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Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

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

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

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

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...

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

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

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

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

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

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 Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...




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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