Buddhism Buddha-nature Is The Common Source Of Morals
Furthermore, Buddha-nature or real self, being the seat of lo...
The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...
The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of
The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...
Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...
Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...
Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to have replied ...
Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, ...
Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...
The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...
Wang Yang Ming O-yo-mei And A Thief
One evening when Wang was giving a lecture to a number of stu...
The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...
The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch
The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...
Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius...
Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...
Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...
The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who
Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...
Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, see...
Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of Buddha
seemed too crude to be accepted unhesitatingly and the doctrine too
much irrelevant with and uncongenial to actual life. Since Zen
denounced, as we have seen in the previous chapter, the scriptural
authority, it is quite reasonable to have given up this view of
Buddha inculcated in the Mahayana sutras, and to set at naught those
statues and images of supernatural beings kept in veneration by the
orthodox Buddhists. Tan Hia (Tan-ka), a noted Chinese Zen master,
was found warming himself on a cold morning by the fire made of a
wooden statue of Buddha. On another occasion he was found mounting
astride the statue of a saint. Chao Chen (Jo-shu) one day happened
to find Wang Yuen (Bun-yen) worshipping the Buddha in the temple, and
forthwith struck him with his staff. "Is there not anything good in
the worshipping of the Buddha?" protested Wang Yuen. Then the master
said: "Nothing is better than anything good." These examples
fully illustrate Zen's attitude towards the objects of Buddhist
worship. Zen is not, nevertheless, iconoclastic in the commonly
accepted sense of the term, nor is it idolatrous, as Christian
missionaries are apt to suppose.
Zen is more iconoclastic than any of the Christian or the Mohammedan
denominations in the sense that it opposes the acceptance of the
petrified idea of Deity, so conventional and formal that it carries
no inner conviction of the believers. Faith dies out whenever one
comes to stick to one's fixed and immutable idea of Deity, and to
deceive oneself, taking bigotry for genuine faith. Faith must be
living and growing, and the living and growing faith should assume no
fixed form. It might seem for a superficial observer to take a fixed
form, as a running river appears constant, though it goes through
ceaseless changes. The dead faith, immutable and conventional, makes
its embracer appear religious and respectable, while it arrests his
spiritual growth. It might give its owner comfort and pride, yet it
at bottom proves to be fetters to his moral uplifting. It is on this
account that Zen declares: "Buddha is nothing but spiritual chain or
moral fetters," and, "If you remember even a name of Buddha, it would
deprive you of purity of heart." The conventional or orthodox idea
of Buddha or Deity might seem smooth and fair, like a gold chain,
being polished and hammered through generations by religious
goldsmiths; but it has too much fixity and frigidity to be worn by us.
"Strike off thy fetters, bonds that bind thee down
Of shining gold or darker, baser ore;
Know slave is slave caressed or whipped, not free;
For fetters tho' of gold, are not less strong to bind."
--The Song of the Sannyasin.
Next: Buddha Is Unnamable
Previous: The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon