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The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin)...

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

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

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

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

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen)...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

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

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

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

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

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

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

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

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




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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