Samurai Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...
The Buddha Of Mercy
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt;
Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...
Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...
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 ...
Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...
Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...
Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...
The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...
Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...
Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...
Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...
The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...
An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...
The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...
The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...
The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or
Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...
Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...
The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin)...
Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at the first
sight, to be idealistic in an extreme form, as they say: Mind is
Buddha or, Buddha is Mind, or, There is nothing outside mind,
or, Three worlds are of but one mind. And it may also appear to be
nihilistic, as they say: There has been nothing since all eternity,
By illusion you see the castle of the Three Worlds; by
Enlightenment you see but emptiness in ten directions.[FN#194] In
reality, however, Zen[FN#195] is neither idealistic nor nihilistic.
Zen makes use of the nihilistic idea of Hinayana Buddhism, and calls
its students' attention to the change and evanescence of life and of
the world, first to destroy the error of immutation, next to dispel
the attachment to the sensual objects.
[FN#194] These words were repeatedly uttered by Chinese and Japanese
Zenists of all ages. Chwen Hih (Fu-dai-shi) expressed this very idea
in his Sin Wang Ming (Shin-o-mei) at the time of Bodhidharma.
[FN#195] The Rin-zai teachers mostly make use of the doctrine of
unreality of all things, as taught in Prajnya-paramita-sutras. We
have to note that there are some differences between the Mahayana
doctrine of unreality and the Hinayana doctrine of unreality.
It is a misleading tendency of our intellect to conceive things as if
they were immutable and constant. It often leaves changing and
concrete individual objects out of consideration, and lays stress on
the general, abstract, unchanging aspect of things. It is inclined
to be given to generalization and abstraction. It often looks not at
this thing or at that thing, but at things in general. It loves to
think not of a good thing nor of a bad thing, but of bad and good in
the abstract. This intellectual tendency hardens and petrifies the
living and growing world, and leads us to take the universe as a
thing dead, inert, and standing still. This error of immutation can
be corrected by the doctrine of Transcience taught by Hinayana
Buddhism. But as medicine taken in an undue quantity turns into
poison, so the doctrine of Transcience drove the Hinayanists to the
suicidal conclusion of nihilism. A well-known scholar and believer
of Zen, Kwei Fung (Kei-ha) says in his refutation of nihilism:[FN#196]
If mind as well as external objects be unreal, who is it that knows
they are so? Again, if there be nothing real in the universe, what
is it that causes unreal objects to appear? We stand witness to the
fact that there is no one of the unreal things on earth that is not
made to appear by something real. If there be no water of unchanging
fluidity, how can there be the unreal and temporary forms of waves?
If there be no unchanging mirror, bright and clean, bow can there be
the various images, unreal and temporary, reflected in it? If mind
as well as external objects be nothing at all, no one can tell what
it is that causes these unreal appearances. Therefore this doctrine
(of the unreality of all things) can never clearly disclose spiritual
Reality. So that Mahabheri-harakaparivarta-sutra says: All the
sutras that teach the unreality of things belong to the imperfect
doctrine (of the Shakya Muni). Mahaprajnya-paramita-sutra says The
doctrine of unreality is the entrance-gate of Mahayana.
[FN#196] See the appendix, chap. ii., 'The Mahayana Doctrine of
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