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Buddhism

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated land for the seed of ...

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

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

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

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

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga claims that various supernatural powers can be acquired ...

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




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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