Monday, August 25, 2008

Religion of the Samurai Refutation Of Delusive And Prejudiced (doctrine)

According to Confucianism and Taoism all sorts of beings, such as men and beasts, were born out of and brought up by the Great Path of Emptiness. That is to say, the Path by the operation of its own law gave rise naturally to the primordial Gas, and that Gas produced Heaven and Earth, which brought forth thousands of things. Accordingly the wise and the unwise, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the happy and the miserable, are predestined to be so by the heavenly flat, and are at the mercy of Time and Providence. Therefore they come back after death to Heaven and Earth, from which they return to the of Emptiness. The main purpose of these outside teachings is simply to establish morals with regard to bodily actions, but not to trace life to its First Cause. They tell of nothing beyond the phenomenal universe in their explanation of thousands of things. Though they point out the Great Path as the origin, yet they never explain in detail the direct, and the indirect cause of the phenomenal universe, or how it was created, or how it will be destroyed, how life came forth, whither it will go, good, evil. Therefore the followers of these doctrines adhere to them as the perfect teachings without knowing that they are merely temporary.
A. 'Those of Confucianists and Taoists.'
Confucianists are not of exactly the same opinion as Taoists respecting the creation. The Great Path here mentioned refers exclusively to Taoism.
The Great Path of Emptiness, Hu Wu Ta Tao, is the technical name for the Taoist conception of the Absolute. It is something existent in an undeveloped state before the creation of the phenomenal universe. According to Tao Teh King, it is 'self-existent, unchangeable, all-pervading, and the mother of all things. It is unnamable, but it is sometimes called the Path or the Great.' It is also called the Emptiness, as it is entirely devoid of relative activities.
Confucianism mainly treats of ethical problems, but Taoism is noted for its metaphysical speculation.
Now I raise, in brief, a few questions to point out their weaknesses. If everything in the universe, as they say, came out of the Great Path of Emptiness, that Great Path itself should be the cause of of wisdom, of folly, of life, of death. It ought to be the source of prosperity of adversity, of fortune of misfortune. If this origin exist to all eternity, it must be possible neither to remove follies, villainies, calamities, and wars, nor to promote wisdom, good, happiness, and welfare. Of what use are the teachings of Lao Tsz and Chwang Tsz? The Path, besides, should have reared the tiger and the wolf, given birth to Kieh and Cheu, caused the premature deaths of Yen and Jan, and placed I and Tsi in their most lamentable condition. How could it be called a noble ?
One of the greatest Taoist philosophers, and the author of the book entitled after his name. He flourished 339-327 B.C.
The last Emperor of the Hia dynasty, notorious for his vices. His reign was 1818-1767 B.C.
The last Emperor of the Yin dynasty, one of the worst despots. His reign was 1154-1122 B.C.
Yen Hwui , a most beloved disciple of Confucius, known as a wise and virtuous scholar.
Jan Poh Niu , a prominent disciple, of Confucius, distinguished for his virtues.
Poh I , the elder brother of Tsi, who distinguished himself by his faith and wisdom at the downfall of the Yin dynasty.
Shuh Tsi , the brother of I, with whom he shared the same fate.
Again, if, as they say, thousands of things could come naturally into existence without direct or indirect causes, they should come forth in all places where there are neither direct nor indirect causes. For instance, a stone would bring forth grass, while grass would give birth to man, and man would beget beasts, etc. In addition to this they would come out all at the same time, nothing being produced before or after the others. They would come into existence all at the same moment, nothing being produced sooner or later than the others. Peace and welfare might be secured without the help of the wise and the good. Humanity and righteousness might be acquired without instruction and study. One might even become an immortal genius without taking the miraculous medicine. Why did Lao Tsz, Chwang Tsz, Cheu Kung and Confucius do such a useless task as to found their doctrines and lay down the precepts for men?
Degenerated Taoists maintained that they could prepare a certain miraculous draught, by the taking of which one could become immortal.
Cheu Kung , a most noted statesman and scholar, the younger brother of the Emperor Wu , the founder of the Chen dynasty.
Again, if all things, as they say, were made of the primordial Gas , how could an infant, just born of the Gas, who had never learned to think, or love, or hate, or to be naughty, or wilful ? If, as they may answer, the infant as soon as it was born could quite naturally love or hate, etc., as it wished, it could gain the Five Virtues and the Six Acquirements, as it wished. Why does it wait for some direct or indirect causes , and to acquire them through study and instruction?
Humanity, Uprightness, Propriety, Wisdom, Sincerity.
Reading, Arithmetic, Etiquette, Archery, Horsemanship, Music.
Again, they might say life suddenly came into existence, it being formed of the Gas, and suddenly goes to naught , the Gas being dispersed. What, then, are the spirits of the dead ? Besides, there are in history some instances of persons who could see through previous existences, or of persons who recollected the events in their past lives. Therefore we know that the present is the continuation of the past life, and that it did not come into existence on a sudden by the formation of a Gas. Again, there are some historical facts proving that the supernatural powers of spirits will not be lost. Thus we know that life is not to be suddenly reduced to naught after death by the dispersion of the Gas. Therefore sacrifices, services, and supplications are mentioned in the sacred books. Even more than that! Are there not some instances, ancient and modern, of persons who revived after death to tell the matters concerning the unseen world, or who appeared to move the hearts of their wives and children a while after death, or who took vengeance , or who returned favours ?
According to Tsin Shu, a man, Pao Tsing by name, told his parents, when he was five years, that he had been in the previous life a son to Li, an inhabitant of Kuh Yang, and that he had fallen into the well and died. Thereupon the parents called on Li, and found, to their astonishment, that the boy's statement was actually coincident with the fact.
Yan Hu, a native of Tsin Chen, recollected, at the age of five, that he had been a son to the next-door neighbour, and that he had left his ring under a mulberry-tree close by the fence of the house. Thereupon he went with his nurse and successfully restored it, to the astonishment of the whole family.
All the ancient sages of China believed in spirits, and propitiated them by sacrifices.
The sacred books of Confucianism, Shu King and Li Ki.
Pang Shang, the Prince of Tsi, is said to have appeared after his death.
Poh Yiu, of Ching, is said to have become an epidemic spirit to take vengeance on his enemies.
According to Tso Chwen , when Wei Wu, a General of Tsin, fought with Tu Hwui, the dead father of his concubine appeared, and prevented the march of the enemy in order to return favours done to him.
The outside scholars might ask, by way of objection, if one live as a spirit after death, the spirits of the past would fill up streets and roads, and be seen by men; and why are there no eye-witnesses? I say in reply that there are the Six Worlds for the dead, they do not necessarily live in the world of spirits. they must die and be born again among men or other beings. How can the spirits of the past always live in a crowd? Moreover, if man was born of Gas which gave rise to Heaven and Earth, and which was unconscious from the very beginning, how could he be conscious all on a sudden after his birth? Why are trees and grass which were also formed of the same Gas unconscious? Again, if, , the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the wise and the unwise, the good and the bad, the happy and the unhappy, the lucky and the unlucky, are predestinated alike by heavenly decree, why are so many destined by heaven to be poor and so few to be rich? Why so many to be low and so few to be high? In short, why are so many destined to be unlucky and so few to be lucky?
The heaven, or the world for Devas; the earth, or the world for men; the world for Asuras; the world for Petras; the world for beasts; hell.
If it be the will of Heaven to bless so limited a number of persons at all, and to curse so many, why is Heaven so partial? Even more than that! Are there not many who hold a high position without any meritorious conduct, while some are placed in a low one in spite of their keeping to conduct? Are there not many who are rich without any virtues, while some are poor in spite of their virtues? Are there not the unjust who are fortunate, while the just are unfortunate? Are there not the humane, who die young, while the inhuman enjoy long lives? In short, the righteous to perish, while the unrighteous prosper! Thus that all this depends on the heavenly will, which causes the unrighteous to prosper and the righteous to perish. How can there be reward for the good , that Heaven blesses the good and shows grace to the humble? How can there be punishment for the bad , that Heaven curses the evil and inflicts punishment on the proud?
Shu King and I King.
Again, if even all such evils as wars, treacheries, and rebellions depend on the heavenly will, those Sages would be in the wrong who, in the statement of their teaching, censure or chastise men, but not Heaven or the heavenly will. Therefore, even if Shi is full of reproofs against maladministration, while Shu of eulogies for the reigns of the wisest monarchs-even if Propriety is recommended as a most effectual means of creating peace between the governors and the governed, while Music ameliorating the customs and manners of the people--still, they can hardly be said to realize the Will on High or to conform to the wishes of the Creator. Hence you must acknowledge that those who devote themselves to the study of these doctrines are not able to trace man to his origin.
Shu King, a famous book of odes.
Shu King, the records of the administrations of the wisest monarchs of old.
Li Ki, the book on proprieties and etiquette.
It is said in Hiao King that music is the best means to improve customs and manners.

Religion of the Samurai The Training Of The Mind And The Practice Of Meditation

1. The Method of Instruction Adopted by Zen Masters.
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by both Chinese and Japanese masters, and in this chapter we propose to sketch the practice of mental training and the method of practising Dhyana or Meditation. Zen teachers never instruct their pupils by means of explanation or argument, but urge them to solve by themselves through the practice of Meditation such problems as--'What is Buddha?' What is self?' 'What is the spirit of Bodhidharma?' 'What is life and death?' 'What is the real nature of mind?' and so on. Ten Shwai , for instance, was wont to put three questions to the following effect: Your study and discipline aim at the understanding of the real nature of mind. Where does the real nature of mind exist? When you understand the real nature of mind, you are free from birth and death. How can you be saved when you are at the verge of death? When you are free from birth and death, you know where you go after death. Where do you go when your body is reduced to elements? The pupils are not requested to express their solution of these problems in the form of a theory or an argument, but to show how they have grasped the profound meaning implied in these problems, how they have established their conviction, and how they can carry out what they grasped in their daily life.
The famous three difficult questions, known as the Three Gates of Teu Shwai , who died in 1091. See Mu Mon Kwan, xlvii.
A Chinese Zen master tells us that the method of instruction adopted by Zen may aptly be compared with that of an old burglar who taught his son the art of burglary. The burglar one evening said to his little son, whom he desired to instruct in the secret of his trade: "Would you not, my dear boy, be a great burglar like myself?" "Yes, father," replied the promising young man." "Come with me, then. I will teach you the art." So saying, the man went out, followed by his son. Finding a rich mansion in a certain village, the veteran burglar made a hole in the wall that surrounded it. Through that hole they crept into the yard, and opening a window with complete ease broke into the house, where they found a huge box firmly locked up as if its contents were very valuable articles. The old man clapped his hands at the lock, which, strange to tell, unfastened itself. Then he removed the cover and told his son to get into it and pick up treasures as fast as he could. No sooner had the boy entered the box than the father replaced the cover and locked it up. He then exclaimed at the top of his voice: "Thief! thief! thief! thief!" Thus, having aroused the inmates, he went out without taking anything. All the house was in utter confusion for a while; but finding nothing stolen, they went to bed again. The boy sat holding his breath a short while; but making up his mind to get out of his narrow prison, began to scratch the bottom of the box with his finger-nails. The servant of the house, listening to the noise, supposed it to be a mouse gnawing at the inside of the box; so she came out, lamp in hand, and unlocked it. On removing the cover, she was greatly surprised to find the boy instead of a little mouse, and gave alarm. In the meantime the boy got out of the box and went down into the yard, hotly pursued by the people. He ran as fast as possible toward the well, picked up a large stone, threw it down into it, and hid himself among the bushes. The pursuers, thinking the thief fell into the well, assembled around it, and were looking into it, while the boy crept out unnoticed through the hole and went home in safety. Thus the burglar taught his son how to rid himself of overwhelming difficulties by his own efforts; so also Zen teachers teach their pupils how to overcome difficulties that beset them on all sides and work out salvation by themselves.
