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

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

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

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

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

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

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

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

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

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

The Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...




Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality








But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' and
assumes all phenomena to be ideas as illustrated in
Mahayana-vidyamatra-siddhi-tridaca-castra[FN#199] and
Vidyamatra-vincati-castra,[FN#200] by Vasubandhu. Then it
necessarily parts company with Zen, which believes in Universal Life
existing in everything instead of behind it. Idealism shows us its
dark side in three sceptic views: (1) scepticism respecting objective
reality; (2) scepticism respecting religion; (3) scepticism
respecting morality.


[FN#199] A philosophical work on Buddhist idealism by Vasubandhu,
translated into Chinese by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 648. There exists a
famous commentary on it, compiled by Dharmapala, translated into
Chinese by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 659. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 1197
and 1125.

[FN#200] A simpler work on Idealism, translated into Chinese by
Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 661. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 1238, 1239, and
1240.


First it assumes that things exist in so far as they are known by us.
It is as a matter of course that if a tree exists at all, it is
known as having a trunk long or short, branches large or small,
leaves green or yellow, flowers yellow or purple, etc., all of which
are ideas. But it does not imply in the least that 'to be known' is
equivalent to 'to be existent.' Rather we should say that to be
known presupposes to be existent, for we cannot know anything
non-existent, even if we admit that the axioms of logic subsist.
Again, a tree may stand as ideas to a knower, but it can stand at the
same time as a shelter in relation to some birds, as food in relation
to some insects, as a world in relation to some minute worms, as a
kindred organism to other vegetables. How could you say that its
relation to a knower is the only and fundamental relation for the
existence of the tree? The disappearance of its knower no more
affects the tree than of its feeder; nor the appearance of its knower
affects the tree any more than that of kindred vegetables.

Extreme idealism erroneously concludes that what is really existent,
or what is directly proved to be existent, is only our sensations,
ideas, thoughts; that the external world is nothing but the images
reflected on the mirror of the mind, and that therefore objective
reality of things is doubtful-nay, more, they are unreal, illusory,
and dreams. If so, we can no longer distinguish the real from the
visionary; the waking from the dreaming; the sane from the insane;
the true from the untrue. Whether life is real or an empty dream, we
are at a loss to understand.






Next: Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality

Previous: Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease



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