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The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

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

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

Wang Yang Ming (o-yo-mei) And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...




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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