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Crush Christianity


Jun
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I am currently translating from the texts of an itinerant priest from which my Zen tradition is a part, his name is Shosan.

This is from the first two pages that I have translated so far. Although the main works of Shosan have been translated into English, his Ha Kirishitan (Crush Christianity) has been mostly ignored, probably due to the fact that it is anti-Christian. I have attempted to keep the original meaning, and have avoided adding my own interpretation.

These are his thoughts on Christianity addressed in a text that was presented to various Buddhist temples in 1642. In 1637-38 there had been a rebellion led by 23,000 Christian peasants and Samurai against the local Daimyo (Lord). These texts were presented with the intention of helping to drive out any remaining Christians and to alert the populace about this evil creed.

English translation by Rev. Junpei Genshin, copyright by Rev. Junpei Genshin.

In the Christian teaching they claim there is a supreme being which they call Deus (God), whom they say is the lord of heaven and earth, and is in everything and everywhere. 1,600 years ago he manifested himself in the world to the Southern Barbarian lands* as saviour of all the people. His name, they say, was Jesus.

 

I ask, why has this almighty Deus manifested himself only once in the world he claims to have made and rules over? And why only to the Southern Barbarians? He must be a truly stupid Deus to think that as free people with a mind of our own that we would easily believe this.

 

It is said by the followers of Deus that when manifested upon the earth, he was hung on a cross by the unenlightened of the world. Can such a one be considered a god? How is it that a god can be captured and crucified by men?

 

And now these Kirishitans have come to Japan, a land of freewill and logic, to spread their magic and evil teachings. Is this not a disgrace, that men would give up their own freewill to follow a Deus who cannot save himself from mere men?

 

The stupidity and effrontery of the Jesuit missionaries is astounding. They have clearly magnified their own human thoughts and feelings in the form of this Deus and yet worship as if he were apart from their own fabrication.

 

Clearly these Southern Barbarians cannot see that all around us is subject to cause and effect, the natural events of the universe.

 

In this Kirishitan sect miraculous events are held in high esteem, and it is said that they are the glory and honour of Deus. I have likewise heard that they cheat and deceive people by the various devices they have created. Clearly those of us with open eyes and free wills know that supernatural miracles are not possible. All about on the earth is natural and the work of nature itself.

 

Only through free thought and the advancement of wisdom can man live, not relying on the supposed miracles of gods. Man has no need of miracles but self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

 

I ask these Kirishitans, if your Deus created animals and humans to be different, how could an all-powerful, all-good Deus create humans with a fatal weakness, a predisposition to evil, that will see them sent to an everlasting hell? If that is so, then the casting of people into a hell is solely the work of Deus. How can one worship such an evil Deus?

 

Kirishitans are not able to hold their own in argument with even novice Buddhist monks about life and self-nature. Often during questioning they will assert that we simply cannot understand their Deus and that he is above human understanding. Yet the understanding of these Kirishitans is comparable to frogs in a well.**

 

These Kirishitans claim that those who worship this Deus will join him in his kingdom when they die. If the body is dead, what use is a kingdom? How does one expect to travel to such a place when they are naught but dust for the worms? How is it that such a ridiculous claim can come from those who say they are our equals as humans on the earth?

The Kirishitans make the claim that Deus created humans, but not animals, with a soul. It is quit clear that they consider themselves above all living things. Such a stance from these Southern Barbarians to me is evidence of their childish and uneducated minds. We must cast out every single one of these Kirishitans and their evil ways.

 

* Southern barbarians was the term used to refer to Europeans in general.

 

** There is a story about how frogs know only about the world from within their limited space within a well.

 

These opinons on Christianity are largely still held by Japanese Buddhists today, especially within most Zen traditions.

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Most informative Jun , thank you for the enlightenment on Buddhism.

 

I firmly agree with Shosan. I didn't know they invaded Japan. I will read more on this and other histories of christian propaganda and barbarism. Take Hitler for instance. You know the majority of christians call him atheist. What would have drove atheistic Germans to want to destroy the Jews but christian fanatics. They (christians) are so ignorant and passively lead by evangelical leaders such as him. Again thank you for the info and encouragement to pursue more study

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The Kirishitans make the claim that Deus created humans, but not animals, with a soul. It is quite clear that they consider themselves above all living things. Such a stance from these Southern Barbarians to me is evidence of their childish and uneducated minds.
Very well put. (pauses to pet one of her cats) Thanks for the translation, Jun.
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I myself want to see more of this as you translate it. It has proven to be a very interesting read.

