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Buddhism

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

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

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

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

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

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

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated land for the seed of ...

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

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

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

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

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...

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

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

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




Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis








In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to refer to
the central problem of Zen or Enlightenment, whose content it is
futile to attempt to explain or analyze. We must not explain or
analyze it, because by doing so we cannot but mislead the reader. We
can as well represent Enlightenment by means of explanation or
analysis as we do personality by snapshots or by anatomical
operations. As our inner life, directly experienced within us, is
anything but the shape of the head, or the features of the face, or
the posture of the body, so Enlightenment experienced by Zenists at
the moment of their highest Samadhi is anything but the
psychological analysis of mental process, or the epistemological
explanation of cognition, or the philosophical generalization of
concepts. Enlightenment can be realized only by the Enlightened, and
baffles every attempt to describe it, even by the Enlightened
themselves. The effort of the confused to guess at Enlightenment is
often likened by the Zenists to the effort of the blind who feel an
elephant to know what it looks like. Some of them who happen to feel
the trunk would declare it is like a rope, but those who happen to
feel the belly would declare it is like a huge drum; while those who
happen to feel the feet would declare it is like the trunk of a tree.
But none of these conjectures can approach the living elephant.


Abstract Contemplation, which the Zenists distinguish from
Samadhi, practised by the Brahmins. The author of 'An Outline of
Buddhist Sects' points out the distinction, saying: "Contemplation of
outside religionists is practised with the heterodox view that the
lower worlds (the worlds for men, beasts, etc.) are disgusting, but
the upper worlds (the worlds for Devas) are desirable; Contemplation
of common people (ordinary lay believers of Buddhism) is practised
with the belief in the law of Karma, and also with disgust (for the
lower worlds) and desire (for the upper worlds); Contemplation of
Hinayana is practised with an insight into the truth of Anatman
(non-soul); Contemplation of Mahayana is practised with an insight of
Unreality of Atman (soul) as well as of Dharma (thing); Contemplation
of the highest perfection is practised with the view that Mind is
pure in its nature, it is endowed with unpolluted wisdom, free from
passion, and it is no other than Buddha himself."






Next: Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self

Previous: The Buddha Of Mercy



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