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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

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

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

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

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

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

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...




Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih








The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih and other
scholars influenced by Buddhism, which maintains that man is neither
good-natured nor bad-natured. According to this opinion man is not
moral nor immoral by nature, but unmoral. He is morally a blank. He
is at a crossroad, so to speak, of morality when he is first born.
As he if; blank, he can be dyed black or red. As he is at the
cross-road, he can turn to the right or to the left. He is like
fresh water, which has no flavour, and can be made sweet or bitter by
circumstances. If we are not mistaken, this theory, too, has to
encounter insurmountable difficulties. How could it be possible to
make the unmoral being moral or immoral? We might as well try to get
honey out of sand as to get good or evil out of the blank nature.
There can be no fruit of good or evil where there is no seed of good
or bad nature. Thus we find no satisfactory solution of the problem
at issue in these four theories proposed by the Chinese scholars--the
first theory being incompetent to explain the problem of human
depravity; the second breaking down at the origin of morality; the
third failing to explain the possibility of moral culture; the fourth
being logically self-contradictory.

[FN#164] Su Shih (1042-1101), a great man of letters, practiser of
Zen, noted for his poetical works.






Next: There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral

Previous: Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung



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