I’m reading this book “The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture” by Davies and Ikeno and I just read in interesting quote that might be helpful to Americans going to Japan, especially for missionaries with a heart to see Japan reached with the gospel.
The British scholar of Japanese history George Sansom states that “the quintessence of Japanese though is to be found in Zen… whose doctrines are by definition incommunicable by the written word and can be made clear only by some inner illumination” (1963, p. v). He also describes “the characteristic attitude of the Japanese towards moral and philosophical problems” as ” intuitive and emotional,”reflecting a “mistrust of logic and analysis.” Reischauer (1988, p. 200) concurs:
The Japanese have always seemed to lean more towards intuition than reason, to subtlety and sensitivity in expression rather than to clarity and analysis, to pragmatism rather than to theory, and to organizational skills rather than to great intellectual concepts. They have never set much store by clarity of verbal analysis and originality of though. They put great trust in nonverbal understanding and look on oral or written skills and on sharp and clever reasoning as essentially shallow and possibly misleading. They value in their literature not clear analysis, but artistic suggestiveness and emotional feeling. The French idea of simplicity and absolute clarity in writing leaves them unsatisfied. They prefer complexity and indirection as coming closer to truth.
Do you agree or disagree with these statements? Do you believe as is taught in Zen, that “essential truth is incommunicable”?