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Buddhism

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

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

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

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz Jun-shi
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anoth...

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

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

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

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

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga claims that various supernatural powers can be acquired ...

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

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

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

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...




Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless








How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be unknowable
and hidden behind or beyond appearances? They investigated all the
possible presentations in different relationships, and put them all
aside as appearances, and brooded on the thing-in-itself, shut out
from all possible relationship, and declared it unknowable.
Thing-in-itself means thing cut off from all possible relationships.
To, put it in another way: thing-in-itself means thing deprived of
its relation to its knower--that is to say, thing-knower-less. So
that to declare thing-in-itself unknowable is as much as to declare
thing-unknowable unknowable; there is no doubt about it, but what
does it prove?

Deprive yourself of all the possible relationships, and see what you
are. Suppose you are not a son to your parents, nor the husband to
your wife, nor the father to your children, nor a relative to your
kindred, nor a friend to your acquaintances, nor a teacher to your
students, nor a citizen to your country, nor an individual member to
your society, nor a creature to your God, then you get
you-in-yourself. Now ask yourself what is you-in-yourself? You can
never answer the question. It is unknowable, just because it is cut
off from all knowable relations. Can you thus prove that
you-in-yourself exist beyond or behind you?

In like manner our universe appears to us human beings as the
phenomenal world or presentation. It might appear to other creatures
of a different mental constitution as something else. We cannot
ascertain how it might seem to Devas, to Asuras, to angels, and to
the Almighty, if there be such beings. However different it might
seem to these beings, it does not imply that the phenomenal world is
unreal, nor that the realm of reality is unknowable.

'Water,' the Indian tradition has it, 'seems to man as a drink, as
emerald to Devas, as bloody pus to Pretas, as houses to fishes.'
Water is not a whit less real because of its seeming as houses to
fishes, and fishes' houses are not less real because of its seeming
as emerald to Devas. There is nothing that proves the unreality of
it. It is a gross illusion to conceive reality as transcendental to
appearances. Reality exists as appearances, and appearances are
reality known to human beings. You cannot separate appearances from
reality, and hold out the latter as the object of aspiration at the
cost of the former. You must acknowledge that the so-called realm of
reality which you aspire after, and which you seek for outside or
behind the phenomenal universe, exists here on earth. Let Zen
teachers tell you that "the world of birth and death is the realm of
Nirvana"; "the earth is the pure land of Buddha."






Next: The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories

Previous: Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?



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