Life Change And Hope


The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimistic view

of life. On the contrary, it gives us an inexhaustible source of

pleasure and hope. Let us ask you: Are you satisfied with the

present state of things? Do you not sympathize with poverty-stricken

millions living side by side with millionaires saturated with wealth?

Do you not shed tears over those hunger-bitten children who cower in

the dark lanes
f a great city? Do you not wish to put down the

stupendous oppressor--Might-is-right? Do you not want to do away

with the so-called armoured peace among nations? Do you not need to

mitigate the struggle for existence more sanguine than the war of


Life changes and is changeable; consequently, has its future. Hope

is therefore possible. Individual development, social betterment,

international peace, reformation of mankind in general, can be hoped.

Our ideal, however unpractical it may seem at the first sight, can

be realized. Moreover, the world itself, too, is changing and

changeable. It reveals new phases from time to time, and can be

moulded to subserve our purpose. We must not take life or the world

as completed and doomed as it is now. No fact verifies the belief

that the world was ever created by some other power and predestined

to be as it is now. It lives, acts, and changes. It is transforming

itself continually, just as we are changing and becoming. Thus the

doctrine of Transience supplies us with an inexhaustible source of

hope and comfort, leads us into the living universe, and introduces

us to the presence of Universal Life or Buddha.

The reader may easily understand how Zen conceives Buddha as the

living principle from the following dialogues: Is it true, sir,

asked a monk of Teu tsz (To-shi), that all the voices of Nature are

those of Buddha? Yes, certainly, replied Teu tsz. What is,

reverend sir, asked a man of Chao Cheu (Jo-shu), the holy temple

(of Buddha)? An innocent girl, replied the teacher. Who is the

master of the temple? asked the other again. A baby in her womb,

was the answer. What is, sir, asked a monk to Yen Kwan (Yen-kan),

the original body of Buddha Vairocana?[FN#147] Fetch me a pitcher

with water, said the teacher. The monk did as he was ordered. Put

it back in its place, said Yen Kwan again.[FN#148]

[FN#147] Literally, All Illuminating Buddha, the highest of the

Trikayas. See Eitel, p. 192.

[FN#148] Zen-rin-rui-shu.