Samurai Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...
Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...
Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...
Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...
Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...
Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...
The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...
Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...
Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...
The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...
Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...
The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...
The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...
Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...
The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or
Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...
The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...
The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...
Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated[FN#29] land for the s...
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.
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