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Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

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

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

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

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 ...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a pr...

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality

To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting
appearance and reality. According. to certain religionists, all the
phenomena of the universe are to succumb to change. Worldly things
one and all are evanescent. They are nought in the long run.
Snowcapped mountains may sink into the bottom of the deep, while the
sands in the fathomless ocean may soar into the azure sky at some
time or other. Blooming flowers are destined to fade and to bloom
again in the next year. So destined are growing trees, rising
generations, prospering nations, glowing suns, moons, and stars.
This, they would say, is only the case with phenomena or appearances,
but not with reality. Growth and decay, birth and death, rise and
fall, all these are the ebb and flow of appearances in the ocean of
reality, which is always the same. Flowers may fade and be reduced
to dust, yet out of that dust come flowers. Trees may die out, yet
they are reproduced somewhere else. The time may come when the earth
will become a dead sphere quite unsuitable for human habitation, and
the whole of mankind will perish; yet who knows that whether another
earth may not be produced as man's home? The sun might have its
beginning and end, stars, moons, theirs as well; yet an infinite
universe would have no beginning nor end.

Again, they say, mutation is of the world of sense or phenomenal
appearances, but not of reality. The former are the phases of the
latter shown to our senses. Accordingly they are always limited and
modified by our senses, just as images are always limited and
modified by the mirror in which they are reflected. On this account
appearances are subject to limitations, while reality is limitless.
And it follows that the former are imperfect, while the latter is
perfect; that the former is transient, while the latter is eternal;
that the former is relative, while the latter is absolute; that the
former is worldly, while the latter is holy; that the former is
knowable, while the latter is unknowable.

These considerations naturally lead us to an assertion that the world
of appearances is valueless, as it is limited, short-lived,
imperfect, painful, sinful, hopeless, and miserable; while the realm
of reality is to be aspired for, as it is eternal, perfect,
comfortable, full of hope, joy, and peace-hence the eternal divorce
of appearance and reality. Such a view of life tends to make one
minimize the value of man, to neglect the present existence, and to
yearn after the future.

Some religionists tell us that we men are helpless, sinful, hopeless,
and miserable creatures. Worldly riches, temporal honours, and
social positions-nay, even sublimities and beauties of the present
existence, are to be ignored and despised. We have no need of caring
for those things that pass away in a twinkling moment. We must
prepare for the future life which is eternal. We must accumulate
wealth for that existence. We must endeavour to hold rank in it. We
must aspire for the sublimity and beauty and glory of that realm.

Next: Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?

Previous: Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality

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