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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...

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

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

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

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

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

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

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin)...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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

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

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...

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

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

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

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

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

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...




Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis








In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to refer to
the central problem of Zen or Enlightenment, whose content it is
futile to attempt to explain or analyze. We must not explain or
analyze it, because by doing so we cannot but mislead the reader. We
can as well represent Enlightenment by means of explanation or
analysis as we do personality by snapshots or by anatomical
operations. As our inner life, directly experienced within us, is
anything but the shape of the head, or the features of the face, or
the posture of the body, so Enlightenment experienced by Zenists at
the moment of their highest Samadhi[FN#178] is anything but the
psychological analysis of mental process, or the epistemological
explanation of cognition, or the philosophical generalization of
concepts. Enlightenment can be realized only by the Enlightened, and
baffles every attempt to describe it, even by the Enlightened
themselves. The effort of the confused to guess at Enlightenment is
often likened by the Zenists to the effort of the blind who feel an
elephant to know what it looks like. Some of them who happen to feel
the trunk would declare it is like a rope, but those who happen to
feel the belly would declare it is like a huge drum; while those who
happen to feel the feet would declare it is like the trunk of a tree.
But none of these conjectures can approach the living elephant.


[FN#178] Abstract Contemplation, which the Zenists distinguish from
Samadhi, practised by the Brahmins. The author of 'An Outline of
Buddhist Sects' points out the distinction, saying: Contemplation of
outside religionists is practised with the heterodox view that the
lower worlds (the worlds for men, beasts, etc.) are disgusting, but
the upper worlds (the worlds for Devas) are desirable; Contemplation
of common people (ordinary lay believers of Buddhism) is practised
with the belief in the law of Karma, and also with disgust (for the
lower worlds) and desire (for the upper worlds); Contemplation of
Hinayana is practised with an insight into the truth of Anatman
(non-soul); Contemplation of Mahayana is practised with an insight of
Unreality of Atman (soul) as well as of Dharma (thing); Contemplation
of the highest perfection is practised with the view that Mind is
pure in its nature, it is endowed with unpolluted wisdom, free from
passion, and it is no other than Buddha himself.






Next: Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self

Previous: The Buddha Of Mercy



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