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Buddhism

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

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

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

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

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who ...

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

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

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

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

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

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

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

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

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




Buddha The Universal Life








Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires,
enlivens, and vitalizes everything. Accordingly, we may call Him the
Universal Life in the sense that He is the source of all lives in the
universe. This Universal Life, according to Zen, pillars the heaven,
supports the earth, glorifies the sun and moon, gives voice to
thunder, tinges clouds, adorns the pasture with flowers, enriches the
field with harvest, gives animals beauty and strength. Therefore,
Zen declares even a dead clod of earth to be imbued with the divine
life, just as Lowell expresses a similar idea when he says:

"Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers."

One of our contemporary Zenists wittily observed that 'vegetables are
the children of earth, that animals which feed on vegetables are the
grand-children of earth, and that men who subsist on animals are the
great-grand-children of earth.' If there be no life in earth, how
could life come out of it? If there be no life, the same as the
animal's life in the vegetables, how could animals sustain their
lives feeding on vegetables? If there be no life similar to ours in
animals, how could we sustain our life by subsisting on them? The
poet must be in the right, not only in his esthetic, but in his
scientific point of view, in saying-

"I must
Confess that I am only dust.
But once a rose within me grew;
Its rootlets shot, its flowerets flew;
And all rose's sweetness rolled
Throughout the texture of my mould;
And so it is that I impart
Perfume to them, whoever thou art."

As we men live and act, so do our arteries; so does blood; so do
corpuscles. As cells and protoplasm live and act, so do elements,
molecules, and atoms. As elements and atoms live and act, so do
clouds; so does the earth; so does the ocean, the Milky Way, and the
Solar System. What is this life which pervades the grandest as well
as the minutest works of Nature, and which may fitly be said 'greater
than the greatest and smaller than the smallest?' It cannot be
defined. It cannot be subjected to exact analysis. But it is
directly experienced and recognized within us, just as the beauty of
the rose is to be perceived and enjoyed, but not reduced to exact
analysis. At any rate, it is something stirring, moving, acting and
reacting continually. This something which can be experienced and
felt and enjoyed directly by every one of us. This life of living
principle in the microcosmos is identical with that of the
macrocosmos, and the Universal Life of the macrocosmos is the common
source of all lives. Therefore, the Mahaparinirvana-sutra says:

"Tathagata (another name for Buddha) gives life to all beings, just
as the lake Anavatapta gives rise to the four great rivers."
"Tathagata," says the same sutra, "divides his own body into
innumerable bodies, and also restores an infinite number of bodies to
one body. Now be becomes cities, villages, houses, mountains,
rivers, and trees; now he has a large body; now he has a small body;
now he becomes men, women, boys, and girls."






Next: Life And Change

Previous: Buddha Is Unnamable



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