Samurai True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...
Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...
The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...
Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...
Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...
Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...
The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...
Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...
The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...
Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...
Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...
Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...
The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...
Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...
No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...
The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...
Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...
The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...
Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...
How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...
Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of Buddha
seemed too crude to be accepted unhesitatingly and the doctrine too
much irrelevant with and uncongenial to actual life. Since Zen
denounced, as we have seen in the previous chapter, the scriptural
authority, it is quite reasonable to have given up this view of
Buddha inculcated in the Mahayana sutras, and to set at naught those
statues and images of supernatural beings kept in veneration by the
orthodox Buddhists. Tan Hia (Tan-ka), a noted Chinese Zen master,
was found warming himself on a cold morning by the fire made of a
wooden statue of Buddha. On another occasion he was found mounting
astride the statue of a saint. Chao Chen (Jo-shu) one day happened
to find Wang Yuen (Bun-yen) worshipping the Buddha in the temple, and
forthwith struck him with his staff. Is there not anything good in
the worshipping of the Buddha? protested Wang Yuen. Then the master
said: Nothing is better than anything good.[FN#140] These examples
fully illustrate Zen's attitude towards the objects of Buddhist
worship. Zen is not, nevertheless, iconoclastic in the commonly
accepted sense of the term, nor is it idolatrous, as Christian
missionaries are apt to suppose.
Zen is more iconoclastic than any of the Christian or the Mohammedan
denominations in the sense that it opposes the acceptance of the
petrified idea of Deity, so conventional and formal that it carries
no inner conviction of the believers. Faith dies out whenever one
comes to stick to one's fixed and immutable idea of Deity, and to
deceive oneself, taking bigotry for genuine faith. Faith must be
living and growing, and the living and growing faith should assume no
fixed form. It might seem for a superficial observer to take a fixed
form, as a running river appears constant, though it goes through
ceaseless changes. The dead faith, immutable and conventional, makes
its embracer appear religious and respectable, while it arrests his
spiritual growth. It might give its owner comfort and pride, yet it
at bottom proves to be fetters to his moral uplifting. It is on this
account that Zen declares: Buddha is nothing but spiritual chain or
moral fetters, and, If you remember even a name of Buddha, it would
deprive you of purity of heart. The conventional or orthodox idea
of Buddha or Deity might seem smooth and fair, like a gold chain,
being polished and hammered through generations by religious
goldsmiths; but it has too much fixity and frigidity to be worn by us.
Strike off thy fetters, bonds that bind thee down
Of shining gold or darker, baser ore;
Know slave is slave caressed or whipped, not free;
For fetters tho' of gold, are not less strong to bind.
--The Song of the Sannyasin.
Next: Buddha Is Unnamable
Previous: The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon