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No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

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

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...

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

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

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

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

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

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

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

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

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

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

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...




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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