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The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

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

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

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

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

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

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 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 ...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

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...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

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

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...




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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