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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
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The Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
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Enlightened Consciousness
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Real Self
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Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
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Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

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

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

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

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

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

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

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

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

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




Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality








But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' and
assumes all phenomena to be ideas as illustrated in
Mahayana-vidyamatra-siddhi-tridaca-castra and
Vidyamatra-vincati-castra, by Vasubandhu. Then it
necessarily parts company with Zen, which believes in Universal Life
existing in everything instead of behind it. Idealism shows us its
dark side in three sceptic views: (1) scepticism respecting objective
reality; (2) scepticism respecting religion; (3) scepticism
respecting morality.


A philosophical work on Buddhist idealism by Vasubandhu,
translated into Chinese by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 648. There exists a
famous commentary on it, compiled by Dharmapala, translated into
Chinese by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 659. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 1197
and 1125.

A simpler work on Idealism, translated into Chinese by
Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 661. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 1238, 1239, and
1240.


First it assumes that things exist in so far as they are known by us.
It is as a matter of course that if a tree exists at all, it is
known as having a trunk long or short, branches large or small,
leaves green or yellow, flowers yellow or purple, etc., all of which
are ideas. But it does not imply in the least that 'to be known' is
equivalent to 'to be existent.' Rather we should say that to be
known presupposes to be existent, for we cannot know anything
non-existent, even if we admit that the axioms of logic subsist.
Again, a tree may stand as ideas to a knower, but it can stand at the
same time as a shelter in relation to some birds, as food in relation
to some insects, as a world in relation to some minute worms, as a
kindred organism to other vegetables. How could you say that its
relation to a knower is the only and fundamental relation for the
existence of the tree? The disappearance of its knower no more
affects the tree than of its feeder; nor the appearance of its knower
affects the tree any more than that of kindred vegetables.

Extreme idealism erroneously concludes that what is really existent,
or what is directly proved to be existent, is only our sensations,
ideas, thoughts; that the external world is nothing but the images
reflected on the mirror of the mind, and that therefore objective
reality of things is doubtful-nay, more, they are unreal, illusory,
and dreams. If so, we can no longer distinguish the real from the
visionary; the waking from the dreaming; the sane from the insane;
the true from the untrue. Whether life is real or an empty dream, we
are at a loss to understand.






Next: Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality

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