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The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

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

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

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

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

The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...

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

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

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

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 First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

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

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...

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

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

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

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




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.






Next: The Parable Of The Robber Kih

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