Buddhism Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...
Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...
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 Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...
Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...
Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...
Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...
Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...
The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...
The Beatitude Of Zen
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing ch...
Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches
The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who
The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...
Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms or
The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...
All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...
Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...
The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...
Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...
Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred years after
the Sixth Patriarch, we should know that there are three important
elements in Zen. The first of these is technically called the Zen
Number--the method of practising Meditation by sitting cross-legged,
of which we shall treat later. This method is fully developed
by Indian teachers before Bodhidharma's introduction of Zen into
China, therefore it underwent little change during this period. The
second is the Zen Doctrine, which mainly consists of Idealistic and
Pantheistic ideas of Mahayana Buddhism, but which undoubtedly
embraces some tenets of Taoism. Therefore, Zen is not a pure Indian
faith, but rather of Chinese origin. The third is the Zen Activity,
or the mode of expression of Zen in action, which is entirely absent
in any other faith.
See Chapter VII.
It was for the sake of this Zen Activity that Hwang Pah gave a slap
three times to the Emperor Suen Tsung; that Lin Tsi so often burst
out into a loud outcry of Hoh (Katsu); that Nan Tsuen killed a cat at
a single stroke of his knife in the presence of his disciples; and
that Teh Shan so frequently struck questioners with his staff.
The Zen Activity was displayed by the Chinese teachers making use of
diverse things such as the staff, the brush of long hair, the
mirror, the rosary, the cup, the pitcher, the flag, the moon, the
sickle, the plough, the bow and arrow, the ball, the bell, the drum,
the cat, the dog, the duck, the earthworm--in short, any and
everything that was fit for the occasion and convenient for the
purpose. Thus Zen Activity was of pure Chinese origin, and it was
developed after the Sixth Patriarch. For this reason the
period previous to the Sixth Patriarch may be called the Age of the
Zen Doctrine, while that posterior to the same master, the Age of the
A long official staff (Shu-jo) like the crosier carried by
the abbot of the monastery.
An ornamental brush (Hos-su) often carried by Zen teachers.
The giving of a slap was first tried by the Sixth Patriarch,
who struck one of his disciples, known as Ho Tseh (Ka-taku), and it
was very frequently resorted to by the later masters. The lifting up
of the brush was first tried by Tsing Yuen in an interview with his
eldest disciple, Shih Ten, and it became a fashion among other
teachers. The loud outcry of Hoh was first made use of by Ma Tsu,
the successor of Nan Yoh. In this way the origin of the Zen Activity
can easily be traced to the Sixth Patriarch and his direct disciples.
After the Sung dynasty Chinese Zen masters seem to have given undue
weight to the Activity, and neglected the serious study of the
doctrine. This brought out the degeneration severely reproached by
some of the Japanese Zen teachers.
Next: Decline Of Zen
Previous: The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch