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Buddhism

The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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

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

Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the To...

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 ...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

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

Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

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

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

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

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

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an emine...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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

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




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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