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The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

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

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

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

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 ...

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

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

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

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

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

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

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

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...




Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?








Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view of these
religionists. It lies deeply rooted in the misconstruction of
reality, grows up into the illusive ideas of appearances, and throws
its dark shadow on life. The most fundamental error lies in their
construing reality as something unknowable existing behind
appearances.

According to their opinion, all that we know, or perceive, or feel,
or imagine about the world, is appearances or phenomena, but not
reality itself. Appearances are 'things known as,' but not 'things
as they are.' Thing-in-itself, or reality, lies behind appearances
permanently beyond our ken. This is probably the most profound
metaphysical pit into which philosophical minds have ever fallen in
their way of speculation. Things appear, they would say, as we see
them through our limited senses; but they must present entirely
different aspects to those that differ from ours, just as the
vibration of ether appears to us as colours, yet it presents quite
different aspects to the colour-blind or to the purblind. The
phenomenal universe is what appears to the human mind, and in case
our mental constitution undergoes change, it would be completely
otherwise.

This argument, however, is far from proving that the reality is
unknowable, or that it lies hidden behind appearances or
presentations. Take, for instance, a reality which appears as a ray
of the sun. When it goes through a pane of glass it appears to be
colourless, but it exhibits a beautiful spectrum when it passes
through a prism. Therefore you assume that a reality appearing as
the rays of the sun is neither colourless nor coloured in itself,
since these appearances are wholly due to the difference that obtains
between the pane of glass and the prism.

We contend, however, that the fact does not prove the existence of
the reality named the sun's ray beyond or behind the white light, nor
its existence beyond or behind the spectrum. It is evident that the
reality exists in white light, and that it is known as the white
light when it goes through a pane of glass; and that the same reality
exists in the spectrum, and is known as the spectrum when it goes
through the prism. The reality is known as the white light on the
one hand, and as the spectrum on the other. It is not unknowable,
but knowable.

Suppose that one and the same reality exhibits one aspect when it
stands in relation to another object; two aspects when it stands in
relation in two different objects; three aspects when it stands in
relation to three different objects. The reality of one aspect never
proves the unreality of another aspect, for all these three aspects
can be equally real. A tree appears to us as a vegetable; it appears
to some birds as a shelter; and it appears to some worms as a food.
The reality of its aspect as a vegetable never proves the unreality
of its aspect as food, nor the reality of its aspect as food
disproves the reality of its aspect as shelter. The real tree does
not exist beyond or behind the vegetable. We can rely upon its
reality, and make use of it to a fruitful result. At the same time,
the birds can rely on its reality as a shelter, and build their nests
in it; the worms, too, can rely on its reality as food, and eat it-to
their satisfaction. A reality which appears to me as my wife must
appear to my son as his mother, and never as his wife. But the same
real woman is in the wife and in the mother; neither is unreal.






Next: Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless

Previous: An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality



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