The Religion of the Samurai by Kaiten Nukariya - HTML preview
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(1) The Southern and Northern Schools of Buddhism
(2) The Development and Differentiation of Buddhism
(3) The Object of this Book is the Explaining of the Mahayanistic View of Life and the World
(4) Zen holds a Unique Position among the Established Religions of the World
(5) The Historical Antiquity of Zen
(6) The Denial of Scriptural Authority by Zen
(7) The Practisers of Zen hold the Buddha as their Predecessor, whose Spiritual Level they Aim to Attain
(8) The Iconoclastic Attitude of Zen
(9) Zen Activity
(10) The Physical and Mental Training (11) The Historical Importance
1. The Origin of Zen in India
2. The Introduction of Zen into China by Bodhidharma
3. Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu
4. Bodhidharma and his Successor, the Second Patriarch
5. Bodhidharma's Disciples and the Transmission of the Law
6. The Second and the Third Patriarchs
7. The Fourth Patriarch and the Emperor Tai Tsung
8. The Fifth and the Sixth Patriarchs
9. The Spiritual Attainment of the Sixth Patriarch
10. The Flight of the Sixth Patriarch
11. The Development of the Southern and the Northern School of Zen
12. The Missionary Activity of the Sixth Patriarch
13. The Disciples under the Sixth Patriarch
14. Three Important Elements of Zen
15. Decline of Zen
1. The Establishment of the Rin Zai School of Zen in Japan
2. The Introduction of the So To School of Zen
3. The Characteristics of Do-gen, the Founder of the Japanese So To Sect
4. The Social State of Japan when Zen was Established by Ei-sai and Do-gen
5. The Resemblance of the Zen Monk to the Samurai
6. The Honest Poverty of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
7. The Manliness of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
8. The Courage and Composure of Mind of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
9. Zen and the Regent Generals of the Ho-jo Period
10. Zen after the Downfall of the Ho-jo Regency
11. Zen in the Dark Age
12. Zen under the Toku-gawa Shogunate
13. Zen after the Restoration
1. Scripture is no More than Waste Paper
2. No Need of the Scriptural Authority for Zen
3. The Usual Explanation of the Canon
4. Sutras used by the Zen Masters
5. A Sutra Equal in Size to the Whole World 68
6. Great Men and Nature
7. The Absolute and Reality are but an Abstraction
8. The Sermon of the Inanimate
1. The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
2. Zen is Iconoclastic
3. Buddha is Unnamable
4. Buddha, the Universal Life
5. Life and Change
6. The Pessimistic View of Ancient Hindus
7. Hinayanism and its Doctrine
8. Change as seen by Zen
9. Life and Change
10. Life, Change, and Hope
11. Everything is Living according to Zen
12. The Creative Force of Nature and Humanity
13. Universal Life is Universal Spirit
14. Poetical Intuition and Zen
15. Enlightened Consciousness
16. Buddha Dwelling in the Individual Mind Enlightened Consciousness is not an Intellectual Insight
18. Our Conception of Buddha is not Final
19. How to Worship Buddha
1. Man is Good-natured according to Mencius
2. Man is Bad-natured according to Siun Tsz
3. Man is both Good-natured and Bad-natured according to Yan Hiung
4. Man is neither Good-natured nor Bad-natured according to Su Shih
5. There is no Mortal who is Purely Moral
6. There is no Mortal who is Non-moral or Purely Immoral
7. Where, then, does the Error Lie?
8, Man is not Good-natured nor Bad-natured, but Buddha natured
9. The Parable of the Robber Kih
10. Wang Yang Ming and a Thief
11. The Bad are the Good in the Egg
12. The Great Person and the Small Person
13. The Theory of Buddha-Nature adequately explains the Ethical States of Man
14. Buddha-Nature is the Common Source of Morals
15. The Parable of a Drunkard
16. Shakya Muni and the Prodigal Son
17. The Parable of the Monk and the Stupid Woman
18. 'Each Smile a Hymn, each Kindly Word a Prayer'
19. The World is in the Making
20. The Progress and Hope of Life
21. The Betterment of Life
22. The Buddha of Mercy
1. Enlightenment is beyond Description and Analysis
2. Enlightenment Implies an Insight into the Nature of Self
3. The Irrationality of the Belief of Immortality
4. The Examination of the Notion of Self
5. Nature is the Mother of All Things
6. Real Self
7. The Awakening of the Innermost Wisdom
8. Zen is not Nihilistic
9. Zen and Idealism
10. Idealism is a Potent Medicine for Self -Created Mental Disease
11. Idealistic Scepticism concerning Objective Reality
12. Idealistic Scepticism concerning Religion and Morality
13. An Illusion concerning Appearance and Reality
14. Where does the Root of the Illusion Lie?
15. Thing-in-Itself means Thing-Knowerless
16. The Four Alternatives and the Five Categories
17. Personalism of B. P. Bowne
18. All the Worlds in Ten Directions are Buddha's Holy Land
1. Epicureanism and Life
2. The Errors of Philosophical Pessimists and Religious Optimists
3. The Law of Balance
4. Life Consists in Conflict
5. The Mystery of Life
6. Nature favours Nothing in Particular
7. The Law of Balance in Life
8. The Application of the Law of Causation to Morals
9. The Retribution in the Past, the Present, and the Future Life
10. The Eternal Life as taught by Professor M?nsterberg
11. Life in the Concrete
12. Difficulties are no Match for an Optimist
13. Do Thy Best and Leave the Rest to Providence
THE TRAINING OF THE MIND AND THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION
1. The Method of Instruction adopted by Zen Masters
2. The First Step in the Mental Training
3. The Next Step in the Mental Training
4. The Third Step in the Mental Training
5. Zazen, or the Sitting in Meditation
6. The Breathing Exercise of the Yogi
7. Calmness of Mind
8. Zazen and the Forgetting of Self
9. Zen and Supernatural Power
10. True Dhyana
11. Let Go of Your Idle Thoughts
12. 'The Five Ranks of Merit'
13. 'The Ten Pictures of the Cowherd'
14. Zen and Nirvana
15. Nature and Her Lesson
16. The Beatitude of Zen
1. The Doctrine for Men and Devas
2. The Doctrine of the Hinayanists
3. The Mahayana Doctrine of Dharmalaksana
4. Mahayana Doctrine of the Nihilists
Buddhism is geographically divided into two schools[FN#1]--the Southern, the older and simpler, and the Northern, the later and more developed faith. The former, based mainly on the Pali texts[FN#2] is known as Hinayana[FN#3] (small vehicle), or the inferior doctrine; while the latter, based on the various Sanskrit texts, is known as Mahayana (large vehicle), or superior doctrine. The chief tenets of the Southern School are so well known to occidental scholars that they almost always mean the Southern School by the word Buddhism. But with regard to the Northern School very little is known to the West, owing to the fact that most of its original texts were lost, and that the teachings based on these texts are written in Chinese, or Tibetan, or Japanese languages unfamiliar to non-Buddhist investigators.
[FN#1] The Southern School has its adherents in Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Anan, etc.; while the Northern School is found in Nepal, China, Japan, Tibet, etc.
[FN#2] They chiefly consist of the Four Nikayas: (1) Digha Nikaya (Dirghagamas, translated into Chinese by Buddhaya?as, A.D. 412-413); (2) Majjhima Nikaya (Madhyamagamas, translated into Chinese by Gautama Sanghadeva, A.D. 397-398); (3) Sanyutta Nikaya (Samyuktagamas, translated into Chinese by Gunabhadra, of the earlier Sung dynasty, A.D. 420 479); (4) Anguttara Nikaya (Ekottaragamas, translated into Chinese by Dharmanandi, A.D. 384-385). Out of these Hinayana books, the English translation of twenty-three suttas by Rhys Davids exist in 'Sacred Books of Buddhist,' vols. ii.-iii., and of seven suttas by the same author in 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xi.
[FN#3] The Southern Buddhists never call their faith Hinayana, the name being an invention of later Buddhists, who call their doctrine Mahayana in contradistinction to the earlier form of Buddhism. We have to notice that the word Hinayana frequently occurs in Mahayana books, while it does not in Hinayana books.
[FN#4] A catalogue of the Buddhist Canon, K'-yuen-luh, gives the titles of 897 Mahayana sutras, yet the most important books often quoted by Northern Buddhist teachers amount to little more than twenty. There exist the English translation of Larger
Sukhavati-vyuha-sutra, Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha-sutra,
Vajracchedika-sutra, Larger Prajna-paramita-hradya-sutra, Smaller Prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra, by Max M?ller, and
Amitayur-dhyana-sutra, by J. Takakusu, in 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xlix. An English translation of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, by Kern, is given in 'Sacred Books of the East,' Vol. xxi. Compare these books with 'Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism,' by D. Suzuki.
It is hardly justifiable to cover the whole system of Buddhism with a single epithet[FN#5] 'pessimistic' or 'nihilistic,' because Buddhism, having been adopted by savage tribes as well as civilized nations, by quiet, enervated people as well as by warlike, sturdy hordes, during some twenty-five hundred years, has developed itself into beliefs widely divergent and even diametrically opposed. Even in Japan alone it has differentiated itself into thirteen main sects and forty-four sub-sects[FN#6] and is still in full vigour, though in other
countries it has already passed its prime. Thus Japan seems to be the best representative of the Buddhist countries where the majority of people abides by the guiding principle of the Northern School. To study her religion, therefore, is to penetrate into Mahayanism, which still lies an unexplored land for the Western minds. And to investigate her faith is not to dig out the remains of Buddhist faith that existed twenty centuries ago, but to touch the heart and soul of Mahayanism that enlivens its devotees at the present moment.
[FN#5] Hinayanism is, generally speaking, inclined to be pessimistic, but Mahayanism in the main holds the optimistic view of life. Nihilism is advocated in some Mahayana sutras, but others set forth idealism or realism.
[FN#6] (1) The Ten Dai Sect, including three sub-sects; (2) The Shin Gon Sect, including eleven sub-sects; (3) The Ritsu Sect; (4) The Rin Zai Sect, including fourteen sub-sects; (5) The So To Sect; (6) The O Baku Sect; (7) The Jo Do Sect, including two sub-sects; (8) The Shin Sect, including ten sub-sects; (9) The Nichi Ren Sect, including nine sub-sects; (10) The Yu Zu Nen Butsu Sect; (11) The Hosso Sect; (12) The Ke Gon Sect; (13) The Ji Sect. Out of these thirteen Buddhist sects, Rin Zai, So To, and O Baku belong to Zen. For further information, see 'A Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' by Dr. B. Nanjo.
The object of this little book is to show how the Mahayanistic view of life and of the world differs markedly from that of Hinayanism, which is generally taken as Buddhism by occidentals, to explain how the religion of Buddha has adapted itself to its environment in the Far East, and also to throw light on the existing state of the spiritual life of modern Japan.
For this purpose we have singled out of thirteen Japanese sects the Zen Sect, [FN#7] not only because of the great influence it has exercised on the nation, but because of the unique position it holds among the established religious systems of the world. In the first place, it is as old as Buddhism itself, or even older, for its mode of practising Meditation has been handed down without much alteration from pre-Buddhistic recluses of India; and it may, on that account, provide the student of comparative religion with an interesting subject for his research.
