At issue is how the original enlightenment discourse was related to broader trends in Japanese religion and culture. One school of thought has found in notions of original enlightenment an expression, couched in Buddhistic terms, of a pre-Buddhist, archaic Japanese mentality or psychological orientation characterized by the affirmation of nature and accommodation to phenomenal realities. This tendency to harmonize with outer reality is sometimes said to have originated in primitive responses to Japan’s scenic beauty and mild climate, with its orderly progression of seasons, and even to hold the key to healing the rift between humans and the natural world said to have precipitated the ecological problems of the West. More recently, another group of scholars has made original enlightenment thought the target of a scathing critique. These are the exponents of the intellectual movement known as “Critical Buddhism”, of which more will be said in the next chapter. Critical Buddhism charges that notions of original enlightenment introduce into Buddhism the non-Buddhist concept of an ātman or metaphysical substrate, subverting the normative Buddhist teaching that all things are empty of independent self-essence. Moreover, despite its superficial semblance of egalitarianism, the claim that all phenomena are enlightened inherently serves to sacralize the given order and thus legitimates social inequalities. Notions of original enlightenment, say the critical Buddhists, have served to bolster the emperor system, wartime imperial aggression, and uncritical, self-glorifying Japanism.
Page 4 of “Original Enlightenement and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism” by Jacqueline I. Stone.
This is quite literally an example of the kind of Critical Buddhism that I said Zizek fails to account for in his critical-therapeutic schema for universal religions in the age of global capitalism. He argues that Christianity is the only religion today that offers a critical charge, while Buddhism and associated New Age obscurantism make the whole prospect of TINA a spiritual non-problem.