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Buddhism

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who ...

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

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

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

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

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

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

The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a Chinese...

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

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

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

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

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

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

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

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...




The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters








Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by both
Chinese and Japanese masters, and in this chapter we propose to
sketch the practice of mental training and the method of practising
Dhyana or Meditation. Zen teachers never instruct their pupils by
means of explanation or argument, but urge them to solve by
themselves through the practice of Meditation such problems as--'What
is Buddha?' What is self?' 'What is the spirit of Bodhidharma?'
'What is life and death?' 'What is the real nature of mind?' and so
on. Ten Shwai (To-sotsu), for instance, was wont to put three
questions to the following effect: (1) Your study and
discipline aim at the understanding of the real nature of mind.
Where does the real nature of mind exist? (2) When you understand
the real nature of mind, you are free from birth and death. How can
you be saved when you are at the verge of death? (3) When you are
free from birth and death, you know where you go after death. Where
do you go when your body is reduced to elements? The pupils are not
requested to express their solution of these problems in the form of
a theory or an argument, but to show how they have grasped the
profound meaning implied in these problems, how they have established
their conviction, and how they can carry out what they grasped in
their daily life.


The famous three difficult questions, known as the Three
Gates of Teu Shwai (To Sotsu San Kwan), who died in 1091. See Mu Mon
Kwan, xlvii.


A Chinese Zen master tells us that the method of instruction
adopted by Zen may aptly be compared with that of an old burglar who
taught his son the art of burglary. The burglar one evening said to
his little son, whom he desired to instruct in the secret of his
trade: "Would you not, my dear boy, be a great burglar like myself?"
"Yes, father," replied the promising young man." "Come with me,
then. I will teach you the art." So saying, the man went out,
followed by his son. Finding a rich mansion in a certain village,
the veteran burglar made a hole in the wall that surrounded it.
Through that hole they crept into the yard, and opening a window with
complete ease broke into the house, where they found a huge box
firmly locked up as if its contents were very valuable articles. The
old man clapped his hands at the lock, which, strange to tell,
unfastened itself. Then he removed the cover and told his son to get
into it and pick up treasures as fast as he could. No sooner had the
boy entered the box than the father replaced the cover and locked it
up. He then exclaimed at the top of his voice: "Thief! thief! thief!
thief!" Thus, having aroused the inmates, he went out without taking
anything. All the house was in utter confusion for a while; but
finding nothing stolen, they went to bed again. The boy sat holding
his breath a short while; but making up his mind to get out of his
narrow prison, began to scratch the bottom of the box with his
finger-nails. The servant of the house, listening to the noise,
supposed it to be a mouse gnawing at the inside of the box; so she
came out, lamp in hand, and unlocked it. On removing the cover, she
was greatly surprised to find the boy instead of a little mouse, and
gave alarm. In the meantime the boy got out of the box and went down
into the yard, hotly pursued by the people. He ran as fast as
possible toward the well, picked up a large stone, threw it down into
it, and hid himself among the bushes. The pursuers, thinking the
thief fell into the well, assembled around it, and were looking into
it, while the boy crept out unnoticed through the hole and went home
in safety. Thus the burglar taught his son how to rid himself of
overwhelming difficulties by his own efforts; so also Zen teachers
teach their pupils how to overcome difficulties that beset them on
all sides and work out salvation by themselves.


Wu Tsu (Go So), the teacher of Yuen Wu (En Go).






Next: The First Step In The Mental Training

Previous: Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence



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