[FN#7] The word Zen is the Sinico-Japanese abbreviation of the Sanskrit Dhyana, or Meditation. It implies the whole body of teachings and discipline peculiar to a Buddhist sect now popularly known as the Zen Sect.
In the second place, in spite of its historical antiquity, ideas entertained by its advocates are so new that they are in harmony with those of the New Buddhists;[FN#8] accordingly the statement of these ideas may serve as an explanation of the present movement conducted by young and able reformers of Japanese Buddhism.
[FN#8] There exists a society formed by men who have broken with the old creeds of Buddhism, and who call themselves the New Buddhists. It has for its organ 'The New Buddhism,' and is one of the
influential religious societies in Japan. We mean by the New Buddhists, however, numerous educated young men who still adhere to Buddhist sects, and are carrying out a reformation.
Thirdly, Buddhist denominations, like non-Buddhist religions, lay stress on scriptural authority; but Zen denounces it on the ground that words or characters can never adequately express religious truth, which can only be realized by mind; consequently it claims that the religious truth attained by Shakya Muni in his Enlightenment has been handed down neither by word of mouth nor by the letters of scriptures, but from teacher's mind to disciple's through the line of transmission until the present day. It is an isolated instance in the whole history of the world's religions that holy scriptures are declared to be 'no more than waste[FN#9] paper by religionists, as done by Zen masters.[FN#9] Lin Tsi Luh (Rin-zai-roku).
Fourthly, Buddhist as well as non-Buddhist religions regard, without exception, their founders as superhuman beings, but the practisers of Zen hold the Buddha as their predecessor, whose spiritual level they confidently aim to attain. Furthermore, they liken one who remains in the exalted position of Buddhaship to a man bound by a gold chain, and pity his state of bondage. Some of them went even so far as to declare Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to be their servants and slaves.[FN#10] Such an attitude of religionists can hardly be found in any other religion.
[FN#10] "Shakya and Maitreya," says Go So, "are servants to the other person. Who is that other person?" (Zen-rin-rui-ju, Vol. i., p. 28).
Fifthly, although non-Buddhist people are used to call Buddhism idolatry, yet Zen can never be called so in the accepted sense of the term, because it, having a grand conception of Deity, is far from being a form of idol-worship; nay, it sometimes even took an iconoclastic attitude as is exemplified by Tan Hia, [FN#11] who warmed himself on a cold morning by making a fire of wooden statues. Therefore our exposition on this point will show the real state of existing Buddhism, and serve to remove religious prejudices entertained against it.
[FN#11] A Chinese Zen teacher, well known for his peculiarities, who died in A.D. 824. For the details of this anecdote, see
Zen-rin-rui-ju, Vol. i., P. 39.
Sixthly, there is another characteristic of Zen, which cannot be found in any other religion-that is to say, its peculiar mode of expressing profound religious insight by such actions as the lifting up of a hair-brush, or by the tapping of the chair with a staff, or by a loud outcry, and so forth. This will give the student of religion a striking illustration of differentiated forms of religion in its scale of evolution.
Besides these characteristics, Zen is noted for its physical and mental training. That the daily practice of Zazen[FN#12] and the breathing exercise remarkably improves one's physical condition is an established fact. And history proves that most Zen masters enjoyed a long life in spite of their extremely simple mode of living. Its mental discipline, however, is by far more fruitful, and keeps one's mind in equipoise, making one neither passionate nor dispassionate, neither sentimental nor unintelligent, neither nervous nor senseless.
It is well known as a cure to all sorts of mental disease,
occasioned by nervous disturbance, as a nourishment to the fatigued brain, and also as a stimulus to torpor and sloth. It is
self-control, as it is the subduing of such pernicious passions as anger, jealousy, hatred, and the like, and the awakening of noble emotions such as sympathy, mercy, generosity, and what not. It is a mode of Enlightenment, as it is the dispelling of illusion and of doubt, and at the same time it is the overcoming of egoism, the destroying of mean desires, the uplifting of the moral ideal, and the disclosing of inborn wisdom.
[FN#12] The sitting-in-meditation, for the full explanation of which see Chapter VIII.
The historical importance of Zen can hardly be exaggerated. After its introduction into China in the sixth century, A.D., it grew
ascendant through the Sui (598-617) and the Tang dynasty (618-906), and enjoyed greater popularity than any other sect of Buddhism during the whole period of the Sung (976-1126) and the Southern Sung dynasty (1127-1367). In these times its commanding influence became so irresistible that Confucianism, assimilating the Buddhist teachings, especially those of Zen, into itself and changing its entire aspect, brought forth the so-called Speculative philosophy.[FN#13] And in the Ming dynasty (1368-1659) the principal doctrines of Zen were adopted by a celebrated Confucian scholar, Wang Yang Ming,[FN#14] who thereby founded a school, through which Zen exercised profound influence on Chinese and Japanese men of letters, statesmen, and soldiers.
As regards Japan, it was first introduced into the island as the faith first for the Samurai or the military class, and moulded the characters of many distinguished soldiers whose lives adorn the pages of her history. Afterwards it gradually found its way to palaces as well as to cottages through literature and art, and at last permeated through every fibre of the national life. It is Zen that modern Japan, especially after the Russo-Japanese War, has acknowledged as an ideal doctrine for her rising generation.[FN#13] See 'A History of Chinese Philosophy,' by Ryukichi Endo, and A History of Chinese Philosophy,' by Giichi Nakauchi.
[FN#14] For the life of this distinguished scholar and soldier (1472-1529), see 'A Detailed Life of O Yo Mei’ by Takejiro Takase, and also 'O-yo-mei-shutsu-shin-sei-ran-roku.'CHAPTER I HISTORY OF ZEN IN CHINA 1. Origin of Zen in India.
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form only among the Japanese Buddhists. You cannot find it in the so-called Gospel of Buddha anymore than you can find Unitarianism in the Pentateuch, nor can you find it in China and India any more than you can find life in fossils of bygone ages. It is beyond all doubt that it can be traced back to Shakya Muni himself, nay, even to pre-Buddhistic times, because Brahmanic teachers practised Dhyana, or Meditation,[FN#15] from earliest times.
[FN#15] "If a wise man hold his body with its three parts (chest, neck, and head) erect, and turn his senses with the mind towards the heart, he will then in the boat of Brahman cross all the torrents which cause fear.
"Compressing his breathings let him, who has subdued all motions, breathe forth through the nose with the gentle breath. Let the wise man without fail restrain his mind, that chariot yoked with vicious horses.
"Let him perform his exercises in a place level, pure, free from pebbles, fire, and dust, delightful by its sounds, its water, and bowers; not painful to the eye, and full of shelters and eaves.
"When Yoga, is being performed, the forms which come first, producing apparitions in Brahman, are those of misty smoke, sun, fire, wind, fire-flies, lightnings, and a crystal moon.
"When, as earth, water, light, heat, and ether arises, the fivefold quality of Yoga takes place, then there is no longer illness, old age, or pain for him who has obtained a body produced by the fire of Yoga.
The first results of Yoga they call lightness, healthiness,
steadiness, a good complexion, an easy pronunciation, a sweet odour, and slight excretions "(Cvet. Upanisad, ii. 8-13).
"When the five instruments of knowledge stand still together with the mind, and when the intellect does not move, that is called the highest state.
"This, the firm holding back of the senses, is what is called Yoga. He must be free from thoughtlessness then, for Yoga comes and goes" (Katha Upanisad, ii. 10, 11).
"This is the rule for achieving it (viz., concentration of the mind on the object of meditation): restraint of the breath, restraint of the senses, meditation, fixed attention, investigation,
absorption-these are called the sixfold Yoga. When beholding by this Yoga, be beholds the gold-coloured maker, the lord, the person, Brahman, the cause; then the sage, leaving behind good and evil, makes everything (breath, organs of sense, body, etc.) to be one in the Highest Indestructible (in the pratyagatman or Brahman) " (Maitr. Upanisad, vi. 18).
"And thus it has been elsewhere: There is the superior fixed attention (dharana) for him-viz., if he presses the tip of the tongue down the palate, and restrain the voice, mind, and breath, he sees Brahman by discrimination (taraka). And when, after the cessation of mind, he sees his own Self, smaller than small, and shining as the Highest Self, then, having seen his Self as the Self, he becomes Self-less, and because he is Self-less, he is without limit, without cause, absorbed in thought. This is the highest mystery--viz., final liberation " (Maitr. Upanisad, vi. 20).
Amrtab. Upanisad, 18, describes three modes of sitting-namely, the Lotus-seat (Padmasana), the sitting with legs bent underneath; the mystic diagram seat (Svastika); and the auspicious-seat (Bhadrasana);--while Yogacikha directs the choice of the Lotus-posture, with attention concentrated on the tip of the nose, hands and feet closely joined.But Brahmanic Zen was carefully distinguished even by early Buddhists[FN#16] as the heterodox Zen from that taught by the Buddha.
Our Zen originated in the Enlightenment of Shakya Muni, which took place in his thirtieth year, when he was sitting absorbed in profound meditation under the Bodhi Tree.
[FN#16] The anonymous author of Lankavatara-sutra distinguishes the heterodox Zen from the Hinayana Zen, the Hinayana Zen from the Mahayana Zen, and calls the last by the name of the Buddha's Holy Zen. The sutra is believed by many Buddhists, not without reason, to be the exposition of that Mahayana doctrine which Acvaghosa restated in his Craddhotpada-castra. The sutra was translated, first, into Chinese by Gunabbadra, in A.D. 443; secondly, by Bodhiruci in A.D. 513; and, thirdly, by Ciksanada in A.D. 700-704. The book is famous for its prophecy about Nagdrajuna, which (according to Dr. Nanjo's translation) is as follows:
"After the Nirvana of the Tathagata,
There will be a man in the future,
Listen to me carefully, O Mahatma,
A man who will hold my law.
In the great country of South,
There will be a venerable Bhiksu
The Bodhisattva Nagarjuna by name,
Who will destroy the views of Astikas and Nastikas, Who will preach unto men my Yana,
The highest Law of the Mahayana,
And will attain to the Pramudita-bhumi."
