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Buddhism

The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

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

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a Chinese...

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

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

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung Yo-yu
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

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

Wang Yang Ming O-yo-mei And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...

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...

The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...




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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