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Buddhism

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

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...

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

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

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

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

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

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

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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

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

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

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

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

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

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




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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