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Buddhism

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

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

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

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

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

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

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period, and after the downfall o...

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

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

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists maintain that there are on earth ma...

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

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

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...




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.






Next: The Parable Of The Robber Kih

Previous: Where Then Does The Error Lie?



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