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

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

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

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

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

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

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

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...

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

The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...

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

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

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...




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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