The Third Step In The Mental Training

To be the lord of mind is more essential to Enlightenment, which, in

a sense, is the clearing away of illusions, the putting out of mean

desires and passions, and the awakening of the innermost wisdom. He

alone can attain to real happiness who has perfect control over his

passions tending to disturb the equilibrium of his mind. Such

passions as anger, hatred, jealousy, sorrow, worry, grudge, and fear

always untune on
's mood and break the harmony of one's mind. They

poison one's body, not in a figurative, but in a literal sense of the

word. Obnoxious passions once aroused never fail to bring about the

physiological change in the nerves, in the organs, and eventually in

the whole constitution, and leave those injurious impressions that

make one more liable to passions of similar nature.

We do not mean, however, that we ought to be cold and passionless, as

the most ancient Hinayanists were used to be. Such an attitude has

been blamed by Zen masters. "What is the best way of living for us

monks?" asked a monk to Yun Ku (Un-go), who replied: "You had better

live among mountains." Then the monk bowed politely to the teacher,

who questioned: "How did you understand me?" "Monks, as I

understood," answered the man, "ought to keep their hearts as

immovable as mountains, not being moved either by good or by evil,

either by birth or by death, either by prosperity or by adversity."

Hereupon Yun Ku struck the monk with his stick and said: "You forsake

the Way of the old sages, and will bring my followers to perdition!"

Then, turning to another monk, inquired: "How did you understand me?"

"Monks, as I understand," replied the man, "ought to shut their eyes

to attractive sights and close their ears to musical notes." "You,

too," exclaimed Yun Ka, "forsake the Way of the old sages, and will

bring my followers to perdition!" An old woman, to quote another

example repeatedly told by Zen masters, used to give food and

clothing to a monk for a score of years. One day she instructed a

young girl to embrace and ask him: "How do you feel now?" "A

lifeless tree," replied the monk coolly, "stands on cold rock. There

is no warmth, as if in the coldest season of the year." The matron,

being told of this, observed: "Oh that I have made offerings to such

a vulgar fellow for twenty years!" She forced the monk to leave the

temple and reduced it to ashes.

These instances are quoted from Zen-rin-rui-shu.

If you want to secure Dhyana, let go of your anxieties and failures

in the past; let bygones be bygones; cast aside enmity, shame, and

trouble, never admit them into your brain; let pass the imagination

and anticipation of future hardships and sufferings; let go of all

your annoyances, vexations, doubts, melancholies, that impede your

speed in the race of the struggle for existence. As the miser sets

his heart on worthless dross and accumulates it, so an unenlightened

person clings to worthless mental dross and spiritual rubbish, and

makes his mind a dust-heap. Some people constantly dwell on the

minute details of their unfortunate circumstances, to make themselves

more unfortunate than they really are; some go over and over again

the symptoms of their disease to think themselves into serious

illness; and some actually bring evils on them by having them

constantly in view and waiting for them. A man asked Poh Chang

(Hyaku-jo): "How shall I learn the Law?" "Eat when you are hungry,"

replied the teacher; " sleep when you are tired. People do not

simply eat at table, but think of hundreds of things; they do not

simply sleep in bed, but think of thousands of things."

E-gen and Den-to-roku.

A ridiculous thing it is, in fact, that man or woman, endowed with

the same nature as Buddha's, born the lord of all material objects,

is ever upset by petty cares, haunted by the fearful phantoms of his

or her own creation, and burning up his or her energy in a fit of

passion, wasting his or her vitality for the sake of foolish or

insignificant things.

It is a man who can keep the balance of his mind under any

circumstances, who can be calm and serene in the hottest strife of

life, that is worthy of success, reward, respect, and reputation, for

he is the master of men. It was at the age of forty-seven that Wang

Yang Ming (O-yo-mei) won a splendid victory over the rebel

army which threatened the throne of the Ming dynasty. During that

warfare Wang was giving a course of lectures to a number of students

at the headquarters of the army, of which he was the

Commander-in-chief. At the very outset of the battle a messenger

brought him the news of defeat of the foremost ranks. All the

students were terror-stricken and grew pale at the unfortunate

tidings, but the teacher was not a whit disturbed by it. Some time

after another messenger brought in the news of complete rout of the

enemy. All the students, enraptured, stood up and cheered, but he

was as cool as before, and did not break off lecturing. Thus the

practiser of Zen has so perfect control over his heart that he can

keep presence of mind under an impending danger, even in the presence

of death itself.

The founder of the Wang School of Confucianism, a practiser

of Meditation, who was born in 1472, and died at the age of

fifty-seven in 1529.

It was at the age of twenty-three that Haku-in got on board a boat

bound for the Eastern Provinces, which met with a tempest and was

almost wrecked. All the passengers were laid low with fear and

fatigue, but Haku-in enjoyed a quiet sleep during the storm, as if he

were lying on a comfortable bed. It was in the fifth of Mei-ji era

that Doku-on lived for some time in the city of Tokyo, whom

some Christian zealots attempted to murder. One day he met with a

few young men equipped with swords at the gate of his temple. "We

want to see Doku-on; go and tell him," said they to the priest. "I

am Doku-on," replied he calmly, "whom you want to see, gentlemen.

What can I do for you?" "We have come to ask you a favour; we are

Christians; we want your hoary head." So saying they were ready to

attack him, who, smiling, replied: "All right, gentlemen. Behead me

forthwith, if you please." Surprised by this unexpected boldness on

the part of the priest, they turned back without harming even a hair

of the old Buddhist.

Doku On (Ogino), a distinguished Zen master, an abbot of

So-koku-ji, who was born in 1818, and died in 1895.

Kin-sei-zen-rin-gen-ko-roku, by D. Mori.

These teachers could through long practice constantly keep their

minds buoyant, casting aside useless encumbrances of idle thoughts;

bright, driving off the dark cloud of melancholy; tranquil, putting

down turbulent waves of passion; pure, cleaning away the dust and

ashes of illusion; and serene, brushing off the cobwebs of doubt and

fear. The only means of securing all this is to realize the

conscious union with the Universal Life through the Enlightened

Consciousness, which can be awakened by dint of Dhyana.