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Samurai

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

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

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

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

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

Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...

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

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

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

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

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

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...

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

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

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

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

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...




The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen








Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen was
introduced into Japan by Ei-sai and Do-gen. Nobilities that had so
long governed the island were nobilities no more. Enervated by their
luxuries, effeminated by their ease, made insipient by their
debauchery, they were entirely powerless. All that they possessed in
reality was the nominal rank and hereditary birth. On the contrary,
despised as the ignorant, sneered at as the upstart, put in contempt
as the vulgar, the Samurai or military class had everything in their
hands. It was the time when Yori-tomo[FN#79] (1148-1199) conquered
all over the empire, and established the Samurai Government at
Kama-kura. It was the time when even the emperors were dethroned or
exiled at will by the Samurai. It was the time when even the
Buddhist monks[FN#80] frequently took up arms to force their will.
It was the time when Japan's independence was endangered by Kublai,
the terror of the world. It was the time when the whole nation was
full of martial spirit. It is beyond doubt that to these rising
Samurais, rude and simple, the philosophical doctrines of Buddhism,
represented by Ten Dai and Shin Gon, were too complicated and too
alien to their nature. But in Zen they could find something
congenial to their nature, something that touched their chord of
sympathy, because Zen was the doctrine of chivalry in a certain sense.


[FN#79] The Samurai Government was first established by Yoritomo, of
the Minamoto family, in 1186, and Japan was under the control of the
military class until 1867, when the political power was finally
restored to the Imperial house.

[FN#80] They were degenerated monks (who were called monk-soldiers),
belonging to great monasteries such as En-ryaku-ji (Hi-yei),
Ko-fuku-ji (at Nara), Mi-i-dera, etc.






Next: The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai

Previous: The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect



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