You should probably give this chapter a quick scan to pick up the gist of it. Basically, it states that Zen Buddhism is just as dangerous as any other religion when it becomes known as “state” religion, gets too wrapped up in politics or sinks to much in aesthetics.
This should not be news to any of us…religion can be dangerous, Buddhism is no exception. Priests or Roshis, yogis or gurus can all be people or get caught up in the power of their position.
Some of the bigger zen names are in here: Kapleau, DT Suzuki, Soen and Harada. Much of what they quote is of the pre-WWII stuff when Japan was still largely imperialistic and at the same time condemning Buddhism as foreign and un-Japanese in relation to the native Shinto religion. Either way, Buddhist monks went to great lengths to prove their patriotism and nationalism and thus you get the “march, march, boom, boom” statement.
I’m not saying that these are right, but to be honest, these events have happened in most religions, philosophies and even scientific thought (ie. the silly evolution and eugenics debacle). Anyway, give it a read… But I really can’t speak to the truth of the statements made in this books – some comments were deliberately taken out of context and do not shed a fair light on these teachers or their eras.
Read it and make your own decisions. But remember – Always be wary of someone trying to sell you heaven or enlightenment. Be critical of ALL teachings, not just the ones you don’t like.
[Edit: I recieved this link to a paper called “The Zen Master in America: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarfs” from a tweet by c4chaos (sweet, sweet twitter) that looked to be interesting and along the same lines. ]