It is said that then he awoke to the perfect truth and declared: "All animated and inanimate beings are Enlightened at the same time." According to the tradition[FN#17] of this sect Shakya Muni transmitted his mysterious doctrine from mind to mind to his oldest disciple Mahakacyapa at the assembly hold on the Mount of Holy Vulture, and the latter was acknowledged as the first patriarch, who, in turn, transmitted the doctrine to Ananda, the second patriarch, and so till Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth[FN#18] patriarch. We have little to say about the historical value of this tradition, but it is worth while to note that the list of the names of these twenty-eight patriarchs contains many eminent scholars of Mahayanism, or the later developed school of Buddhism, such as Acvaghosa,[FN#19] Nagarjuna,[FN#20] Kanadeva,[FN#21] and Vasubhandhu.[FN#22]
[FN#17] The incident is related as follows: When the Buddha was at the assembly on the Mount of Holy Vulture, there came a Brahmaraja who offered the Teacher a golden flower, and asked him to preach the Dharma. The Buddha took the flower and held it aloft in his hand, gazing at it in perfect silence. None in the assembly could understand what he meant, except the venerable Mahakacyapa, who smiled at the Teacher. Then the Buddha said: "I have the Eye and Treasury of Good Dharma, Nirvana, the Wonderful Spirit, which I now hand over to Mahakacyapa." The book in which this incident is described is entitled 'Sutra on the Great Brahman King's Questioning Buddha to Dispel a Doubt,' but there exists no original text nor any Chinese translation in the Tripitaka. It is highly probable that some early Chinese Zen scholar of the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1126) fabricated the tradition, because Wang Ngan Shih (O-an-seki), a powerful Minister under the Emperor Shan Tsung (Shin-so, A.D. 1068-1085), is said to have seen the book in the Imperial Library. There is, however, no evidence, as far as we know, pointing to the existence of the Sutra in China. In Japan there exists, in a form of manuscript, two different translations of that book, kept in secret veneration by some Zen masters, which have been proved to be fictitious by the present writer after his close examination of the contents. See the Appendix to his Zen-gaku-hi-han-ron.[FN#18] The following is the list of the names of the twenty-eight patriarchs:
The first twenty-three patriarchs are exactly the same as those given in 'The Sutra on the Nidana of transmitting Dharmapitaka,' translated in A.D. 472. King Teh Chwen Tang Iuh (Kei-toku-den-to-roku), a famous Zen history of China, gives two elaborate narratives about the transmission of Right Dharma from teacher to disciple through these twenty-eight patriarchs, to be trusted without hesitation. It would not be difficult for any scholar of sense to find these statements were made from the same motive as that of the anonymous author who gives a short life, in Dirghagama-sutra, of each of the six Buddhas, the predecessors of Shakya Muni, if he carefully compare the list given above with the lists of the patriarchs of the Sarvastivada school given by San Yin (So-yu died A.D. 518) in his Chuh San Tsung Ki (Shutsu-san zo-ki).
[FN#19] One of the founders of Mahayana Buddhism, who flourished in the first century A.D. There exists a life of his translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in A.D. 401-409. The most important of his works are: Mahayanacraddhotpada-castra, Mahalankara-sutra-castra, Buddha-caritakavya.
[FN#20] The founder of the Madhyamika school of Mahayana Buddhism, who lived in the second century A.D. A life of his was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in A.D. 401-409. Twenty-four books are ascribed to him, of which Mahaprajñaparamita-castra, Madhyamika-castra, Prajnyadipa-castra, Dvadacanikaya-castra, Astadacakaca-castra, are well known.
[FN#21] Sometimes called Aryadeva, a successor of Nagarjuna. A life of his was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in A.D. 401-409. The following are his important works: Cata-castra, 'Castra by the Bodhisattva Deva on the refutation of four heretical Hinayana schools mentioned in the Lankatvatara-sutra'; 'Castra by the Bodhisattva Deva on the explanation of the Nirvana by twenty Hinayana teachers mentioned in the Lankavatara-sutra.'
[FN#22] A younger brother of Asamga, a famous Mahayanist of the fifth century A.D. There are thirty-six works ascribed to
Vasubandhu, of which Dacabhumika-castra, Aparimitayus-sutra-castra, Mahapari-nirvana-sutra-castra, Mahayana-catadharmavidyadvara-castra, Vidya-matrasiddhi-tridaca-castra, Bodhicittopadana-castra, Buddha-gotra-castra, Vidyamatrasiddhivincatigatha-castra, Madhyantavibhaga-castra, Abhidharma-koca-castra, Tarka-castra, etc., are well known.
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of China by Bodhidharma's coming over from Southern India to that country in about A.D. 520.[FN#23] It was the introduction, not of the dead scriptures, as was repeatedly done before him, but of a living faith, not of any theoretical doctrine, but of practical Enlightenment, not of the relies of Buddha, but of the Spirit of Shakya Muni; so that Bodhidharma's position as a representative of Zen was unique. He was, however, not a missionary to be favourably received by the public. He seems to have behaved in a way quite opposite to that in which a modern pastor treats his flock. We imagine him to have been a religious teacher entirely different in every point from a popular Christian missionary of our age. The latter would smile or try to smile at every face he happens to see and would talk sociably; while the former would not smile at any face, but would stare at it with the large glaring eyes that penetrated to the innermost soul. The latter would keep himself scrupulously clean, shaving, combing, brushing, polishing, oiling, perfuming, while the former would be entirely indifferent to his apparel, being always clad in a faded yellow robe. The latter would compose his sermon with a great care, making use of rhetorical art, and speak with force and elegance; while the former would sit as absolutely silent as the bear, and kick one off, if one should approach him with idle questions.
[FN#23] Buddhist historians differ in opinion respecting the date of Bodhidharma's appearance in China. Compare Chwen Fah Chan Tsung Lun (Den bo sho ju ron) and Hwui Yuen (E-gen).3. Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu.
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern China than he was invited by the Emperor[FN#24] Wu, who was an enthusiastic Buddhist and good scholar, to proceed to his capital of Chin Liang. When he was received in audience, His Majesty asked him: "We have built temples, copied holy scriptures, ordered monks and nuns to be converted. Is there any merit, Reverend Sir, in our conduct?" The royal host, in all probability, expected a smooth, flattering answer from the lips of his new guest, extolling his virtues, and promising him heavenly rewards, but the Blue-eyed Brahmin bluntly answered: "No merit at all."
This unexpected reply must have put the Emperor to shame and doubt in no small degree, who was informed simply of the doctrines of the orthodox Buddhist sects. 'Why not,' he might have thought within himself, 'why all this is futile? By what authority does he declare all this meritless? What holy text can be quoted to justify his
assertion? What is his view in reference to the different doctrines taught by Shakya Muni? What does he hold as the first principle of Buddhism?' Thus thinking, he inquired: "What is the holy truth, or the first principle?" The answer was no less astonishing: "That principle transcends all. There is nothing holy."
The crowned creature was completely at a loss to see what the teacher meant. Perhaps he might have thought: 'Why is nothing holy? Are there not holy men, Holy Truths, Holy Paths stated in the scriptures?
Is he himself not one of the holy men?' "Then who is that confronts us?" asked the monarch again. "I know not, your majesty," was the laconic reply of Bodhidharma, who now saw that his new faith was beyond the understanding of the Emperor.
The elephant can hardly keep company with rabbits. The petty orthodoxy can by no means keep pace with the elephantine stride of Zen. No wonder that Bodhidharma left not only the palace of the Emperor Wu, but also the State of Liang, and went to the State of Northern Wei.[FN#25] There he spent nine years in the Shao Lin[FN#26] Monastery, mostly sitting silent in meditation with his face to the wall, and earned for himself the appellation of 'the wall-gazing Brahmin.' This name itself suggests that the significance of his mission was not appreciated by his
contemporaries. But neither he was nor they were to blame, because the lion's importance is appreciated only by the lion. A great personage is no less great because of his unpopularity among his fellow men, just as the great Pang[FN#27] is no less great because of his unpopularity among the winged creatures. Bodhidharma was not popular to the degree that he was envied by his contemporary Buddhists, who, as we are told by his biographers, attempted to poison him three times,[FN#28] but without success.
[FN#27] Chwang-tsz in his famous parable compares a great sage with the Pang, an imaginary bird of enormous size, with its wings of ninety thousand miles. The bird is laughed at by wrens and sparrows because of its excessive size.
[FN#28] This reminds us of Nan Yoh Hwui Sz (Nan-gaku-e-shi, died A.D. 577), who is said to have learned Zen under Bodhidharma. He says in his statement of a vow that he was poisoned three times by those who envied him.
[FN#29] The translation of Hinayana Zen sutras first paved the way for our faith. Fourteen Zen sutras, including such important books as Mahanapanadhyana-sutra, Dhyanacarya-dharmasanyjnya-sutra, Dhyanacarya-saptatrimcadvarga-sutra, were translated by Ngan Shi Kao (An-sei-ko) as early as A.D. 148-170. Cullamargabhumi-sutra was translated by K' Yao (Shi-yo) in A.D. 185; Dharmatara-dhyana-sutra by Buddhabhadra in A.D. 398-421;
Dhyananisthitasamadhi-dharma-parygya-sutra by Kumarajiva in A.D. 402; 'An Abridged Law on the Importance of Meditation' by Kumarajiva in A.D. 405; Pancadvara-dhyanasutra-maharthadharma by Dharmamitra in A.D. 424-441. Furthermore, Mahayana books closely related to the doctrine of Zen were not unknown to China before Bodhidharma. Pratyutpanna-buddhasammukhavasthita-samadhi was translated by K' Leu Cia Chan (Shi-ru-ga-sen) in A.D. 164-186; Vimalakirttinirdeca-sutra, which is much used in Zen, by Kumarajiva in A.D. 384-412;
Lankavatara-sutra, which is said to have been pointed out by Bodhidharma as the best explanation of Zen, by Gunabhadra in A.D. 433; Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, in its complete form, by Kumarajiva in A.D. 406; Avatamsaka-sutra by Buddhabhadra in A.D. 418; Mahaparinirvana-sutra by Dharmaraksa in A.D. 423.
If we are not mistaken, Kumarajiva, who came to China A.D. 384, made a valuable contribution towards the foundation of Zen in that country, not merely through his translation of Zen sutras above mentioned, but by the education of his disciples, such as Sang Chao (So-jo, died A.D. 414), Sang Shang (So-sho, whose writings undoubtedly influenced later Zen teachers. A more important personage in the history of Zen previous to the Blue-eyed Brahmin is Buddhabhadra, a well-known Zen master, who came over to China A.D. 406. His translation of Dharmatara-dhyana-sutra (which is said to have been preached by Bodhidharma himself when he was in India) and that of Avatamsaka-sutra may be said without exaggeration to have laid the corner-stone for Zen. He gave a course of lectures on the Zen sutra for the first time in China in A.D. 413, and it was through his instruction that many native practisers of Zen were produced, of whom Chi Yen (Chi-gon) and Huen Kao (Gen-ko) are well known. In these days Zen should have been in the ascendant in India, because almost all Indian scholars-at least those known to us-were called Zen teachers-for instance, Buddhabhadra, Buddhasena, Dharmadhi, and some others were all Zen scholars.
