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Buddhism

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

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...

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

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

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

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

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

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

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

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

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

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

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

Wang Yang Ming O-yo-mei And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...

Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

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

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

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

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




The Examination Of The Notion Of Self








The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of
self-preservation that calls forth an insatiable longing for
longevity. It is another form of egoism, one of the relics of our
brute forefathers. We must bear in mind that this illusion of the
individual Self is the foundation on which every form of immorality
has its being. I challenge my readers to find in the whole history
of mankind any crime not based on egoism. Evil-doers have been as a
rule pleasure-hunters, money-seekers, seekers after self-interests,
characterized by lust, folly, and cruelty. Has there been anyone who
committed theft that he might further the interests of his villagers?
Has there been any paramour who disgraced himself that lie might
help his neighbours? Has there been any traitor who performed the
ignoble conduct to promote the welfare of his own country or society
at large?

To get Enlightened, therefore, we have to correct, first of all, our
notions concerning Self. Individual body and mind are not the only
important constituents of Self. There are many other indispensable
elements in the notion of Self. For instance, I have come into
existence as another form of my parents. I am theirs, and may justly
be called the reincarnation of them. And again, my father is another
form of his parents; my mother of hers; his and her parents of
theirs; and ad infinitum. In brief, all my forefathers live and have
their being in me. I cannot help, therefore, thinking that my
physical state is the result of the sum total of my good and bad
actions in the past lives I led in the persons of my forefathers, and
of the influence I received therein; and that my psychical
state is the result of that which I received, felt, imagined,
conceived, experienced, and thought in my past existences in the
persons of my ancestors.

This is the law of Karma.


Besides this, my brothers, my sisters, my neighbours--nay, all my
follow-men and fellow-women are no other than the reincarnation of
their parents and forefathers, who are also mine. The same blood
invigorated the king as well as the beggar; the same nerve energized
the white as well as the black men; the same consciousness vitalized
the wise as well as the unwise. Impossible it is to conceive myself
independent of my fellow-men and fellow-women, for they are mine and
I am theirs--that is, I live and move in them, and they live and move
in me.

It is bare nonsense to say that I go to school, not to be educated as
a member of society, but simply to gratify my individual desire for
knowledge; or that I make a fortune, not to lead the life of a
well-to-do in society, but to satisfy my individual money-loving
instinct; or that I seek after truth, neither to do good to my
contemporaries nor to the future generations, but only for my
individual curiosity or that I live neither to live with my family
nor with my friends nor with anyone else, but to live my individual
life. It is as gross absurdity to say that I am an individual
absolutely independent of society as to say I am a husband with no
wife, or I am a son to no parents. Whatever I do directly or
indirectly I contribute to the common fortune of man; whatever anyone
else does directly or indirectly determines my fate. Therefore we
must realize that our Selves necessarily include other members of the
community, while other members' Selves necessarily comprehend us.






Next: Nature Is The Mother Of All Things

Previous: The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality



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