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

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 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 ...

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

Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

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

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

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

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

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

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

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

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

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

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

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

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




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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