Wu Tsu , the teacher of Yuen Wu .
2. 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 understand the doctrine of Zen, and that we have to go through the mental training peculiar to Zen in order to be Enlightened.
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 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.
3. The Next Step in the Mental Training.
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our bodies. With most of the unenlightened, body holds absolute control over Self. Every order of the former has to be faithfully obeyed by the latter. Even if Self revolts against the tyranny of body, it is easily trampled down under the brutal hoofs of bodily passion. For example, Self wants to be temperate for the sake of health, and would fain pass by the resort for drinking, but body would force Self into it. Self at times lays down a strict dietetic rule for himself, but body would threaten Self to act against both the letter and spirit of the rule. Now Self aspires to get on a higher place among sages, but body pulls Self down to the pavement of masses. Now Self proposes to give some money to the poor, but body closes the purse tightly. Now Self admires divine beauty, but body compels him to prefer sensuality. Again, Self likes spiritual liberty, but body confines him in its dungeons.
Therefore, to got Enlightened, we must establish the authority of Self over the whole body. We must use our bodies as we use our clothes in order to accomplish our noble purposes. Let us command body not to shudder under a cold shower-bath in inclement weather, not to be nervous from sleepless nights, not to be sick with any sort of food, not to groan under a surgeon's knife, not to succumb even if we stand a whole day in the midsummer sun, not to break down under any form of disease, not to be excited in the thick of battlefield--in brief, we have to control our body as we will.
Sit in a quiet place and meditate in imagination that body is no more bondage to you, that it is your machine for your work of life, that you are not flesh, that you are the governor of it, that you can use it at pleasure, and that it always obeys your order faithfully. Imagine body as separated from you. When it cries out, stop it instantly, as a mother does her baby. When it disobeys you, correct it by discipline, as a master does his pupil. When it is wanton, tame it down, as a horse-breaker does his wild horse. When it is sick, prescribe to it, as a doctor does to his patient. Imagine that you are not a bit injured, even if it streams blood; that you are entirely safe, even if it is drowned in water or burned by fire.
E-Shun, a pupil and sister of Ryo-an, a famous Japanese master, burned herself calmly sitting cross-legged on a pile of firewood which consumed her. She attained to the complete mastery of her body. Socrates' self was never poisoned, even if his person was destroyed by the venom he took. Abraham Lincoln himself stood unharmed, even if his body was laid low by the assassin. Masa-shige was quite safe, even if his body was hewed by the traitors' swords. Those martyrs that sang at the stake to the praise of God could never be burned, even if their bodies were reduced to ashes, nor those seekers after truth who were killed by ignorance and superstition. Is it not a great pity to see a man endowed with divine spirit and power easily upset by a bit of headache, or crying as a child under a surgeon's knife, or apt to give up the ghost at the coming of little danger, or trembling through a little cold, or easily laid low by a bit of indisposition, or yielding to trivial temptation?
Ryo an , the founder of the monastery of Sai-jo-ji, near the city of Odawara. See To-jo-ren-to-roku.
It is no easy matter to be the dictator of body. It is not a matter of theory, but of practice. You must train your body that you may enable it to bear any sort of suffering, and to stand unflinched in the face of hardship. It is for this that So-rai laid himself on a sheet of straw-mat spread on the ground in the coldest nights of winter, or was used to go up and down the roof of his house, having himself clad in heavy armour. It is for this that ancient Japanese soldiers led extremely simple lives, and that they often held the meeting-of-perseverance, in which they exposed themselves to the coldest weather in winter or to the hottest weather in summer. It is for this that Katsu Awa practised fencing in the middle of night in a deep forest.
One of the greatest scholars of the Tokugawa period, who died in 1728. See Etsu-wa-bun-ko.
The soldiers of the Tokugawa period were used to hold such a meeting.
Ki-saburo, although he was a mere outlaw, having his left arm half cut at the elbow in a quarrel, ordered his servant to cut it off with a saw, and during the operation he could calmly sit talking and laughing with his friends. Hiko-kuro , a Japanese loyalist of note, one evening happened to come to a bridge where two robbers were lying in wait for him. They lay fully stretching themselves, each with his head in the middle of the bridge, that he might not pass across it without touching them. Hiko-kuro was not excited nor disheartened, but calmly approached the vagabonds and passed the bridge, treading upon their heads, which act so frightened them that they took to their heels without doing any harm to him.
A well-known loyalist in the Tokugawa period, who died in 1793.
The history of Zen is full of the anecdotes that show Zen priests were the lords of their bodies. Here we quote a single example by way of illustration: Ta Hwui , once having had a boil on his hip, sent for a doctor, who told him that it was fatal, that he must not sit in Meditation as usual. Then Ta Hwui said to the physician: "I must sit in Meditation with all my might during my remaining days, for if your diagnosis be not mistaken, I shall die before long." He sat day and night in constant Meditation, quite forgetful of his boil, which was broken and gone by itself.
Sho-bo-gen-zo-zui-mon-ki, by Do-gen.
4. 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 one'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 , 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 : "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 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 , 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.
5. Zazen, or the Sitting in Meditation.
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, and eventually works out destiny. Therefore we must practically sow optimism, and habitually nourish it in order to reap the blissful fruit of Enlightenment. The sole means of securing mental calmness is the practice of Zazen, or the sitting in Meditation. This method was known in India as Yoga as early as the Upanisad period, and developed by the followers of the Yoga system. But Buddhists sharply distinguished Zazen from Yoga, and have the method peculiar to themselves. Kei-zan describes the method to the following effect: 'Secure a quiet room neither extremely light nor extremely dark, neither very warm nor very cold, a room, if you can, in the Buddhist temple located in a beautiful mountainous district. You should not practise Zazen in a place where a conflagration or a flood or robbers may be likely to disturb you, nor should you sit in a place close by the sea or drinking-shops or brothel-houses, or the houses of widows and of maidens or buildings for music, nor should you live in close proximity to the place frequented by kings, ministers, powerful statesmen, ambitious or insincere persons. You must not sit in Meditation in a windy or very high place lest you should get ill. Be sure not to let the wind or smoke get into your room, not to expose it to rain and storm. Keep your room clean. Keep it not too light by day nor too dark by night. Keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. Do not sit leaning against a wall, or a chair, or a screen. You must not wear soiled clothes or beautiful clothes, for the former are the cause of illness, while the latter the cause of attachment. Avoid the Three Insufficiencies-that is to say, insufficient clothes, insufficient food, and insufficient sleep. Abstain from all sorts of uncooked or hard or spoiled or unclean food, and also from very delicious dishes, because the former cause troubles in your alimentary canal, while the latter cause you to covet after diet. Eat and drink just too appease your hunger and thirst, never mind whether the food be tasty or not. Take your meals regularly and punctually, and never sit in Meditation immediately after any meal. Do not practise Dhyana soon after you have taken a heavy dinner, lest you should get sick thereby. Sesame, barley, corn, potatoes, milk, and the like are the best material for your food. Frequently wash your eyes, face, hands, and feet, and keep them cool and clean.
See Yoga Sutra with the Commentary of Bhoja Raja , pp. 102-104.
Kei-zan , the founder of So-ji-ji, the head temple of the So To Sect of Zen, who died at the age of fifty-eight in 1325. He sets forth the doctrine of Zen and the method of practising Zazen in his famous work, entitled Za-zen-yo-jin-ki.
'There are two postures in Zazen--that is to say, the crossed-leg sitting, and the half crossed-leg sitting. Seat yourself on a thick cushion, putting it right under your haunch. Keep your body so erect that the tip of the nose and the navel are in one perpendicular line, and both ears and shoulders are in the same plane. Then place the right foot upon the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh, so as the legs come across each other. Next put your right hand with the palm upward on the left foot, and your left hand on the right palm with the tops of both the thumbs touching each other. This is the posture called the crossed-leg sitting. You may simply place the left foot upon the right thigh, the position of the hands being the same as in the cross-legged sitting. This posture is named the half crossed-leg sitting.'
'Do not shut your eyes, keep them always open during whole Meditation. Do not breathe through the mouth; press your tongue against the roof of the mouth, putting the upper lips and teeth together with the lower. Swell your abdomen so as to hold the breath in the belly; breathe rhythmically through the nose, keeping a measured time for inspiration and expiration. Count for some time either the inspiring or the expiring breaths from one to ten, then beginning with one again. Concentrate your attention on your breaths going in and out as if you are the sentinel standing at the gate of the nostrils. If you do some mistake in counting, or be forgetful of the breath, it is evident that your mind is distracted.'
Chwang Tsz seems to have noticed that the harmony of breathing is typical of the harmony of mind, since he says: "The true men of old did not dream when they slept. Their breathing came deep and silently. The breathing of true men comes from his heels, while men generally breathe from their throats." At any rate, the counting of breaths is an expedient for calming down of mind, and elaborate rules are given in the Zen Sutra, but Chinese and Japanese Zen masters do not lay so much stress on this point as Indian teachers.
Chwang Tsz, vol. iii., p. 2.
6. The Breathing Exercise of the Yogi.
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somewhat similar in its method and end to those of Zen. We quote here Yogi Ramacharaka to show how modern Yogis practise it: " Stand or sit erect. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale steadily, first filling the lower part of the lungs, which is accomplished by bringing into play the diaphragm, which, descending, exerts a gentle pressure on the abdominal organs, pushing forward the front walls of the abdomen. Then fill the middle part of the lungs, pushing out the lower ribs, breastbone, and chest. Then fill the higher portion of the lungs, protruding the upper chest, thus lifting the chest, including the upper six or seven pairs of ribs. In the final movement the lower part of the abdomen will be slightly drawn in, which movement gives the lungs a support, and also helps to fill the highest part of the lungs. At the first reading it may appear that this breath consists of three distinct movements. This, however, is not the correct idea. The inhalation is continuous, the entire chest cavity from the lower diaphragm to the highest point of the chest in the region of the collar-bone being expanded with a uniform movement. Avoid a jerking series of inhalations, and strive to attain a steady, continuous action. Practice will soon overcome the tendency to divide the inhalation into three movements, and will result in a uniform continuous breath. You will be able to complete the inhalation in a couple of seconds after a little practice. Retain the breath a few seconds. Exhale quite slowly, holding the chest in a firm position, and drawing the abdomen in a little and lifting it upward slowly as the air leaves the lungs. When the air is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen. A little practice will render this part of exercise easy, and the movement once acquired will be afterwards performed almost automatically."
Hatha Yoga, pp. 112, 113.
7. Calmness of Mind.
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical exercise than for mental balance, and it will be beneficial if you take that exercise before or after Meditation. Japanese masters mostly bold it very important to push forward. The lowest part of the abdomen during Zazen, and they are right so far as the present writer's personal experiences go.
