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

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

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

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

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

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...

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

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

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

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

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

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

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

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

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

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




There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral








By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be good as
well as bad; or he should be neither good nor bad. There can be no
alternative possible besides these four propositions, none of which
can be accepted as true. Then there must be some misconception in
the terms of which they consist. It would seem to some that the
error can be avoided by limiting the sense of the term 'man,' saying
some persons are good-natured, some persons are bad-natured, some
persons are good-natured and bad-natured as well, and some persons
are neither good-natured nor bad-natured. There is no contradiction
in these modified propositions, but still they fail to explain the
ethical state of man. Supposing them all to be true, let us assume
that there are the four classes of people: (1) Those who are purely
moral and have no immoral disposition; (2) those who are half moral
and half immoral; (3) those who are neither moral nor immoral; (4)
those who are purely immoral and have no moral disposition. Orthodox
Christians, believing in the sinlessness of Jesus, would say he
belongs to the first class, while Mohammedans and Buddhists, who
deify the founder of their respective faith, would in such case
regard their founder as the purely moral personage. But are your
beliefs, we should ask, based on historical fact? Can you say that
such traditional and self-contradictory records as the four gospels
are history in the strict sense of the term? Can you assert that
those traditions which deify Mohammed and Shakya are the statements
of bare facts? Is not Jesus an abstraction and an ideal, entirely
different from a concrete carpenter's son, who fed on the same kind
of food, sheltered himself in the same kind of building, suffered
from the same kind of pain, was fired by the same kind of anger,
stung by the same kind of lust as our own? Can you say the person
who fought many a sanguinary battle, who got through many cunning
negotiations with enemies and friends, who personally experienced the
troubles of polygamy, was a person sinless and divine? We might
allow that these ancient sages are superhuman and divine, then our
classification has no business with them, because they do not
properly belong to mankind. Now, then, who can point out any sinless
person in the present world? Is it not a fact that the more virtuous
one grows the more sinful he feels himself? If there be any mortal,
in the past, the present, and the future, who declares himself to be
pure and sinless, his very declaration proves that he is not highly
moral. Therefore the existence of the first class of people is open
to question.






Next: There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral

Previous: Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih



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