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

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

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

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

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

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

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

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

Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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.






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Previous: Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?



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