Chinese Buddhist scholars did no less than Indian teachers toward the uprising of Zen. The foremost among them is Hwui Yuen (E-on, died A.D. 414), who practised Zen by the instruction of Buddhabhadra. He founded the Society of the White Lotus, which comprised eighteen eminent scholars of the age among its members, for the purpose of practising Meditation and of adoring Buddha Amitabha. We must not forget that during the Western and the Eastern Tsin (Shin) dynasties (A.D. 265-420) both Taoism and Buddhism grew prosperous to no small extent. And China produced, on the one hand, Taoists of an eccentric type, such as the Seven Wise Men of the Bamboo Forest, while she gave birth to many recluse-like men of letters, such as Tao Yuen Ming (To-yen-mei, died A.D. 427) and some others on the other. Besides there were some scholars who studied Buddhism in connection with Taoism and Confucianism, and led a secluded life. To the last class of scholars belonged Chwen Hih (Hu dai shi), known as Chwen the Great. He is said to have been accustomed to wear a Confucianist hat, a Buddhist robe, and Taoist shoes. It was in A.D. 534 that he presented a memorial to the Emperor Wu, in which he explained the three grades of good. "The Highest Good consists," says he, "in the emptiness of mind and non-attachment. Transcendence is its cause, and Nirvana is its result. The Middle Good consists in morality and good administration. It results in a peaceful and happy life in Heaven and in Earth. The Lowest Good consists in love and protection of sentient beings." Thus his idea of good, as the reader will see without difficulty, is the result of a compromise of Taoism and Buddhism. Sin Wang Ming (Sin-o-mei, On the Mind-King), one of his masterpieces, together with other minor poems, are still used as a textbook of Zen. This fact unmistakably proves that Taoist element found its way into the constituents of Zen from its very outset in China.
All that he had to do was to wait for an earnest seeker after the spirit of Shakya Muni. Therefore he waited, and waited not in vain, for at last there came a learned Confucianist, Shang Kwang (Shin-ko) by name, for the purpose of finding the final solution of a problem which troubled him so much that he had become dissatisfied with Confucianism, as it had no proper diet for his now spiritual hunger. Thus Shang Kwang was far from being one of those half-hearted visitors who knocked the door of Bodhidharma only for the sake of curiosity. But the silent master was cautious enough to try the sincerity of a new visitor before admitting him to the Meditation Hall. According to a biography[FN#30] of his, Shang Kwang was not allowed to enter the temple, and had to stand in the courtyard covered deep with snow. His firm resolution and earnest desire, however, kept him standing continually on one spot for seven days and nights with beads of the frozen drops of tears on his breast. At last he cut off his left arm with a sharp knife, and presented it before the inflexible teacher to show his resolution to follow the master even at the risk of his life. Thereupon Bodhidharma admitted him into the order as a disciple fully qualified to be instructed in the highest doctrine of Mahayanism.
[FN#30] King Teh Chwen Tang Luh (Kei-toku-den-to-roku), published by Tao Yuen (Do-gen) A.D. 1004, gives a detailed narrative concerning this incident as stated here, but earlier historians tell us a
different story about the mutilation of Shang Kwang's arm. Compare Suh Kas San Chwen (Zoku-ko-so-den) and Hwui Yuen (E-gen).
Our master's method of instruction was entirely different from that of ordinary instructors of learning. He would not explain any problem to the learner, but simply help him to get enlightened by putting him an abrupt but telling question. Shang Kwang, for instance, said to Bodhidharma, perhaps with a sigh: "I have no peace of mind. Might I ask you, sir, to pacify my mind?" "Bring out your mind (that troubles you so much)," replied the master, "here before me! I shall pacify it." "It is impossible for me," said the
disciple, after a little consideration, "to seek out my mind (that troubles me so much)." "Then," exclaimed Bodhidharma, "I have pacified your mind." Hereon Shang Kwang was instantly Enlightened. This event is worthy of our notice, because such a mode of instruction was adopted by all Zen teachers after the first patriarch, and it became one of the characteristics of Zen.
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Zan. As for the life of Bodhidharma, Dr. B. Matsumoto's 'A Life of
Bodhidharma' may well be recommended to the reader.
Bodhidharma's labour of nine years in China resulted in the initiation of a number of disciples, whom some time before his death he addressed as follows: "Now the time (of my departure from this
world) is at hand. Say, one and all, how do you understand the Law?"
Tao Fu (Do-fuku) said in response to this: "The Law does not lie in
the letters (of the Scriptures), according to my view, nor is it
separated from them, but it works." The Master said: "Then you have
obtained my skin." Next Tsung Chi (So-ji), a nun, replied: "As
Ananda[FN#32] saw the kingdom of Aksobhya[FN#33] only once but not
twice, so I understand the Law". The master said: "Then you have
attained to my flesh." Then Tao Yuh (Do-iku) replied: "The four
elements[FN#34] are unreal from the first, nor are the five
aggregates[FN#35] really existent. All is emptiness according to my
view." The master said: "Then you have acquired my bone." Lastly,
Hwui Ko (E-ka), which was the Buddhist name given by Bodhidharma, to
Shang Kwang, made a polite bow to the teacher and stood in his place
without a word. "You have attained to my marrow." So saying,
Bodhidharma handed over the sacred Kachaya, [FN#36] which he had
brought from India to Hwui Ko, as a symbol of the transmission of the
Law, and created him the Second Patriarch.
[FN#35] (1) Rupa, or form; (2) Vedana, or perception; (3) Samjnya, or consciousness; (4) Karman (or Samskara), or action; (5) Vijnyana, or knowledge.
[FN#36] The clerical cloak, which is said to have been dark green. It became an object of great veneration after the Sixth Patriarch, who abolished the patriarchal system and did not hand the symbol over to successors.6. The Second and the Third Patriarchs.
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko did his best to propagate the new faith over sixty years. On one occasion a man suffering from some chronic disease called on him, and requested him in earnest: "Pray, Reverend Sir, be my confessor and grant me absolution, for I suffer long from an incurable disease." "Bring out your sin (if there be such a thing as sin)," replied the Second Patriarch, "here before me. I shall grant you absolution." "It is impossible," said the man after a short consideration, "to seek out my sin." "Then," exclaimed the master, "I have absolved you. Henceforth live up to Buddha, Dharma, and Samgha."[FN#37] "I know, your reverence," said the man, "that you belong to Samgha; but what are Buddha and Dharma?" "Buddha is Mind itself. Mind itself is Dharma. Buddha is identical with Dharma. So is Samgha." "Then I understand," replied the man, "there is no such thing as sin within my body nor without it, nor anywhere else. Mind is beyond and above sin. It is no other than Buddha and Dharma." Thereupon the Second Patriarch saw the man was well qualified to be taught in the new faith, and converted him, giving him the name of Sang Tsung (So-san).
After two years' instruction and discipline, he[FN#38] bestowed on Sang Tsung the Kachaya handed down from Bodhidharma, and authorized him as the Third Patriarch. It is by Sang Tsung that the doctrine of Zen was first reduced to writing by his composition of Sin Sin[FN#39] Ming (Sin zin-mei, On Faith and Mind), a metrical exposition of the faith.[FN#37] The so-called Three Treasures of the Buddha, the Law, and the Order. [FN#38] The Second Patriarch died in A.D. 593--that is, sixty-five years after the departure of the First Patriarch. [FN#39] A good many commentaries were written on the book, and it is considered as one of the best books on Zen. 7. The Fourth Patriarch and the Emperor Tai Tsung (Tai-so).
The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who being initiated at the age of fourteen, was created the Fourth Patriarch after nine years' study and discipline. Tao Sin is said never to have gone to bed for more than forty years of his patriarchal career.[FN#41] In A.D. 643 the Emperor Tai Tsung (627-649), knowing of his virtues, sent him a special messenger, requesting him to call on His Majesty at the palace. But he declined the invitation by a memorial, saying that be was too aged and infirm to visit the august personage. The Emperor, desirous of seeing the reputed patriarch, sent for him thrice, but in vain. Then the enraged monarch ordered the messenger to behead the inflexible monk, and bring the head before the throne, in case he should disobey the order for the fourth time. As Tao Sin was told of the order of the Emperor, he stretched out his neck ready to be decapitated. The Emperor, learning from the messenger what had happened, admired all the more the imperturbable patriarch, and bestowed rich gifts upon him. This example of his was followed by later Zen masters, who would not condescend to bend their knees before temporal power, and it became one of the characteristics of Zen monks that they would never approach rulers and statesmen for the sake of worldly fame and profit, which they set at naught.[FN#40] He died in A.D. 606, after his labour of thirteen years as the teacher. [FN#41] He died in A.D. 651-that is, forty-five years after the death of the Third Patriarch. 8. The Fifth and the Sixth Patriarchs.
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being educated from infancy, distinguished himself as the Abbot of the Hwang Mei Monastery at Ki Cheu. The Fifth Patriarch, according to his biographer, gathered about him seven hundred pupils, who came from all quarters. Of these seven hundred pupils the venerable Shang Sin (Jin-shu) was most noted for his learning and virtues, and he might have become the legitimate successor of Hung Jan, had not the Kachaya of Bodhidharma been carried away by a poor farmer's son of Sin Cheu. Hwui Nang, the Sixth Patriarch, seems to have been born a Zen teacher. The spiritual light of Buddha first flashed in his mind when he happened to hear a monk reciting a sutra. On questioning the monk, be learned that the book was
Vajracchedika-prajnya-paramita-sutra,[FN#42] and that Hung Jan, the Abbot of the Hwang Mei Monastery, was used to make his disciples recite the book that it might help them in their spiritual
discipline. Hereupon he made up his mind to practise Zen, and called on Hung Jan at the Monastery. "Who are you," demanded the Fifth Patriarch, "and whence have you come?" "I am a son of the farmer," replied the man, "of Sin Cheu in the South of Ta Yu Ling." "What has brought you here?" asked the master again. "I have no other purpose than to attain to Buddhahood," answered the man. "O, you, people of the South," exclaimed the patriarch, "you are not endowed with the nature of Buddha." "There may be some difference between the Southern and the Northern people," objected the man, "but how could you distinguish one from the other as to the nature of Buddha?" The teacher recognized a genius in the man, but he did not admit the promising newcomer into the order, so Hwui Nang had to stay in the Monastery for eight months as a pounder of rice in order to qualify himself to be a Zen teacher.
[FN#42] The book was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in A.D.
384. 417; also by Bodhiruci in A.D. 509, and by Paramartha in A.D.
592; then by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 648. Many commentaries have been written on it by the prominent Buddhist authors of China and Japan.
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch announced to all disciples that the Spirit of Shakya Muni is hard to realize, that they should express their own views on it, on condition that anyone who could prove his right realization should be given with the Kachaya and created the Sixth Patriarch. Then the venerable Sung Siu, the head of the seven hundred disciples, who was considered by his brothers to be the man entitled to the honour, composed the following verses:
"The body is the Bodhi-tree.[FN#43] The mind is like a mirror bright on its stand. Dust it and wipe it from time to time, Lest it be dimmed by dust and dirt."
[FN#43] The idea expressed by these lines is clear enough. Body is likened to the Bodhi-tree, under which Shakya Muni attained to his supreme enlightenment; for it is not in another body in the future existence, but in this very body that one had to get enlightened. And mind is pure and bright in its nature like a mirror, but the dirt and dust of passions and of low desires often pollute and dim it. Therefore one should dust and wipe it from time to time in order to keep it bright.
