Samurai The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...
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 ...
Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...
Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...
Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...
The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...
The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...
The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...
Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...
Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...
Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...
The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch
The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the
The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...
Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...
Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...
The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...
The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...
Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...
Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the present writer
no small contentment, and which he believes would cure one of
pessimistic complaint. Buddha, or Universal Life conceived by Zen,
is not like a capricious despot, who acts not seldom against his own
laws. His manifestation as shown in the Enlightened Consciousness is
lawful, impartial, and rational. Buddhists believe that even Shakya
Muni himself was not free from the law of retribution, which
includes, in our opinion, the law of balance and that of causation.
Now let us briefly examine how the law of balance holds its sway over
life and the world. When the Cakravartin, according to an Indian
legend, the universal monarch, would come to govern the earth, a
wheel would also appear as one of his treasures, and go on rolling
all over the world, making everything level and smooth. Buddha is
the spiritual Cakravartin, whose wheel is the wheel of the law of
balance, with which he governs all things equally and impartially.
First let us observe the simplest cases where the law of balance
holds good. Four men can finish in three days the same amount of
work as is done by three men in four days. The increase in the
number of men causes the decrease in that of days, the decrease in
the number of men causes the increase in that of days, the result
being always the same. Similarly the increase in the sharpness of a
knife is always accompanied by a decrease in its durability, and the
increase of durability by a decrease of sharpness. The more
beautiful flowers grow, the uglier their fruits become; the prettier
the fruits grow, the simpler become their flowers. 'A strong soldier
is ready to die; a strong tree is easy to be broken; hard leather is
easy to be torn. But the soft tongue survives the hard teeth.'
Horned creatures are destitute of tusks, the sharp-tusked creatures
lack horns. Winged animals are not endowed with paws, and handed
animals are provided with no wings. Birds of beautiful plumage have
no sweet voice, and sweet-voiced songsters no feathers of bright
colours. The finer in quality, the smaller in quantity, and bulkier
in size, the coarser in nature.
Nature favours nothing in particular. So everything has its
advantage and disadvantage as well. What one gains on the one hand
one loses on the other. The ox is competent in drawing a heavy cart,
but he is absolutely incompetent in catching mice. A shovel is fit
for digging, but not for ear-picking. Aeroplanes are good for
aviation, but not for navigation. Silkworms feed on mulberry leaves
and make silk from it, but they can do nothing with other leaves.
Thus everything has its own use or a mission appointed by Nature; and
if we take advantage of it, nothing is useless, but if not, all are
useless. 'The neck of the crane may seem too long to some idle
on-lookers, but there is no surplus in it. The limbs of the tortoise
may appear too short, but there is no shortcoming in them.' The
centipede, having a hundred limbs, can find no useless feet; the
serpent, having no foot, feels no want.
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