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

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

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

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

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

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

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

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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

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

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

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

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

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

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 ...

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...




The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai








Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of both
the Zen monk and the Samurai. To get rich by an ignoble means is
against the rules of Japanese chivalry or Bushido. The Samurai would
rather starve than to live by some expedient unworthy of his dignity.
There are many instances, in the Japanese history, of Samurais who
were really starved to death in spite of their having a hundred
pieces of gold carefully preserved to meet the expenses at the time
of an emergency; hence the proverb: "The falcon would not feed on the
ear of corn, even if he should starve." Similarly, we know of no
case of Zen monks, ancient and modern, who got rich by any ignoble
means. They would rather face poverty with gladness of heart.
Fu-gai, one of the most distinguished Zen masters just before the
Restoration, supported many student monks in his monastery. They
were often too numerous to be supported by his scant means. This
troubled his disciple much whose duty it was to look after the
food-supply, as there was no other means to meet the increased demand
than to supply with worse stuff. Accordingly, one day the disciple
advised Fu-gai not to admit new students any more into the monastery.
Then the master, making no reply, lolled out his tongue and said:
"Now look into my mouth, and tell if there be any tongue in it." The
perplexed disciple answered affirmatively. "Then don't bother
yourself about it. If there be any tongue, I can taste any sort of
food." Honest poverty may, without exaggeration, be called one of
the characteristics of the Samurais and of the Zen monks; hence a
proverb: "The Zen monk has no money, moneyed Monto knows
nothing."


The priest belonging to Shin Shu, who are generally rich.






Next: The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai

Previous: The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai



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