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

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

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

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...

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

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

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

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

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

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

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

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...




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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