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The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

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

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

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

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

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen)...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

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

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...




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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