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Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

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

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

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

The Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...

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

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

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a pr...

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

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Three Important Elements Of Zen

To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred years after
the Sixth Patriarch, we should know that there are three important
elements in Zen. The first of these is technically called the Zen
Number--the method of practising Meditation by sitting cross-legged,
of which we shall treat later.[FN#54] This method is fully developed
by Indian teachers before Bodhidharma's introduction of Zen into
China, therefore it underwent little change during this period. The
second is the Zen Doctrine, which mainly consists of Idealistic and
Pantheistic ideas of Mahayana Buddhism, but which undoubtedly
embraces some tenets of Taoism. Therefore, Zen is not a pure Indian
faith, but rather of Chinese origin. The third is the Zen Activity,
or the mode of expression of Zen in action, which is entirely absent
in any other faith.

It was for the sake of this Zen Activity that Hwang Pah gave a slap
three times to the Emperor Suen Tsung; that Lin Tsi so often burst
out into a loud outcry of Hoh (Katsu); that Nan Tsuen killed a cat at
a single stroke of his knife in the presence of his disciples; and
that Teh Shan so frequently struck questioners with his staff.[FN#55]
The Zen Activity was displayed by the Chinese teachers making use of
diverse things such as the staff, the brush[FN#56] of long hair, the
mirror, the rosary, the cup, the pitcher, the flag, the moon, the
sickle, the plough, the bow and arrow, the ball, the bell, the drum,
the cat, the dog, the duck, the earthworm--in short, any and
everything that was fit for the occasion and convenient for the
purpose. Thus Zen Activity was of pure Chinese origin, and it was
developed after the Sixth Patriarch.[FN#57] For this reason the
period previous to the Sixth Patriarch may be called the Age of the
Zen Doctrine, while that posterior to the same master, the Age of the
Zen Activity.

[FN#55] A long official staff (Shu-jo) like the crosier carried by
the abbot of the monastery.

[FN#56] An ornamental brush (Hos-su) often carried by Zen teachers.

[FN#57] The giving of a slap was first tried by the Sixth Patriarch,
who struck one of his disciples, known as Ho Tseh (Ka-taku), and it
was very frequently resorted to by the later masters. The lifting up
of the brush was first tried by Tsing Yuen in an interview with his
eldest disciple, Shih Ten, and it became a fashion among other
teachers. The loud outcry of Hoh was first made use of by Ma Tsu,
the successor of Nan Yoh. In this way the origin of the Zen Activity
can easily be traced to the Sixth Patriarch and his direct disciples.
After the Sung dynasty Chinese Zen masters seem to have given undue
weight to the Activity, and neglected the serious study of the
doctrine. This brought out the degeneration severely reproached by
some of the Japanese Zen teachers.

Next: Decline Of Zen

Previous: The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch

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