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

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

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

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

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

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

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

The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

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

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

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

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

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...

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




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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