Uchiyama Gudō

Buddhist priest activist executed in the High Treason Incident

Uchiyama Gudō (Japanese: 内山 愚童, May 17, 1874 – January 24, 1911) was a Sōtō Zen Buddhist priest and anarcho-socialist activist executed in the High Treason Incident. He was one of few Buddhist leaders who spoke out against the Meiji government in its imperialist projects.

Quotes edit

  • Folks, try to think. Of what you produce with your sweat all year long, half is taken by a thief called the landlord; with the half that’s left, you buy sake, soy sauce, salt and manure. But on the sake, on that manure, on everything, nothing excluded, there are taxes — money that is taken by that big thief called the government. on top of that, other thieves called merchants make their own profit. That’s why folks like you tenant farmers, who don’t own your land, will never be able to avoid poverty throughout your life, no matter how hard and earnestly you work.

Common Consciousness (1911) edit

Common Consciousness (1991), translated by Fabio Rambelli in Zen Anarchism: The Egalitarian Dharma of Uchiyama Gudō. Institute of Buddhist Studies. 2013. ISBN 978-1886439511. 
  • Consciousness means to become aware of something by oneself. This, in turn, does not mean to discover something that others do not know, nor does it mean that one should not learn from others. To become aware of something by oneself refers to things, no matter whether learned from others or discovered by oneself, that one digests deeply in one’s mind and makes one’s own. Moreover, if we distinguish consciousness in terms of social class, we come up with several differences. The consciousness of a priest is not the same as that of a politician. The consciousness of a priest is also probably different from that of a philosopher. In fact, even priests, depending on their geographic location and historical period, cannot be said to all be the same. Thus, there are myriad differences in consciousness, depending on the person, time, and place; however, there must be something that is common to them all. There must be something that is at stake for all of them, as they all live in this world. The learned and the uneducated, the noble and the lowly, the rich and the poor – there is something they must become conscious of through cooperation. This is what I call “common consciousness”.
  • If we look at the traces left by our ancestors, and if we observe the spirit carried by the blood coursing through our arteries, there we hear the incessant sound “freedom, freedom.” Yes, our ancestors, consciously or unconsciously, have been struggling for this freedom, and since we share the very same spirit, we too must keep on fighting until victory, no matter ow strong nature’s hardships and how cruel the ruler’s despotism. What is the freedom we will achieve after this struggle? To put it simply, it is being able to always act according to one’s will, without ever being obstructed or bothered by anyone. That is, it means to always respect one’s own will while at the same time respecting the will of the others, and to live in peace.
  • The final goal of the human race is independence and mutual aid, the realization of freedom, equality, and fraternity. If we look at the evolution of politics, law, religion, and ethics, they have been developing from heteronomy toward autonomy; thus after attaining self-governance the people will use their eventual individual surpluses to compensate for other’s inefficiencies. This is natural evolution, and this is also the ultimate ideal of life. Everyone should fight and strive toward this goal.
  • We are not made to live subjected to authoritarian rule but instead need to be independent and free to act as we choose. This is what we call the individual’s common consciousness. No matter how well the government develops, no matter how kindly public officials lead us, they will never be able to satisfy our ideal. The more complicated the government becomes, the more corrupt it gets.
  • There is nothing more dangerous than to pass judgment on the basis of fragmentary proof.
  • Women are not men’s belongings.
  • Old habits in particular will not make it easy to realize our ideas, but nonetheless, we should make up our minds and strive to achieve them.
  • Even though you are like travelers at dusk at the foot of a mountain, you should not be discouraged, because you will certainly advance step by step toward the top of that mountain called consciousness. Isn’t it so? Anyone who looks attentively at human history will understand that all people, the wise and the fool, and also the poor, are heading toward the shore of freedom, each in their own way.
  • One should improve upon the habit of giving to others what one desires for oneself.
  • The family, the state, the entire world: they are all aggregations of individuals, and if each individual simply lived and acted according to pure-hearted kindness – that is, with a spirit of independence and freedom, the will to help the weak, and caring for one’s neighbor – we would all be able to live a peaceful and perfect collective life. We human beings should develop our spirit of independence and solidarity and fight against those who oppose this, even at the risk of our own lives.
  • Everyone should put the elders first in accordance with the customs to treat elders with respect.
  • Truth will eventually triumph one day, the light of freedom will doubtlessly and without fail illuminate the whole family and bestow its blessings upon all.

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: