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Buddhism

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

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

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...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

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

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

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

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

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...

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

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

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

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

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

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

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

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

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, see...




Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist








How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put at the
mercy of petty troubles, or intended to be crushed by obstacles? Are
we not endowed with inner force to fight successfully against
obstacles and difficulties, and to wrest trophies of glory from
hardships? Are we to be slaves to the vicissitudes of fortune? Are
we doomed to be victims for the jaws of the environment? It is not
external obstacles themselves, but our inner fear and doubt that
prove to be the stumbling-blocks in the path to success; not material
loss, but timidity and hesitation that ruin us for ever.

Difficulties are no match for the optimist, who does not fly from
them, but welcomes them. He has a mental prism which can separate
the insipid white light of existence into bright hues. He has a
mental alchemy by which he can produce golden instruction out of the
dross of failure. He has a spiritual magic which makes the nectar of
joy out of the tears of sorrow. He has a clairvoyant eye that can
perceive the existence of hope through the iron walls of despair.
Prosperity tends to make one forget the grace of Buddha, but
adversity brings forth one's religious conviction. Christ on the
cross was more Christ than Jesus at the table. Luther at war with
the Pope was more Luther than he at peace. Nichi-ren laid
the foundation of his church when sword and sceptre threatened him
with death. Shin-ran and Hen-en established their
respective faiths when they were exiled. When they were exiled, they
complained not, resented not, regretted not, repented not, lamented
not, but contentedly and joyously they met with their inevitable
calamity and conquered it. Ho-nen is said to have been still more
joyous and contented when be bad suffered from a serious disease,
because he had the conviction that his desired end was at hand.


The founder (1222-1282) of the Nichi Ren Sect, who was
exiled in 1271 to the Island of Sado. For the history and doctrine
of the Sect, see I A Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist
Sects,' by B. Nanjo, pp. 132-147.

The founder (1173-1262) of the Shin Sect, who was banished
to the province of Eechigo in 1207. See Nanjo's 'History,' pp.
122-131.

The founder (1131 1212) of the Jo Do Sect, who was exiled
to the Island of Tosa in 1207. See Nanjo's 'History,' pp. 104-113.


A Chinese monk, E Kwai by name, one day seated himself in a quiet
place among hills and practised Dhyana. None was there to disturb
the calm enjoyment of his meditation. The genius of the hill was so
much stung by his envy that he made up his mind to break by surprise
the mental serenity of the monk. Having supposed nothing ordinary
would be effective, he appeared all on a sudden before the man,
assuming the frightful form of a headless monster. E Kwai being
disturbed not a whit, calmly eyed the monster, and observed with a
smile: "Thou hast no head, monster! How happy thou shouldst be, for
thou art in no danger of losing thy head, nor of suffering from
headache!"

Were we born headless, should we not be happy, as we have to suffer
from no headache? Were we born eyeless, should we not be happy, as
we are in no danger of suffering from eye disease? Ho Ki
Ichi, a great blind scholar, was one evening giving a
lecture, without knowing that the light had been put out by the wind.
When his pupils requested him to stop for a moment, he remarked with
a smile: "Why, how inconvenient are your eyes!" Where there is
contentment, there is Paradise.

Hanawa (1746-1821), who published Gun-sho-rui-zu in 1782.






Next: Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence

Previous: Life In The Concrete



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