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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

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

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

The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

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

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

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

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

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...




The Parable Of A Drunkard








Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with
Buddha-nature, why have they not come naturally to be Enlightened?
To answer this question, the Indian Mahayanists[FN#171] told the
parable of a drunkard who forgets the precious gems put in his own
pocket by one of his friends. The man is drunk with the poisonous
liquor of selfishness, led astray by the alluring sight of the
sensual objects, and goes mad with anger, lust, and folly. Thus he
is in a state of moral poverty, entirely forgetting the precious gem
of Buddha-nature within him. To be in an honourable position in
society as the owner of that valuable property, he must first get rid
himself of the influence of the liquor of self, and detach himself
from sensual objects, gain control over his passion, restore peace
and sincerity to his mind, and illumine his whole existence by his
inborn divine light. Otherwise he has to remain in the same plight
to all eternity.


[FN#171] Mahaparinirvana-sutra.


Lot us avail ourselves of another figure to explain more clearly the
point at issue. Universal Spirit may fitly be likened to the
universal water, or water circulating through the whole earth. This
universal water exists everywhere. It exists in the tree. It exists
in the grass. It exists in the mountain. It exists in the river.
It exists in the sea. It exists in the air. It exists in the cloud.
Thus man is not only surrounded by water on all sides, but it
penetrates his very body. But be can never appease his thirst
without drinking water. In like manner Universal Spirit exists
everywhere. It exists in the tree. It exists in the grass. It
exists in the ground. It exists in the mountain. It exists in the
river. It exists in the sea. It exists in the bird. It exists in
the beast. Thus man is not merely surrounded by Spirit on all sides,
but it permeates through his whole existence. But he can never be
Enlightened unless he awakens it within him by means of Meditation.
To drink water is to drink the universal water; to awaken
Buddha-nature is to be conscious of Universal Spirit.

Therefore, to get Enlightened we have to believe that all beings are
Buddha-natured--that is, absolutely good-natured in the sense that
transcends the duality of good and bad. One day, to cite an
example, Pan Shan (Ban-zan) happened to pass by a meat-shop. He
heard a customer saying: 'Give me a pound of fresh meat.' To which
the shopkeeper, putting down his knife, replied: Certainly, sir.
Could there be any meat that is not fresh in my shop?' Pan Shan,
hearing these remarks, was Enlightened at once.






Next: Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son

Previous: Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals



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