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Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

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

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

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

The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...

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

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

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

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin)...

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

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...




True Dhyana








To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zazen. We
practise Dhyana in sitting, in standing, and in walking, says one of
the Japanese Zenists. Lin Tsi (Rin-Zai) also says: To concentrate
one's mind, or to dislike noisy places, and seek only for stillness,
is the characteristic of heterodox Dhyana. It is easy to keep
self-possession in a place of tranquillity, yet it is by no means
easy to keep mind undisturbed amid the bivouac of actual life. It is
true Dhyana that makes our mind sunny while the storms of strife rage
around us. It is true Dhyana that secures the harmony of heart,
while the surges of struggle toss us violently. It is true Dhyana
that makes us bloom and smile, while the winter of life covets us
with frost and snow.

Idle thoughts come and go over unenlightened minds six hundred and
fifty times in a snap of one's fingers, writes an Indian
teacher,[FN#260] and thirteen hundred million times every
twenty-four hours. This might be an exaggeration, yet we cannot but
acknowledge that one idle thought after another ceaselessly bubbles
up in the stream of consciousness. Dhyana is the letting go,
continues the writer--that is to say, the letting go of the thirteen
hundred million of idle thoughts. The very root of these thirteen
hundred million idle thoughts is an illusion about one's self. He is
indeed the poorest creature, even if he be in heaven, who thinks
himself poor. On the contrary, he is an angel who thinks himself
hopeful and happy, even though he be in hell. Pray deliver me,
said a sinner to Sang Tsung (So-san).[FN#261] Who ties you up? was
the reply. You tie yourself up day and night with the fine thread of
idle thoughts, and build a cocoon of environment from which you have
no way of escape. 'There is no rope, yet you imagine yourself
bound.' Who could put fetters on your mind but your mind itself?
Who could chain your will but your own will? Who could blind your
spiritual eyes, unless you yourself shut them up? Who could prevent
you from enjoying moral food, unless you yourself refuse to eat?
There are many, said Sueh Fung (Sep-po) on one occasion, who
starve in spite of their sitting in a large basket full of victuals.
There are many who thirst in spite of seating themselves on the shore
of a sea. Yes, Sir, replied Huen Sha (Gen-sha), there are many
who starve in spite of putting their heads into the basket full of
victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of putting their heads
into the waters of the sea.[FN#262] Who could cheer him up who
abandons himself to self-created misery? Who could save him who
denies his own salvation?


[FN#260] The introduction to Anapana-sutra by Khin San Hwui, who
came to China A.D. 241.

[FN#261] The Third Patriarch.

[FN#262] Hwui Yuen (E-gen).






Next: Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts

Previous: Zen And Supernatural Power



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