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

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated[FN#29] land for the s...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

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

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

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

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

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

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

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

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

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

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

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

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

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...




Enlightened Consciousness








In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on indirect
experience, we can have direct experience of life within us. In the
first place, we experience that our life is not a bare mechanical
motion or change, but is a spiritual, purposive, and self-directing
force. In the second place, we directly experience that it knows,
feels, and wills. In the third place, we experience that there
exists some power unifying the intellectual, emotional, and
volitional activities so as to make life uniform and rational.
Lastly, we experience that there lies deeply rooted within us
Enlightened Consciousness, which neither psychologists treat of nor
philosophers believe in, but which Zen teachers expound with strong
conviction. Enlightened Consciousness is, according to Zen, the
centre of spiritual life. It is the mind of minds, and the
consciousness of consciousness. It is the Universal Spirit awakened
in the human mind. It is not the mind that feels joy or sorrow; nor
is it the mind that reasons and infers; nor is it the mind that
fancies and dreams; nor is it the mind that hopes and fears; nor is
it the mind that distinguishes good from evil. It is Enlightened
Consciousness that holds communion with Universal Spirit or Buddha,
and realizes that individual lives are inseparably united, and of one
and the same nature with Universal Life. It is always bright as a
burnished mirror, and cannot be dimmed by doubt and ignorance. It is
ever pure as a lotus flower, and cannot be polluted by the mud of
evil and folly. Although all sentient beings are endowed with this
Enlightened Consciousness, they are not aware of its existence,
excepting men who can discover it by the practice of Meditation.
Enlightened consciousness is often called Buddha-nature, as it is the
real nature of Universal Spirit. Zen teachers compare it with a
precious stone ever fresh and pure, even if it be buried in the heaps
of dust. Its divine light can never be extinguished by doubt or
fear, just as the sunlight cannot be destroyed by mist and cloud.
Let us quote a Chinese Zen poet to see how Zen treats of it:[FN#153]

I have an image of Buddha,
The worldly people know it not.
It is not made of clay or cloth,
Nor is it carved out of wood,
Nor is it moulded of earth nor of ashes.
No artist can paint it;
No robber can steal it.
There it exists from dawn of time.
It's clean, although not swept and wiped.
Although it is but one,
Divides itself to a hundred thousand million forms.


[FN#153] See Zen-gaku-ho-ten.






Next: Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind

Previous: Poetical Intuition And Zen



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