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

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

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

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

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

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...

Wang Yang Ming (o-yo-mei) And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

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

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...

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...

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

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

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

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

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...

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

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...




Life Consists In Conflict








Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social animal he
cannot live in isolation. All individual hopes and aspirations
depend on society. Society is reflected in the individual, and the
individual in society. In spite of this, his inborn free will and
love of liberty seek to break away from social ties. He is also a
moral animal, and endowed with love and sympathy. He loves his
fellow-beings, and would fain promote their welfare; but he must be
engaged in constant struggle against them for existence. He
sympathizes even with animals inferior to him, and heartily wishes to
protect them; yet he is doomed to destroy their lives day and night.
He has many a noble aspiration, and often soars aloft by the wings of
imagination into the realm of the ideal; still his material desires
drag him down to the earth. He lives on day by day to continue his
life, but he is unfailingly approaching death at every moment.

The more he secures new pleasure, spiritual or material, the more he
incurs pain not yet experienced. One evil removed only gives place
to another; one advantage gained soon proves itself a disadvantage.
His very reason is the cause of his doubt and suspicion; his
intellect, with which he wants to know everything, declares itself to
be incapable of knowing anything in its real state; his finer
sensibility, which is the sole source of finer pleasure, has to
experience finer suffering. The more he asserts himself, the more he
has to sacrifice himself. These conflictions probably led Kant to
call life a trial time, wherein most succumb, and in which even the
best does not rejoice in his life. Men betake themselves, says
Fichte, to the chase after felicity. . . . But as soon as they
withdraw into themselves and ask themselves, 'Am I now happy?' the
reply comes distinctly from the depth of their soul, 'Oh no; thou art
still just as empty and destitute as before!' . . . They will in the
future life just as vainly seek blessedness as they have sought it in
the present life.

It is not without reason that the pessimistic minds came to conclude
that 'the unrest of unceasing willing and desiring by which every
creature is goaded is in itself unblessedness,' and that 'each
creature is in constant danger, constant agitation, and the whole,
with its restless, meaningless motion, is a tragedy of the most
piteous kind.' 'A creature like the carnivorous animal, who cannot
exist at all without continually destroying and tearing others, may
not feel its brutality, but man, who has to prey on other sentient
beings like the carnivorous, is intelligent enough, as hard fate
would have it, to know and feel his own brutal living.' He must be
the most miserable of all creatures, for he is most conscious of his
own misery. Furthermore, 'he experiences not only the misfortunes
which actually befall him, but in imagination he goes through every
possibility of evil.' Therefore none, from great kings and emperors
down to nameless beggars, can be free from cares and anxieties, which
'ever flit around them like ghosts.'






Next: The Mystery Of Life

Previous: The Law Of Balance



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