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Buddhism

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

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

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

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

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

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: "Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Sur...

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

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to have replied ...

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

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

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




The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists








Philosophical pessimists maintain that there are on earth
many more causes of pain than of pleasure; and that pain exists
positively, but pleasure is a mere absence of pain because we are
conscious of sickness but not of health; of loss, but not of
possession. On the contrary, religious optimists insist that there
must not be any evil in God's universe, that evil has no independent
nature, but simply denotes a privation of good--that is, evil is
null, is nought, is silence implying sound.'


Schopenhauer, 'The World as Will and Idea' (R. B. Haldane
and J. Kemp's translation, vol. iii., pp. 384-386); Hartman,
'Philosophy of the Unconsciousness' (W. C. Coupland's translation,
vol. iii., pp. 12-119).


No matter what these one-sided observers' opinion may be, we are
certain that we experience good as well as evil, and feel pain and
pleasure as well. Neither can we alleviate the real sufferings of
the sick by telling them that sickness is no other than the absence
of health, nor can we make the poor a whit richer by telling them
that poverty is a mere absence of riches. How could we save the
dying by persuading them that death is a bare privation of life? Is
it possible to dispirit the happy by telling them that happiness is
unreal, or make the fortunate miserable by telling them that fortune
has no objective reality, or to make one welcome evil by telling one
that it is only the absence of good?

You must admit there are no definite external causes of pain nor
those of pleasure, for one and the same thing causes pain at one time
and pleasure at another. A cause of delight to one person turns out
to be that of aversion to another. A dying miser might revive at the
sight of gold, yet a Diogenes would pass without noticing it. Cigars
and wine are blessed gifts of heaven to the intemperate, but
accursed poison to the temperate. Some might enjoy a long life, but
others would heartily desire to curtail it. Some might groan under a
slight indisposition, while others would whistle away a life of
serious disease. An Epicure might be taken prisoner by poverty, yet
an Epictetus would fearlessly face and vanquish him. How, then, do
you distinguish the real cause of pain from that of pleasure? How do
you know the causes of one are more numerous than the causes of the
other?


The author of Han Shu (Kan Sho) calls spirits the gift of
Heaven.


Expose thermometers of several kinds to one and the same temperature.
One will indicate, say, 60, another as high as 100, another as low as
15. Expose the thermometers of human sensibilities, which are of
myriads of different kinds, to one and the same temperature of
environment. None of them will indicate the same degrees. In one
and the same climate, which we think moderate, the Eskimo would be
washed with perspiration, while the Hindu would shudder with cold.
Similarly, under one and the same circumstance some might be
extremely miserable and think it unbearable, yet others would be
contented and happy. Therefore we may safely conclude that there are
no definite external causes of pain and pleasure, and that there must
be internal causes which modify the external.






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Previous: Epicureanism And Life



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