'If you feel your mind distracted, look at the tip of the nose; never lose sight of it for some time, or look at your own palm, and let not your mind go out of it, or gaze at one spot before you.' This will greatly help you in restoring the equilibrium of your mind. Chwang Tsz thought that calmness of mind is essential to sages, and said: "The stillness of the sages does not belong to them as a consequence of their skilful ability; all things are not able to disturb their minds; it is on this account that they are still. When water is still, its clearness shows the beard and eyebrows . It is a perfect level, and the greatest artificer takes his rule from it. Such is the clearness of still water, and how much greater is that of the human spirit? The still mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth, the glass of all things."
Forget all worldly concerns, expel all cares and anxieties, let go of passions and desires, give up ideas and thoughts, set your mind at liberty absolutely, and make it as clear as a burnished mirror. Thus let flow your inexhaustible fountain of purity, let open your inestimable treasure of virtue, bring forth your inner hidden nature of goodness, disclose your innermost divine wisdom, and waken your Enlightened Consciousness to see Universal Life within you. "Zazen enables the practiser," says Kei-zan, "to open up his mind, to see his own nature, to become conscious of mysteriously pure and bright spirit, or eternal light within him."
Chwang Tsz, vol. v., p. 5.
Once become conscious of Divine Life within you, yon can see it in your brethren, no matter how different they may be in circumstances, in abilities, in characters, in nationalities, in language, in religion, and in race. You can see it in animals, vegetables, and minerals, no matter how diverse they may be in form, no matter how wild and ferocious some may seem in nature, no matter how unfeeling in heart some may seem, no matter how devoid of intelligence some may appear, no matter how insignificant some may be, no matter how simple in construction some may be, no matter how lifeless some may seem. You can see that the whole universe is Enlightened and penetrated by Divine Life.
8. Zazen and the Forgetting of Self.
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, the root of all Sin, folly, vice, and evil, since it enables us to see that every being is endowed with divine spirituality in common with men. It is selfishness that throws dark shadows on life, just as it is not the sun but the body that throws shadow before it. It is the self-same selfishness that gave rise to the belief in the immortality of soul, in spite of its irrationality, foolishness, and superstition. Individual self should be a poor miserable thing if it were not essentially connected with the Universal Life. We can always enjoy pure happiness when we are united with nature, quite forgetful of our poor self. When you look, for example, into the smiling face of a pretty baby, and smile with it, or listen to the sweet melody of a songster and sing with it, you completely forget your poor self at that enraptured moment. But your feelings of beauty and happiness are for ever gone when you resume your self, and begin to consider them after your own selfish ideas. To forget self and identify it with nature is to break down its limitation and to set it at liberty. To break down petty selfishness and extend it into Universal Self is to unfetter and deliver it from bondage. It therefore follows that salvation can be secured not by the continuation of individuality in another life, but by the realization of one's union with Universal Life, which is immortal, free, limitless, eternal, and bliss itself. This is easily effected by Zazen.
9. Zen and Supernatural Power.
Yoga claims that various supernatural powers can be acquired by Meditation, but Zen does not make any such absurd claims. It rather disdains those who are believed to have acquired supernatural powers by the practice of austerities. The following traditions clearly show this spirit: "When Fah Yung lived in Mount Niu Teu he used to receive every morning the offerings of flowers from hundreds of birds, and was believed to have supernatural powers. But after his Enlightenment by the instruction of the Fourth Patriarch, the birds ceased to make offering, because be became a being too divine to be seen by inferior animals." "Hwang Pah , one day going up Mount Tien Tai , which was believed to have been inhabited by Arhats with supernatural powers, met with a monk whose eyes emitted strange light. They went along the pass talking with each other for a short while until they came to a river roaring with torrent. There being no bridge, the master bad to stop at the shore; but his companion crossed the river walking on the water and beckoned to Hwang Pah to follow him. Thereupon Hwang Pah said: 'If I knew thou art an Arhat, I would have doubled you up before thou got over there!' The monk then understood the spiritual attainment of Hwang Pah, and praised him as a true Mahayanist." "On one occasion Yang Shan saw a stranger monk flying through the air. When that monk came down and approached him with a respectful salutation, he asked: 'Where art thou from? 'Early this morning,' replied the other, 'I set out from India.' 'Why,' said the teacher, 'art thou so late?' 'I stopped,' responded the man, 'several times to look at beautiful sceneries.' Thou mayst have supernatural powers,' exclaimed Yang Shan, 'yet thou must give back the Spirit of Buddha to me.' Then the monk praised Yang Shan saying: 'I have come over to China in order to worship Manyjucri, and met unexpectedly with Minor Shakya,' and, after giving the master some palm leaves he brought from India, went back through the air.'"
'Yoga Aphorisms of Patanyjali,' chap. iii.
A prominent disciple of the Fourth Patriarch, the founder of the Niu Teu School of Zen, who died in A.D. 675.
Manyjucri is a legendary Bodhisattva, who became an object of worship of some Mahayanists. He is treated as a personification of transcendental wisdom.
Hwui Yuen and Sho-bo-gen-zo.
It is quite reasonable that Zenists distinguish supernatural powers from spiritual uplifting, the former an acquirement of Devas, or of Asuras, or of Arhats, or of even animals, and the latter as a nobler accomplishment attained only by the practisers of Mahayanism. Moreover, they use the term supernatural power in a meaning entirely different from the original one. Lin Tsi says, for instance: "There are six supernatural powers of Buddha: He is free from the temptation of form, living in the world of form; He is free from the temptation of sound, living in the world of sound; He is free from the temptation of smell, living in the world of smell; He is free from the temptation of taste, living in the world of taste; He is free from the temptation of Dharma, living in the world of Dharma. These are six supernatural powers."
The things or objects, not of sense, but of mind.
Lin Tsi Luh .
Sometimes Zenists use the term as if it meant what we call Zen Activity, or the free display of Zen in action, as you see in the following examples. Tung Shan was on one occasion attending on his teacher Yun Yen , who asked: "What are your supernatural powers?" Tung Shan, saying nothing, clasped his hands on his breast, and stood up before Yun Yen. "How do you display your supernatural powers?" questioned the teacher again. Then Tung Shan said farewell and went out. Wei Shan one day was taking a nap, and seeing his disciple Yang Shan coming into the room, turned his face towards the wall. "You need not, Sir," said Yang Shan, "stand on ceremony, as I am your disciple." Wei Shan seemed to try to get up, so Yang Shan went out; but Wei Shan called him back and said: "I shall tell you of a dream I dreamed." The other inclined his head as if to listen. "Now," said Wei Shan, "divine my fortune by the dream." Thereupon Yang Shan fetched a basin of water and a towel and gave them to the master, who washed his face thereby. By-and-by Hiang Yen came in, to whom Wei Shan said: "We displayed supernatural powers a moment ago. It was not such supernatural powers as are shown by Hinayanists." "I know it, Sir," replied the other, "though I was down below." "Say, then, what it was," demanded the master. Then Hiang Yen made tea and gave a cup to Wei Shan, who praised the two disciples, saying: "You surpass Çariputra and Maudgalyayana in your wisdom and supernatural powers."
One of the prominent disciples of Shakya Muni, who became famous for his wisdom.
One of the eminent disciples of Shakya Muni, noted for his supernatural powers.
Again, ancient Zenists did not claim that there was any mysterious element in their spiritual attainment, as Do-gen says unequivocally respecting his Enlightenment: "I recognized only that my eyes are placed crosswise above the nose that stands lengthwise, and that I was not deceived by others. I came home from China with nothing in my hand. There is nothing mysterious in Buddhism. Time passes as it is natural, the sun rising in the east, and the moon setting into the west."
10. True Dhyana.
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zazen. "We practise Dhyana in sitting, in standing, and in walking," says one of the Japanese Zenists. Lin Tsi also says: "To concentrate one's mind, or to dislike noisy places, and seek only for stillness, is the characteristic of heterodox Dhyana." It is easy to keep self-possession in a place of tranquillity, yet it is by no means easy to keep mind undisturbed amid the bivouac of actual life. It is true Dhyana that makes our mind sunny while the storms of strife rage around us. It is true Dhyana that secures the harmony of heart, while the surges of struggle toss us violently. It is true Dhyana that makes us bloom and smile, while the winter of life covets us with frost and snow.
"Idle thoughts come and go over unenlightened minds six hundred and fifty times in a snap of one's fingers," writes an Indian teacher, "and thirteen hundred million times every twenty-four hours." This might be an exaggeration, yet we cannot but acknowledge that one idle thought after another ceaselessly bubbles up in the stream of consciousness. "Dhyana is the letting go," continues the writer--"that is to say, the letting go of the thirteen hundred million of idle thoughts." The very root of these thirteen hundred million idle thoughts is an illusion about one's self. He is indeed the poorest creature, even if he be in heaven, who thinks himself poor. On the contrary, he is an angel who thinks himself hopeful and happy, even though he be in hell. "Pray deliver me," said a sinner to Sang Tsung . "Who ties you up?" was the reply. You tie yourself up day and night with the fine thread of idle thoughts, and build a cocoon of environment from which you have no way of escape. 'There is no rope, yet you imagine yourself bound.' Who could put fetters on your mind but your mind itself? Who could chain your will but your own will? Who could blind your spiritual eyes, unless you yourself shut them up? Who could prevent you from enjoying moral food, unless you yourself refuse to eat? "There are many," said Sueh Fung on one occasion, "who starve in spite of their sitting in a large basket full of victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of seating themselves on the shore of a sea." "Yes, Sir," replied Huen Sha , "there are many who starve in spite of putting their heads into the basket full of victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of putting their heads into the waters of the sea." Who could cheer him up who abandons himself to self-created misery? Who could save him who denies his own salvation?
The introduction to Anapana-sutra by Khin San Hwui, who came to China A.D. 241.
The Third Patriarch.
Hwui Yuen .
11. Let Go of your Idle Thoughts.
A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to have replied to every questioner, saying: "Let go of your idle thoughts."
A Brahmin, having troubled himself a long while with reference to the problem of life and of the world, went out to call on Shakya Muni that he might be instructed by the Master. He got some beautiful flowers to offer them as a present to the Muni, and proceeded to the place where He was addressing his disciples and believers. No sooner had he come in sight of the Master than he read in his mien the struggles going on within him. "Let go of that," said the Muni to the Brahmin, who was going to offer the flowers in both his hands. He dropped on the ground the flowers in his right hand, but still holding those in his left. "Let go of that," demanded the Master, and the Brahmin dropped the flowers in his left hand rather reluctantly. "Let go of that, I say," the Muni commanded again; but the Brahmin, having nothing to let go of, asked: "What shall I let go of, Reverend Sir? I have nothing in my hands, you know." "Let go of that, you have neither in your right nor in your left band, but in the middle." Upon these words of the Muni a light came into the sufferer's mind, and he went home satisfied and in joy. "Not to attach to all things is Dhyana," writes an ancient Zenist, "and if you understand this, going out, staying in, sitting, and lying are in Dhyana." Therefore allow not your mind to be a receptacle for the dust of society, or the ashes of life, or rags and waste paper of the world. You bear too much burden upon your shoulders with which you have nothing to do.
'Sutra on the Brahmacarin Black-family,' translated into Chinese by K' Khien, of the Wu dynasty .
