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Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

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

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

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

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

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anot...

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

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

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

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

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

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

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

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...

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

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

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

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...




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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