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Buddhist Violence & Japan's Kakure Kirishitan ("hidden Christians"): When Buddhism kills...

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by Gxg (G²), Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Something I've been wrestling with a lot and reminded of...

    I saw so many rejoicing over Jeff Sessions being dismissed from the White House - and although I was so glad for it too and called his behind out from day 1 (just like Coretta Scott King did in the 80s when warning folks about NOT putting him in power), I was saddened at how many said "See!! You're all the same. The kidnapping of children was horrible enough at the border - and him trying to quote a Bible passage out of context like Romans 13 made me want to slap him..

    But as many of those same migrants were Christians as well, it made no sense trying to make their experience (authentic in the same way Jesus was a migrant) the same as what Jeff did.

    .
    If folks say "How are Christians supporting so much mess with immigration"(as it concerns the foolishness with Trump Evangelicals) and ignoring all the many who never were donw with that, why do many generalize? I try to remember there's a difference between Christ, Folks who are real disciples of Jesus Christ ("Followers of the Way"), Christian Nationalism, Christian Paganism, Christo-Fascism and Neo-Manifest Destiny. The latter is what we have a lot of masquerading as the heart of Jesus...

    There are camps, just as you had Types of Buddhists and one type (Imperial Buddhism with Shinto Buddhism) murdered/eradicated Christians for 400 yrs before it was legal to come out.

    Facts: In the late 1500s, ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi expelled all missionaries, and between 1612 and 1614, the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity outright, forcing them to practice their faith in secret and If discovered, face torture or death. Some fled for more remote locations, such as Nozaki Island. Previously, Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi viewed Christianity in the same negative light as they viewed militant Buddhist sects which had been a major irritant to Nobunaga in particular. And the genocide of the Japanese Christians was among the most effective/extensive in world history. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, from 1614 to 1867, Christianity was outlawed and the ban was lifted only after a change of government in 1873 - and the folks here went through all manner of hell/murder.

    Japanese Martyrs....

    I don't and won't label all Buddhist folks as genocidal - Buddhism has several camps anyhow. Same goes for other groups..

    But it was nowhere close to the stereotype many have in saying ALL Buddhist are about peace/tranquility. All religions have extremes that can gain control. There are crazies in every bunch - and sometimes, the crazy ones get a hold of the wheel. And I think in 2018, if you see someone quoting a Bible but doing craziness, go back to the person of Jesus - see his example - and then go back to your history charts to see what group you're dealing with.

    The following is Maria Kannon figure in carved wood, in Japan's Early Edo Period.

    [​IMG]

    Has anyone here ever heard of the Kakure Kirishitan ("hidden Christians")?

    The experiences with the Japanese Christians are Something we need to remember ( )​

    How previous generations of Christians interacted with Buddhists always stands out to me when seeing how honorable they were, compared to later generations.

    Amazed seeing the ways believers walked across the world to the places many refused to go so that they could make certain others would know who they knew....and yet not many remember their footsteps or the impact they had when they stepped - and that witness was lost over time as history went on
    And they honored the local people...

    "The Hidden Christians of Japan" ( https://niho.nnozasshi.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/book-review-in-search-of-japans-hidden-christians/ ) is another excellent read I am forever grateful for, in regards to what you were noting, as it's an excellent read on the ways that political leaders took advantage of religions for the purpose of carrying power for themselves
    Beyond the actions of Fr.Francis of Xavier and his pioneering work, many of the Jesuits who were Portuguese were very dismissive of what local Buddhist were going through since the dominant focus was conversion.

    And there's also discussion on where the Buddhist in certain camps used the opportunity for political power.

    One of my Native friends Ramone Romero said this once to me (as he lives in Japan):
    _________________________________________________
    -"One of the things that doesn't get much mention is this: Oda Nobunaga gave the Buddhists *hell*. And when the Christians came, he gave them whatever they wanted, using them as a tool of course, likely in the hopes that their efforts could further weaken Buddhist resistance to him.

    The Jesuits had initially tried to convert the emperor but found he was powerless. They latched onto Nobunaga and considered his favor to be given by God.

    When Daimyo (warlords) were converted, they in turn used the sword to raze temples and convert their subjects. The Jesuits witnesses this and wrote back to Rome glowingly about the zeal their new converts were showing (by razing temples, etc.).

    When Nobunaga was killed, everybody mourned but really they didn't like a lot of what he did. They stopped persecuting the Buddhists, and instead turned on the Christians Nobunaga had given so much favor to. Hideyoshi wanted to make sure the Christians were submitted, and he also had lingering ire at the Christians' teachings and demands on Japanese culture.

    How much of the subsequent persecution would there have been, I wonder, if the Jesuits and their converts had stood up in solidarity for the Buddhists that Nobunaga had persecuted so much?"

