Buddhism Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...
The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...
Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...
Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...
Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...
Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...
Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...
The Buddha Of Mercy
"Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt;
The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...
Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...
Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...
The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch
Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...
Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...
Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...
The World Is In The Making
Our assertion is far from assuming that life is now complete,...
Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...
The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...
The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...
Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...
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