tyrannies. The coming tyranny of Japan will not have a secular system, but a Buddhist foundation.
How Buddhism is generally being seen now, is the same as how Islam was once deemed prior to the September 11th attack: most people know little to nothing about it. Those who have little knowledge on Buddhism, see it as a harmless religion, and if they are Christian, a false but at the same time non-violent doctrine. Most of those who are learned on Buddhist teachings, like those who are educated on Islamic thought, portray it as a faith focused on compassion and love, while the few who are well studied, will tell you the reality.
The reality is that Buddhism is just as violent, just as tyrannical, just as dangerous, and just as demonic, as Islam. Anyone who thinks otherwise is dictated by the now and the present, and not by prudence. The reason why Buddhists have, for a long time now, given an aura of peace, is because Buddhism is not in a position of power from which to commence violence and war. Buddhism has the concept of the use of false peace to deceive one’s enemy, just as in Islam there is the use of false peace, or hudna (temporary truce), in order to trick the opponent to buy time and regain strength.
Americans fell for hudna until 9/11, and they are currently making the same mistake falling for Buddhism’s facade of peace. Japan has, and continues to grow militarily, technologically and economically, while still exuding the impression that it is a nation of pacifism. This strategy goes in line with the Zen Buddhist concept of utilizing peace to deceive one’s enemies. D.T. Suzuki, arguably the most influential Buddhist authority for imperial Japan during WW2, explained this concept when he wrote:
[I]n peacetime one works diligently, day and night, seeking to promote the advancement of [such endeavors as] agriculture, manufacturing, commence, art and science, and technology. In so doing, one must not forget that the purpose of these many endeavors is the advancement of all humanity. This is what is called “peacetime religion.” However, at the time of the commencement of hostilities with a foreign country, then marines fight on the sea and soldiers fight in the field, swords flashing and cannon smoke belching, moving this way and that. In so doing, our soldiers regard their own lives as being as light as goose feathers while their devotion to duty is as heavy as Mount Taishan [in China] (1)
With Japan breaking the shackles of independence on American power, we will gradually see Buddhism rise up as the spiritual foundation for fanatical imperialism, just as we will one day witness Sufi Islam as the spiritual foundation for the coming revived Ottoman Empire of Turkey.
The current ruling party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, is jointly ruling with the New Komeito Party, a Buddhist political party that was founded by Nichiren Buddhists in the 1930s. The party consist of mainly Nicherin Buddhists who are members of a fanatic Buddhist cult called Soka Gakkai. And every president of the Komeito Party, past and current, are members of Soka Gakkai.
On the cult’s official website it states, that “Soka Gakkai in Japan is the main endorsing body for the New Komeito Party”.
The Buddhist cult is very powerful and wealthy, and owns most of the land around Shinanomachi Station in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and most of the businesses in that area advertise Gakkai affiliation
The Soka Gakkai cult revolves around its single leader, Daisaku Ikeda, and functions in ways akin to the Church of Scientology. In 1999, Seizaburo Sato, deputy director of the National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies, described the cult as such:
What we are talking about are not open organizations or democratic structures, but something like a Communist Party or worse… We are dealing with a dictatorship built around the person of one man.
The Soka Gakkai cult is based on the teachings of Nichiren, a Buddhist authority whose instructions became eminent and very influential in Imperial Japan. He maintained, being in accordance to Buddhist policy, that Buddhism must be the religion of the state, and that those who taught contrary doctrine should be punished, even by death. His social contract is very parallel to Islam’s sharia code or blasphemy law.
Nichiren inculcated this teaching in his book, Rissho Ankoku Ron, or On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land.
The Sokka Gakkai does not shy away from this book, and in fact endorses it as a main influence to their organization. In their official website they write:
“SGI [Sokka Gakkai International] members strive to put into practice the teachings of Nichiren and to advance the ideal of rissho ankoku [On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land] in order to help build the foundations of a peaceful world.
