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Buddhism

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

Zazen And The Forgetting Of Self
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, th...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

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

The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period, and after the downfall o...

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

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

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

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

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

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

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

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung Yo-yu
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, see...

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

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

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

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...




Zen In The Dark Age








The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms and
bloodshed. Every day the sun shone on the glittering armour of
marching soldiers. Every wind sighed over the lifeless remains of
the brave. Everywhere the din of battle resounded. Out of these
fighting feudal lords stood two champions. Each of them
distinguished himself as a veteran soldier and tactician. Each of
them was known as an experienced practiser of Zen. One was
Haru-nobu (Take-da, died in 1573), better known by his
Buddhist name, Shin-gen. The other was Teru-tora (Uye-sugi,
died in 1578), better known by his Buddhist name, Ken-shin. The
character of Shin-gen can be imagined from the fact that he never
built any castle or citadel or fortress to guard himself against his
enemy, but relied on his faithful vassals and people; while that of
Ken-shin, from the fact that he provided his enemy, Shin-gen, with
salt when the latter suffered from want of it, owing to the cowardly
stratagem of a rival lord. The heroic battles waged by these two
great generals against each other are the flowers of the Japanese
war-history. Tradition has it that when Shin-gen's army was put to
rout by the furious attacks of Ken-shin's troops, and a single
warrior mounted on a huge charger rode swiftly as a sweeping wind
into Shin-gen's head-quarters, down came a blow of the heavy sword
aimed at Shin-gen's forehead, with a question expressed in the
technical terms of Zen: "What shalt thou do in such a state at such a
moment?" Having no time to draw his sword, Shin-gen parried it with
his war-fan, answering simultaneously in Zen words: "A flake of snow
on the red-hot furnace!" Had not his attendants come to the rescue
Shin-gen's life might have gone as 'a flake of snow on the red-hot
furnace.' Afterwards the horseman was known to have been Ken-shin
himself. This tradition shows us how Zen was practically lived by
the Samurais of the Dark Age.


Shin-gen practised Zen under the instruction of Kwai-sen,
who was burned to death by Nobu-naga (O-da) in 1582. See
Hon-cho-ko-so-den.

Ken-shin learned Zen under Shu-ken, a So Ta master. See
To-jo-ren-to-roku.


Although the priests of other Buddhist sects had their share in these
bloody affairs, as was natural at such a time, yet Zen monks stood
aloof and simply cultivated their literature. Consequently, when all
the people grew entirely ignorant at the end of the Dark Age, the Zen
monks were the only men of letters. None can deny this merit of
their having preserved learning and prepared for its revival in the
following period.


After the introduction of Zen into Japan many important
books were written, and the following are chief doctrinal works:
Ko-zen-go-koku-ron, by Ei-sai; Sho bo-gen-zo; Gaku-do-yo-zin-shu;
Fu-kwan-za-zen-gi; Ei-hei-ko-roku, by Do-gen; Za-zen-yo-zin-ki; and
Den-ko-roku, by Kei-zan.






Next: Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate

Previous: Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency



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