All who read these lines thought that the writer was worthy of the expected reward, and the Fifth Patriarch also, appreciating the significance of the verses, said: "If men in the future would practise Zen according to this view, they would acquire an excellent result." Hwui Nang, the rice-pounder, hearing of them, however, secretly remarked that they are beautiful, but hardly expressive of the Spirit of Shakya Muni, and wrote his own verses, which ran as follows:
"There is no Bodhi-tree,[FN#44] Nor is there a mirror stand.
Nothing exists from the first
What can be dimmed by dust and dirt?"
[FN#44] These verses have often been misunderstood as expressive of a nihilistic view, but the real meaning is anything but nihilistic. Mind is pure and bright in its essence. It is always free from passions and mean desires, just as the sun is always bright, despite of cloud and mist that cover its face. Therefore one must get an insight into this essential nature of Mind, and realize that one has no mean desires and passions from the first, and also that there is no tree of Bodhi nor the mirror of Enlightenment without him, but they are within him.
Perhaps nobody ever dreamed such an insignificant fellow as the rice-pounder could surpass the venerable scholar in a religious insight, but the Fifth Patriarch saw at once an Enlightened Soul expressed in those lines; therefore he made up his mind to give the Kachaya to the writer, in whom he found a great spiritual leader of future generations. But he did it secretly at midnight, lest some of the disciples from envy do violence to Hwui Nang. He was, moreover, cautious enough to advise his successor to leave the Monastery at once, and go back to the South, that the latter might conceal his Enlightenment until a time would come for his missionary activities.10. Flight of the Sixth Patriarch.
On the following morning the news of what had happened during the night flew from mouth to mouth, and some of the enraged brothers attempted to pursue the worthy fugitive. The foremost among them, Hwui Ming (E-myo), overtook the Sixth Patriarch at a mountain pass not very far from the Monastery. Then Hwui Nang, laying down the Kachaya on a rock by the road, addressed the pursuer: "This is a mere symbol of the patriarchal authority, and it is not a thing to be obtained by force. Take it along with you, if you long for it." Upon this Hwui Ming, who began to be ashamed of his base act, tried to lift the Kachaya, but in vain, for it was, as he felt, as heavy as the rock itself. At last he said to the Sixth Patriarch: "I have come here, my brother, not for the sake of this robe, but for the sake of the Law. Grant my hearty desire of getting Enlightened." "If you have come for the Law," replied Hwui Nang, "you must put an end to all your struggles and longings. Think neither of good nor of evil (make your mind pure from all idle thoughts), then see how is, Hwui Ming, your original (mental) physiognomy!" Being thus questioned, Ming found in an instant the Divine Light of Buddha within himself, and became a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch.11. The Development of the Southern and of the Northern School of Zen.
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Siu, though not the legitimate successor of his master, was not inactive in the propagation of the faith, and gathered about him a number of enthusiastic admirers. This led to the foundation of the Northern school of Zen in opposition to the Southern school led by the Sixth Patriarch. The Empress Tseh Tien Wa Heu,[FN#45] the real ruler of China at that time, was an admirer of Shang Siu, and patronized his school, which nevertheless made no further development.[FN#45] The Emperor Chung Tsung (Chu-so, A.D. 684-704) was a nominal sovereign, and the Empress was the real ruler from A.D. 684 to 705.
In the meanwhile the Sixth Patriarch, who had gone to the South, arrived at the Fah Sing Monastery in Kwang Cheu, where Yin Tsung (In-shu), the abbot, was giving lectures on the Mahayana sutras to a number of student monks. It was towards evening that he happened to overhear two monks of the Monastery discussing about the flag floating in air. One of them said: "It is the wind that moves in reality, but not the flag." "No," objected the other, "it is the flag that moves in reality, but not the wind." Thus each of them insisted on his own one-sided view, and came to no proper conclusion.
Then the Sixth Patriarch introduced himself and said to them: "It is neither the wind nor the flag, but your mind that moves in reality." Yin Tsung, having heard these words of the stranger, was greatly astonished, and thought the latter should have been an extraordinary personage. And when he found the man to be the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, he and all his disciples decided to follow Zen under the master.
Consequently Hwui Nang, still clad like a layman, changed his clothes, and began his patriarchal career at that Monastery. This is the starting-point of the great development of Zen in China.12. Missionary Activity of the Sixth Patriarch.
As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius, and may be justly called a born Zen teacher. He was a man of no erudition, being a poor farmer, who had served under the Fifth Patriarch as a rice-pounder only for eight months, but he could find a new meaning in Buddhist terms, and show how to apply it to practical life. On one occasion, for instance, Fah Tah (Ho-tatsu), a monk who had read over the Saddharma-pundarika-sutra[FN#46] three thousand times, visited him to be instructed in Zen. "Even if you read the sutra ten thousand times," said the Sixth Patriarch, who could never read the text, "it will do you no good, if you cannot grasp the spirit of the sutra." "I have simply recited the book," confessed the monk, "as it is written in characters. How could such a dull fellow as I grasp its spirit?" "Then recite it once,"
responded the master; "I shall explain its spirit." Hereupon Fah Tah began to recite the sutra, and when he read it until the end of the second chapter the teacher stopped him, saying: "You may stop there. Now I know that this sutra was preached to show the so-called greatest object of Shakya Muni's appearing on earth. That greatest object was to have all sentient beings Enlightened just as He Himself." In this way the Sixth Patriarch grasped the essentials of the Mahayana sutras, and freely made use of them as the explanation of the practical questions about Zen.
[FN#46] One of the most noted Mahayana sutras, translated by Dharmaraksa (A.D. 286) and by Kumarajiva (A.D. 406). The reader has to note that the author states the essential doctrine in the second chapter. See " Sacred Books of the East," vol. xxi., pp. 30-59.13. The Disciples under the Sixth Patriarch.
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down at the Pao Lin Monastery, better known as Tsao Ki Shan (So-kei-zan), in Shao Cheu, and it grow into a great centre of Zen in the Southern States. Under his instruction many eminent Zen masters qualified themselves as Leaders of the Three Worlds. He did not give the patriarchal symbol, the Kachaya, to his successors, lest it might cause needless quarrels among the brethren, as was experienced by himself. He only gave sanction to his disciples who attained to Enlightenment, and allowed them to teach Zen in a manner best suited to their own personalities. For instance, Huen Kioh (Gen-kaku), a scholar of the Tien Tai doctrine,[FN#47] well known as the Teacher of Yung Kia[FN#48] (Yo-ka), received a sanction for his spiritual attainment after exchanging a few words with the master in their first interview, and was at once acknowledged as a Zen teacher. When he reached the zenith of his fame, he was presented with a crystal bowl together with rich gifts by the Empress Tseh Tien; and it was in A.D. 705 that the Emperor Chung Tsung invited him in vain to proceed to the palace, since the latter followed the example of the Fourth Patriarch.
[FN#47] The Teacher of Tien Tai (Ten-dai, A.D. 538-597), the founder of the Buddhist sect of the same name, was a great scholar of originality. His doctrine and criticism on the Tripitaka greatly influenced the whole of Buddhism after him. His doctrine is briefly given in the second chapter.[FN#48] His Ching Tao Ko (Sho-do-ka), a beautiful metrical exposition of Zen, is still read by most students of Zen.
After the death[FN#49] of the Sixth Patriarch (A.D. 713), the Southern Zen was divided into two schools, one being represented by Tsing Yuen (Sei-gen), the other by Nan Yoh (Nan-gaku.) Out of these two main schools soon developed the five[FN#50] branches of Zen, and the faith made a splendid progress. After Tsing Yuen and Nan Yoh, one of the junior disciples of the Sixth Patriarch, Hwui Chung (E-chu), held an honourable position for sixteen years as the spiritual adviser to the Emperor Suh Tsung (A.D. 756762) and to the Emperor Tai Tsung (A.D. 763-779). These two Emperors were enthusiastic admirers of Zen, and ordered several times the Kachaya of Bodhidharma to be brought into the palace from the Pao Lin Monastery that they might do proper homage to it. Within some one hundred and thirty years after the Sixth Patriarch, Zen gained so great influence among higher classes that at the time of the Emperor Suen Tsung (A.D. 847-859) both the Emperor and his Prime Minister, Pei Hiu, were noted for the practice of Zen. It may be said that Zen had its golden age, beginning with the reign of the Emperor Suh Tsung, of the Tang dynasty, until the reign of the Emperor Hiao Tsung (1163-1189), who was the greatest patron of Buddhism in the Southern Sung dynasty. To this age belong almost all the greatest Zen scholars[FN#51] of China.
[FN#49] There exists Luh Tan Fah Pao Tan King
(Roku-so-ho-bo-dan-kyo), a collection of his sermons. It is full of bold statements of Zen in its purest form, and is entirely free from ambiguous and enigmatical words that encumber later Zen books. In consequence it is widely read by non-Buddhist scholars in China and Japan. Both Hwui Chung (E-chu), a famous disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, and Do-gen, the founder of the Soto Sect in Japan, deny the authority of the book, and declare it to be misleading, because of errors and prejudices of the compilers. Still, we believe it to be a collection of genuine sections given by the Sixth Patriarch, though there are some mistakes in its historical narratives.
[FN#50] (1) The Tsao Tung (So-to) Sect, founded by Tsing Yuen (died in A.D. 740) and his successors; (2) the Lin Tsi (Rin-Zai) Sect, founded by Nan Yoh (died in 744) and his successors; (3) the Wei Yan (Yi-gyo) Sect, founded by Wei Shan (Yi-san, died in 853) and his disciple Yen Shan (Kyo-zan, died in 890); (4) the Yun Man (Un-mon) Sect, founded by Yun Man (died in 949); (5) the Pao Yen (Ho-gen) Sect, founded by Pao Yen (died in 958).
[FN#51] During the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-906) China produced, besides the Sixth Patriarch and his prominent disciples, such great Zen teachers as Ma Tsu (Ba-so, died in 788), who is probably the originator of the Zen Activity; Shih Teu (Seki-to, died in 790), the reputed author of Tsan Tung Ki (San-do-kai), a metrical writing on Zen; Poh Chang (Hyaku-jo, died 814), who first laid down regulations for the Zen Monastery; Wei Shan (Yi-san), Yang Shan (Kyo-zan), the founders of the Wei Yang Sect; Hwang Pah (O-baku, died in 850), one of the founders of the Lin Tsi Sect, and the author of Chwen Sin Pao Yao, (Den-sin-ho-yo), one of the best works on Zen; Lin Tsi (Rin-zai, died in 866), the real founder of the Lin Tsi Sect; Tung Shan (To-zan, died in 869), the real founder of the Tsao Tung Sect; Tsao Shan (So-zan, died in 901), a famous disciple of Tung Shan; Teh Shan (Toku-san, died in 865), who was used to strike every questioner with his staff; Chang Sha (Cho-sha, died in 823); Chao Cheu (Jo-shu, died in 897); Nan Tsuen (Nan-sen, died in 834); Wu Yeh (Mu-go, died in 823); who is said to have replied, 'Away with your idle thoughts,' to every questioner; Yun Yen (Un-gan, died in 829); Yoh Shan (Yaku-san, died in 834); Ta Mei (Tai-bai, died in 839), a noted recluse; Ta Tsz (Dai-ji, died in 862); Kwei Fung (Kei-ho, died in 841), the author of 'The Origin of Man,' and other numerous works; and Yun Ku (Un-go, died in 902).
