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Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung Yo-yu
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

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

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

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

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

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

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

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

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

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

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

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

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

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...

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

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...




Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured








We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches
Buddha-nature, which all sentient beings are endowed with. The term
'Buddha-nature,' as accepted generally by Buddhists, means a
latent and undeveloped nature, which enables its owner to become
Enlightened when it is developed and brought to actuality.
Therefore man, according to Zen, is not good-natured nor bad-natured
in the relative sense, as accepted generally by common sense, of
these terms, but Buddha-natured in the sense of non-duality. A good
person (of common sense) differs from a bad person (of common sense),
not in his inborn Buddha-nature, but in the extent of his expressing
it in deeds. Even if men are equally endowed with that nature, yet
their different states of development do not allow them to express it
to an equal extent in conduct. Buddha-nature may be compared with
the sun, and individual mind with the sky. Then an Enlightened mind
is like the sky in fair weather, when nothing prevents the beams of
the sun; while an ignorant mind is like the sky in cloudy weather,
when the sun sheds faint light; and an evil mind is like the sky in
stormy weather, when the sun seems to be out of existence. It comes
under our daily observation that even a robber or a murderer may
prove to be a good father and a loving husband to his wife and
children. He is an honest fellow when he remains at home. The sun
of Buddha-nature gives light within the wall of his house, but
without the house the darkness of foul crimes shrouds him.

For a detailed explanation of Buddha-nature, see the
chapter entitled Buddha-nature in Sho-bo-gen-zo.

Mahaparinirvana-sutra may be said to have been written for
the purpose of stating this idea.






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