Let us see what it says in this book, and how the statements within are a justification for tyranny and violence. In Imperial Japan, the emperor was worshipped as deity. According to Nichiren, worshipping all of the Buddhas fortifies and maintains the power of the emperor:
Now when I use the five types of vision to clearly perceive the three existences, I see that in their past existences all the rulers served five hundred Buddhas, and that is the reason that they were able to become emperors and sovereigns.
Nichiren recounts how past Buddhist princes punished opponents of Buddhism, and praises this suppression as the maintainer of collective Buddhist worship throughout the society:
Prince Jogu, having put down the rebellion of Moriya [an opponent of Buddhism], proceeded to construct temples and pagodas. Since that time, from the ruler on down to the common people, all have worshiped the Buddha images and devoted their attention to the scriptures.
Punishment upon opponents of, or preachers of doctrines contradictory to Buddhism by the state, are justified by Nichiren not by his own reasoning, but by Buddhist scripture itself. He quotes a statement from Buddha on how, in a former life, he put to death Hindu Brahmans for teaching doctrine contradictory to his, a measure equal to what Muhammad did:
When I heard the Brahmans slandering these correct and equal sutras, I put them to death on the spot. Good men, as a result of that action, I never thereafter fell into hell.
The reason why Buddha says here that he never went to hell, is because in Buddhist thought killing an enemy of Buddhism is not murder, and thus is not worthy of eternal punishment. Nichiren sites three categories of murder: lower killing, middle killing, and upper killing. Lower killing is to take the life of an animal; middle killing is to murder a human being; and upper killing is to slay a parent, or one who has reached nirvana (called an arhat, or “one who is worthy”), or one who has reached “buddhahood” on their own (called a Pratyekabuddha, or “a lone buddha”), or one who has reached enlightenment through “compassion” (called a Bodhisattva, or “enlightenment being”). All three are stages of murder, but according to Buddha himself, to slay someone who slanders against Buddhism (called an icchantika) is not murder.
In this same book, Buddha is quoted as saying:
Good men, if someone were to kill an icchantika [a slanderer against Buddhism], that killing would not fall into any of the three categories just mentioned.
This is what is quoted and affirmed in Nichiren’s book, and it is this same book that the Soka Gakkai upholds as their doctrine, and it is the same book that the New Komeito Party, which jointly rules with Shinzo Abe’s party, maintains as true doctrine.
Nichiren continues to quote the words of Buddha when he commands that the state must protect, through his power and authority, his teachings and doctrines:
‘In the Benevolent Kings Sutra, we read: “The Buddha announced to King Prasenajit, “Thus I entrust the protection of my teachings to the ruler of the nation rather than to the monks and nuns. Why do I do so? Because they do not possess the kind of power and authority that the king has.”
Since both the Soka Gakkai cult and the New Komeito Party affirm this book, and wish to advance its cause, it is thus only natural that they aspire to use the state as a means to advance political Buddhism, just as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Recep Erdogan in Turkey want to use the state to advance Islam.
By what means, according to Buddha, must the state enforce Buddhism? Nichiren quotes Buddha’s command that the defender of Buddhism must use blades, lances, and other arms:
Good man, defenders of the correct teaching need not observe the five precepts or practice the rules of proper behavior. Rather they should carry knives and swords, bows and arrows, halberds and lances.
This command is no different to the type of violence ordered by Muhammad in the Quran or in the Hadith. It is Buddhist jihad. Now we see the current dangerous activity of the Liberal Democratic Party of Shinzo Abe and his partnering party, the Buddhist New Komeito.
The two parties have very recently produced a plan that will permit Japan to export arms, a decision that is contradictory to its pacifist constitution. Japan is playing the peacemaker, and claims that the ruling will not allow for arms to be transported if it jeopardizes peace, or if the weapons are being sent to nations in conflict.
