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The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

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

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

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

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

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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