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The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
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Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
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The Sermon Of The Inanimate
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Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

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

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

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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




Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son








A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the good
that we are born with. We are just like the only son of a
well-to-do, as the author of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra[FN#172] tells
us, who, being forgetful of his rich inheritance, leaves his home and
leads a life of hand-to-mouth as a coolie. How miserable it is to
see one, having no faith in his noble endowment, burying the precious
gem of Buddha-nature into the foul rubbish of vices and crimes,
wasting his excellent genius in the exertion that is sure to disgrace
his name, falling a prey to bitter remorse and doubt, and casting
himself away into the jaw of perdition. Shakya Muni, full of
fatherly love towards all beings, looked with compassion on us, his
prodigal son, and used every means to restore the half-starved man to
his home. It was for this that he left the palace and the beloved
wife and son, practised his self-mortification and prolonged
Meditation, attained to Enlightenment, and preached Dharma for
forty-nine years; in other words, all his strength and effort were
focussed on that single aim, which was to bring the prodigal son to
his rich mansion of Buddha-nature. He taught not only by words, but
by his own actual example, that man has Buddha-nature, by the
unfoldment of which he can save himself from the miseries of life and
death, and bring himself to a higher realm than gods. When we are
Enlightened, or when Universal Spirit awakens within us, we open the
inexhaustible store of virtues and excellencies, and can freely make
use of them at our will.


[FN#172] See 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xxi., chap. iv., pp.
98-118.






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