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Buddhism

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists maintain that there are on earth ma...

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...

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

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

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

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that sur...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

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

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

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

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 ...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

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

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

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




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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