To the period of the Five Dynasties (A.D. 907-959) belong such teachers as Sueh Fung (Set-po, died in. 908); Huen Sha (Gen-sha, died in 908); Yun Man (Un-mon, died in 949), the founder of the Yun Man Sect; Shen Yueh (Zen-getsu, died in 912), a renowned Zen poet; Pu Tai (Ho-tei, died in 916), well known for his peculiarities; Chang King (Cho-kei, died in 932); Nan Yuen (Nan-in, died in 952); Pao Yen (Ho-gen, died in 958), the founder of the Pao Yen Sect. During the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1126) appeared such teachers as Yang Ki (Yo-gi, died in 1049), the founder of the Yang Ki School of Zen; Sueh Teu (Set-cho, died in 1052), noted for poetical works; Hwang Lung (O ryu, died in 1069), the founder of the Hwang Lung School of Zen; Hwang Lin (Ko-rin, died in 987); Tsz Ming (Ji-myo, died in 1040); Teu Tsy (To-shi, died in 1083); Fu Yun (Fu-yo, died in 1118); Wu Tsu (Go-so, died in 1104); Yung Ming (Yo-myo, died in 975), the author of Tsung King Luh (Shu-kyo-roku); Ki Sung (Kai-su, died in 1071), a great Zen historian and author. In the Southern Sung dynasty (A.D. 1127-1279) flourished such masters as Yuen Wu (En-go, died in 1135), the author of Pik Yen Tsih (Heki-gan-shu); Chan Hieh (Shin-ketsu, flourished in 1151); Hung Chi (Wan-shi, died in 1157), famous for his poetical works; Ta Hwui (Dai-e, died in 1163), a noted disciple of Yuen Wu; Wan Sung (Ban-sho), flourished in 1193-1197), the author of Tsung Yun Luh (Sho-yo-roku); Ju Tsing (Nyo-jo), died in 1228), the teacher to Do-gen, or the founder of the So-to Sect in Japan.
To this age belong almost all the eminent men of letters,[FN#52] statesmen, warriors, and artists who were known as the practisers of Zen. To this age belongs the production of almost all Zen books,[FN#53] doctrinal and historical.
[FN#52] Among the great names of Zen believers the following are most important: Pang Yun (Ho-on, flourished in 785-804), whose whole family was proficient in Zen; Tsui Kiun (Sai-gun, flourished in 806-824); Luh Kang (Rik-ko), a lay disciple to Nan Tsun; Poh Loh Tien (Haku-raku-ten, died in 847), one of the greatest Chinese literary men; Pei Hiu (Hai-kyu, flourished 827-856), the Prime Minister under the Emperor Suen Tsung, a lay disciple to Hwang Pah; Li Ngao (Ri-ko, lived about 806), an author and scholar who practised Zen under Yoh Shan; Yu Chuh (U-teki, flourished 785-804), a local governor, a friend of Pang Yun; Yang Yih (Yo-oku, flourished in 976), one of the greatest writers of his age; Fan Chung Ngan (Han-chu an, flourished 1008-1052), an able statesman and scholar; Fu Pih (Fu shitsu, flourished 1041-1083), a minister under the Emperor Jan Tsung; Chang Shang Ying (Cho-sho-yei, 1086-1122), a Buddhist scholar and a statesman; Hwang Ting Kien (Ko-tei-ken, 1064-1094), a great poet; Su Shih (So-shoku, died in 1101), a great man of letters, well known as So-to-ba; Su Cheh (So-tetsu, died in 1112), a younger brother of So-to-ba, a scholar and minister under the Emperor Cheh Tsung; Chang Kiu Ching (Cho-Kyu-sei, flourished about 1131), a scholar and lay disciple of Ta Hwui; Yang Kieh (Yo-ketsu, flourished 1078-1086), a scholar and statesman.
[FN#53] Of doctrinal Zen books, besides Sin Sin Ming by the Third Patriarch, and Fah Pao Tan King by the Sixth Patriarch, the following are of great importance:
(1) Ching Tao Ko (Sho-do-ka), by Huen Kioh (Gen-kaku). (2) Tsan Tung Ki (San-do-kai), by Shih Ten (Seki-to). (3) Pao King San Mei (Ho-kyo-san-mai), by Tung Shan (To-zan). (4) Chwen Sin Pao Yao (Den-sin-ho-yo), by Hwang Pah (O-baku). (5) Pih Yen Tsih (Heki-gan-shu), by Yuen Wu (En-go). (6) Lin Tsi Luh (Rin-zai-roku), by Lin Tsi (Rin-zai).
(7) Tsung Yun Luh (Sho-yo-roku), by Wan Sung (Ban-sho).
(1) King teh Chwen Tan-Luh (Kei-toku-den-to-roku), published in 1004 by Tao Yuen (Do-gen).
(2) Kwan Tang Luh (Ko-to roku), published in 1036 by Li Tsun Suh (Ri-jun-kyoku).
(3) Suh Tang Luh (Zoku-O-roku), published in 1101 by Wei Poh (I-haku). (4) Lien Tang Luh (Ren-O-roku), published in 1183 by Hwui Wang (Mai-o).
(5) Ching Tsung Ki (Sho-ju-ki), published in 1058 by Ki Sung (Kwai-su).
(6) Pu Tang Luh (Fu-O-roku), published in 1201 by Ching Sheu (Sho-ju). (7) Hwui Yuen (E-gen), published in 1252 by Ta Chwen (Dai-sen). (8) Sin Tang Luh (Sin-W-roku), published in 1280-1294 by Sui (Zui). (9) Suh Chwen Tang Luh (Zoku-den-to-roku), by Wang Siu (Bun-shu). (10) Hwui Yuen Suh Lioh (E-gen-zoku-ryaku), by Tsing Chu (Jo-chu). (11) Ki Tang Luh (Kei-to-roku), by Yung Kioh (Yo-kaku).
To understand how Zen developed during some four hundred years after the Sixth Patriarch, we should know that there are three important elements in Zen. The first of these is technically called the Zen Number--the method of practising Meditation by sitting cross-legged, of which we shall treat later.[FN#54] This method is fully developed by Indian teachers before Bodhidharma's introduction of Zen into China, therefore it underwent little change during this period. The second is the Zen Doctrine, which mainly consists of Idealistic and Pantheistic ideas of Mahayana Buddhism, but which undoubtedly embraces some tenets of Taoism. Therefore, Zen is not a pure Indian faith, but rather of Chinese origin. The third is the Zen Activity, or the mode of expression of Zen in action, which is entirely absent in any other faith.[FN#54] See Chapter VII.
It was for the sake of this Zen Activity that Hwang Pah gave a slap three times to the Emperor Suen Tsung; that Lin Tsi so often burst out into a loud outcry of Hoh (Katsu); that Nan Tsuen killed a cat at a single stroke of his knife in the presence of his disciples; and that Teh Shan so frequently struck questioners with his staff.[FN#55]
The Zen Activity was displayed by the Chinese teachers making use of diverse things such as the staff, the brush[FN#56] of long hair, the mirror, the rosary, the cup, the pitcher, the flag, the moon, the sickle, the plough, the bow and arrow, the ball, the bell, the drum, the cat, the dog, the duck, the earthworm--in short, any and everything that was fit for the occasion and convenient for the purpose. Thus Zen Activity was of pure Chinese origin, and it was developed after the Sixth Patriarch.[FN#57] For this reason the period previous to the Sixth Patriarch may be called the Age of the Zen Doctrine, while that posterior to the same master, the Age of the Zen Activity.[FN#55] A long official staff (Shu-jo) like the crosier carried by the abbot of the monastery. [FN#56] An ornamental brush (Hos-su) often carried by Zen teachers.
[FN#57] The giving of a slap was first tried by the Sixth Patriarch, who struck one of his disciples, known as Ho Tseh (Ka-taku), and it was very frequently resorted to by the later masters. The lifting up of the brush was first tried by Tsing Yuen in an interview with his eldest disciple, Shih Ten, and it became a fashion among other teachers. The loud outcry of Hoh was first made use of by Ma Tsu, the successor of Nan Yoh. In this way the origin of the Zen Activity can easily be traced to the Sixth Patriarch and his direct disciples.
After the Sung dynasty Chinese Zen masters seem to have given undue weight to the Activity, and neglected the serious study of the doctrine. This brought out the degeneration severely reproached by some of the Japanese Zen teachers.15. Decline of Zen.
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of the Southern Sung dynasty (1127-1279), when it began to fade, not being bitten by the frost of oppression from without, but being weakened by rottenness within. As early as the Sung dynasty (960-1126) the worship of Buddha Amitabha[FN#58] stealthily found its way among Zen believers, who could not fully realize the Spirit of Shakya Muni, and to satisfy these people the amalgamation of the two faiths was attempted by some Zen masters.[FN#59]
[FN#58] The faith is based on Larger Sukhavati-vyuha, Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha, and Amitayus-dhyana-sutra. It was taught in India by Acvaghosa, Nagariuna, and Vasubandhu. In China Hwui Yuen (E-on, died in A.D. 416), Tan Lwan (Don-ran, died in 542), Tao Choh (Do-shaku), and Shen Tao (Zen-do) (both of whom lived about 600-650), chiefly taught the doctrine. It made an extraordinary progress in Japan, and differentiated itself into several sects, of which Jodo Shu and Shin Shu are the strongest.
[FN#59] It is beyond all doubt that Poh Loh Tien (Haku-raku-ten) practised Zen, but at the same time believed in Amitabha; so also Su Shih (So-shoku), a most noted Zen practiser, worshipped the same Buddha, Yang Kieh (Yo-keteu), who carried a picture of Amitabha wherever he went and worshipped it, seems to have thought there is nothing incompatible between Zen and his faith. The foremost of those Zen masters of the Sung dynasty that attempted the amalgamation is Yung Ming (Yo-myo, died in 975), who reconciled Zen with the worship of Amitabha in his Wan Shen Tung Kwei Tsih
(Man-zen-do-ki-shu) and Si Ngan Yan Shan Fu (Sei-an-yo-sin-fu). He was followed by Tsing Tsz (Jo-ji) and Chan Hieh (Shin-ketsu, lived about 1151), the former of whom wrote Kwei Yuen Chih Chi (Ki-gen-jiki-shi), and the latter Tsing Tu Sin Yao (Jo-do-sin-yo), in order to further the tendency. In the Yuen dynasty Chung Fung (Chu-ho, died in 1323) encouraged the adoration of Amitabha, together with the practice of Zen, in his poetical composition
(Kwan-shu-jo-go). In the Ming dynasty Yun Si (Un-sei, died in 1615), the author of Shen Kwan Tseh Tsin (Zen-kwan-saku-shin) and other numerous works, writing a commentary on Sukhavati-vyuha-sutra, brought the amalgamation to its height. Ku Shan (Ku-zan, died in 1657), a Zen historian and author, and his prominent disciple Wei Lin (E-rin), axe well known as the amalgamators. Yun Ming declared that those who practise Zen, but have no faith in Amitabha, go astray in nine cases out of ten; that those who do not practise Zen, but believe in Amitabha, are saved, one and all; that those who practise Zen, and have the faith in Amitabha, are like the tiger provided with wings; and that for those who have no faith in Amitabha, nor practise Zen, there exist the iron floor and the copper pillars in Hell. Ku Shan said that some practise Zen in order to attain Enlightenment, while others pray Amitabha for salvation; that if they were sincere and diligent, both will obtain the final beatitude. Wei Lin also observed: "Theoretically I embrace Zen, and practically I worship Amitabha." E-chu, the author of Zen-to-nenbutsu ('On Zen and the Worship of Amitabha'), points out that one of the direct disciples of the Sixth Patriarch favoured the faith of Amitabha, but there is no trustworthy evidence, as far as we know, that proves the existence of the amalgamation in the Tang dynasty.
