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Buddhism

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

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

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

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

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

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

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

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

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: "Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Sur...

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that sur...

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

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

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

Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms or illus...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

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




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
Buddha-nature.






Next: The Bad Are The Good In The Egg

Previous: The Parable Of The Robber Kih



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