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

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
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Zen After The Restoration
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Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
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Origin Of Zen In India
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Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
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The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

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

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

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

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

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

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




Hinayanism And Its Doctrine








The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hinayanism.
Transience never fails to deprive us of what is dear and near to us.
It disappoints us in our expectation and hope. It brings out grief,
fear, anguish, and lamentation. It spreads terror and destruction
among families, communities, nations, mankind. It threatens with
perdition the whole earth, the whole universe. Therefore it follows
that life is full of disappointment, sufferings, and miseries, and
that man is like 'a frog in a dry well.' This is the doctrine called
by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Suffering.

Again, when Transcience once gets hold of our imagination, we can
easily foresee ruins and disasters in the very midst of prosperity
and happiness, and also old age and ugliness in the prime and youth
of beauty. It gives rise quite naturally to the thought that body is
a bag full of pus and blood, a mere heap of rotten flesh and broken
pieces of bone, a decaying corpse inhabited by innumerable maggots.
This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of
Impurity.[FN#146]


[FN#146] Mahasaptipatthana Suttanta, 7, runs as follows: And,
moreover, bhikkhu, a brother, just as if he had been a body abandoned
in the charnel-field, dead for one, two, or three days, swollen,
turning black and blue, and decomposed, apply that perception to this
very body (of his own), reflecting: 'This body, too, is even so
constituted, is of such a nature, has not got beyond that (fate).'


And, again, Transience holds its tyrannical sway not only over the
material but over the spiritual world. At its touch Atman, or soul,
is brought to nothing. By its call Devas, or celestial beings, are
made to succumb to death. It follows, therefore, that to believe in
Atman, eternal and unchanging, would be a whim of the ignorant. This
is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of No-atman.

If, as said, there could be nothing free from Transience, Constancy
should be a gross mistake of the ignorant; if even gods have to die,
Eternity should be no more than a stupid dream of the vulgar; if all
phenomena be flowing and changing, there could be no constant noumena
underlying them. It therefore follows that all things in the
universe are empty and unreal. This is the doctrine called by the
Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Unreality. Thus Hinayana Buddhism,
starting from the doctrine of Transience, arrived at the pessimistic
view of life in its extreme form.






Next: Change As Seen By Zen

Previous: Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus



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