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Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

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

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

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

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

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

Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...

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

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

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

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

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

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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

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

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

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...




Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life








Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that survives
body (as shown in the preceding chapter), who will receive the
retributions of our actions in the present life? To answer this
question, we have to restate our conviction that life is one and the
same; in other words, the human beings form one life or one
self--that is to say, our ancestors in the past formed man's past
life. We ourselves now form man's present life, and our posterity
will form the future life. Beyond all doubt, all actions of man in
the past have brought their fruits on the present conditions of man,
and all actions of the present man are sure to influence the
conditions of the future man. To put it in another way, we now reap
the fruits of what we sowed in our past life (or when we lived as our
fathers), and again shall reap the fruits of what we now sow in our
future life (or when we shall live as our posterity).

There is no exception to this rigorous law of retribution, and we
take it as the will of Buddha to leave no action without being
retributed. Thus it is Buddha himself who kindles our inward fire to
save ourselves from sin and crimes. We must purge out all the stains
in our hearts, obeying Buddha's command audible in the innermost self
of ours. It is the great mercy of His that, however sinful,
superstitious, wayward, and thoughtless, we have still a light within
us which is divine in its nature. When that light shines forth, all
sorts of sin are destroyed at once. What is our sin, after all? It
is nothing but illusion or error originating in ignorance and folly.
How true it is, as an Indian Mahayanist declares, that 'all frost and
the dewdrops of sin disappear in the sunshine of wisdom!'
Even if we might be imprisoned in the bottomless bell, yet let once
the Light of Buddha shine upon us, it would be changed into heaven.
Therefore the author of Mahakarunika-sutra says: "When I
climb the mountain planted with swords, they would break under my
tread. When I sail on the sea of blood, it will be dried up. When I
arrive at Hades, they will be ruined at once."


The retribution cannot be explained by the doctrine of the
transmigration of the soul, for it is incompatible with the
fundamental doctrine of non-soul. See Abhidharmamahavibhasa-castra,

vol. cxiv.

Samantabhadra-dhyana-sutra.

Nanjo's Catalogue, No. 117.






Next: The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg

Previous: The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals



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