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Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

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

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

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

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

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

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

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

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

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

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

The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...

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

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

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

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

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz Jun-shi
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anoth...

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

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

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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