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The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

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

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

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

The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...

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...

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

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

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

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

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

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

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

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

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

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

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

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

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




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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