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Buddhism

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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

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

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

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

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




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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