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Buddhism

Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

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

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

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

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

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

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

Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz Jun-shi
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anoth...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms or illus...

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

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

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

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

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

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...




An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality








To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting
appearance and reality. According. to certain religionists, all the
phenomena of the universe are to succumb to change. Worldly things
one and all are evanescent. They are nought in the long run.
Snowcapped mountains may sink into the bottom of the deep, while the
sands in the fathomless ocean may soar into the azure sky at some
time or other. Blooming flowers are destined to fade and to bloom
again in the next year. So destined are growing trees, rising
generations, prospering nations, glowing suns, moons, and stars.
This, they would say, is only the case with phenomena or appearances,
but not with reality. Growth and decay, birth and death, rise and
fall, all these are the ebb and flow of appearances in the ocean of
reality, which is always the same. Flowers may fade and be reduced
to dust, yet out of that dust come flowers. Trees may die out, yet
they are reproduced somewhere else. The time may come when the earth
will become a dead sphere quite unsuitable for human habitation, and
the whole of mankind will perish; yet who knows that whether another
earth may not be produced as man's home? The sun might have its
beginning and end, stars, moons, theirs as well; yet an infinite
universe would have no beginning nor end.

Again, they say, mutation is of the world of sense or phenomenal
appearances, but not of reality. The former are the phases of the
latter shown to our senses. Accordingly they are always limited and
modified by our senses, just as images are always limited and
modified by the mirror in which they are reflected. On this account
appearances are subject to limitations, while reality is limitless.
And it follows that the former are imperfect, while the latter is
perfect; that the former is transient, while the latter is eternal;
that the former is relative, while the latter is absolute; that the
former is worldly, while the latter is holy; that the former is
knowable, while the latter is unknowable.

These considerations naturally lead us to an assertion that the world
of appearances is valueless, as it is limited, short-lived,
imperfect, painful, sinful, hopeless, and miserable; while the realm
of reality is to be aspired for, as it is eternal, perfect,
comfortable, full of hope, joy, and peace-hence the eternal divorce
of appearance and reality. Such a view of life tends to make one
minimize the value of man, to neglect the present existence, and to
yearn after the future.

Some religionists tell us that we men are helpless, sinful, hopeless,
and miserable creatures. Worldly riches, temporal honours, and
social positions-nay, even sublimities and beauties of the present
existence, are to be ignored and despised. We have no need of caring
for those things that pass away in a twinkling moment. We must
prepare for the future life which is eternal. We must accumulate
wealth for that existence. We must endeavour to hold rank in it. We
must aspire for the sublimity and beauty and glory of that realm.






Next: Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?

Previous: Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality



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