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The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

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

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

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

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

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

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

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...

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 And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

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




Buddha Is Unnamable








Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what the name
implies. The Deity under the name of Brahman necessarily differs
from the Being under the appellation of Jehovah, just as the Hindu
differs from the Jew. In like manner the Being designated by God
necessarily differs from One named Amitabha or from Him entitled
Allah. To give a name to the Deity is to give Him tradition,
nationality, limitation, and fixity, and it never brings us nearer to
Him. Zen's object of worship cannot be named and determined as God,
or Brahman, or Amitabha, or Creator, or Nature, or Reality, or
Substance, or the like. Neither Chinese nor Japanese masters of Zen
tried to give a definite name to their object of adoration. They now
called Him That One, now This One, now Mind, now Buddha, now
Tathagata, now Certain Thing, now the True, now Dharma-nature, now
Buddha-nature, and so forth. Tung Shan[FN#141] (To-zan) on a certain
occasion declared it to be A Certain Thing that pillars heaven above
and supports the earth below; dark as lacquer and undefinable;
manifesting itself through its activities, yet not wholly comprisable
within them. So-kei[FN#142] expressed it in the same wise: There
exists a Certain Thing, bright as a mirror, spiritual as a mind, not
subjected to growth nor to decay. Huen Sha (Gen-sha) comparing it
with a gem says: There exists a bright gem illuminating through the
worlds in ten directions by its light.[FN#143]


[FN#141] Tung Shan Luh (To-zan-roku, 'Sayings and Doings of Ta-zan')
is one of the best Zen books.

[FN#142] So-kei, a Korean Zenist, whose work entitled Zen-ke-ki-kwan
is worthy of our note as a representation of Korean Zen.

[FN#143] Sho-bo-gen-zo.


This certain thing or being is too sublime to be named after a
traditional or a national deity, too spiritual to be symbolized by
human art, too full of life to be formulated in terms of mechanical
science, too free to be rationalized by intellectual philosophy, too
universal to be perceived by bodily senses; but everybody can feel
its irresistible power, see its invisible presence, and touch its
heart and soul within himself. This mysterious Mind, says Kwei
Fung (Kei-ho), is higher than the highest, deeper than the deepest,
limitless in all directions. There is no centre in it. No
distinction of east and west, and above and below. Is it empty?
Yes, but not empty like space. Has it a form? Yes, but has no form
dependent on another for its existence. Is it intelligent? Yes, but
not intelligent like your mind. Is it non-intelligent? Yes, but not
non-intelligent like trees and stone. Is it conscious? Yes, but not
conscious like you when waking. Is it bright? Yes, but not bright
like the sun or the moon. To the question, What and who is
Buddha? Yuen Wu (En-go) replied: Hold your tongue: the mouth is
the gate of evils! while Pao Fuh (Ho-fuku) answered to the same
question: No skill of art can picture Him. Thus Buddha is
unnamable, indescribable, and indefinable, but we provisionally call
Him Buddha.






Next: Buddha The Universal Life

Previous: Zen Is Iconoclastic



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