 

The frogs in the well concept reminds me of one of Plato's works. In it, Plato created a scenario about a group of men who had spent their whole lives stuck in a cave. One of them escapes, sees the outside world, and returns, but none of the other men believe that there is a world beyond the cave.

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Thank you for the kind words, I had no idea if anyone would be interested.

 

I am working on translating some more.

 

I didn't know they invaded Japan.

 

Christians didn't invade Japan per se. Christianity was introduced to Japan by Francis Xavier in 1549 and Jesuit missionaries tried for centuries later to convert people to their "God." Official persecution of Christians began in the 1580's.

 

It was the Christians (Spanish, Portuguese) that led to the government enforcing the closed country policy (sakoku) whereby foreigners were not allowed to enter Japan and Japanese were not allowed to leave. The Dutch were exempt as they weren't Christian. This lasted until the forced opening of Japan by Matthew Perry in 1867.

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That WAS fascinating, for a multitude of reasons. Thanks for posting it and doing the work of translation!

 

Have you considered publishing it in a small journal or something, somewhere that wouldn't stir the pot so to speak, but at least get the information out there and available to other academics? Or is it too political and risky?

 

BTW, I've always liked Zen thought, and I can see a lot of it in that little jitty. I especially liked and agreed with the animals portion.

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That WAS fascinating, for a multitude of reasons. Thanks for posting it and doing the work of translation!

 

Have you considered publishing it in a small journal or something, somewhere that wouldn't stir the pot so to speak, but at least get the information out there and available to other academics? Or is it too political and risky?

 

BTW, I've always liked Zen thought, and I can see a lot of it in that little jitty. I especially liked and agreed with the animals portion.

 

You are welcome.

 

I have never considered publishing anything. The text from which I am translating is a copy belonging to my temple in Japan which was published in 1616. I am aware of a biography on Shosan in English by an American, but no-one has translated Ha Kirishitan into English. I wonder why! :D

 

I can't see any political ramifications from making this available. I can see A LOT of protest from (especially) European Buddhists who have a skewered concept of Buddhists not being able to comment on others beliefs, or being unquestioningly tolerant of others.

 

To be Buddhist is to be critical, critical of everything. As a Buddhist it is necessary to question everything, to test everything, to find the truth.

 

Sorry, enough ranting. :)

 

I'll post more as I translate it.

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I ask, why has this almighty Deus manifested himself only once in the world he claims to have made and rules over? And why only to the Southern Barbarians? He must be a truly stupid Deus to think that as free people with a mind of our own that we would easily believe this.

 

This is something that even as a Christian I considered weak about the gospel. That he requires belief for salvation and that it is impossible to believe in something you have no way of being exposed to is utterly unjust.

 

The whole passage you translated and cited here is very powerful just due to the alternative perspective of time and culture. I to would like to see more as you translate it.

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I'd also be interested in reading any additional portions of Ha Kirishitan you translate into English.

 

Long ago, before my deconversion, I spent two years in Japan, unfortunately supporting a missionary by teaching English (actually I deconverted IN Japan). I wish that I could apologize to the people I tried to spread christianity to. At least I can take solace in the fact that the one person I got to go to church didn't take it seriously, and I can hope that I didn't have much influence on anyone else, which I doubt that I did.

 

To the credit of the Japanese people and the consternation of missionaries, Japan's a tough room when it comes to peddling xianity. Insightful words from Shosan.

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To the credit of the Japanese people and the consternation of missionaries, Japan's a tough room when it comes to peddling xianity.

 

Thankfully the Japanese see Christianity as another fad, something European and possibly fun. I know more Japanese who have "tried" Christianity and found it boring, than I do Christians.

 

Thanks for the interest everyone. I'm working on translating some more.

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I want to see more! Please consider publishing it soon (Remember Dawkins's book is selling well, so maybe it's time to do that.) I'd gladly read it straight away!

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I want to see more! Please consider publishing it soon (Remember Dawkins's book is selling well, so maybe it's time to do that.) I'd gladly read it straight away!

 

I am heartened by the nice replies and I appreciate them. Thank you. :D

 

I am in no way a scholar or writer however, and I doubt I could do such a work any justice. The Ha Kirishitan is not a large work, it would not be enough to publish as a book on its own. It is in note form addressing different topics in each few lines and it is somewhat haphazard in places.

