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

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

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

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

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

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 ...

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

Zen In The Dark Age

The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms and
bloodshed. Every day the sun shone on the glittering armour of
marching soldiers. Every wind sighed over the lifeless remains of
the brave. Everywhere the din of battle resounded. Out of these
fighting feudal lords stood two champions. Each of them
distinguished himself as a veteran soldier and tactician. Each of
them was known as an experienced practiser of Zen. One was
Haru-nobu[FN#95] (Take-da, died in 1573), better known by his
Buddhist name, Shin-gen. The other was Teru-tora[FN#96] (Uye-sugi,
died in 1578), better known by his Buddhist name, Ken-shin. The
character of Shin-gen can be imagined from the fact that he never
built any castle or citadel or fortress to guard himself against his
enemy, but relied on his faithful vassals and people; while that of
Ken-shin, from the fact that he provided his enemy, Shin-gen, with
salt when the latter suffered from want of it, owing to the cowardly
stratagem of a rival lord. The heroic battles waged by these two
great generals against each other are the flowers of the Japanese
war-history. Tradition has it that when Shin-gen's army was put to
rout by the furious attacks of Ken-shin's troops, and a single
warrior mounted on a huge charger rode swiftly as a sweeping wind
into Shin-gen's head-quarters, down came a blow of the heavy sword
aimed at Shin-gen's forehead, with a question expressed in the
technical terms of Zen: What shalt thou do in such a state at such a
moment? Having no time to draw his sword, Shin-gen parried it with
his war-fan, answering simultaneously in Zen words: A flake of snow
on the red-hot furnace! Had not his attendants come to the rescue
Shin-gen's life might have gone as 'a flake of snow on the red-hot
furnace.' Afterwards the horseman was known to have been Ken-shin
himself. This tradition shows us how Zen was practically lived by
the Samurais of the Dark Age.

[FN#95] Shin-gen practised Zen under the instruction of Kwai-sen,
who was burned to death by Nobu-naga (O-da) in 1582. See

[FN#96] Ken-shin learned Zen under Shu-ken, a So Ta master. See

Although the priests of other Buddhist sects had their share in these
bloody affairs, as was natural at such a time, yet Zen monks stood
aloof and simply cultivated their literature. Consequently, when all
the people grew entirely ignorant at the end of the Dark Age, the Zen
monks were the only men of letters. None can deny this merit of
their having preserved learning and prepared for its revival in the
following period.[FN#97]

[FN#97] After the introduction of Zen into Japan many important
books were written, and the following are chief doctrinal works:
Ko-zen-go-koku-ron, by Ei-sai; Sho bo-gen-zo; Gaku-do-yo-zin-shu;
Fu-kwan-za-zen-gi; Ei-hei-ko-roku, by Do-gen; Za-zen-yo-zin-ki; and
Den-ko-roku, by Kei-zan.

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