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

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

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

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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

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

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

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

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...

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

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

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

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

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

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

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




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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