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

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated[FN#29] land for the s...

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

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

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

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

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

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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

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

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

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

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

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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