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Zen and Philosophy

 

There are two philosophers who were born in Ishikawa Prefecture and who greatly helped to spread Zen throughout the world and deepen Zen culture.

Teitaro SuzukiOne of those is Daisetsu Suzuki. Daisetsu wrote books about Zen in English to introduce Japanese Zen to Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world. Out of the approximately 100 books he authored throughout his life, 23 of them were written in English.

The other philosopher is Kitaro Nishida. Kitaro developed the Nishida Philosophy, an independent way of thought that was based on Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. These two philosophers were born in villages near Kanazawa in 1870, just after the Meiji Restoration. How is it that Ishikawa managed to produce two great thinkers in the same era?

 

Kitarô NishidaOne of the reasons may be that at the time, the standard of education in Kanazawa was very high. Both studied at the Fourth Higher Middle School (currently Kanazawa University), which at the time was only one of the seven academic institutions of higher education in Japan (the seven were located in Tokyo, Osaka, Yamaguchi, Sendai, Kanazawa, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima). Although the people of Ishikawa did not contribute much politically to the Meiji Restoration, they focused their energies on the development of human resources in the field of culture and academics. In addition, Ishikawa was a place that had deep roots for the Jōdo-Shinshū Pure Land Sect of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, and the snowy climate of the region allowed people to spend ample time with their thoughts.

 

In 2011, Kanazawa opened the D.T. Suzuki Museum in Honda-machi, where Suzuki was from, to spread the philosophy and legacy of Daisetsu Suzuki. In Kahoku, where Nishida was from, there is a philosophy museum that introduces the works of Kitaro Nishida. In Kanazawa there is also Daijoji Temple, a Soto Zen temple with a long and distinguished history where visitors can experience Zen Meditation.

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Come and complement your travels with an experience into the depth and joy of the world of Zen.

Consider taking the“Zen Route” as you tour around the prefecture. (Link)