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The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

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

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

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

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

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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 ...

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

The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung Tai-so
The Third Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who ...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz Jun-shi
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anoth...

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

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...




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, 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.

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
Buddha-nature.





Next: The Bad Are The Good In The Egg

Previous: The Parable Of The Robber Kih



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