    _________________________________________________​

    I thought that was timely to remember. Something I keep in mind is that many other teachings within the camp of Buddhism also made room for violence to occur as well. I am reminded of the Nirvana Sutrana Sutra, a canonical Buddhist text, which narrates a story about one of Buddha’s past lives: in it, he kills some Hindus (Brahmins) because they insulted the Buddhist sutras (scriptures) ( Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra ):

    --"The Buddha…said…”When I recall the past, I remember that I was the king of a great state…My name was Senyo, and I loved and venerated the Mahayana sutras…When I heard the Brahmins slandering the vaipulya sutras, I put them to death on the spot. Good men, as a result of that action, I never thereafter fell into hell. O good man! When we accept and defend the Mahayana sutras, we possess innumerable virtues.”--

    The very first reason we're told the Buddha put the Brahmins to death was out of pity for them in order to aid the Brahmans in avoiding the punishment they had accrued by committing evil deeds while continuously slandering Buddhism. And that is a theme found throughout Buddhist thought when it comes to “compassionate killing” since killing is normally forbidden because it is done with evil intent (hatred, vengeance, etc.), yet the times when it is done with “compassion” makes it permissible and worth celebrating..

    And it goes into depth further on the types of death discussed as well.

    What is death? By death is meant the relinquishing of the carnal body which one has been given. In relinquishing the body which one has received, there are two kinds, which are: 1) death through the expiration of life [i.e. from one's life naturally coming to an end] and 2) death from external causes. In death through expiration of life, there are three kinds, which are: 1) ending of life, which, however, is not the ending of fortune; 2) ending of wealth, which, however, is not the ending of life; 3) ending of both fortune and life. There are three kinds of death from external causes, which are: 1) unnatural suicide, 2) death caused by others, and 3) death from both causes. Also, there are three kinds of death, which are: 1) death from indolence, 2) death from violating the precepts, and 3) death from severing the life-root. What is death from indolence? If one slanders the Mahayana-vaipulya-prajnaparamita, this is death from indolence. What is death from violating the precepts? When one breaches the prohibitions laid down by the Buddhas of the past, future and present, this is violating the precepts. What is death from severing the life-root? Forsaking the body of the five skandhas is death from severing the life-root. That is why we say that death is great sufferingWhat is death? By death is meant the relinquishing of the carnal body which one has been given. In relinquishing the body which one has received, there are two kinds, which are: 1) death through the expiration of life [i.e. from one's life naturally coming to an end] and 2) death from external causes. In death through expiration of life, there are three kinds, which are: 1) ending of life, which, however, is not the ending of fortune; 2) ending of wealth, which, however, is not the ending of life; 3) ending of both fortune and life. There are three kinds of death from external causes, which are: 1) unnatural suicide, 2) death caused by others, and 3) death from both causes. Also, there are three kinds of death, which are: 1) death from indolence, 2) death from violating the precepts, and 3) death from severing the life-root. What is death from indolence? If one slanders the Mahayana-vaipulya-prajnaparamita, this is death from indolence. What is death from violating the precepts? When one breaches the prohibitions laid down by the Buddhas of the past, future and present, this is violating the precepts. What is death from severing the life-root? Forsaking the body of the five skandhas is death from severing the life-root. That is why we say that death is great suffering.

    And of course, we also have the The Icchantika:


    We also cannot avoid the fact that Buddhism WAS spread by violence and war, at least in three specific cases - Sri Lanka, Tibet, and the Khmer Empire. Remembering the example of Mahavamsa remembering Buddhist King Dutthagamani from his deed killing non-Buddhists - more shared in Violence and the World's Religious Traditions: An Introduction
    edited by Mark Juergensmeyer, Margo Kitts, Michael Jerryson

    And of course, considering Zen Buddhists who supported Japanese Militarism, it is not a small issue....and is very nuanced.

    One excellent perspective I came across put things into perspective when it came to noting the ways that experiences in status can cause a shift in one's leanings.

    For more information, one can go to "Nichiren The Original Face of Buddhist Terror" ( Full Text Of The Banned Time Story - "The Face Of Buddhist Terror" )/ (http://theendlessfurther.com/nichiren-the-original-face-of-buddhist-terror/ ) and here, as seen in the following:



    That said, it's still shocking to see what Japan's Christians faced for centuries....and what they did to survive alongside others for centuries.

    For anyone not aware of the struggle of the Kakure Kirishitan/ Hidden Christians and their experience with the global church outside of their world as well as the priests sent to help them as they adapted to the religious world around them...this is something that will really cause intensive discussion on how to keep your faith (and what happens when you lose it - and just how much grace God really has when you falter).

    Consider the place of violence in the world - and how it has been used by all camps when it comes to religion. It was not that long ago when Christianity via the Spanish Empire expanded itself through others claiming Peace/Shalom and yet justifying wholesale slaughter if/when you did not convert to their thoughts, with others seeking to combat people quoting the name of Christ as government officials wanting to expand their political reach...while the missionaries found it difficult representing for their faith when their countries of origin were very contradictory. The same can be said with regards to what happened in Buddhism, as the same people being fearful in Japan of European intrusion (and thus, fearful of Christianity) went against ideals of peace by choosing to slaughter others in religions different than them - DESPITE the fact that there were Buddhists who vehemently disagreed with the violent antics while their Buddhist neighbors mocked the Christians. We see the same happening in our world today on differing levels and we need to keep it in mind when it comes to how we converse....
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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  2. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Unworthy servant of God Supporter

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    @Typ-0 , you might be interested in this thread.
     
