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Buddhism

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

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

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a prominent d...

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

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...

Enlightenment Is Beyond Description And Analysis
In the foregoing chapters we have had several occasions to re...

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

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

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

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

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

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

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 ...

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

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




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
Zen Activity.


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



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