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Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

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...

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of Mahaya...

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

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

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung Yo-yu
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

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

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

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

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a Chinese...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

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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