Learn the lesson of forgetfulness, and forget all that troubles you, deprives you of sound sleep, and writes wrinkles on your forehead. Wang Yang Ming, at the age of seventeen or so, is said to have forgotten the day 'on which he was to be married to a handsome young lady, daughter of a man of high position. It was the afternoon of the very day on which their nuptials had to be held that he went out to take a walk. Without any definite purpose he went into a temple in the neighbourhood, and there he found a recluse apparently very old with white hair, but young in countenance like a child. The man was sitting absorbed in Meditation. There was something extremely calm and serene in that old man's look and bearing that attracted the young scholar's attention. Questioning him as to his name, age, and birthplace, Wang found that the venerable man had enjoyed a life so extraordinarily long that he forgot his name and age, but that he had youthful energy so abundantly that be could talk with a voice sounding as a large bell. Being asked by Wang the secret of longevity, the man replied: "There is no secret in it; I merely kept my mind calm and peaceful." Further, he explained the method of Meditation according to Taoism and Buddhism. Thereupon Wang sat face to face with the old man and began to practise Meditation, utterly forgetful of his bride and nuptial ceremony. The sun began to cast his slanting rays on the wall of the temple, and they sat motionless; twilight came over them, and night wrapped them with her sable shroud, and they sat as still as two marble statues; midnight, dawn, at last the morning sun rose to find them still in their reverie. The father of the bride, who had started a search during the night, found to his surprise the bridegroom absorbed in Meditation on the following day.
It was at the age of forty-seven that Wang gained a great victory over the rebel army, and wrote to a friend saying: "It is so easy to gain a victory over the rebels fortifying themselves among the mountains, yet it is not so with those rebels living in our mind." Tsai Kiun Mu is said to have had an exceedingly long and beautiful beard, and when asked by the Emperor, who received him in audience, whether he should sleep with his beard on the comforters or beneath them, be could not answer, since he had never known how he did. Being distracted by this question, he went home and tried to find out how he had been used to manage his beard in bed. First he put his beard on the comforters and vainly tried to sleep; then he put it beneath the comforters and thought it all right. Nevertheless, he was all the more disturbed by it. So then, putting on the comforters, now putting it beneath them, he tried to sleep all night long, but in vain. You must therefore forget your mental beard that annoys you all the time.
Men of longevity never carried troubles to their beds. It is a well-known fact that Zui-o enjoyed robust health at the age of over one hundred years. One day, being asked whether there is any secret of longevity, he replied affirmatively, and said to the questioner: "Keep your mind and body pure for two weeks, abstaining from any sort of impurity, then I shall tell you of the secret." The man did as was prescribed, and came again to be instructed in the secret. Zui-o said: "Now I might tell you, but be cautious to keep yourself pure another week so as to qualify yourself to learn the secret." When that week was over the old man said: "Now I might tell you, but will you be so careful as to keep yourself pure three days more in order to qualify yourself to receive the secret?" The man did as he was ordered, and requested the instruction. Thereupon Zui-o took the man to his private room and softly whispered, with his mouth close to the ear of the man: "Keep the secret I tell you now, even at the cost of your life. It is this-don't be passionate. That is all."
This famous old man died in A.D. 1730.
12. 'The Five Ranks of Merit.'
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind according to the general rules and customs established by Zenists. And here we shall describe the different stages of mental uplifting through which the student of Zen has to go. They are technically called 'The Five Ranks of Merit.' The first stage is called the Rank of Turning, in which the student 'turns' his mind from the external objects of sense towards the inner Enlightened Consciousness. He gives up all mean desires and aspires to spiritual elevation. He becomes aware that he is not doomed to be the slave of material things, and strives to conquer over them. Enlightened Consciousness is likened to the King, and it is called the Mind-King, while the student who now turns towards the King is likened to common people. Therefore in this first stage the student is in the rank of common people.
Ko-kun-go-i. For further details, see So-to-ni-shi-roku.
Ko in Japanese.
The second stage is called the Rank of Service, in which the student distinguishes himself by his loyalty to the Mind-King, and becomes a courtier to 'serve' him. He is in constant 'service' to the King, attending him with obedience and love, and always fearing to offend him. Thus the student in this stage is ever careful not to neglect rules and precepts laid down by the sages, and endeavours to uplift himself in spirituality by his fidelity. The third stage is called the Rank of Merit, in which the student distinguishes himself by his 'meritorious' acts of conquering over the rebel army of passion which rises against the Mind-King. Now, his rank is not the rank of a courtier, but the rank of a general. In other words, his duty is not only to keep rules and instructions of the sages, but to subjugate his own passion and establish moral order in the mental kingdom.
Bu in Japanese.
Ko in Japanese.
The fourth stage is called the Rank of Co-operative Merit, in which the student 'co-operates' with other persons in order to complete his merit. Now, he is not compared with a general who conquers his foe, but with the prime-minister who co-operates with other officials to the benefit of the people. Thus the student in this stage is not satisfied with his own conquest of passion, but seeks after spiritual uplifting by means of extending his kindness and sympathy to his fellow-men.
Gu-ko in Japanese.
The fifth stage is called the Rank of Merit-over-Merit, which means the rank of meritless-merit. This is the rank of the King himself. The King does nothing meritorious, because all the governmental works are done by his ministers and subjects. All that he has to do is to keep his inborn dignity and sit high on his throne. Therefore his conduct is meritless, but all the meritorious acts of his subjects are done through his authority. Doing nothing, he does everything. Without any merit, he gets all merits. Thus the student in this stage no more strives to keep precepts, but his doings are naturally in accord with them. No more he aspires for spiritual elevation, but his, heart is naturally pure from material desires. No more he makes an effort to vanquish his passion, but no passion disturbs him. No more he feels it his duty to do good to others, but he is naturally good and merciful. No more he sits in Dhyana, but he naturally lives in Dhyana at all times. It is in this fifth stage that the student is enabled to identify his Self with the Mind-King or Enlightened Consciousness, and to abide in perfect bliss.
Ko-ko in Japanese.
13. 'The Ten Pictures of the Cowherd.'
The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan , a Chinese Zenist. For the details, see Zen-gaku-ho-ten.
Besides these Five Ranks of Merit, Zenists make use of the Ten Pictures of the Cowherd, in order to show the different stages of mental training through which the student of Zen has to go. Some poems were written by Chinese and Japanese teachers on each of these pictures by way of explanation, but they are too ambiguous to be translated into English, and we rest content with the translation of a single Japanese poem on each of the ten pictures, which are as follows:
The first picture, called 'the Searching of the Cow,' represents the cowherd wandering in the wilderness with a vague hope of finding his lost cow that is running wild out of his sight. The reader will notice that the cow is likened to the mind of the student and the cowherd to the student himself.
"I do not see my cow, But trees and grass, And hear the empty cries Of cicadas."
The second picture, called 'the Finding of the Cow's Tracks,' represents the cowherd tracing the cow with the sure hope of restoring her, having found her tracks on the ground.
"The grove is deep, and so Is my desire. How glad I am, O lo! I see her tracks."
The third picture, called 'the Finding out of the Cow,' represents the cowherd slowly approaching the cow from a distance.
"Her loud and wild mooing Has led me here; I see her form afar, Like a dark shadow."
The fourth 'picture, called 'the Catching of the Cow,' represents the cowherd catching hold of the cow, who struggles to break loose from him.
"Alas! it's hard to keep The cow I caught. She tries to run and leap And snap the cord."
The fifth picture, called 'the Taming of the Cow,' represents the cowherd pacifying the cow, giving her grass and water.
"I'm glad the cow so wild Is tamed and mild. She follows me, as if She were my shadow."
The sixth picture, called 'the Going Home Riding on the Cow,' represents the cowherd playing on a flute, riding on the cow.
"Slowly the clouds return To their own hill, Floating along the skies So calm and still.
The seventh picture, called 'the Forgetting of the Cow and the Remembering of the Man,' represents the cowherd looking at the beautiful scenery surrounding his cottage.
"The cow goes out by day And comes by night. I care for her in no way, But all is right."
The eighth picture, called 'the Forgetting of the Cow and of the Man,' represents a large empty circle.
"There's no cowherd nor cow Within the pen; No moon of truth nor clouds Of doubt in men."
The ninth picture, called 'the Returning to the Root and Source,' represents a beautiful landscape full of lovely trees in full blossom.
"There is no dyer of hills, Yet they are green; So flowers smile, and titter rills At their own wills."
The tenth picture, called 'the Going into the City with Open Hands,' represents a smiling monk, gourd in hand, talking with a man who looks like a pedlar.
"The cares for body make That body pine; Let go of cares and thoughts, O child of mine!"
These Ten Pictures of the Cowherd correspond in meaning to the Five Ranks of Merit above stated, even if there is a slight difference, as is shown in the following table:
1. The Rank of Turning---1. The Searching of the Cow. 2. The Finding of the Cow's Tracks.
2. The Rank of Service---3. The Finding of the Cow. 4. The Catching of the Cow.
3. The Rank of Merit---5. The Taming of the Cow. 6. The Going Home, Riding on the Cow.
4. The Rank of Co-operative Merit---9. The Returning to the Root and Source. 10. The Going into the City with Open Hands.
5. The Rank of Merit-over-Merit---7. The Forgetting of the Cow and the Remembering of the Man. 8. The Forgetting of the Cow and of the Man.
14. Zen and Nirvana.
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sense of the term, but in the sense peculiar to the faith. Nirvana literally means extinction or annihilation; hence the extinction of life or the annihilation of individuality. To Zen, however, it means the state of extinction of pain and the annihilation of sin. Zen never looks for the realization of its beatitude in a place like heaven, nor believes in the realm of Reality transcendental of the phenomenal universe, nor gives countenance to the superstition of Immortality, nor does it hold the world is the best of all possible worlds, nor conceives life simply as blessing. It is in this life, full of shortcomings, misery, and sufferings, that Zen hopes to realize its beatitude. It is in this world, imperfect, changing, and moving, that Zen finds the Divine Light it worships. It is in this phenomenal universe of limitation and relativity that Zen aims to attain to highest Nirvana. "We speak," says the author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra, "of the transitoriness of body, but not of the desire of the Nirvana or destruction of it." "Paranirvana," according to the author of Lankavatarasutra, "is neither death nor destruction, but bliss, freedom, and purity." "Nirvana," says Kiai Hwan, "means the extinction of pain or the crossing over of the sea of life and death. It denotes the real permanent state of spiritual attainment. It does not signify destruction or annihilation. It denotes the belief in the great root of life and spirit." It is Nirvana of Zen to enjoy bliss for all sufferings of life. It is Nirvana of Zen to be serene in mind for all disturbances of actual existence. It is Nirvana of Zen to be in the conscious union with Universal Life or Buddha through Enlightenment.
A commentator of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra.
15. Nature and her Lesson.
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywhere we go the rose and lily await us. "Spring visits us men," says Gu-do, "her mercy is great. Every blossom holds out the image of Tathagata." "What is the spiritual body of Buddha who is immortal and divine?" asked a man to Ta Lun , who instantly replied: "The flowers cover the mountain with golden brocade. The waters tinge the rivulets with heavenly blue." "Universe is the whole body of Tathagata; observed Do-gen. "The worlds in ten directions, the earth, grass, trees, walls, fences, tiles, pebbles-in a word, all the animated and inanimate objects partake of the Buddha-nature. Thereby, those who partake in the benefit of the Wind and Water that rise out of them are, all of them, helped by the mysterious influence of Buddha, and show forth Enlightenment."
One of the distinguished Zenists in the Tokugawa period, who died in 1661.
Sho-bo gen-zo.
Thus you can attain to highest bliss through your conscious union with Buddha. Nothing can disturb your peace, when you can enjoy peace in the midst of disturbances; nothing can cause you to suffer, when you welcome misfortunes and hardships in order to train and strengthen your character; nothing can tempt you to commit sin, when you are constantly ready to listen to the sermon given by everything around you; nothing can distress you, when you make the world the holy temple of Buddha. This is the state of Nirvana which everyone believing in Buddha may secure.
