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

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

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

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

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

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

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

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

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

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...

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

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

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless

How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be unknowable
and hidden behind or beyond appearances? They investigated all the
possible presentations in different relationships, and put them all
aside as appearances, and brooded on the thing-in-itself, shut out
from all possible relationship, and declared it unknowable.
Thing-in-itself means thing cut off from all possible relationships.
To, put it in another way: thing-in-itself means thing deprived of
its relation to its knower--that is to say, thing-knower-less. So
that to declare thing-in-itself unknowable is as much as to declare
thing-unknowable unknowable; there is no doubt about it, but what
does it prove?

Deprive yourself of all the possible relationships, and see what you
are. Suppose you are not a son to your parents, nor the husband to
your wife, nor the father to your children, nor a relative to your
kindred, nor a friend to your acquaintances, nor a teacher to your
students, nor a citizen to your country, nor an individual member to
your society, nor a creature to your God, then you get
you-in-yourself. Now ask yourself what is you-in-yourself? You can
never answer the question. It is unknowable, just because it is cut
off from all knowable relations. Can you thus prove that
you-in-yourself exist beyond or behind you?

In like manner our universe appears to us human beings as the
phenomenal world or presentation. It might appear to other creatures
of a different mental constitution as something else. We cannot
ascertain how it might seem to Devas, to Asuras, to angels, and to
the Almighty, if there be such beings. However different it might
seem to these beings, it does not imply that the phenomenal world is
unreal, nor that the realm of reality is unknowable.

'Water,' the Indian tradition has it, 'seems to man as a drink, as
emerald to Devas, as bloody pus to Pretas, as houses to fishes.'
Water is not a whit less real because of its seeming as houses to
fishes, and fishes' houses are not less real because of its seeming
as emerald to Devas. There is nothing that proves the unreality of
it. It is a gross illusion to conceive reality as transcendental to
appearances. Reality exists as appearances, and appearances are
reality known to human beings. You cannot separate appearances from
reality, and hold out the latter as the object of aspiration at the
cost of the former. You must acknowledge that the so-called realm of
reality which you aspire after, and which you seek for outside or
behind the phenomenal universe, exists here on earth. Let Zen
teachers tell you that the world of birth and death is the realm of
Nirvana; the earth is the pure land of Buddha.

Next: The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories

Previous: Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?

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