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Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anot...

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...




A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World








The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment nor of
palm-leaves, nor in black and white, but one written in heart and
mind. On one occasion a King of Eastern India invited the venerable
Prajnyatara, the teacher of Bodhidharma, and his disciples to dinner
at his own palace.

Finding all the monks reciting the sacred sutras with the single
exception of the master, the Ring questioned Prajnyatara: Why do you
not, reverend sir, recite the Scriptures as others do? My poor
self, your majesty, replied he, does not go out to the objects of
sense in my expiration nor is it confined within body and mind in my
inspiration. Thus I constantly recite hundreds, thousands, and
millions of sacred sutras. In like manner the Emperor Wu, of the
Liang dynasty, once requested Chwen Hih (Fu Dai-shi) to give a
lecture on the Scriptures. Chwen went upon the platform, struck the
desk with a block of wood, and came down. Pao Chi (Ho-shi), a
Buddhist tutor to the Emperor, asked the perplexed monarch: Does
your Lordship understand him? No, answered His Majesty. The
lecture of the Great Teacher is over. As it is clear to you from
these examples, Zen holds that the faith must be based not on the
dead Scriptures, but on living facts, that one must turn over not the
gilt pages of the holy writ, but read between the lines in the holy
pages of daily life, that Buddha must be prayed not by word of mouth,
but by actual deed and work, and that one must split open, as the
author of Avatamsaka-sutra allegorically tells us, the smallest grain
of dirt to find therein a sutra equal in size to the whole world.
The so-called sutra, says Do-gen, covers the whole universe. It
transcends time and space. It is written with the characters of
heaven, of man, of beasts, of Asuras,[FN#13l] of hundreds of grass,
and of thousands of trees. There are characters, some long, some
short, some round, some square, some blue, some red, some yellow, and
some white-in short, all the phenomena in the universe are the
characters with which the sutra is written. Shakya Muni read that
sutra through the bright star illuminating the broad expanse of the
morning skies, when he sat in meditation under the Bodhi Tree.


[FN#13l] The name of a demon.


Ling Yun (Rei-un) read it through the lovely flowers of a peach-tree
in spring after some twenty years of his research for Light, and said:

A score of years I looked for Light:
There came and went many a spring and fall.
E'er since the peach blossoms came in my sight,
I never doubt anything at all.

Hian Yen (Kyo-gen) read it through the noise of bamboo, at which he
threw pebbles. Su Shih (So-shoku) read it through a waterfall, one
evening, and said:

The brook speaks forth the Tathagata's words divine,
The hills reveal His glorious forms that shine.






Next: Great Men And Nature

Previous: Sutras Used By Zen Masters



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