Samurai Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...
Wang Yang Ming (o-yo-mei) And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...
Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...
The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...
Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...
Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...
Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...
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...
The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...
Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...
Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches
The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...
The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...
Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...
The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...
The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...
Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...
Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...
Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...
The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...
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
[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