16. The Beatitude of Zen.
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing chapters, the existence of troubles, pains, diseases, sorrows, deaths in life. Our bliss consists in seeing the fragrant rose of Divine mercy among the thorns of worldly trouble, in finding the fair oasis of Buddha's wisdom in the desert of misfortunes, in getting the wholesome balm of His love in the seeming poison of pain, in gathering the sweet honey of His spirit even in the sting of horrible death.
History testifies to the truth that it is misery that teaches men more than happiness, that it is poverty that strengthens them more than wealth, that it is adversity that moulds character more than prosperity, that it is disease and death that call forth the inner life more than health and long life. At least, no one can be blind to the fact that good and evil have an equal share in forming the character and working out the destiny of man. Even such a great pessimist as Schopenhauer says: "As our bodily frame would burst asunder if the pressure of atmosphere were removed, so if the lives of men were relieved of all need, hardship, and adversity, if everything they took in hand were successful, they would be so swollen with arrogance . . . that they would present the spectacle of unbridled folly. A ship without ballast is unstable, and will not go straight." Therefore let us make our ship of life go straight with its ballast of miseries and hardships, over which we gain control.
The believer in Buddha is thankful to him, not only for the sunshine of life, but also for its wind, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning, because He gives us nothing in vain. Hisa-nobu was, perhaps, one of the happiest persons that Japan ever produced, simply because he was ever thankful to the Merciful One. One day he went out without an umbrella and met with a shower. Hurrying up to go home, he stumbled and fell, wounding both his legs. As he rose up, he was overheard to say: "Thank heaven." And being asked why he was so thankful, replied: "I got both my legs hurt, but, thank heaven, they were not broken." On another occasion he lost consciousness, having been kicked violently by a wild horse. When he came to himself, he exclaimed: "Thank heaven," in hearty joy. Being asked the reason why he was so joyful, he answered: "I have really given up my ghost, but, thank heaven, I have escaped death after all." A person in such a state of mind can do anything with heart and might. Whatever he does is an act of thanks for the grace of Buddha, and he does it, not as his duty, but as the overflowing of his gratitude which lie himself cannot check. Here exists the formation of character. Here exist real happiness and joy. Here exists the realization of Nirvana.
Most people regard death as the greatest of evils, only because they fear death. They fear death only because they have the instinct of self-preservation. Hereupon pessimistic philosophy and religion propose to attain to Nirvana by the extinction of Will-to-live, or by the total annihilation of life. But this is as much as to propose death as the final cure to a patient. Elie Metchnikoff proposes, in his 'Nature of Man,' another cure, saying: 'If man could only contrive to live long enough--say, for one hundred and forty years--a natural desire for extinction would take the place of the instinct for self-preservation, and the call of death would then harmoniously satisfy his legitimate craving of a ripe old age.' Why, we must ask, do you trouble yourself so much about death? Is there any instance of an individual who escaped it in the whole history of mankind? If there be no way of escape, why do you trouble yourself about it? Can you cause things to fall off the earth against the law of gravitation? Is there any example of an individual object that escaped the government of that law in the whole history of the world? Why, then, do you trouble yourself about it? It is no less silly to trouble yourself about death than you do about gravitation. Can you realize that death, which you have yet no immediate experience of, is the greatest of evil? We dare to declare death to be one of the blessings which we have to be thankful for. Death is the scavenger of the world; it sweeps away all uselessness, staleness, and corruption from the world, and keeps life clean and ever now. When you are of no use for the world it comes upon you, removes you to oblivion in order to relieve life of useless encumbrance. The stream of existence should be kept running, otherwise it would become putrid. If old lives were to stop the running stream it would stand still, and consequently become filthy, poisoned, and worthless. Suppose there were only births and no deaths. The earth has to be packed with men and women, who are doomed to live to all eternity, jostling, colliding, bumping, trampling each other, and vainly struggling to get out of the Black Hole of the earth. Thanks to death we are not in the Black Hole!
Only birth and no death is far worse than only death and no birth. "The dead," says Chwang Tsz, "have no tyrannical king about, no slavish subject to meet; no change of seasons overtakes them. The heaven and the earth take the places of Spring and Autumn. The king or emperor of a great nation cannot be happier than they." How would you be if death should never overtake you when ugly decrepitude makes you blind and deaf, bodily and mentally, and deprives you of all possible pleasures? How would you be if you should not die when your body is broken to pieces or terribly burned by an accident--say, by a violent earthquake followed by a great conflagration? Just imagine Satan, immortal Satan, thrown down by the ire of God into Hell's fiery gulf, rolling himself in dreadful torture to the end of time. You cannot but conclude that it is only death which relieves you of extreme sufferings, incurable diseases, and it is one of the blessings you ought to be thankful for.
The believer of Buddha is thankful even for death itself, the which is the sole means of conquering death. If he be thankful even for death, how much more for the rest of things! He can find a meaning in every form of life. He can perceive a blessing in every change of fortune. He can acknowledge a mission for every individual. He can live in contentment and joy under any conditions. Therefore Lin Tsi says: "All the Buddhas might appear before me and I would not be glad. All the Three Regions and Hells might suddenly present themselves before me, and I would not fear. . . . He might get into the fire, and it would not burn him. He might get into water, and it would not drown him. He might be born in Hell, and he would be happy as if he were in a fair garden. He might be born among Pretas and beasts, and he would not suffer from pain. How can he be so? Because he can enjoy everything.'
Naraka, or Hell; Pretas, or hungry demons; beasts.
Lin Tsi Luk .

Tsung Mih , the author of Yuen Jan Lun , one of the greatest scholars that China ever produced, was born in a Confucianist family of the State of Kwo Cheu. Having been converted by Tao Yuen , a noted priest of the Zen Sect, he was known at the age of twenty-nine as a prominent member of that sect, and became the Eleventh Patriarch after Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of the sect, who had come over to China from India about A.D. 520. Some years after he studied under Chino, Kwan the philosophical doctrine of the Avatamsaka School, now known in Japan as the Kegon Sect, and distinguished himself as the Seventh Patriarch of that school. In A.D. 835 he was received in audience by the Emperor Wan Tsung, who questioned him in a general way about the Buddhist doctrines, and bestowed upon him the honourable title of Great Virtuous Teacher, together with abundant gifts. The author produced over ninety volumes of books, which include a commentary on Avatamsaka-sutra, one on Purnabuddha-sutra-prasannartha-sutra, and many others. Yuen Jan Lun is one of the shortest of his essays, but it contains all the essential doctrines, respecting the origin of life and of the universe, which are found in Taoism, Confucianism, Hinayanism, and Mahayanism. How important a position it holds among the Buddhist books can be well imagined from the fact that over twenty commentaries were written on it both by the Chinese and the Japanese Buddhist scholars. It is said that a short essay under the same title by a noted contemporary Confucianist scholar, Han Tui Chi , suggested to him to write a book in order to make clear to the public the Buddhist view on the same subject. Thus be entitled the book 'Origin of Man,' in spite of his treating of the origin of life and of the universe. Throughout the whole book occur coupled sentences, consisting mostly of the same number of Chinese characters, and consequently while one sentence is too laconic, the other is overladen with superfluous words, put in to make the right number in the balanced group of characters. In addition to this, the text is full of too concise phrases, and often of ambiguous ones, as it is intended to state as briefly as possible all the important doctrines of the Buddhist as well as of the outside schools. On this account the author himself wrote a few notes on the passages that lie thought it necessary to explain. The reader will find these notes beginning with 'A' put by the translator to distinguish them from his own.
K. N.
All animated beings that live have an origin, while each of inanimate things, countless in number, owes its existence to some source. There can never be any thing that has branch which has no root. How could man, the most spiritual of the Three Powers exist without an origin?
The author treats the origin of life and of the universe, but the book was entitled as we have seen in the preface.
The same idea and expression are found in Tao Teh King , by Lao Tsz .
The Three Powers are- Heaven, that has the power of revolution; Earth, that has the power of production; and Man, that has the power of thought.
, moreover, that that which knows others is intellect, and that that which knows itself is wisdom. Now if I, being born among men, know not whence I came , how could I know whither I am going in the after-life? How could I understand all human affairs, ancient and modern, in the world? So, for some scores of years I learned under many different tutors, and read extensively the Buddhist outside books. By that means I tried to trace my Self, and never stopped my research till I attained, as I had expected, to its origin.
The sentence is a direct quotation of Tao Teh King.
Confucianists and Taoists of our age, nevertheless, merely know that our nearest origin is the father or the grandfather, as we are descended from them, and they from their fathers in succession. that the remotest is the undefinable Gas in the state of chaos; that it split itself into the two principles of the Positive and the Negative; that the two brought forth the Three Powers of Heaven, Earth, and Man, which produced all other things; that man as well as other things originated in the Gas.
Such a statement concerning the creation of the universe as the one here given is found in I King . The primordial substance is not exactly 'gas,' but we may conceive it as being something like a nebula.
Buddhists, , maintain simply that the nearest is Karma, as we were born among men as the results of the Karma that we had produced in the past existences; and that the remotest is the Alaya-vijnyana, our Karma is brought forth by illusion, and , and so forth, in one word, the Alaya is the origin of life. Although all of claim that they have already grasped the ultimate truth, yet not in fact.
Not all Buddhists, but some of them, are meant here-that is, Hinayanists and Dharma-laksanists.
According to Hinayanists, Karma is that moral germ which survives death and continues in transmigration. It may be conceived as something like an energy, by the influence of which beings undergo metempsychosis.
According to the Dharma-laksana Sect, Alaya-vijnyana is the spiritual Substance which holds the 'seeds' or potentialities of all things.
Confucius, Lao Tsz, and Shakya, however, were all the wisest of sages. Each of them gave his teachings in a way different from the other two, that they might meet the spiritual needs of his time and fit to the capacities of men. the Buddhist and the outside doctrines, each supplementing the other, have done good to the multitude. They were all to encourage thousands of virtuous acts by explaining the whole chain of causality. They were to investigate thousands of things, and throw light on the beginning and on the end of their evolution. Although all these doctrines answer the purpose of the sages, yet there must be some teachings that would be temporary, while others would be eternal. The first two faiths are merely temporary, while Buddhism includes both the temporary and the eternal. We may act according to the precepts of these three faiths, which aim at the peace and welfare , in so far as they encourage thousands of virtuous acts by giving warning against evil and recommending good. Buddhism is altogether perfect and best of all, in investigating thousands of things and in tracing them back to their first cause, in order to acquire thorough understanding of the natures of things and to attain to the ultimate truth.
The temporary doctrine means the teaching preached by Shakya Muni to meet the temporary needs of the hearers. The term is always used in contrast with the real or eternal doctrine.
Each of our contemporary scholars, nevertheless, adheres to one school of the teachings. And there are some among the Buddhists who mistake the temporary for the eternal doctrine. In consequence they are never successful in tracing Heaven, Earth, Man, and other things back to their First Cause. But I am now to infer an Ultimate Cause for thousands of things, not only from the Buddhist, but from outsiders' teachings. First I shall treat of the superficial doctrines, and then of the profound, free the followers of the temporary faiths from those obstructions in their way to the truth, and enable them to attain to the Ultimate Reality. Afterwards I shall point out, according to the perfect doctrine, how things evolved themselves through one stage after another out of the First Cause make the incomplete doctrines fuse into the complete one, and to enable the followers to explain the phenomenal universe.
