Samurai The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...
The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...
Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...
The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...
Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...
Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...
Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...
Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...
The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...
Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...
The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...
The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...
Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...
Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches
The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...
Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...
Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...
The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the
Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...
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