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Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

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

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

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

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

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followin...

The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...

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

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

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

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

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz Jun-shi

The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by another
diametrically opposed theory propounded by Siun Tsz (Jun-shi) and his
followers. 'Man is bad-natured,' says Siun Tsz, 'since he has inborn
lust, appetite, and desire for wealth. As he has inborn lust and
appetite, he is naturally given to intemperance and wantonness. As
he has inborn desire for wealth, he is naturally inclined to quarrel
and fight with others for the sake of gain.' Leave him without
discipline or culture, he would not be a whit better than the beast.
His virtuous acts, such as charity, honesty, propriety, chastity,
truthfulness, are conduct forced by the teachings of ancient sages
against his natural inclination. Therefore vices are congenial and
true to his nature, while virtues alien and untrue to his fundamental

Siun Tsz's date is later by some fifty years than Mencius.
Siun Tsz gives the reason why man seeks after morality, saying that
man seeks what he has not, and that he seeks after morality simply
because he has not morality, just as the poor seek riches. See 'A
History of Chinese Philosophy' (pp. 51-60), by G. Nakauchi, and 'A
History of Development of Chinese Thought,' by R. Endo.

These two theories are not only far from throwing light on the moral
state of man, but wrap it in deeper gloom. Let us raise a few
questions by way of refutation. If man's fundamental nature be good,
as Mencius maintains, why is it easy for him to be vicious without
instruction, while he finds it hard to be virtuous even with
instruction. If you contend that good is man's primary nature and
evil the secondary one, why is be so often overpowered by the
secondary nature? If you answer saying that man is good-natured
originally, but he acquires the secondary nature through the struggle
for existence, and it gradually gains power over the primary nature
by means of the same cause, then the primitive tribes should be more
virtuous than the highly civilized nations, and children than grownup
people. Is this not contrary to fact?

If, again, man's nature is essentially bad, as Siun Tsz holds, how
can he cultivate virtue? If you contend that ancient sages invented
so-called cardinal virtues and inculcated them against his natural
inclination, why does he not give them up? If vices be congenial and
true to man's nature, but virtues be alien and untrue to him, why are
virtues honoured by him? If vices be genuine and virtue a deception,
as you think, why do you call the inventors of that deceiving art
sages? How was it possible for man to do good before these sages'
appearance on earth?

Next: Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung Yo-yu

Previous: Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius

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