A. 'That is, Heaven, Earth, Man, and other things.'
This essay is entitled 'Origin of Man,' and it consists of the four chapters: Refutation of Delusive and Prejudiced ; Refutation of Incomplete and Superficial ; Direct Explanation of the Real Origin; Reconciliation of the Temporary with the Eternal Doctrine.

Religion of the Samurai Life

1. Epicureanism and Life.
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mirthful in appearance as if born optimists. There are also no fewer persons constantly crestfallen and gloomy as if born pessimists. The former, however, may lose their buoyancy and sink deep in despair if they are in adverse circumstances. The latter, too, may regain their brightness and grow exultant if they are under prosperous conditions. As there is no evil however small but may cause him to groan under it, who has his heart undisciplined, so there is no calamity however great but may cause him to despair, who has his feelings in control. A laughing child would cry, a crying child would laugh, without a sufficient cause. 'It can be teased or tickled into anything.' A grown-up child is he who cannot hold sway over his passions.
He should die a slave to his heart, which is wayward and blind, if he be indulgent to it. It is of capital importance for us to discipline the heart, otherwise it will discipline us. Passions are like legs. They should be guided by the eye of reason. No wise serpent is led by its tail, so no wise man is led by his passion. Passions that come first are often treacherous and lead us astray. We must guard ourselves against them. In order to gratify them there arise mean desires-the desires to please sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. These five desires are ever pursuing or, rather, driving us. We must not spend our whole lives in pursuit of those mirage-like objects which gratify our sensual desires. When we gratify one desire, we are silly enough to fancy that we have realized true happiness. But one desire gratified begets another stronger and more insatiable. Thirst allayed with salt water becomes more intense than ever.
Compare Gaku-do-yo-jin-shu, chap. i., and Zen-kwan-saku shin.
Shakya Muni compared an Epicurean with a dog chewing a dry bone, mistaking the blood out of a wound in his mouth for that of the bone. The author of Mahaparinirvana-sutra has a parable to the following effect: 'Once upon a time a hunter skilled in catching monkeys alive went into the wood. He put something very sticky on the ground, and hid himself among the bushes. By-and-by a monkey came out to see what it was, and supposing it to be something eatable, tried to feed on it. It stuck to the poor creature's snout so firmly that he could not shake it off. Then he attempted to tear it off with both his paws, which also stuck to it. Thereupon he strove to kick it off with both his hind-legs, which were caught too. Then the hunter came out, and thrusting his stick through between the paws and hind-legs of the victim, and thus carrying it on his shoulder, went home.' In like manner an Epicurean , allured by the objects of sense , sticks to the five desires , and being caught by Temptation , loses his life of Wisdom.
The sutra translated by Hwui Yen and Hwui Kwan, A.D. 424-453.
We are no more than a species of monkeys, as evolutionists hold. Not a few testify to this truth by their being caught by means of 'something eatable.' We abolished slavery and call ourselves civilized nations. Have we not, nevertheless, hundreds of life-long slaves to cigars among us? Have we not thousands of life-long slaves to spirits among us? Have we not hundreds of thousands of life-long slaves to gold among us? Have we not myriads of lifelong slaves to vanity among us? These slaves are incredibly loyal to, and incessantly work for, their masters, who in turn bestow on them incurable diseases, poverty, chagrin, and disappointment.
A poor puppy with an empty can tied to his tail, Thomas Carlyle wittily observes, ran and ran on, frightened by the noise of the can. The more rapidly he ran, the more loudly it rang, and at last he fell exhausted of running. Was it not typical of a so-called great man of the world? Vanity tied an empty can of fame to his tail, the hollow noise of which drives him through life until he falls to rise no more. Miserable!
Neither these men of the world nor Buddhist ascetics can be optimists. The latter rigorously deny themselves sensual gratifications, and keep themselves aloof from all objects of pleasure. For them to be pleased is equivalent to sin, and to laugh, to be cursed. They would rather touch an adder's head than a piece of money. They would rather throw themselves into a fiery furnace than to come in contact with the other sex. Body for them is a bag full of blood and pus; life, an idle, or rather evil, dream. Vegetarianism and celibacy are their holy privileges. Life is unworthy of having; to put an end to it is their deliverance. Such a view of life is hardly worth our refutation.
Such is the precept taught in the Vinaya of Hinayanists.
See Mahasatiptthana Suttanta, 2-13.
This is the logical conclusion of Hinayanism.
2. The Errors of Philosophical Pessimists and Religious Optimists.
Philosophical pessimists maintain that there are on earth many more causes of pain than of pleasure; and that pain exists positively, but pleasure is a mere absence of pain because we are conscious of sickness but not of health; of loss, but not of possession. On the contrary, religious optimists insist that there must not be any evil in God's universe, that evil has no independent nature, but simply denotes a privation of good--that is, evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound.'
Schopenhauer, 'The World as Will and Idea' ; Hartman, 'Philosophy of the Unconsciousness' .
No matter what these one-sided observers' opinion may be, we are certain that we experience good as well as evil, and feel pain and pleasure as well. Neither can we alleviate the real sufferings of the sick by telling them that sickness is no other than the absence of health, nor can we make the poor a whit richer by telling them that poverty is a mere absence of riches. How could we save the dying by persuading them that death is a bare privation of life? Is it possible to dispirit the happy by telling them that happiness is unreal, or make the fortunate miserable by telling them that fortune has no objective reality, or to make one welcome evil by telling one that it is only the absence of good?
You must admit there are no definite external causes of pain nor those of pleasure, for one and the same thing causes pain at one time and pleasure at another. A cause of delight to one person turns out to be that of aversion to another. A dying miser might revive at the sight of gold, yet a Diogenes would pass without noticing it. Cigars and wine are blessed gifts of heaven to the intemperate, but accursed poison to the temperate. Some might enjoy a long life, but others would heartily desire to curtail it. Some might groan under a slight indisposition, while others would whistle away a life of serious disease. An Epicure might be taken prisoner by poverty, yet an Epictetus would fearlessly face and vanquish him. How, then, do you distinguish the real cause of pain from that of pleasure? How do you know the causes of one are more numerous than the causes of the other?
The author of Han Shu calls spirits the gift of Heaven.
Expose thermometers of several kinds to one and the same temperature. One will indicate, say, 60°, another as high as 100°, another as low as 15°. Expose the thermometers of human sensibilities, which are of myriads of different kinds, to one and the same temperature of environment. None of them will indicate the same degrees. In one and the same climate, which we think moderate, the Eskimo would be washed with perspiration, while the Hindu would shudder with cold. Similarly, under one and the same circumstance some might be extremely miserable and think it unbearable, yet others would be contented and happy. Therefore we may safely conclude that there are no definite external causes of pain and pleasure, and that there must be internal causes which modify the external.
3. The Law of Balance.
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts things ever in pairs, and leaves nothing in isolation. Positives stand in opposition to negatives, actives to passives, males to females, and so on. Thus we get the ebb in opposition to the flood tide; the centrifugal force to the centripetal; attraction to repulsion; growth to decay; toxin to antitoxin; light to shade; action to reaction; unity to variety; day to night; the animate to the inanimate. Look at our own bodies: the right eye is placed side by side with the left; the left shoulder with the right; the right lung with the left; the left hemisphere of the brain with that of the right; and so forth.
Zenists call them 'pairs of opposites.'
It holds good also in human affairs: advantage is always accompanied by disadvantage; loss by gain; convenience by inconvenience; good by evil; rise by fall; prosperity by adversity; virtue by vice; beauty by deformity; pain by pleasure; youth by old age; life by death. 'A handsome young lady of quality,' a parable in Mahaparinirvana-sutra tells us, 'who carries with her an immense treasure is ever accompanied by her sister, an ugly woman in rags, who destroys everything within her reach. If we win the former, we must also get the latter.' As pessimists show intense dislike towards the latter and forget the former, so optimists admire the former so much that they are indifferent to the latter.
4. Life Consists in Conflict.
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social animal he cannot live in isolation. All individual hopes and aspirations depend on society. Society is reflected in the individual, and the individual in society. In spite of this, his inborn free will and love of liberty seek to break away from social ties. He is also a moral animal, and endowed with love and sympathy. He loves his fellow-beings, and would fain promote their welfare; but he must be engaged in constant struggle against them for existence. He sympathizes even with animals inferior to him, and heartily wishes to protect them; yet he is doomed to destroy their lives day and night. He has many a noble aspiration, and often soars aloft by the wings of imagination into the realm of the ideal; still his material desires drag him down to the earth. He lives on day by day to continue his life, but he is unfailingly approaching death at every moment.
The more he secures new pleasure, spiritual or material, the more he incurs pain not yet experienced. One evil removed only gives place to another; one advantage gained soon proves itself a disadvantage. His very reason is the cause of his doubt and suspicion; his intellect, with which he wants to know everything, declares itself to be incapable of knowing anything in its real state; his finer sensibility, which is the sole source of finer pleasure, has to experience finer suffering. The more he asserts himself, the more he has to sacrifice himself. These conflictions probably led Kant to call life "a trial time, wherein most succumb, and in which even the best does not rejoice in his life." "Men betake themselves," says Fichte, "to the chase after felicity. . . . But as soon as they withdraw into themselves and ask themselves, 'Am I now happy?' the reply comes distinctly from the depth of their soul, 'Oh no; thou art still just as empty and destitute as before!' . . . They will in the future life just as vainly seek blessedness as they have sought it in the present life."
It is not without reason that the pessimistic minds came to conclude that 'the unrest of unceasing willing and desiring by which every creature is goaded is in itself unblessedness,' and that 'each creature is in constant danger, constant agitation, and the whole, with its restless, meaningless motion, is a tragedy of the most piteous kind.' 'A creature like the carnivorous animal, who cannot exist at all without continually destroying and tearing others, may not feel its brutality, but man, who has to prey on other sentient beings like the carnivorous, is intelligent enough, as hard fate would have it, to know and feel his own brutal living.' He must be the most miserable of all creatures, for he is most conscious of his own misery. Furthermore, 'he experiences not only the misfortunes which actually befall him, but in imagination he goes through every possibility of evil.' Therefore none, from great kings and emperors down to nameless beggars, can be free from cares and anxieties, which 'ever flit around them like ghosts.'
5. The Mystery of Life.
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in life in order to prepare ourselves for an insight into the depth of life. We are far from being pessimistic, for we believe that life consists in confliction, but that confliction does not end in confliction, but in a new form of harmony. Hope comes to conflict with fear, and is often threatened with losing its hold on mind; then it renews its life and takes root still deeper than before. Peace is often disturbed with wars, but then it gains a still firmer ground than ever. Happiness is driven out of mind by melancholy, then it is re-enforced by favourable conditions and returns with double strength. Spirit is dragged down by matter from its ideal heaven, then, incited by shame, it tries a higher flight. Good is opposed by evil, then it gathers more strength and vanquishes its foe. Truth is clouded by falsehood, then it issues forth with its greater light. Liberty is endangered by tyranny, then it overthrows it with a splendid success.
Manifoldness stands out boldly against unity; difference against agreement; particularity against generality; individuality against society. Manifoldness, nevertheless, instead of annihilating, enriches unity; difference, instead of destroying agreement, gives it variety; particularities, instead of putting an end to generality, increase its content; individuals, instead of breaking the harmony of society, strengthen the power of it.
