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

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

Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

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

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

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

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

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

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

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen)...

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

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

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

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




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
Enlightened.

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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