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

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms or illus...

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

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

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

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

The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

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

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...

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




Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son








A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the good
that we are born with. We are just like the only son of a
well-to-do, as the author of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra tells
us, who, being forgetful of his rich inheritance, leaves his home and
leads a life of hand-to-mouth as a coolie. How miserable it is to
see one, having no faith in his noble endowment, burying the precious
gem of Buddha-nature into the foul rubbish of vices and crimes,
wasting his excellent genius in the exertion that is sure to disgrace
his name, falling a prey to bitter remorse and doubt, and casting
himself away into the jaw of perdition. Shakya Muni, full of
fatherly love towards all beings, looked with compassion on us, his
prodigal son, and used every means to restore the half-starved man to
his home. It was for this that he left the palace and the beloved
wife and son, practised his self-mortification and prolonged
Meditation, attained to Enlightenment, and preached Dharma for
forty-nine years; in other words, all his strength and effort were
focussed on that single aim, which was to bring the prodigal son to
his rich mansion of Buddha-nature. He taught not only by words, but
by his own actual example, that man has Buddha-nature, by the
unfoldment of which he can save himself from the miseries of life and
death, and bring himself to a higher realm than gods. When we are
Enlightened, or when Universal Spirit awakens within us, we open the
inexhaustible store of virtues and excellencies, and can freely make
use of them at our will.


See 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xxi., chap. iv., pp.
98-118.






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