Thus 'Universal Life does not swallow up manifoldness nor extinguish differences, but it is the only means of bringing to its full development the detailed content of reality; in particular, it does not abolish the great oppositions of life and world, but takes them up into itself and brings them into fruitful relations with each other.' Therefore 'our life is a mysterious blending of freedom and necessity, power and limitation, caprice and law; yet these opposites are constantly seeking and finding a mutual adjustment.'
6. Nature Favours Nothing in Particular.
There is another point of view of life, which gave the present writer no small contentment, and which he believes would cure one of pessimistic complaint. Buddha, or Universal Life conceived by Zen, is not like a capricious despot, who acts not seldom against his own laws. His manifestation as shown in the Enlightened Consciousness is lawful, impartial, and rational. Buddhists believe that even Shakya Muni himself was not free from the law of retribution, which includes, in our opinion, the law of balance and that of causation.
Now let us briefly examine how the law of balance holds its sway over life and the world. When the Cakravartin, according to an Indian legend, the universal monarch, would come to govern the earth, a wheel would also appear as one of his treasures, and go on rolling all over the world, making everything level and smooth. Buddha is the spiritual Cakravartin, whose wheel is the wheel of the law of balance, with which he governs all things equally and impartially. First let us observe the simplest cases where the law of balance holds good. Four men can finish in three days the same amount of work as is done by three men in four days. The increase in the number of men causes the decrease in that of days, the decrease in the number of men causes the increase in that of days, the result being always the same. Similarly the increase in the sharpness of a knife is always accompanied by a decrease in its durability, and the increase of durability by a decrease of sharpness. The more beautiful flowers grow, the uglier their fruits become; the prettier the fruits grow, the simpler become their flowers. 'A strong soldier is ready to die; a strong tree is easy to be broken; hard leather is easy to be torn. But the soft tongue survives the hard teeth.' Horned creatures are destitute of tusks, the sharp-tusked creatures lack horns. Winged animals are not endowed with paws, and handed animals are provided with no wings. Birds of beautiful plumage have no sweet voice, and sweet-voiced songsters no feathers of bright colours. The finer in quality, the smaller in quantity, and bulkier in size, the coarser in nature.
Nature favours nothing in particular. So everything has its advantage and disadvantage as well. What one gains on the one hand one loses on the other. The ox is competent in drawing a heavy cart, but he is absolutely incompetent in catching mice. A shovel is fit for digging, but not for ear-picking. Aeroplanes are good for aviation, but not for navigation. Silkworms feed on mulberry leaves and make silk from it, but they can do nothing with other leaves. Thus everything has its own use or a mission appointed by Nature; and if we take advantage of it, nothing is useless, but if not, all are useless. 'The neck of the crane may seem too long to some idle on-lookers, but there is no surplus in it. The limbs of the tortoise may appear too short, but there is no shortcoming in them.' The centipede, having a hundred limbs, can find no useless feet; the serpent, having no foot, feels no want.
7. The Law of Balance in Life.
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions high or low, occupations spiritual or temporal, work rough or gentle, education perfect or imperfect, circumstances needy or opulent, each has its own advantage as well as disadvantage. The higher the position the graver the responsibilities, the lower the rank the lighter the obligation. The director of a large bank can never be so careless as his errand-boy who may stop on the street to throw a stone at a sparrow; nor can the manager of a large plantation have as good a time on a rainy day as his day-labourers who spend it in gambling. The accumulation of wealth is always accompanied by its evils; no Rothschild nor Rockefeller can be happier than a poor pedlar.
A mother of many children may be troubled by her noisy little ones and envy her sterile friend, who in turn may complain of her loneliness; but if they balance what they gain with what they lose, they will find the both sides are equal. The law of balance strictly forbids one's monopoly of happiness. It applies its scorpion whip to anyone who is given to pleasures. Joy in extremity lives next door to exceeding sorrow. "Where there is much light," says Goethe, "shadow is deep." Age, withered and disconsolate, lurks under the skirts of blooming youth. The celebration of birthday is followed by the commemoration of death. Marriage might be supposed to be the luckiest event in one's life, but the widow's tears and the orphan's sufferings also might be its outcome. But for the former the latter can never be. The death of parents is indeed the unluckiest event in the son's life, but it may result in the latter's inheritance of an estate, which is by no means unlucky. The disease of a child may cause its parents grief, but it is a matter of course that it lessens the burden of their livelihood. Life has its pleasures, but also its pains. Death has no pleasure of life, but also none of its pain. So that if we balance their smiles and tears, life and death are equal. It is not wise for us, therefore, to commit suicide while the terms of our life still remain, nor to fear death when there is no way of avoiding it.
Again, the law of balance does not allow anyone to take the lion's share of nature's gifts. Beauty in face is accompanied by deformity in character. Intelligence is often uncombined with virtue. "Fair girls are destined to be unfortunate," says a Japanese proverb, "and men of ability to be sickly." "He makes no friend who never makes a foe." "Honesty is next to idiocy." "Men of genius," says Longfellow, "are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor when it descends to earth is only a stone." Honour and shame go hand in hand. Knowledge and virtue live in poverty, while ill health and disease are inmates of luxury.
Every misfortune begets some sort of fortune, while every good luck gives birth to some sort of bad luck. Every prosperity never fails to sow seeds of adversity, while every fall never fails to bring about some kind of rise. We must not, then, despair in days of frost and snow, reminding ourselves of sunshine and flowers that follow them; nor must we be thoughtless in days of youth and health, keeping in mind old age and ill health that are in the rear of them. In brief, all, from crowns and coronets down to rags and begging bowls, have their own happiness and share heavenly grace alike.
8. The Application of the Law of Causation to Morals.
Although it may be needless to state here the law of causation at any length, yet it is not equally needless to say a few words about its application to morals as the law of retribution, which is a matter of dispute even among Buddhist scholars. The kernel of the idea is very simple-like seed, like fruit; like cause, like effect; like action, like influence--nothing more. As fresh air strengthens and impure air chokes us, so good conduct brings about good consequence, and bad conduct does otherwise.
Zen lays much stress on this law. See Shu-sho-gi and Ei-hei-ka-kun, by Do-gen.
Over against these generalizations we raise no objection, but there are many cases, in practical life, of doubtful nature. An act of charity, for example, might do others some sort of damage, as is often the case with the giving of alms to the poor, which may produce the undesirable consequence of encouraging beggary. An act of love might produce an injurious effect, as the mother's love often spoils her children. Some may think these are cases of good cause and bad effect. We have, however, to analyze these causes and effects in order to find in what relation they stand. In the first case the good action of almsgiving produces the good effect of lessening the sufferings of the poor, who should be thankful for their benefactor. The giver is rewarded in his turn by the peace and satisfaction of his conscience. The poor, however, when used to being given alms are inclined to grow lazy and live by means of begging. Therefore the real cause of the bad effect is the thoughtlessness of both the giver and the given, but not charity itself. In the second case the mother's love and kindness produce a good effect on her and her children, making them all happy, and enabling them to enjoy the pleasure of the sweet home; yet carelessness and folly on the part of the mother and ingratitude on the part of the children may bring about the bad effect.
Dr. H. Kato seems to have thought that good cause may bring out bad effect when he attacked Buddhism on this point.
History is full of numerous cases in which good persons were so unfortunate as to die a miserable death or to live in extreme poverty, side by side with those cases in which bad people lived in health and prosperity, enjoying a long life. Having these cases in view, some are of the opinion that there is no law of retribution as believed by the Buddhists. And even among the Buddhist scholars themselves there are some who think of the law of retribution as an ideal, and not as a law governing life. This is probably due to their misunderstanding of the historical facts. There is no reason because he is good and honourable that he should be wealthy or healthy; nor is there any reason because he is bad that he should be poor or sickly. To be good is one thing, and to be healthy or rich is another. So also to be bad is one thing, And to be poor and sick is another. The good are not necessarily the rich or the healthy, nor are the bad necessarily the sick or the poor. Health must be secured by the strict observance of hygienic rules, and not by the keeping of ethical precepts; nor can wealth ever be accumulated by bare morality, but by economical and industrial activity. The moral conduct of a good person has no responsibility for his ill health or poverty; so also the immoral action of a bad person has no concern with his wealth or health. You should not confuse the moral with the physical law, since the former belongs only to human life, while the latter to the physical world.
The good are rewarded morally, not physically; their own virtues, honours, mental peace, and satisfaction are ample compensation for their goodness. Confucius, for example, was never rich nor high in rank; he was, nevertheless, morally rewarded with his virtues, honours, and the peace of mind. The following account of him, though not strictly historical, well explains his state of mind in the days of misfortune:
"When Confucius was reduced to extreme distress between Khan and Zhai, for seven days he had no cooked meat to eat, but only some soup of coarse vegetables without any rice in it. His countenance wore the appearance of great exhaustion, and yet be kept playing on his lute and singing inside the house. Yen Hui selecting the vegetables, while Zze Lu and Zze Kung were talking together, and said to him: 'The master has twice been driven from Lu; he had to flee from Wei; the tree beneath which he rested was cut down in Sung; he was reduced to extreme distress in Shang and Kau; he is held in a state of siege here between Khan and Zhai; anyone who kills him will be held guiltless; there is no prohibition against making him a prisoner. And yet he keeps playing and singing, thrumming his lute without ceasing. Can a superior man be without the feeling of shame to such an extent as this?' Yen Hui gave them no reply, but went in and told to Confucius, who pushed aside his lute and said: 'Yu and Zhze are small men. Call them here, and I will explain the thing to them.'
The account is given by Chwang Tsz in his book, vol. xviii., p. 17.
"When they came in, Zze Lu said: 'Your present condition may be called one of extreme distress!' Confucius replied: 'What words are these? When the superior man has free course with his principles, that is what we call his success; when such course is denied, that is what we call his failure. Now I hold in my embrace the principles of righteousness and benevolence, and with them meet the evils of a disordered age; where is the proof of my being in extreme distress? Therefore, looking inwards and examining myself, I have no difficulties about my principles; though I encounter such difficulties , I do not lose my virtue. It is when winter's cold is come, and the hoar-frost and snow are falling, that we know the vegetative power of the pine and cypress. This distress between Khan and Zhai is fortunate for me.' He then took back his lute so that it emitted a twanging sound, and began to play and sing. Zze Lu hurriedly seized a shield and began to dance, while Zze Kung said: 'I did not know the height of heaven nor the depth of earth!'"
Thus the good are unfailingly rewarded with their own virtue, and the wholesome consequences of their actions on society at large. And the bad are inevitably recompensed with their own vices, and the injurious effects of their actions on their fellow-beings. This is the unshaken conviction of humanity, past, present, and future. It is the pith and marrow of our moral ideal. It is the crystallization of ethical truths, distilled through long experiences from time immemorial to this day. We can safely approve Edwin Arnold, as he says:
"Lo I as hid seed shoots after rainless years, So good and evil, pains and pleasures, hates And loves, and all dead deeds come forth again, Bearing bright leaves, or dark, sweet fruit or sour."
Longfellow also says:
"No action, whether foul or fair, Is ever done, but it leaves somewhere A record-as a blessing or a curse."
