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Buddhism

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

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

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

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...

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

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

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

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

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

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

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 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 ...

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

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

The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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




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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