 

It would also require some extensive background as few people are aware of the history of Christianity in Japan and Japanese Buddhism. That said, it would require more time than I could possibly afford it sorry to say.

 

Nontheless, here are the next two pages.

 

English translation by Rev. Junpei Genshin, copyright by Rev. Junpei Genshin.

 

The bateren (Portuguese Catholic fathers) who have come to Japan have in their own minds constructed a creator of heaven and earth. With their schemes to capture this country for the Southern Barbarians they deceive the people with all kinds of empty words.*

 

Why do the followers of Deus press their tedious claims with the pretence that they alone know their lord who created heaven and earth? Idle verbosity without substance is most annoying.

 

Kirishitans surely love talk of magic and sorcery, what need does a man of intelligence have for such fantasy?

 

The Kirishitans gather together to talk to their Deus, but Deus does not answer them in voice. Yet they insist that they are talking to Deus and that Deus is listening to them! They ask for Deus to do favours and to carry out work for them. Kirishitans are not able to carry out their own work and strive towards their own goals without asking their Deus for help.

 

The Buddha admonished that relying on supernatural gods is folly, for only by our own wills can we live. Concepts of other-worldly beings with supernatural powers that reign over man are for those who have no self-reliance, no discipline and no self-morals.

 

Indeed, when we cease to be bound by our own concepts and grasping, or our inclinations of mind, our doubts cease as well, because our knowledge is no longer dependent on anything beyond immediate and direct experience. Humans are fully equipped to just see, right now. Truth is there for those who will open their eyes. Kirishitans are blinded by a faith in a power that cannot be. Deus, in order to be real, must himself also be subject to the same cause and effect as everything else in the universe.

 

The Buddha said, "When I speak to you, do not accept what I say in blind faith out of respect for me. You must examine all that I say, think hard and long, and put it to the test, just as a goldsmith examines gold by cutting and heating it to know whether it is genuine gold. If you have doubts, test it out. If you find it is right, accept and follow it. If you find that it is flawed then examine why and think it through. Only when you know how it is flawed can you say so, and only when you know how it is right can you follow it."

 

Kirishitans trust only in a blind faith. There is no testing and thinking it through. They have been instructed to believe unquestioningly. Do you think that is a wise thing to do? To follow a teaching unquestioningly is to give up your own mind for that of another's.

 

Kirishitans claim that Deus' way is the only way, and that there are penalties for questioning the words of Deus. Why would such a Deus penalise humans for using their own intellect. Isn't the intellect the greatest gift of humans? It makes no sense at all that humans would be restricted in the use of intellect if such a Deus was their creator.

 

The bateren encourage the slavery of other humans and treat them as items of trade. It is surely against the very freewill of any people to enslave others and to mistreat them. Honour is to be accorded all people including our enemies.

 

Kirishitans carry with them a book that records the words of Deus. How is it that a record of the words of Deus exists, yet not a word is spoken by Deus to his people?

 

Kirishitans are full of lust, hatred, jealousy and pride. These are things which lead to suffering and self-destruction. Yet Deus is silent I'm told, on how to combat these defilements. Ignorance is the seat of these defilements, and ignorance is the seat of the Kirishitans faith. They are ignorant of the world about them, and ignorant of their own lives. Just as darkness is removed by light, ignorance is removed by wisdom. But Kirishitans do not seek wisdom. They claim that man only need follow the wisdom of Deus. What stupidity!

 

 

*The Portugese and the Dutch together with the English were trying to out do each other in trade from Japan. It was no secret that the Portugese were attempting to stockpile munitions for an invasion. The Spanish had already invaded the Philippines and converted the main islands to Christianity.

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That's some interesting stuff there- it would fit right into our "rants and replies" section. I think I'll email it to a certain Lutheran preacher that I know... he should get a kick out of it.

 

One question, though. If the Dutch weren't christian at the time, then what were they?

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That's some interesting stuff there- it would fit right into our "rants and replies" section. I think I'll email it to a certain Lutheran preacher that I know... he should get a kick out of it.

 

One question, though. If the Dutch weren't christian at the time, then what were they?

 

The Portuguese were Catholics, the English and Dutch were Protestants. As far as the Japanese were aware, Protestantism wasn't Christian as they didn't bring priests to convert the Japanese, they didn't insist on praying or preaching, or building churches. The protestants, "Hated the Catholics and hated referrences to "Deus" and "Jesus. The English and the Dutch blame the wars of Europe on the religion of Deus." - [from the Shogun's records].

