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

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

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

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

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

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

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

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

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

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

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

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...

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...




Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured








We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches
Buddha-nature, which all sentient beings are endowed with. The term
'Buddha-nature,'[FN#165] as accepted generally by Buddhists, means a
latent and undeveloped nature, which enables its owner to become
Enlightened when it is developed and brought to actuality.[FN#166]
Therefore man, according to Zen, is not good-natured nor bad-natured
in the relative sense, as accepted generally by common sense, of
these terms, but Buddha-natured in the sense of non-duality. A good
person (of common sense) differs from a bad person (of common sense),
not in his inborn Buddha-nature, but in the extent of his expressing
it in deeds. Even if men are equally endowed with that nature, yet
their different states of development do not allow them to express it
to an equal extent in conduct. Buddha-nature may be compared with
the sun, and individual mind with the sky. Then an Enlightened mind
is like the sky in fair weather, when nothing prevents the beams of
the sun; while an ignorant mind is like the sky in cloudy weather,
when the sun sheds faint light; and an evil mind is like the sky in
stormy weather, when the sun seems to be out of existence. It comes
under our daily observation that even a robber or a murderer may
prove to be a good father and a loving husband to his wife and
children. He is an honest fellow when he remains at home. The sun
of Buddha-nature gives light within the wall of his house, but
without the house the darkness of foul crimes shrouds him.

[FN#165] For a detailed explanation of Buddha-nature, see the
chapter entitled Buddha-nature in Sho-bo-gen-zo.

[FN#166] Mahaparinirvana-sutra may be said to have been written for
the purpose of stating this idea.






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