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

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

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

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

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

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

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

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

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 Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

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

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

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 Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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

The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...




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

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