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Buddhism

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

Wang Yang Ming O-yo-mei And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: "Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Sur...

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

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

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

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

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

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

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

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

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an emine...

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

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated land for the seed of ...




Life Consists In Conflict








Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social animal he
cannot live in isolation. All individual hopes and aspirations
depend on society. Society is reflected in the individual, and the
individual in society. In spite of this, his inborn free will and
love of liberty seek to break away from social ties. He is also a
moral animal, and endowed with love and sympathy. He loves his
fellow-beings, and would fain promote their welfare; but he must be
engaged in constant struggle against them for existence. He
sympathizes even with animals inferior to him, and heartily wishes to
protect them; yet he is doomed to destroy their lives day and night.
He has many a noble aspiration, and often soars aloft by the wings of
imagination into the realm of the ideal; still his material desires
drag him down to the earth. He lives on day by day to continue his
life, but he is unfailingly approaching death at every moment.

The more he secures new pleasure, spiritual or material, the more he
incurs pain not yet experienced. One evil removed only gives place
to another; one advantage gained soon proves itself a disadvantage.
His very reason is the cause of his doubt and suspicion; his
intellect, with which he wants to know everything, declares itself to
be incapable of knowing anything in its real state; his finer
sensibility, which is the sole source of finer pleasure, has to
experience finer suffering. The more he asserts himself, the more he
has to sacrifice himself. These conflictions probably led Kant to
call life "a trial time, wherein most succumb, and in which even the
best does not rejoice in his life." "Men betake themselves," says
Fichte, "to the chase after felicity. . . . But as soon as they
withdraw into themselves and ask themselves, 'Am I now happy?' the
reply comes distinctly from the depth of their soul, 'Oh no; thou art
still just as empty and destitute as before!' . . . They will in the
future life just as vainly seek blessedness as they have sought it in
the present life."

It is not without reason that the pessimistic minds came to conclude
that 'the unrest of unceasing willing and desiring by which every
creature is goaded is in itself unblessedness,' and that 'each
creature is in constant danger, constant agitation, and the whole,
with its restless, meaningless motion, is a tragedy of the most
piteous kind.' 'A creature like the carnivorous animal, who cannot
exist at all without continually destroying and tearing others, may
not feel its brutality, but man, who has to prey on other sentient
beings like the carnivorous, is intelligent enough, as hard fate
would have it, to know and feel his own brutal living.' He must be
the most miserable of all creatures, for he is most conscious of his
own misery. Furthermore, 'he experiences not only the misfortunes
which actually befall him, but in imagination he goes through every
possibility of evil.' Therefore none, from great kings and emperors
down to nameless beggars, can be free from cares and anxieties, which
'ever flit around them like ghosts.'






Next: The Mystery Of Life

Previous: The Law Of Balance



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