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Buddhism

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

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

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

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

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who ...

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

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

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

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...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

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

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

Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

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

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




Hinayanism And Its Doctrine








The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hinayanism.
Transience never fails to deprive us of what is dear and near to us.
It disappoints us in our expectation and hope. It brings out grief,
fear, anguish, and lamentation. It spreads terror and destruction
among families, communities, nations, mankind. It threatens with
perdition the whole earth, the whole universe. Therefore it follows
that life is full of disappointment, sufferings, and miseries, and
that man is like 'a frog in a dry well.' This is the doctrine called
by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Suffering.

Again, when Transcience once gets hold of our imagination, we can
easily foresee ruins and disasters in the very midst of prosperity
and happiness, and also old age and ugliness in the prime and youth
of beauty. It gives rise quite naturally to the thought that body is
a bag full of pus and blood, a mere heap of rotten flesh and broken
pieces of bone, a decaying corpse inhabited by innumerable maggots.
This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of
Impurity.


Mahasaptipatthana Suttanta, 7, runs as follows: "And,
moreover, bhikkhu, a brother, just as if he had been a body abandoned
in the charnel-field, dead for one, two, or three days, swollen,
turning black and blue, and decomposed, apply that perception to this
very body (of his own), reflecting: 'This body, too, is even so
constituted, is of such a nature, has not got beyond that (fate).'"


And, again, Transience holds its tyrannical sway not only over the
material but over the spiritual world. At its touch Atman, or soul,
is brought to nothing. By its call Devas, or celestial beings, are
made to succumb to death. It follows, therefore, that to believe in
Atman, eternal and unchanging, would be a whim of the ignorant. This
is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of No-atman.

If, as said, there could be nothing free from Transience, Constancy
should be a gross mistake of the ignorant; if even gods have to die,
Eternity should be no more than a stupid dream of the vulgar; if all
phenomena be flowing and changing, there could be no constant noumena
underlying them. It therefore follows that all things in the
universe are empty and unreal. This is the doctrine called by the
Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Unreality. Thus Hinayana Buddhism,
starting from the doctrine of Transience, arrived at the pessimistic
view of life in its extreme form.






Next: Change As Seen By Zen

Previous: Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus



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