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

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

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

Wang Yang Ming (o-yo-mei) And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

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

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

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

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

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

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

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

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

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

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

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

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




The Great Person And Small Person








For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or
Good-natured in a sense transcendental to the duality of good and
bad. It conveys no sense to call some individuals good in case there
is no bad individual. For the sake of convenience, however, Zen
calls man good, as is exemplified by Shakya Muni, who was wont to
address his hearers as 'good men and women,' and by the Sixth
Patriarch in China, who called everybody 'a good and wise one.' This
does not imply in the least that all human beings are virtuous,
sinless, and saintly-nay, the world is full of vices and crimes. It
is an undeniable fact that life is the warfare of good against evil,
and many a valiant hero has fallen in the foremost ranks. It is
curious, however, to notice that the champions on the both sides are
fighting for the same cause. There can be no single individual in
the world who is fighting against his own cause or interest, and the
only possible difference between one party and the other consists in
the extent of interests which they fight for. So-called bad persons,
who are properly designated as 'small persons' by Chinese and
Japanese scholars, express their Buddha-nature to a small extent
mostly within their own doors, while so-called good persons, or
'great persons' as the Oriental scholars call them, actualize their
Buddha-nature to a large extent in the whole sphere of a country, or
of the whole earth.

Enlightened Consciousness, or Buddha-nature, as we have seen in the
previous chapter, is the mind of mind and the consciousness of
consciousness, Universal Spirit awakened in individual minds, which
realizes the universal brotherhood of all beings and the unity of
individual lives. It is the real self, the guiding principle, the
Original Physiognomy[FN#169] (nature), as it is called by Zen, of
man. This real self lies dormant under the threshold of
consciousness in the minds of the confused; consequently, each of
them is inclined to regard petty individual as his self, and to exert
himself to further the interests of the individual self even at the
cost of those of the others. He is 'the smallest person' in the
world, for his self is reduced to the smallest extent possible. Some
of the less confused identify their selves with their families, and
feel happy or unhappy in proportion as their families are happy or
unhappy, for the sake of which they sacrifice the interests of other
families. On the other hand, some of the more enlightened unite
their selves through love and compassion with their whole tribe or
countrymen, and consider the rise or fall of the tribe or of the
country as their own, and willingly sacrifice their own lives, if
need be, for the cause of the tribe or the country. When they are
fully enlightened, they can realize the unity of all sentient lives,
and be ever merciful and helpful towards all creatures. They are
'the greatest persons' on earth, because their selves are enlarged to
the greatest extent possible.


[FN#169] The expression first occurs in Ho-bo-dan-kyo of the Sixth
Patriarch, and is frequently used by later Zenists.






Next: The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man

Previous: The Bad Are The Good In The Egg



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