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

Zen In The Dark Age
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms an...

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

Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causatio...

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

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

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 Usual Explanation Of The Canon
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Da...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

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

Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...

Wang Yang Ming O-yo-mei And A Thief

One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of students on
his famous doctrine that all human beings are endowed with
Conscience, a thief broke into the house and hid himself in
the darkest corner. Then Wang declared aloud that every human being
is born with Conscience, and that even the thief who had got into the
house had Conscience just as the sages of old. The burglar,
overhearing these remarks, came out to ask the forgiveness of the
master; since there was no way of escape for him, and he was
half-naked, he crouched behind the students. Wang's willing
forgiveness and cordial treatment encouraged the man to ask the
question how the teacher could know such a poor wretch as he was
endowed with Conscience as the sages of old. Wang replied: "It is
your Conscience that makes you ashamed of your nakedness. You
yourself are a sage, if you abstain from everything that will put
shame on you." We firmly believe that Wang is perfectly right in
telling the thief that he was not different in nature from the sages
of old. It is no exaggeration. It is a saving truth. It is also a
most effective way of saving men out of darkness of sin. Any thief
ceases to be a thief the moment he believes in his own Conscience, or
Buddha-nature. You can never correct criminals by your severe
reproach or punishment. You can save them only through your sympathy
and love, by which you call forth their inborn Buddha-nature.
Nothing can produce more pernicious effects on criminals than to
treat them as if they were a different sort of people and confirm
them in their conviction that they are bad-natured. We greatly
regret that even in a civilized society authorities neglecting this
saving truth are driving to perdition those criminals under their
care, whom it is their duty to save.

It is not conscience in the ordinary sense of the term. It
is 'moral' principle, according to Wang, pervading through the
Universe. 'It expresses itself as Providence in Heaven, as moral
nature in man, and as mechanical laws in things.' The reader will
notice that Wang's Conscience is the nearest approach to

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