A LETTER FROM BRIAN VICTORIA
Brian Victoria Page
How very nice to hear from you, old friend. And how very nice to learn that both of us are still alive and 'kickin'!
And, of course, many thanks for thinking of me by placing the material on my books on your website. Actually it should soon be easier to acquire a copy of "Zen at War" thanks to the fact that a new and enlarged 2nd edition is now under preparation at the publishing company of Rowman and Littefield in Boulder, CO. It should be out by mid-year at around $19.95.
The second edition is enlarged in the sense that it will contain a new concluding chapter entitled, "Was It Buddhism?" In this chapter I make a first attempt to show that what happened in wartime Japan was the result of Zen(and Buddhism)'s longstanding history of subservience to the political rulers of the day, including China and reaching as far back as Emperor Ashoka in India. This is hardly surprising in light of the history of other world religions, but, of course, we would like "our Buddhism" to be the one exception! Sorry to say. . .
At the moment I am a visiting professor of Asian Studies at SUNY Binghamton in outstate New York (through the end of May 2005). While in the U.S. I have been giving a series of guest lectures at about a dozen universities on both coasts. One lecture is entitled: "'The Last Samurai' meets WWII: the Zen of Japanese Militarism" and the second even more provocative lecture is: "Religion Hijacked: The Universal Characteristics of Holy War." Needless to say, the latter remains a 'hot topic' these days.
Look forward to hearing what you are up to.
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