9. Retribution in the Past, the Present, and the Future Life.
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that survives body , who will receive the retributions of our actions in the present life? To answer this question, we have to restate our conviction that life is one and the same; in other words, the human beings form one life or one self--that is to say, our ancestors in the past formed man's past life. We ourselves now form man's present life, and our posterity will form the future life. Beyond all doubt, all actions of man in the past have brought their fruits on the present conditions of man, and all actions of the present man are sure to influence the conditions of the future man. To put it in another way, we now reap the fruits of what we sowed in our past life , and again shall reap the fruits of what we now sow in our future life .
There is no exception to this rigorous law of retribution, and we take it as the will of Buddha to leave no action without being retributed. Thus it is Buddha himself who kindles our inward fire to save ourselves from sin and crimes. We must purge out all the stains in our hearts, obeying Buddha's command audible in the innermost self of ours. It is the great mercy of His that, however sinful, superstitious, wayward, and thoughtless, we have still a light within us which is divine in its nature. When that light shines forth, all sorts of sin are destroyed at once. What is our sin, after all? It is nothing but illusion or error originating in ignorance and folly. How true it is, as an Indian Mahayanist declares, that 'all frost and the dewdrops of sin disappear in the sunshine of wisdom!' Even if we might be imprisoned in the bottomless bell, yet let once the Light of Buddha shine upon us, it would be changed into heaven. Therefore the author of Mahakarunika-sutra says: "When I climb the mountain planted with swords, they would break under my tread. When I sail on the sea of blood, it will be dried up. When I arrive at Hades, they will be ruined at once."
The retribution cannot be explained by the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul, for it is incompatible with the fundamental doctrine of non-soul. See Abhidharmamahavibhasa-castra, vol. cxiv.
Nanjo's Catalogue, No. 117.
10. The Eternal Life as taught by Professor Munsterberg.
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because it is subject to limitation. They ascribe all evils to that condition, forgetting that without limitation life is a mere blank. Suppose our sight could see all things at once, then sight has no value nor use for us, because it is life's purpose to choose to see one thing or another out of many; and if all things be present at once before us through sight, it is of no purpose. The same is true of intellect, bearing, smell, touch, feeling, and will. If they be limitless, they cease to be useful for us. Individuality necessarily implies limitation, hence if there be no limitation in the world, then there is no room for individuality. Life without death is no life at all.
Professor Hugo Munsterberg finds no value, so it seems to me, in 'such life as beginning with birth and ending with death.' He says: "My life as a causal system of physical and psychological processes, which lies spread out in time between the dates of my birth and of my death, will come to an end with my last breath; to continue it, to make it go on till the earth falls into the sun, or a billion times longer, would be without any value, as that kind of life which is nothing but the mechanical occurrence of physiological and psychological phenomena had as such no ultimate value for me or for you, or for anyone, at any time. But my real life, as a system of interrelated-will-attitudes, has nothing before or after because it is beyond time. It is independent of birth and death because it cannot be related to biological events; it is not born, and will not die; it is immortal; all possible thinkable time is enclosed in it; it is eternal."
'The Eternal Life,' p. 26.
Professor Munsterberg tries to distinguish sharply life as the causal system of physiological and psychological processes, and life as a system of interrelated-will-attitudes, and denounces the former as fleeting and valueless, in order to prize the latter as eternal and of absolute value. How could he, however, succeed in his task unless he has two or three lives, as some animals are believed to have? Is it not one and the same life that is treated on the one hand by science as a system of physiological and psychological processes, and is conceived on the other by the Professor himself as a system of interrelated-will-attitudes? It is true that science treats of life as it is observed in time, space, and causality, and it estimates it of no value, since to estimate the value of things is no business of science. The same life observed as a system of interrelated-will-attitudes is independent of time, space, and causality as he affirms. One and the same life includes both phases, the difference being in the points of view of the observers.
Life as observed only from the scientific point of view is bare abstraction; it is not concrete life; nor is life as observed only in the interrelated-will-attitude point of view the whole of life. Both are abstractions. Concrete life includes both phases. Moreover, Professor Munsterberg sees life in the relationship entirely independent-of time, space, and causality, saying: "If you agree or disagree with the latest act of the Russian Czar, the only significant relation which exists between him and you has nothing to do with the naturalistic fact that geographically 'an ocean lies between you; and if you are really a student of Plato, your only important relation to the Greek philosopher has nothing to do with the other naturalistic fact that biologically two thousand years lie between you"; and declares life to be immortal and eternal. This is as much as to say that life, when seen in the relationship independent of time and space, is independent of time and space-that is, immortal and eternal. Is it not mere tautology? He is in the right in insisting that life can be seen from the scientific point of view as a system of physiological and psychological processes, and at the same time as a system of interrelated-will-attitudes independent of time and space. But he cannot by that means prove the existence of concrete individual life which is eternal and immortal, because that which is independent of time and space is the relationship in which he observes life, but not life itself. Therefore we have to notice that life held by Professor Munsterberg to be eternal and immortal is quite a different thing from the eternal life or immortality of soul believed by common sense.
11. Life in the Concrete.
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs from life in the abstract, which exists only in the class-room. It is not eternal; it is fleeting; it is full of anxieties, pains, struggles, brutalities, disappointments, and calamities. We love life, however, -not only for its smoothness, but for its roughness; not only for its pleasure, but for its pain; not only for its hope, but for its fear; not only for its flowers, but for its frost and snow. As Issai has aptly put it: "Prosperity is like spring, in which we have green leaves and flowers wherever we go; while adversity is like winter, in which we have snow and ice. Spring, of course, pleases us; winter, too, displeases us not." Adversity is salt to our lives, as it keeps them from corruption, no matter how bitter to taste it way be. It is the best stimulus to body and mind, since it brings forth latent energy that may remain dormant but for it. Most people hunt after pleasure, look for good luck, hunger after success, and complain of pain, ill-luck, and failure. It does not occur to them that 'they who make good luck a god are all unlucky men,' as George Eliot has wisely observed. Pleasure ceases to be pleasure when we attain to it; another sort of pleasure displays itself to tempt us. It is a mirage, it beckons to us to lead us astray. When an overwhelming misfortune looks us in the face, our latent power is sure to be aroused to grapple with it. Even delicate girls exert the power of giants at the time of emergency; even robbers or murderers are found to be kind and generous when we are thrown into a common disaster. Troubles and difficulties call forth our divine force, which lies deeper than the ordinary faculties, and which we never before dreamed we possessed.
A noted scholar and author, who belonged to the Wang School of Confucianism. See Gen-shi-roku.
12. Difficulties are no Match for the Optimist.
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put at the mercy of petty troubles, or intended to be crushed by obstacles? Are we not endowed with inner force to fight successfully against obstacles and difficulties, and to wrest trophies of glory from hardships? Are we to be slaves to the vicissitudes of fortune? Are we doomed to be victims for the jaws of the environment? It is not external obstacles themselves, but our inner fear and doubt that prove to be the stumbling-blocks in the path to success; not material loss, but timidity and hesitation that ruin us for ever.
Difficulties are no match for the optimist, who does not fly from them, but welcomes them. He has a mental prism which can separate the insipid white light of existence into bright hues. He has a mental alchemy by which he can produce golden instruction out of the dross of failure. He has a spiritual magic which makes the nectar of joy out of the tears of sorrow. He has a clairvoyant eye that can perceive the existence of hope through the iron walls of despair. Prosperity tends to make one forget the grace of Buddha, but adversity brings forth one's religious conviction. Christ on the cross was more Christ than Jesus at the table. Luther at war with the Pope was more Luther than he at peace. Nichi-ren laid the foundation of his church when sword and sceptre threatened him with death. Shin-ran and Hen-en established their respective faiths when they were exiled. When they were exiled, they complained not, resented not, regretted not, repented not, lamented not, but contentedly and joyously they met with their inevitable calamity and conquered it. Ho-nen is said to have been still more joyous and contented when be bad suffered from a serious disease, because he had the conviction that his desired end was at hand.
The founder of the Nichi Ren Sect, who was exiled in 1271 to the Island of Sado. For the history and doctrine of the Sect, see I A Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' by B. Nanjo, pp. 132-147.
The founder of the Shin Sect, who was banished to the province of Eechigo in 1207. See Nanjo's 'History,' pp. 122-131.
The founder of the Jo Do Sect, who was exiled to the Island of Tosa in 1207. See Nanjo's 'History,' pp. 104-113.
A Chinese monk, E Kwai by name, one day seated himself in a quiet place among hills and practised Dhyana. None was there to disturb the calm enjoyment of his meditation. The genius of the hill was so much stung by his envy that he made up his mind to break by surprise the mental serenity of the monk. Having supposed nothing ordinary would be effective, he appeared all on a sudden before the man, assuming the frightful form of a headless monster. E Kwai being disturbed not a whit, calmly eyed the monster, and observed with a smile: "Thou hast no head, monster! How happy thou shouldst be, for thou art in no danger of losing thy head, nor of suffering from headache!"
Were we born headless, should we not be happy, as we have to suffer from no headache? Were we born eyeless, should we not be happy, as we are in no danger of suffering from eye disease? Ho Ki Ichi, a great blind scholar, was one evening giving a lecture, without knowing that the light had been put out by the wind. When his pupils requested him to stop for a moment, he remarked with a smile: "Why, how inconvenient are your eyes!" Where there is contentment, there is Paradise.
Hanawa , who published Gun-sho-rui-zu in 1782.
13. Do Thy Best and Leave the Rest to Providence.
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life. It is simply this, that everything is placed in the condition best for itself, as it is the sum total of the consequences of its actions and reactions since the dawn of time. Take, for instance, the minutest grains of dirt that are regarded by us the worst, lifeless, valueless, mindless, inert matter. They are placed in their best condition, no matter how poor and worthless they may seem. They can never become a thing higher nor lower than they. To be the grains of dirt is best for them. But for these minute microcosms, which, flying in the air, reflect the sunbeams, we could have no azure sky. It is they that scatter the sun's rays in mid-air and send them into our rooms. It is also these grains of dirt that form the nuclei of raindrops and bring seasonable rain. Thus they are not things worthless and good for nothing, but have a hidden import and purpose in their existence. Had they mind to think, heart to feel, they should be contented and happy with their present condition.
Take, for another example, the flowers of the morning glory. They bloom and smile every morning, fade and die in a few hours. How fleeting and ephemeral their lives are! But it is that short life itself that makes them frail, delicate, and lovely. They come forth all at once as bright and beautiful as a rainbow or as the Northern light, and disappear like dreams. This is the best condition for them, because, if they last for days together, the morning glory shall no longer be the morning glory. It is so with the cherry-tree that puts forth the loveliest flowers and bears bitter fruits. It is so with the apple-tree, which bears the sweetest of fruits and has ugly blossoms. It is so with animals and men. Each of them is placed in the condition best for his appointed mission.
The newly-born baby sucks, sleeps, and cries. It can do no more nor less. Is it not best for it to do so? When it attained to its boyhood, he goes to school and is admitted to the first-year class. He cannot be put in a higher nor lower class. It is best for him to be the first-year class student. When his school education is over, he may get a position in society according to his abilities, or may lead a miserable life owing to his failure of some sort or other. In any case he is in a position best for his special mission ordained by Providence or the Hum-total of the fruits of his actions and reactions since all eternity. He should be contented and happy, and do what is right with might and main. Discontent and vexation only make him more worthy of his ruin Therefore our positions, no matter, how high or low, no matter how favourable or unfavourable our environment, we are to be cheerful. "Do thy best and leave the rest to Providence," says a Chinese adage. Longfellow also says:
"Do thy best; that is best. Leave unto thy Lord the rest."