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How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

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

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...

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

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

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

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

Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...

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

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

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

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 ...

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...

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

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

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

Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anot...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

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




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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