A History of the FAS Society: Part VI

By ABE Masao


This is an outline of the history of the FAS Society. To tell the truth, we have often encountered criticism that the members of the group keep themselves aloof from the world and make abstruse remarks. Therefore, others sometimes have found it difficult to become familiar with us because we seemed to believe we were selected people. If their impressions are accurate, then each one of us should keenly criticize oneself. As such conduct is contrary to the idea of FAS and the original intention of the formation of the group, we think it is very important for us to criticize ourselves in regard to whether or not the FAS Society is truly entitled to be called "FAS".

We are, however, firmly convinced of the following points. Although man's fundamental awakening has been realized by Buddhists through Buddhism, the very awakening is true even outside the world of Buddhism and beyond the limitations of Zen as well. This idea has more fundamental ultimacy beyond the historical development through which it has been realized, and it means to "awaken to the Formless Self." Also, in order to awaken to the Formless Self, it is necessary to follow the way of gakugyo ichinyo (the oneness of study and practice).

Furthermore, this is not only the inner problem of ourselves alone, for it cannot be separated from the problems of the world and of history. Those problems should be grasped by means of the idea of FAS. They are ideas in which we firmly believe.

I hope to talk with those who have the same concern, and to cooperate with others in developing a basis for deeper and common understanding. Through heart-to-heart discussions and criticism, including self-criticism, we wish to arrive at essentially open ground. As I said in the beginning, the problem indicated by the idea of FAS is itself not a problem to be posed only to us. It is the problem of man which should confront man at any time and in any place. Especially today, I believe that this problem should be earnestly taken up by us, free from conventional divergent standpoints social, racial, ideological, or religious.

Within this country today, people are concerned with economic prosperity and the atmosphere of peace, and internationally we are concerned with the quelling of tensions and the unification of the world through scientific technology. But there lies behind these matters various contradictions, and a nihilistic mood prevails in the world. Where is the truth? We wonder whether we are good or not in our present condition, and whether the world as it is now is good or not. These problems should be clarified free from small-group consciousness. Even if our steps are small ones, it is our sincere hope to advance toward a dynamically peaceful world through practice and learning.


(From the text of a talk delivered in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the FAS Society on May 30, 1964 at Rakuyu Hall, Kyoto University. The present manuscript has been slightly edited with the author's permission for inclusion in the FAS Newsletter 1984.)

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Last updated: May 25, 1996