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

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...

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

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

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

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin)...

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

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

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

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

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

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

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

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

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

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

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

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

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction

A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance than a
series of lectures by your verbal philosopher whom you respect. It
contains within itself the whole history of the earth; it tells you
what it has seen since the dawn of time; while your philosopher
simply plays on abstract terms and empty words. What does his
Absolute, or One, or Substance mean? What does his Reality or Truth
imply? Do they denote or connote anything? Mere name! mere
abstraction! One school of philosophy after another has been
established on logical subtleties; thousands of books have been
written on these grand names and fair mirages, which vanish the
moment that your hand of experience reaches after them.

Duke Hwan, says Chwang Tsz,[FN#134] seated above in his hall, was
(once) reading a book, and a wheelwright, Phien, was making a wheel
below it. Laying aside his hammer and chisel, Phien went up the
steps and said: 'I venture to ask your Grace what words you are
reading?' The duke said: 'The words of sages.' 'Are these sages
alive?' Phien continued. 'They are dead,' was the reply. 'Then,'
said the other, 'what you, my Ruler, are reading is only the dregs
and sediments of those old men.' The duke said:

[FN#134] Chwang Tsz, vol. ii., p. 24.

'How should you, a wheelwright, have anything to say about the book
which I am reading? If you can explain yourself, very well; if you
cannot, you shall die.' The wheelwright said: 'Your servant will
look at the thing from the point of view of his own art. In making a
wheel, if I proceed gently, that is pleasant enough, but the
workmanship is not strong; if I proceed violently, that is toilsome
and the joinings do not fit. If the movements of my hand are neither
(too) gentle nor (too) violent, the idea in my mind is realized. But
I cannot tell (how to do this) by word of mouth; there is a knack in
it. I cannot teach the knack to my son, nor can my son learn it from
me. Thus it is that I am in my seventieth year, and am (still)
making wheels in my old age. But these ancients, and what it was not
possible for them to convey, are dead and gone. So then what you, my
Ruler, are reading is but their dregs and sediments. Zen has no
business with the dregs and sediments of sages of yore.

Next: The Sermon Of The Inanimate

Previous: Great Men And Nature

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