The First Step In The Mental Training

Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supreme

Enlightenment after the practice of Meditation for one week, some for

one day, some for a score of years, and some for a few months. The

practice of Meditation, however, is not simply a means for

Enlightenment, as is usually supposed, but also it is the enjoyment

of Nirvana, or the beatitude of Zen. It is a matter, of course, that

we have fully to under
tand the doctrine of Zen, and that we have to

go through the mental training peculiar to Zen in order to be


The first step in the mental training is to become the master of

external things. He who is addicted to worldly pleasures, however

learned or ignorant he may be, however high or low his social

position may be, is a servant to mere things. He cannot adapt the

external world to his own end, but he adapts himself to it. He is

constantly employed, ordered, driven by sensual objects. Instead of

taking possession of wealth, he is possessed by wealth. Instead of

drinking liquors, he is swallowed up by his liquors. Balls and music

bid him to run mad. Games and shows order him not to stay at home.

Houses, furniture, pictures, watches, chains, hats, bonnets, rings,

bracelets, shoes--in short, everything has a word to command him.

How can such a person be the master of things? To Ju (Na-kae) says:

"There is a great jail, not a jail for criminals, that contains the

world in it. Fame, gain, pride, and bigotry form its four walls.

Those who are confined in it fall a prey to sorrow and sigh for ever."

To be the ruler of things we have first to shut up all our senses,

and turn the currents of thoughts inward, and see ourselves as the

centre of the world, and meditate that we are the beings of highest

intelligence; that Buddha never puts us at the mercy of natural

forces; that the earth is in our possession; that everything on earth

is to be made use of for our noble ends; that fire, water, air,

grass, trees, rivers, hills, thunder, cloud, stars, the moon, the

sun, are at our command; that we are the law-givers of the natural

phenomena; that we are the makers of the phenomenal world; that it is

we that appoint a mission through life, and determine the fate of man.