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The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

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

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

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

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

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

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

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

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

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

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

The First Step In The Mental Training

Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supreme
Enlightenment after the practice of Meditation for one week, some for
one day, some for a score of years, and some for a few months. The
practice of Meditation, however, is not simply a means for
Enlightenment, as is usually supposed, but also it is the enjoyment
of Nirvana, or the beatitude of Zen. It is a matter, of course, that
we have fully to understand the doctrine of Zen, and that we have to
go through the mental training peculiar to Zen in order to be

The first step in the mental training is to become the master of
external things. He who is addicted to worldly pleasures, however
learned or ignorant he may be, however high or low his social
position may be, is a servant to mere things. He cannot adapt the
external world to his own end, but he adapts himself to it. He is
constantly employed, ordered, driven by sensual objects. Instead of
taking possession of wealth, he is possessed by wealth. Instead of
drinking liquors, he is swallowed up by his liquors. Balls and music
bid him to run mad. Games and shows order him not to stay at home.
Houses, furniture, pictures, watches, chains, hats, bonnets, rings,
bracelets, shoes--in short, everything has a word to command him.
How can such a person be the master of things? To Ju (Na-kae) says:
There is a great jail, not a jail for criminals, that contains the
world in it. Fame, gain, pride, and bigotry form its four walls.
Those who are confined in it fall a prey to sorrow and sigh for ever.

To be the ruler of things we have first to shut up all our senses,
and turn the currents of thoughts inward, and see ourselves as the
centre of the world, and meditate that we are the beings of highest
intelligence; that Buddha never puts us at the mercy of natural
forces; that the earth is in our possession; that everything on earth
is to be made use of for our noble ends; that fire, water, air,
grass, trees, rivers, hills, thunder, cloud, stars, the moon, the
sun, are at our command; that we are the law-givers of the natural
phenomena; that we are the makers of the phenomenal world; that it is
we that appoint a mission through life, and determine the fate of man.

Next: The Next Step In The Mental Training

Previous: The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters

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