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The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...

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

Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen)...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

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

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

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

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

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

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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

Buddha The Universal Life

Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires,
enlivens, and vitalizes everything. Accordingly, we may call Him the
Universal Life in the sense that He is the source of all lives in the
universe. This Universal Life, according to Zen, pillars the heaven,
supports the earth, glorifies the sun and moon, gives voice to
thunder, tinges clouds, adorns the pasture with flowers, enriches the
field with harvest, gives animals beauty and strength. Therefore,
Zen declares even a dead clod of earth to be imbued with the divine
life, just as Lowell expresses a similar idea when he says:

Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers.

One of our contemporary Zenists wittily observed that 'vegetables are
the children of earth, that animals which feed on vegetables are the
grand-children of earth, and that men who subsist on animals are the
great-grand-children of earth.' If there be no life in earth, how
could life come out of it? If there be no life, the same as the
animal's life in the vegetables, how could animals sustain their
lives feeding on vegetables? If there be no life similar to ours in
animals, how could we sustain our life by subsisting on them? The
poet must be in the right, not only in his esthetic, but in his
scientific point of view, in saying-

I must
Confess that I am only dust.
But once a rose within me grew;
Its rootlets shot, its flowerets flew;
And all rose's sweetness rolled
Throughout the texture of my mould;
And so it is that I impart
Perfume to them, whoever thou art.

As we men live and act, so do our arteries; so does blood; so do
corpuscles. As cells and protoplasm live and act, so do elements,
molecules, and atoms. As elements and atoms live and act, so do
clouds; so does the earth; so does the ocean, the Milky Way, and the
Solar System. What is this life which pervades the grandest as well
as the minutest works of Nature, and which may fitly be said 'greater
than the greatest and smaller than the smallest?' It cannot be
defined. It cannot be subjected to exact analysis. But it is
directly experienced and recognized within us, just as the beauty of
the rose is to be perceived and enjoyed, but not reduced to exact
analysis. At any rate, it is something stirring, moving, acting and
reacting continually. This something which can be experienced and
felt and enjoyed directly by every one of us. This life of living
principle in the microcosmos is identical with that of the
macrocosmos, and the Universal Life of the macrocosmos is the common
source of all lives. Therefore, the Mahaparinirvana-sutra says:

Tathagata (another name for Buddha) gives life to all beings, just
as the lake Anavatapta gives rise to the four great rivers.
Tathagata, says the same sutra, divides his own body into
innumerable bodies, and also restores an infinite number of bodies to
one body. Now be becomes cities, villages, houses, mountains,
rivers, and trees; now he has a large body; now he has a small body;
now he becomes men, women, boys, and girls.

Next: Life And Change

Previous: Buddha Is Unnamable

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