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Buddhism

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

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

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

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: "Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Sur...

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

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

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of Mahaya...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to have replied ...

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an emine...

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

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...

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

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...




A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World








The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment nor of
palm-leaves, nor in black and white, but one written in heart and
mind. On one occasion a King of Eastern India invited the venerable
Prajnyatara, the teacher of Bodhidharma, and his disciples to dinner
at his own palace.

Finding all the monks reciting the sacred sutras with the single
exception of the master, the King questioned Prajnyatara: "Why do you
not, reverend sir, recite the Scriptures as others do?" "My poor
self, your majesty," replied he, "does not go out to the objects of
sense in my expiration nor is it confined within body and mind in my
inspiration. Thus I constantly recite hundreds, thousands, and
millions of sacred sutras." In like manner the Emperor Wu, of the
Liang dynasty, once requested Chwen Hih (Fu Dai-shi) to give a
lecture on the Scriptures. Chwen went upon the platform, struck the
desk with a block of wood, and came down. Pao Chi (Ho-shi), a
Buddhist tutor to the Emperor, asked the perplexed monarch: "Does
your Lordship understand him?" "No," answered His Majesty. "The
lecture of the Great Teacher is over." As it is clear to you from
these examples, Zen holds that the faith must be based not on the
dead Scriptures, but on living facts, that one must turn over not the
gilt pages of the holy writ, but read between the lines in the holy
pages of daily life, that Buddha must be prayed not by word of mouth,
but by actual deed and work, and that one must split open, as the
author of Avatamsaka-sutra allegorically tells us, the smallest grain
of dirt to find therein a sutra equal in size to the whole world.
"The so-called sutra," says Do-gen, "covers the whole universe. It
transcends time and space. It is written with the characters of
heaven, of man, of beasts, of Asuras,[FN#13l] of hundreds of grass,
and of thousands of trees. There are characters, some long, some
short, some round, some square, some blue, some red, some yellow, and
some white-in short, all the phenomena in the universe are the
characters with which the sutra is written." Shakya Muni read that
sutra through the bright star illuminating the broad expanse of the
morning skies, when he sat in meditation under the Bodhi Tree.


[FN#13l] The name of a demon.


Ling Yun (Rei-un) read it through the lovely flowers of a peach-tree
in spring after some twenty years of his research for Light, and said:

"A score of years I looked for Light:
There came and went many a spring and fall.
E'er since the peach blossoms came in my sight,
I never doubt anything at all."

Hian Yen (Kyo-gen) read it through the noise of bamboo, at which he
threw pebbles. Su Shih (So-shoku) read it through a waterfall, one
evening, and said:

"The brook speaks forth the Tathagata's words divine,
The hills reveal His glorious forms that shine."






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