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

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

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

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

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

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

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

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

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

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

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

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

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

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

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

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

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

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




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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