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Buddhism

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

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

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

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

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

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

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

The Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...

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...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

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

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

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

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

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

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




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

Previous: Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease



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