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Buddhism

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

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that sur...

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

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

The Third Step In The Mental Training
To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, wh...

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

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

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

The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followin...

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

Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to have replied ...

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

Three Important Elements Of Zen
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred year...

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...

The Betterment Of Life
Again, people nowadays seem to feel keenly the wound of the ...

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

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...




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 was
introduced into Japan by Ei-sai and Do-gen. Nobilities that had so
long governed the island were nobilities no more. Enervated by their
luxuries, effeminated by their ease, made insipient by their
debauchery, they were entirely powerless. All that they possessed in
reality was the nominal rank and hereditary birth. On the contrary,
despised as the ignorant, sneered at as the upstart, put in contempt
as the vulgar, the Samurai or military class had everything in their
hands. It was the time when Yori-tomo (1148-1199) conquered
all over the empire, and established the Samurai Government at
Kama-kura. It was the time when even the emperors were dethroned or
exiled at will by the Samurai. It was the time when even the
Buddhist monks frequently took up arms to force their will.
It was the time when Japan's independence was endangered by Kublai,
the terror of the world. It was the time when the whole nation was
full of martial spirit. It is beyond doubt that to these rising
Samurais, rude and simple, the philosophical doctrines of Buddhism,
represented by Ten Dai and Shin Gon, were too complicated and too
alien to their nature. But in Zen they could find something
congenial to their nature, something that touched their chord of
sympathy, because Zen was the doctrine of chivalry in a certain sense.


The Samurai Government was first established by Yoritomo, of
the Minamoto family, in 1186, and Japan was under the control of the
military class until 1867, when the political power was finally
restored to the Imperial house.

They were degenerated monks (who were called monk-soldiers),
belonging to great monasteries such as En-ryaku-ji (Hi-yei),
Ko-fuku-ji (at Nara), Mi-i-dera, etc.





Next: The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai

Previous: The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect



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