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Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

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

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

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...

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

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

The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

How To Worship Buddha
The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our at...

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

True Dhyana
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on e...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a pr...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

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

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,[FN#168] 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.

[FN#168] 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

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