  3. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    :)
     
  4. grandvizier1006

    grandvizier1006 Still a human by God's grace Supporter

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    I don't like thinking about Christianity in Japan. It's too depressing and bleak, especially after I read Silence. At the same time, though, that was an amazing book. Also, I fail to see the connection between Christians in Japan and immigration. It just seems like a red herring to me. In the history of Japanese Christians I see overlords punishing a lot of people for the actions of a few that they had nothing to do with, and then Western Christians being too lazy and uninspired to actually go to Japan at all. They went to China and South Korea in droves, but they neglected a unique and fascinating culture/country.
     
  5. CherubRam

    CherubRam Well-Known Member

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    Christian History.
    What people are not told is that everywhere the Judaic Christians went, the Catholics were soon to follow. For hundreds of years Christians fled from the Catholics.
     
  6. TheOldWays

    TheOldWays Candidate

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    religion has that effect on people. it creates an egregore or a collective group mind. these always gain the most power by going against an opposing group mind. hence we have such discord and violence between opposing religions and spiritual ideas today and over the centuries. when a power structure forms, and scriptures are used for anything but teaching, problems begin to arise.

    I am a zen practitioner and that is the extent of my practice when it comes to Buddhism. the idea of treating Buddhist ideas as a religion is foreign to me but i know it's common, especially in the east with Tibetan Buddhism, etc. my zen practice is my own and i don't answer to anyone. i don't believe leadership in a spiritual path is a good thing. teachers are good, but leaders are not as it creates a structure.

    my 2 cents. thanks for the thread. very interesting.
     
  7. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    So true!
     
  8. TheOldWays

    TheOldWays Candidate

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    Ha. I end that post saying i don't think leadership in a spiritual path is a good thing and eight months later I am in a course to join the Catholic Church.
     
  9. Jane_the_Bane

    Jane_the_Bane Gaia's godchild

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    While I certainly don't approve of any kind of massacre, I can kinda see why the Japanese acted this way towards Christianity.

    See, Christian missionary work had been a vital part of colonialism:
    send missionaries to a foreign country, win as many converts as possible, then tell them the Pope has declared the king of Spain to be their god-given ruler. Either your converts will be numerous enough to topple the local government, or else the foreign culture's resistance can be cited as sufficient justification for a European invasion. After all, you're not just conquering a foreign country, you are "protecting the faithful".
    Japan's radical isolationism protected the island from many of the horrors suffered almost everywhere elsewhere in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
     
  10. Jane_the_Bane

    Jane_the_Bane Gaia's godchild

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    Ugh.
     
  11. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    By all means, please give examples of this Missionary first, then Conquest structure. Usually it goes the other way. While missionaries certainly helped cement colonial rule in places, they also opposed it - as even a cursory reading of Spain's efforts in the new world attest, with clerical oppisition to slavery and the encomienda system.

    Further, Japan had no knowledge of such examples. The only ones they might have known about was the Philippines, Macao, Goa, etc. that were all conquest first. Toyotomi outlawed Christianity more to cement his power and control the Kirishitan Daimyo, and foreign influence was resented under the Tokugawa shoguns that followed. The Europeans came readily with guns, so they certainly feared the Colonial/Missionary complex, but there isn't really evidence that the idea of the missionaries as shock troops is justified. The Jesuits had unwisely asked permission to be allowed to build Spanish forts on Japanese land, but the suppression was more driven by internal Japanese politics, the co-opting of Buddhism and measures against the Toyotomi clan. There were always silly people talking about taking over other countries, but Spain never seriously entertained it, nor did Japan ever seriously think themselves in danger thereof prior to the Black Ships in the 19th.

    Later in Africa, the Missionaries went exploring and colonial powers followed, but this was usually opposed by those missionaries themselves - and postdates Japanese suppression significantly. There is simply no grounds to act as an apologist for the Japanese in this case, without gross anachronism and erecting a Spanish/Portuguese paper tiger. As the history of other Asian nations such as China or Thailand indicate, none of the large centralised states were in any danger prior to the 19th century, by which time Japanese isolationism made them even more susceptible. The Japanese themselves realised this, hence their rapid modernisation and even prior to this, the expansion of their Dutch-based Rangaku studies.

    India only fell because of the internal collapse of the Mughals, that the East India Company exploited like a parasitic wasp, taking over its structure. By the time of Christian influence in Japan, the Sengoku period was drawing to a close and they were facing increasing centralisation of the feudal structures - so the piecemeal conquest of the Philippines or Indonesia are different models entirely - which weren't missionary driven either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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