Regardless of how much Japan persists in forming a facade of peace, the new guidelines have numerous loopholes and ambiguities. Though it affirms that Japan will not send weapons to nations in conflict, this does not prevent Japan from sending arms to dangerous countries which are not in conflict. Turkey is currently not in conflict, but it is still a threatening nation undergoing a revival of Islamic fundamentalism.
In February I wrote on how Shinzo Abe agreed that Japan would be providing Turkey with its second nuclear power plant, and how that the pact also adds that Turkey will be allowed to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons.
Moreover, the new guidelines guarantee that any exported arms will be screened first by the newly established National Security Council, leaving the job in the hands of four of Abe’s ministers. In other words, the screening of weapons being exported will be managed by Abe’s own men. This gives Japan opportunity to conduct secret and covert arms deals within the circles of Abe’s administration.
The new resolution will boost Japan’s military power and increase its capacity in confrontations within the Far Eastern regions. According to Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, the new guidelines will strengthen Japan’s power in the South China Sea:
Given that Tokyo’s energy lifeline extends from the Middle East to the East China Sea, this will undoubtedly bolster the power of certain claimants in the South China Sea.
This is quite relevant, because Japan and China are competing over control over the East China Sea, and this new measure will only give leeway for Japan to advance itself over this sea territory. Professor Zhigang gives a warning on Japan’s masquerading its new guidelines, making clear that it will likely only enable Abe even more:
Using the “democratic values” within the framework of Abe’s strategic diplomacy with a global vision, the draft will probably turn into diplomatic leverage. Both other Asia-Pacific countries and the whole international community should follow its actions closely while keeping vigilant and coolheaded.
Both Russia and Japan are rivals. One can say that this is due to their dispute over the Northern Territories. Through a purely geo-political lens this is absolutely true. But as the rivalry increases, the reasons for the dispute will not be entirely based on regional contentions, but on religions, that is, it will be between Christianity and Buddhism.
Russia is expanding in both power and land, and this rising of a nation has a religious connection. Putin’s recent and significant expansions are founded in a Christian aspiration to make Russia the light of Eastern Orthodoxy for the nations. Putin has disavowed the atheistic Soviet Union of the past, and is upholding Orthodox Christianity as the system of which Russia will be the greatest exemplifier. As Mara Kozelsky, writing for the Washington Post, states:
Religion is one of the intangible elements driving Russia expansion southward, and one of the reasons why Russian citizens, and particularly the Orthodox devout, may not protest their own government’s actions in this particular conflict.
As Japan becomes more independent, it will grow larger as a threat to not only China, but Russia. Russia and Japan were once at war, in what is called the Russo-Japanese War, from 1904 to 1905, and it was indeed a war between Christianity and Buddhism.
The Japanese monks at that time comprehended that it was a war between Buddhism and Christianity. Inoue Enryō, one of the most influential Japanese Buddhist scholars, and a Buddhist authority from that time period, wrote:
In Russia state and religion are one, and there is no religious freedom. Thus, religion is used as a chain in order to unify the [Russian] people. Therefore, when they [the Russian people] see Orientals, they are told that the latter are the bitter enemies of their religion. It is for this reason that on the one hand this is a war of politics and on the other hand it is a war of religion. …If theirs is the army of God, then ours is the army of the Buddha. It is in this way that Russia is not only the enemy of our country but of the Buddha as well. (2)
The Eastern Orthodox Church has already been merged with the state in Russia, and as tensions between the two lands rise, the Sword of Christ will be seen appearing from the smoke of empty diplomacy, to fight and crush the brittle and hollow bamboo stick of Buddhism.
(1) D.T. Suzuki, Shin Shukyo Ron in vol. 23, Suzuki Daisetsu Zenchu, pp. 139-40, in Brian Victoria, Zen At War, ch. 2, p. 25
(2) Inoue Enryo, Enryo Kowa-shu, pp. 299-302, in Brian Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 2, p. 30