 

There was much bad blood between the Portuguese and the English/Dutch. The Portuguese had been trading in Japan since the late 1500's, the English and Dutch had arrived in 1600 and immediately won favour with the Shogun as "they had no outward signs of religion or Deus worship. They treated us (the Japanese) as equals and sort only fair trade. They do not preach about Deus and they do not like talk of religion." [from the Shogun's records]

 

When Japan was closed to foreign trade, only the Dutch remained because as far as the Japanese could see they weren't Christians. Japanese records indicate that the Dutch and English "Had no interest in selling us on the idea of their Deus."

 

I have been strongly advised that I should not post anymore of my translations here. It may be that an unscrupulous person may take what I have posted here for their own personal use. I ask that people do not post my translations anywhere else without my permission. I have provided them here for the good people of ExChristians.net. Thanks.

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No, thank you, Jun - it was all very inspiring.

 

Ancient records of Xian annoyances are fascinating, and full of good information. Really helps you see what puts the "shit" in "Kirishitan" ;)

 

Also, it stands as a fine testimony to the wisdom of Buddhism, something I am discovering a little more each day :)

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Hi Jun,

 

Thanks very much for the translation of this portion of the Ha Kirishitan! It's an intriguing piece of history and contains arguments that are remarkably relevant to today. Really underscores how little has changed in the missionary and counter-missionary game, eh? I'm quite sad to hear that you've decided to stop posting further translation, as I'd love to read the rest of it. Such anti-missionary tracts tend to be quietly swept under the rug so people who can't read the original language can't *ever* read them. This problem seems to particularly plague texts from Asia, it seems to me. If you decide to keep translating it on your own, I would love to have a copy!

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Hi Jun,

 

Thanks very much for the translation of this portion of the Ha Kirishitan! It's an intriguing piece of history and contains arguments that are remarkably relevant to today. Really underscores how little has changed in the missionary and counter-missionary game, eh? I'm quite sad to hear that you've decided to stop posting further translation, as I'd love to read the rest of it. Such anti-missionary tracts tend to be quietly swept under the rug so people who can't read the original language can't *ever* read them. This problem seems to particularly plague texts from Asia, it seems to me. If you decide to keep translating it on your own, I would love to have a copy!

 

Again, thank you for your interest eveyone who posted here and sent mail. I will let everyone know when I've made a complete translation, and those who want a digital copy need only ask. :thanks:

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Again, thank you for your interest everyone who posted here and sent mail. I will let everyone know when I've made a complete translation, and those who want a digital copy need only ask. :thanks:

 

Consider this asking, then. ;)

 

Thanks a bunch for the provided material, Jun. Good stuff. I look forward to seeing the rest of it.

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Again, thank you for your interest everyone who posted here and sent mail. I will let everyone know when I've made a complete translation, and those who want a digital copy need only ask. :thanks:

 

Consider this asking, then. ;)

 

Thanks a bunch for the provided material, Jun. Good stuff. I look forward to seeing the rest of it.

 

Ditto. I really enjoyed reading the first few pages--thanks, Jun.

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Thankfully the Japanese see Christianity as another fad, something European and possibly fun. I know more Japanese who have "tried" Christianity and found it boring, than I do Christians.

 

Thanks for the interest everyone. I'm working on translating some more.

 

I remember once reading an article on japan-guide.com that said that more young Japanese claimed to feel a connection to Christianity than Buddhism or Shinto. Obviously at first this alarmed me, but then I realized that the numbers of actual Christians in Japan are small and probably shrinking.

 

I think it is similar to many other teenagers in many other lands, developing a supposed interest in something foreign and exotic (such as the latest fad in America of women "converting" to Islam) and later dropping it when they realize it's not as glamorous as it first seemed.

 

Of course the Japanese should consider themselves lucky for the intelligence to avoid the current religious hell that is South Korea, and that China is in danger of falling into because of evangelical Christianity.

 

What is the religious leaning of most Japanese? I've heard that most of them disclaim any interest in religious matters, but I've also heard the claim that "religion" to them is nothing less than an organized sangha (somewhat like religion in the Western sense), and they do tend to be superstitious (regarding such things as the placing of chopsticks upright in food, for example). Some say that Japanese religion is ingrained enough and simple enough as to be practiced by the people without having it impose on every aspect of their lives like Western religion, perhaps so much so they don't even realize it.

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