This tendency steadily increasing with time brought out at length the period of amalgamation which covered the Yuen (1280-1367) and the Ming dynasties (1368-1659), when the prayer for Amitabha was in every mouth of Zen monks sitting in Meditation. The patrons of Zen were not wanting in the Yuen dynasty, for such a warlike monarch as the Emperor Shi Tsu (Sei-so), 1280-1294) is known to have practised Zen under the instruction of Miao Kao, and his successor Ching Tsung (1295-1307) to have trusted in Yih Shan,[FN#60] a Zen teacher of reputation at that time. Moreover, Lin Ping Chung (Rin-hei-cha, died in 1274), a powerful minister under Shi Tsu, who did much toward the establishment of the administrative system in that dynasty, had been a Zen monk, and never failed to patronize his faith. And in the Ming dynasty the first Emperor Tai Tsu (1368-1398), having been a Zen monk, protected the sect with enthusiasm, and his example was followed by Tai Tsung (1403-1424), whose spiritual as well as political adviser was Tao Yen, a Zen monk of distinction. Thus Zen exercised an influence unparalleled by any other faith throughout these ages. The life and energy of Zen, however, was gone by the ignoble amalgamation, and even such great scholars as Chung Fung,[FN#61] Yung Si,[FN#62] Yung Kioh,[FN#63] were not free from the overwhelming influence of the age.
[FN#60] The Emperor sent him to Japan in 1299 with some secret order, but he did nothing political, and stayed as a Zen teacher until his death.[FN#61] A most renowned Zen master in the Yuen dynasty, whom the Emperor Jan Tsung invited to visit the palace, but in vain. [FN#62] An author noted for his learning and virtues, who was rather a worshipper of Amitabha than a Zen monk. [FN#63] An author of voluminous books, of which Tung Shang Ku Cheh (To-jo-ko-tetsu) is well known.
We are not, however, doing justice to the tendency of amalgamation in these times simply to blame it for its obnoxious results, because it is beyond doubt that it brought forth wholesome fruits to the Chinese literature and philosophy. Who can deny that this tendency brought the Speculative[FN#64] philosophy of the Sung dynasty to its consummation by the amalgamation of Confucianism with Buddhism especially with Zen, to enable it to exercise long-standing influence on society, and that this tendency also produced Wang Yang Ming,[FN#65] one of the greatest generals and scholars that the world has ever seen, whose philosophy of Conscience[FN#66] still holds a unique position in the history of human thought? Who can deny furthermore that Wang's philosophy is Zen in the Confucian terminology?
[FN#64] This well-known philosophy was first taught by Cheu Men Shuh (Shu-mo-shiku, died in 1073) in its definite form. He is said to have been enlightened by the instruction of Hwui Tang, a contemporary Zen master. He was succeeded by Chang Ming Tao (Tei-mei-do, died in 1085) and Chang I Chwen (Tei-i-sen, died in 1107), two brothers, who developed the philosophy in no small degree. And it was completed by Chu Tsz (Shu-shi, died in 1200), a celebrated commentator of the Confucian classics. It is worthy to note that these scholars practised Meditation just as Zen monks. See 'History of Chinese Philosophy' (pp. 215-269), by G. Nakauchi, and 'History of
Development of Chinese Thought,' by R. Endo.
[FN#65] He was born in 1472, and died in 1529. His doctrine exercised a most fruitful influence on many of the great Japanese minds, and undoubtedly has done much to the progress of New Japan.[FN#66] See Den-shu-roku and O-ya-mei-zen-sho. CHAPTER II HISTORY OF ZEN IN JAPAN 1. The Establishment of the Rin Zai[FN#67] School of Zen in Japan. [FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a prominent disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, and completed by Lin Tsi or Rin Zai.
The introduction of Zen into the island empire is dated as early as the seventh century;[FN#68] but it was in 1191 that it was first established by Ei-sai, a man of bold, energetic nature. He crossed the sea for China at the age of twenty-eight in 1168, after his profound study of the whole Tripitaka[FN#69] for eight years in the Hi-yei Monastery[FN#70] the then centre of Japanese Buddhism.
[FN#68] Zen was first introduced into Japan by Do sha (629-700) as early as 653-656, at the time when the Fifth Patriarch just entered his patriarchal career. Do-sho went over to China in 653, and met with Huen Tsang, the celebrated and great scholar, who taught him the doctrine of the Dharma-laksana. It was Huen Tsang who advised Do-sho to study Zen under Hwui Man (E-man). After returning home, he built a Meditation Hall for the purpose of practising Zen in the Gan-go monastery, Nara. Thus Zen was first transplanted into Japan by Do-sho, but it took no root in the soil at that time.
Next a Chinese Zen teacher, I Kung (Gi-ku), came over to Japan in about 810, and under his instruction the Empress Danrin, a most enthusiastic Buddhist, was enlightened. She erected a monastery named Dan-rin-ji, and appointed I Kung the abbot of it for the sake of propagating the faith. It being of no purpose, however, I Kung went back to China after some years.
Thirdly, Kaku-a in 1171 went over to China, where he studied Zen under Fuh Hai (Buk-kai), who belonged to the Yang Ki (Yo-gi) school, and came home after three years. Being questioned by the Emperor Taka-kura (1169-1180) about the doctrine of Zen, he uttered no word, but took up a flute and played on it. But his first note was too high to be caught by the ordinary ear, and was gone without producing any echo in the court nor in society at large.
[FN#69] The three divisions of the Buddhist canon, viz.:
(1) Sutra-pitaka, or a collection of doctrinal books. (2) Vinaya-pitaka, or a collection of works on discipline. (3) Abhidharma-pitaka, or a collection of philosophical and expository works.[FN#70] The great monastery erected in 788 by Sai-cho (767-822), the founder of the Japanese Ten Dai Sect, known as Den Gyo Dai Shi.
After visiting holy places and great monasteries, he came home, bringing with him over thirty different books on the doctrine of the Ten-Dai Sect.[FN#71] This, instead of quenching, added fuel to his burning desire for adventurous travel abroad. So he crossed the sea over again in 1187, this time intending to make pilgrimage to India; and no one can tell what might have been the result if the Chinese authorities did not forbid him to cross the border. Thereon he turned his attention to the study of Zen, and after five years' discipline succeeded in getting sanction for his spiritual attainment by the Hu Ngan (Kio-an), a noted master of the Rin Zai school, the then abbot of the monastery of Tien Tung Shan (Ten-do-san). His active propaganda of Zen was commenced soon after his return in 1191 with splendid success at a newly built temple[FN#72] in the province of Chiku-zen. In 1202 Yori-iye, the Shogun, or the real governor of the State at that time, erected the monastery of Ken-nin-ji in the city of Kyo-to, and invited him to proceed to the metropolis. Accordingly he settled himself down in that temple, and taught Zen with his characteristic activity.
[FN#71] The sect was named after its founder in China, Chi I (538-597), who lived in the monastery of Tien Tai Shan (Ten-dai-san), and was called the Great Teacher of Tien Tai. In 804 Den-gyo went over to China by the Imperial order, and received the transmission of the doctrine from Tao Sui (Do-sui), a patriarch of the sect. After his return he erected a monastery on Mount Hi-yei, which became the centre of Buddhistic learning.[FN#72] He erected the monastery of Sho-fuku-ji in 1195, which is still prospering.
This provoked the envy and wrath of the Ten Dai and the Shin Gon[FN#73] teachers, who presented memorials to the Imperial court to protest against his propagandism of the new faith. Taking advantage of the protests, Ei-sai wrote a book entitled Ko-zen-go-koku-ron ('The Protection of the State by the Propagation of Zen'), and not only explained his own position, but exposed the ignorance[FN#74] of the protestants. Thus at last his merit was appreciated by the Emperor Tsuchi-mikado (1199-1210), and he was promoted to So Jo, the highest rank in the Buddhist priesthood, together with the gift of a purple robe in 1206. Some time after this he went to the city of Kama-kura, the political centre, being invited by Sane-tomo, the Shogun, and laid the foundation of the so-called Kama-kura Zen, still prospering at the present moment.
[FN#73] The Shin Gon or Mantra Sect is based on
Mahavairocanabhi-sambodhi-sutra, Vajracekhara-sutra, and other Mantra-sutras. It was established in China by Vajrabodhi and his disciple Amoahavajra, who came from India in 720. Ku kai (774-835), well known as Ko Bo Dai Shi, went to China in 804, and received the transmission of the doctrine from Hwui Kwo (Kei-ka), a, disciple of Amoghavajra. In 806 he came back and propagated the faith almost all over the country. For the detail see 'A Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects' (chap. viii.), by Dr. Nanjo.
[FN#74] Sai-cho, the founder of the Japanese Ten Dai Sect, first learned the doctrine of the Northern School of Zen under Gyo-hyo (died in 797), and afterwards he pursued the study of the same faith under Siao Jan in China. Therefore to oppose the propagation of Zen is, for Ten Dai priests, as much as to oppose the founder of their own sect.2. The Introduction of the So-To School[FN#75] of Zen. [FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an eminent disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, and completed by Tsing Shan (To-zan).
Although the Rin Zai school was, as mentioned above, established by Ei-sai, yet he himself was not a pure Zen teacher, being a Ten Dai scholar as well as an experienced practiser of Mantra. The first establishment of Zen in its purest form was done by Do-gen, now known as Jo Yo Dai Shi. Like Ei-sai, he was admitted into the Hi-yei Monastery at an early age, and devoted himself to the study of the Canon. As his scriptural knowledge increased, he was troubled by inexpressible doubts and fears, as is usual with great religious teachers. Consequently, one day he consulted his uncle, Ko-in, a distinguished Ten Dai scholar, about his troubles. The latter, being unable to satisfy him, recommended him Ei-sai, the founder of the new faith. But as Ei-sai died soon afterwards, he felt that he had no competent teacher left, and crossed the sea for China, at the age of twenty-four, in 1223. There he was admitted into the monastery of Tien Tung Shan (Ten-do-san), and assigned the lowest seat in the hall, simply because be was a foreigner. Against this affront he strongly protested. In the Buddhist community, he said, all were brothers, and there was no difference of nationality. The only way to rank the brethren was by seniority, and he therefore claimed to occupy his proper rank. Nobody, however, lent an ear to the poor new-comer's protest, so he appealed twice to the Chinese Emperor Ning Tsung (1195-1224), and by the Imperial order he gained his object.
