Brian Victoria Page

Look below for books by Brian Victoria

Search the Internet for Brian Victoria - there's a lot there - lots on YouTube. Lots on the Asia Pacific Journal site here.

Brian Victoria is the former Program Director Antioch University Buddhist Studies in Japan Program

11-13-20 - Zen Terrorism, in four parts

4-21-14 - An Evening with Brian Victoria - Edited according to Brian Victoria's suggestions 4-22-14

5-15-14 - On Watching the film Zen and War - an evening with Brian Victoria Part Two

5-16-16 - RELIGION AND WAR: THE WARTIME TRIBALIZATION OF UNIVERSAL RELIGIONS - on think.iafor dot org, "The Academic Platform"

1-15-14 - Here's the film Zen at War with Japanese subtitles for free. - thanks Brian Victoria who warns there's an ad up front and that it loads slow.NOT THERE ANYMORE


9-02-14 - Brian Victoria page on The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Check out the top piece - Zen Masters on the Battlefield (Part II).

6-27-14 - Brian Victoria page on The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Check out the top piece - Zen Masters on the Battlefield (Part I).


4-23-14 - Here is a recent video on the ongoing tragedy at Fukushima:It features a powerful interview with the former mayor of Futaba. -  From Brian. also posted on Engaged Buddhism/Current Events

1-27-14 - D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Nazis-part 3  by Brian Daizen Victoria

1-25 - D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Nazis-part 2  intro by Brian Daizen Victoria, article by Karl Baier

1-22-14 - D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Nazis-part 1  by Brian Daizen Victoria

7-26-12 - A comment on Warrior monks on the Buddhist Blog.

6-14-11 - Where is the ethical dimension of Buddhist meditation in Zen? - posted in Tricycle. The article starts off with:

In a recent edition of The Eastern Buddhist, Professor Brian Victoria continues his criticism of the writings of D. T. Suzuki. (The article is here, in PDF).

5-06-10 - The Fog of World War II: Setting the Record Straight on D.T. Suzuki by Nelson Foster and Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder Main Page

1-20-10 - Thanks to Gary Snyder for sending the following.  - dc

Kemmyo SATO  and Tom Kirchner on  D.T. Suzuki & War.

— a resounding response to Brian Victoria's attacks.

     A very important paper is in the spring '09 issue of The Eastern Buddhist by SATO Taira Kemmyo.  "D.T. Suzuki and the Question of War." 

Translated by Thomas Kirchner (a Rinzai Zen monk in Kyoto.)   -- pages 60 to 120 --  in which Sato and Kirchner have gone through a lot of D.T.'s old letters and writings in Japanese and throughout it's clear he was never prowar or a pro-nationalist.  Sato says there were Zen priests who thought the war was a good idea, and it is appropriate to bring this information forward.  But he goes on to say, Suzuki was not  one of them and Victoria's attack, based on mis-translation and other errors, should be revoked.  

This is in Eastern Buddhist  Vol 39, #1. 

3-31-05 - a letter from Brian Victoria wherein he discloses that Zen at War will be back in print soon.

3-26-05 - Recently I got an email from Rick Levine which referred to Brian Victoria's "hugely important" Zen War Stories. I was all busy selling my house and wandering around Asia when it came out and realized there was no mention of it herein. So I'm making up for lost time. Here's a bit on Brian's books which are, unfortunately, not so easy to find. I emailed him and said I'll put anything he wants on the site here, even the whole books. Actually, I've been thinking about putting out of print or hard to find relevant books up here but that will take time. I've spent a few hours on this today but gotta run. More to come on Brian soon. - DC

Zen War Stories

Routledge/Curzon,  February 1, 2003. link

This is an important book but it's expensive.

NYT review

Journal of Buddhist Ethics Review


Zen at War

Weatherhill, 1997 link

Another important book.


Behind the Facade of Holy War by Brian Victoria

from the Acknowledgements of Crooked Cucumber - And [thanks to] Brian Victoria, who commented on the sections about Shunryu Suzuki and Japan's militaristic period, with thanks for his skeptical tolerance of my unscholarly narrative method.

See Shunryu Suzuki and others on Peace & War which includes the note: On page 316 of Crooked Cucumber I said, "Ironically, in Japan Buddhism had never been pacifist, and all Buddhists supported the government's wars." As Brian Victoria pointed out in his excellent Zen at War, there were Buddhists who openly opposed the war, but they were few. I also received a letter that I don't think I have yet put on this site that informed me of some Nichiren priests who went to jail rather than support the war. The next time I notice that note I'll put it up here. - DC

From the files: a 1999 letter and response by DC on Brian Victoria and a Tricycle article and more.


Adding these two links on June 1, 2007 just cause I mentioned Brian in something I wrote here in dchad misc and so I Googled Brian and got these but gotta stop there and keep going on other vital errands. - DC

April 2003 - Kansai Time Out Magazine Articles
Christopher Stephens speaks with priest and historian Brian Victoria

Critical Comments on Brian Victoria's "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?"
Koichi Miyata
Soka University, Department of Humanities

The Reactionary Use of Karma in 20th Century Japan by Brian Victoria

All Sweeping Zen links bad. It's on the Internet Archive. Maybe we'll get it all here. - dc

11-01-14 - The End of a (Zen) Buddhist Myth - In this response Brian Victoria writes, "I have done my best to keep the focus of this article on the "big questions" rather than a seemingly petty debate with Jundo Cohen on the minutiae of translations." - another article on Zen and war by Brian on Sweeping Zen.


10-10-14 - “ZEN AT WAR” BRIAN VICTORIA: THROWING BOMBS AT KODO – by Jundo Cohen in Sweeping Zen

photo lifted off Sweeping Zen

9-24-14 - Brian Victoria's War on Zen - an article by Brian Victoria in Sweeping Zen.

9-10-14 - Brian Victoria: The "Non-self" as a Killer - an addenda in Sweeping Zen to his two part Zen Masters on the Battlefield featured herein earlier.

1-28-14 - Sweeping Zen article and discussion of Brian Victoria's articles on DT Suzuki and the Nazis (see below)

DC comment from the above discussion

I greatly appreciate Brian Victoria's enormous contribution of shining light on the role of Japanese Buddhist institutions and individuals during Japan's era of militarism in the last century. I am grateful to him for his invaluable assistance with Crooked Cucumber. We stayed up all night arguing and coming to terms, emails followed, and overall I'd say he set me straight. There are now links on cuke dot com to all three of these articles and today to this page and these links will reside on the Brian Victoria page with other links going back 15 years. He has urged me to make critical comments on these articles. I appreciate what others have contributed - give him hell, he's a fanatic. But I don't have anything to add other than to note this conversation causes me to reflect on what evils am I going along with now as our Zen ancestors did to varying degrees. I'm against America's and other countries' fighting and destructive military operations. To me it's a lot of violence that begets violence. I'm against the nuclear weapons we humans have cocked and aimed that could destroy us all. I'm convinced that the carbon dioxide and methane we and others are releasing or causing to be released are likely to bring an end to us and other higher forms of life - possibly in the near future. What am I doing about all this? Hoping I'm wrong, posting on cuke, living lightly for someone in the ruling class, recycling when I can, going to the beach. To me we are all war and climate criminals to some extent. I will, however, associate with anyone regardless of how evil they are perceived to be. And I salute Brian for what he does.

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