Samurai Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...
Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...
Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...
Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...
All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...
The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...
Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...
The Buddha Of Mercy
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt;
The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...
Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...
The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen)...
Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...
Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...
The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...
Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...
Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...
Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...
The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...
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 ...
Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...
The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions high or
low, occupations spiritual or temporal, work rough or gentle,
education perfect or imperfect, circumstances needy or opulent, each
has its own advantage as well as disadvantage. The higher the
position the graver the responsibilities, the lower the rank the
lighter the obligation. The director of a large bank can never be so
careless as his errand-boy who may stop on the street to throw a
stone at a sparrow; nor can the manager of a large plantation have as
good a time on a rainy day as his day-labourers who spend it in
gambling. The accumulation of wealth is always accompanied by its
evils; no Rothschild nor Rockefeller can be happier than a poor
A mother of many children may be troubled by her noisy little ones
and envy her sterile friend, who in turn may complain of her
loneliness; but if they balance what they gain with what they lose,
they will find the both sides are equal. The law of balance strictly
forbids one's monopoly of happiness. It applies its scorpion whip to
anyone who is given to pleasures. Joy in extremity lives next door
to exceeding sorrow. Where there is much light, says Goethe,
shadow is deep. Age, withered and disconsolate, lurks under the
skirts of blooming youth. The celebration of birthday is followed by
the commemoration of death. Marriage might be supposed to be the
luckiest event in one's life, but the widow's tears and the orphan's
sufferings also might be its outcome. But for the former the latter
can never be. The death of parents is indeed the unluckiest event in
the son's life, but it may result in the latter's inheritance of an
estate, which is by no means unlucky. The disease of a child may
cause its parents grief, but it is a matter of course that it lessens
the burden of their livelihood. Life has its pleasures, but also its
pains. Death has no pleasure of life, but also none of its pain. So
that if we balance their smiles and tears, life and death are equal.
It is not wise for us, therefore, to commit suicide while the terms
of our life still remain, nor to fear death when there is no way of
Again, the law of balance does not allow anyone to take the lion's
share of nature's gifts. Beauty in face is accompanied by deformity
in character. Intelligence is often uncombined with virtue. Fair
girls are destined to be unfortunate, says a Japanese proverb, and
men of ability to be sickly. He makes no friend who never makes a
foe. Honesty is next to idiocy. Men of genius, says
Longfellow, are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing
meteor when it descends to earth is only a stone. Honour and shame
go hand in hand. Knowledge and virtue live in poverty, while ill
health and disease are inmates of luxury.
Every misfortune begets some sort of fortune, while every good luck
gives birth to some sort of bad luck. Every prosperity never fails
to sow seeds of adversity, while every fall never fails to bring
about some kind of rise. We must not, then, despair in days of frost
and snow, reminding ourselves of sunshine and flowers that follow
them; nor must we be thoughtless in days of youth and health, keeping
in mind old age and ill health that are in the rear of them. In
brief, all, from crowns and coronets down to rags and begging bowls,
have their own happiness and share heavenly grace alike.
Next: The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Previous: Nature Favours Nothing In Particular