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

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

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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

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

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

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

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

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

The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anot...




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
pedlar.

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
avoiding it.

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



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