Universal Life Is Universal Spirit

These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal Life is

not a blind vital force, but Creative Spirit, or Mind, or

Consciousness, which unfolds itself in myriads of ways. Everything

in the universe, according to Zen, lives and acts, and at the same

time discloses its spirit. To be alive is identically the same as to

be spiritual. As the poet has his song, so does the nightingale, so

does the cricket, so
oes the rivulet. As we are pleased or

offended, so are horses, so are dogs, so are sparrows, ants,

earthworms, and mushrooms. Simpler the body, simpler its spirit;

more complicated the body, more complicated its spirit. 'Mind

slumbers in the pebble, dreams in the plant, gathers energy in the

animal, and awakens to self-conscious discovery in the soul of man.'

It is this Creative, Universal Spirit that sends forth Aurora to

illuminate the sky, that makes Diana shed her benign rays and ├ćolus

play on his harp, wreathes spring with flowers, that clothes autumn

with gold, that induces plants to put forth blossoms, that incites

animals to be energetic, and that awakens consciousness in man. The

author of Mahavaipulya-purnabuddha-sutra expressly states our idea

when he says: "Mountains, rivers, skies, the earth: all these are

embraced in the True Spirit, enlightened and mysterious." Rin-zai

also says: "Spirit is formless, but it penetrates through the world

in the ten directions." The Sixth Patriarch expresses the

same idea more explicitly: "What creates the phenomena is Mind; what

transcends all the phenomena is Buddha."