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Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...

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

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

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

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

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

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated[FN#29] land for the s...

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

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

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

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

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

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

Wang Yang Ming (o-yo-mei) And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

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

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




Zen And Idealism








Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaksana
School of Mahayana Buddhism.[FN#197] For instance, the Fourth
Patriarch says: Hundreds and thousands of laws originate with mind.
Innumerable mysterious virtues proceed from the mental source. Niu
Teu (Go-zu) also says: When mind arises, various things arise; when
mind ceases to exist, various things cease to exist. Tsao Shan
(So-zan) carried the point so far that he cried out, on hearing the
bell: It hurts, it pains. Then an attendant of his asked What is
the matter? It is my mind, said he, that is struck.[FN#198]


[FN#197] Appendix, chap. ii., 'The Mahayana Doctrine of
Dharmalaksana.'

[FN#198] Zen-rin-rui-shu.


We acknowledge the truth of the following considerations: There
exists no colour, nor sound, nor odour in the objective world, but
there are the vibrations of ether, or the undulations of the air, or
the stimuli of the sensory nerves of smell. Colour is nothing but
the translation of the stimuli into sensation by the optical nerves,
so also sounds by the auditory, and odours by the smelling.
Therefore nothing exists objectively exactly as it is perceived by
the senses, but all are subjective. Take electricity, for example,
it appears as light when perceived through the eye; it appears as
sound when perceived through the ear; it appears as taste when
perceived through the tongue; but electricity in reality is not
light, nor sound, nor taste. Similarly, the mountain is not high nor
low; the river is not deep nor shallow; the house is not large nor
small; the day is not long nor short; but they seem so through
comparison. It is not objective reality that displays the phenomenal
universe before us, but it is our mind that plays an important part.
Suppose that we have but one sense organ, the eye, then the whole
universe should consist of colours and of colours only. If we
suppose we were endowed with the sixth sense, which entirely
contradicts our five senses, then the whole world would be otherwise.
Besides, it is our reason that finds the law of cause and effect in
the objective world, that discovered the law of uniformity in Nature,
and that discloses scientific laws in the universe so as to form a
cosmos. Some scholars maintain that we cannot think of non-existence
of space, even if we can leave out all objects in it; nor can we
doubt the existence of time, for the existence of mind itself
presupposes time. Their very argument, however, proves the
subjectivity of time and space, because, if they were objective, we
should be able to think them non-existent, as we do with other
external objects. Even space and time, therefore are no more than
subjective.






Next: Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease

Previous: Zen Is Not Nihilistic



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