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

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

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

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

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

The Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...

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

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

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

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




Zen And Nirvana








The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sense of the
term, but in the sense peculiar to the faith. Nirvana literally
means extinction or annihilation; hence the extinction of life or the
annihilation of individuality. To Zen, however, it means the state
of extinction of pain and the annihilation of sin. Zen never looks
for the realization of its beatitude in a place like heaven, nor
believes in the realm of Reality transcendental of the phenomenal
universe, nor gives countenance to the superstition of Immortality,
nor does it hold the world is the best of all possible worlds, nor
conceives life simply as blessing. It is in this life, full of
shortcomings, misery, and sufferings, that Zen hopes to realize its
beatitude. It is in this world, imperfect, changing, and moving,
that Zen finds the Divine Light it worships. It is in this
phenomenal universe of limitation and relativity that Zen aims to
attain to highest Nirvana. We speak, says the author of
Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra, of the transitoriness of body, but not
of the desire of the Nirvana or destruction of it. Paranirvana,
according to the author of Lankavatarasutra, is neither death nor
destruction, but bliss, freedom, and purity. Nirvana, says Kiai
Hwan,[FN#276] means the extinction of pain or the crossing over of
the sea of life and death. It denotes the real permanent state of
spiritual attainment. It does not signify destruction or
annihilation. It denotes the belief in the great root of life and
spirit. It is Nirvana of Zen to enjoy bliss for all sufferings of
life. It is Nirvana of Zen to be serene in mind for all disturbances
of actual existence. It is Nirvana of Zen to be in the conscious
union with Universal Life or Buddha through Enlightenment.


[FN#276] A commentator of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra.






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