After four years' study and discipline, he was Enlightened and acknowledged as the successor by his master Ju Tsing (Nyo-jo died in 1228), who belonged to the Tsao Tung (So To) school. He came home in 1227, bringing with him three important Zen books.[FN#76] Some three years he did what Bodhidharma, the Wall-gazing Brahmin, had done seven hundred years before him, retiring to a hermitage at Fuka-kusa, not very far from Kyo-to. Just like Bodhidharma, denouncing all worldly fame and gain, his attitude toward the world was
diametrically opposed to that of Ei-sai. As we have seen above, Ei-sai never shunned, but rather sought the society of the powerful and the rich, and made for his goal by every means. But to the Sage of Fuka-kusa, as Do-gen was called at that time, pomp and power was the most disgusting thing in the world. Judging from his poems, be seems to have spent these years chiefly in meditation; dwelling now on the transitoriness of life, now on the eternal peace of Nirvana; now on the vanities and miseries of the world; now listening to the voices of Nature amongst the hills; now gazing into the brooklet that was, as he thought, carrying away his image reflected on it into the world.
[FN#76] (1) Pao King San Mei (Ho-kyo-san-mai, 'Precious Mirror Samadhi'), a metrical exposition of Zen, by Tung Shan (To-zan, 806-869), one of the founders of the So To school. (2) Wu Wei Hien Hueh (Go-i-ken-ketsu. 'Explanation of the Five Categories'), by Tung Shan and his disciple Tsao Shan (So-zan). This book shows us how Zen was systematically taught by the authors. (3) Pih Yen Tsih (Heki-gan-shu, 'A Collection and Critical Treatment of Dialogues'), by Yuen Wu.
3. The Characteristics of Do-gen, the Founder of the Japanese So To Sect.
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to knock at his door, and his hermitage was turned into a monastery, now known as the Temple of Ko-sho-ji.[FN#77] It was at this time that many Buddhist scholars and men of quality gathered about him but the more popular he became the more disgusting the place became to him. His hearty desire was to live in a solitude among mountains, far distant from human abodes, where none but falling waters and singing birds could disturb his delightful meditation. Therefore he gladly accepted the invitation of a feudal lord, and went to the province of Echi-zen, where his ideal monastery was built, now known as Ei-hei-ji.[FN#78]
[FN#77] It was in this monastery (built in 1236) that Zen was first taught as an independent sect, and that the Meditation Hall was first opened in Japan. Do-gen lived in the monastery for eleven years, and wrote some of the important books. Za-zen-gi ('The Method of Practising the Cross-legged Meditation') was written soon after his return from China, and Ben-do-wa and other essays followed, which are included in his great work, entitled Sho-bo-gen-zo) ('The Eye and Treasury of the Right Law').
[FN#78] The monastery was built in 1244 by Yoshi-shige (Hatano), the feudal lord who invited Do-gen. He lived in Ei-hei-ji until his death, which took place in 1253. It is still flourishing as the head temple of the So To Sect.
In 1247, being requested by Toki-yori, the Regent General (1247-1263), he came down to Kama-kura, where he stayed half a year and went back to Ei-hei-ji. After some time Toki-yori, to show his gratitude for the master, drew up a certificate granting a large tract of land as the property of Ei-hei-ji, and handed it over to Gen-myo, a disciple of Do-gen. The carrier of the certificate was so pleased with the donation that he displayed it to all his brethren and produced it before the master, who severely reproached him saying: "O, shame on thee, wretch! Thou art -defiled by the desire of worldly riches even to thy inmost soul, just as noodle is stained with oil. Thou canst not be purified from it to all eternity. I am afraid thou wilt bring shame on the Right Law." On the spot Gen-myo was deprived of his holy robe and excommunicated. Furthermore, the master ordered the 'polluted' seat in the Meditation Hall, where Gen-myo was wont to sit, to be removed, and the 'polluted' earth under the seat to be dug out to the depth of seven feet.
In 1250 the ex-Emperor Go-sa-ga (1243-1246) sent a special messenger twice to the Ei-hei monastery to do honour to the master with the donation of a purple robe, but he declined to accept it. And when the mark of distinction was offered for the third time, he accepted it, expressing his feelings by the following verses:
"Although in Ei-hei's vale the shallow waters leap, Yet thrice it came, Imperial favour deep. The Ape may smile and laugh the Crane At aged Monk in purple as insane."He was never seen putting on the purple robe, being always clad in black, that was better suited to his secluded life. 4. The Social State of Japan when Zen was established by Ei-sai and Do-gen.
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen was introduced into Japan by Ei-sai and Do-gen. Nobilities that had so long governed the island were nobilities no more. Enervated by their luxuries, effeminated by their ease, made insipient by their debauchery, they were entirely powerless. All that they possessed in reality was the nominal rank and hereditary birth. On the contrary, despised as the ignorant, sneered at as the upstart, put in contempt as the vulgar, the Samurai or military class had everything in their hands. It was the time when Yori-tomo[FN#79] (1148-1199) conquered all over the empire, and established the Samurai Government at Kama-kura. It was the time when even the emperors were dethroned or exiled at will by the Samurai. It was the time when even the Buddhist monks[FN#80] frequently took up arms to force their will. It was the time when Japan's independence was endangered by Kublai, the terror of the world. It was the time when the whole nation was full of martial spirit. It is beyond doubt that to these rising
Samurais, rude and simple, the philosophical doctrines of Buddhism, represented by Ten Dai and Shin Gon, were too complicated and too alien to their nature. But in Zen they could find something congenial to their nature, something that touched their chord of sympathy, because Zen was the doctrine of chivalry in a certain sense. [FN#79] The Samurai Government was first established by Yoritomo, of the Minamoto family, in 1186, and Japan was under the control of the military class until 1867, when the political power was finally restored to the Imperial house.
[FN#80] They were degenerated monks (who were called monk-soldiers), belonging to great monasteries such as En-ryaku-ji (Hi-yei), Ko-fuku-ji (at Nara), Mi-i-dera, etc.5. The Resemblance of the Zen Monk to the Samurai.
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Japanese chivalry. First, both the Samurai and the Zen monk have to undergo a strict discipline and endure privation without complaint. Even such a prominent teacher as Ei-sai, for example, lived contentedly in such needy circumstances that on one occasion[FN#81] he and his disciples had nothing to eat for several days. Fortunately, they were requested by a believer to recite the Scriptures, and presented with two rolls of silk. The hungry young monks, whose mouths watered already at the expectation of a long-looked-for dinner, were disappointed when that silk was given to a poor man, who called on Ei-sai to obtain some help. Fast continued for a whole week, when another poor follow came in and asked Ei-sai to give something. At this time, having nothing to show his substantial mark of sympathy towards the poor, Ei-sai tore off the gilt glory of the image of Buddha Bhecajya and gave it. The young monks, bitten both by hunger and by anger at this outrageous act to the object of worship, questioned Ei-sai by way of reproach: "Is it, sir, right for us Buddhists to demolish the image of a Buddha?" "Well," replied Ei-sai promptly, "Buddha would give even his own life for the sake of suffering people. How could he be reluctant to give his halo?" This anecdote clearly shows us self-sacrifice is of first importance in the Zen discipline.[FN#81] The incident is told by Do-gen in his Zui-mon-ki. 6. The Honest Poverty of the Zen Monk and the Samurai.
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of both the Zen monk and the Samurai. To get rich by an ignoble means is against the rules of Japanese chivalry or Bushido. The Samurai would rather starve than to live by some expedient unworthy of his dignity.
There are many instances, in the Japanese history, of Samurais who were really starved to death in spite of their having a hundred pieces of gold carefully preserved to meet the expenses at the time of an emergency; hence the proverb: "The falcon would not feed on the ear of corn, even if he should starve." Similarly, we know of no case of Zen monks, ancient and modern, who got rich by any ignoble means. They would rather face poverty with gladness of heart. Fu-gai, one of the most distinguished Zen masters just before the Restoration, supported many student monks in his monastery. They were often too numerous to be supported by his scant means. This troubled his disciple much whose duty it was to look after the food-supply, as there was no other means to meet the increased demand than to supply with worse stuff. Accordingly, one day the disciple advised Fu-gai not to admit new students any more into the monastery.
Then the master, making no reply, lolled out his tongue and said: "Now look into my mouth, and tell if there be any tongue in it." The perplexed disciple answered affirmatively. "Then don't bother yourself about it. If there be any tongue, I can taste any sort of food." Honest poverty may, without exaggeration, be called one of the characteristics of the Samurais and of the Zen monks; hence a proverb: "The Zen monk has no money, moneyed Monto[FN#82] knows nothing."[FN#82] The priest belonging to Shin Shu, who are generally rich. 7. The Manliness of the Zen Monk and of the Samurai.
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished by their manliness and dignity in manner, sometimes amounting to rudeness. This is due partly to the hard discipline that they underwent, and partly to the mode of instruction. The following story,[FN#83] translated by Mr. D. Suzuki, a friend of mine, may well exemplify our statement:[FN#83] The Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1906-1907.
When Rin-zai[FN#84] was assiduously applying himself to Zen discipline under Obak (Huang Po in Chinese, who died 850), the head monk recognized his genius. One day the monk asked him how long he had been in the monastery, to which Rin-zai replied: 'Three years.' The elder said: 'Have you ever approached the master and asked his instruction in Buddhism?' Rin-zai said: 'I have never done this, for I did not know what to ask.' 'Why, you might go to the master and ask him what is the essence of Buddhism?'[FN#84] Lin Tsi, the founder of the Lin Tsi school. "Rin-zai, according to this advice, approached Obak and repeated the question, but before he finished the master gave him a slap.
"When Rin-zai came back, the elder asked how the interview went. Said Rin-zai: 'Before I could finish my question the master slapped me, but I fail to grasp its meaning.' The elder said: 'You go to him again and ask the same question.' When he did so, he received the same response from the master. But Rin-zai was urged again to try it for the third time, but the outcome did not improve.
"At last he went to the elder, and said 'In obedience to your kind suggestion, I have repeated my question three times, and been slapped three times. I deeply regret that, owing to my stupidity, I am unable to comprehend the hidden meaning of all this. I shall leave this place and go somewhere else.' Said the elder: 'If you wish to depart, do not fail to go and see the master to say him farewell.'
"Immediately after this the elder saw the master, and said: 'That young novice, who asked about Buddhism three times, is a remarkable fellow. When he comes to take leave of you, be so gracious as to direct him properly. After a hard training, he will prove to be a great master, and, like a huge tree, he will give a refreshing shelter to the world.'
"When Rin-zai came to see the master, the latter advised him not to go anywhere else, but to Dai-gu (Tai-yu) of Kaoan, for he would be able to instruct him in the faith.
"Rin-zai went to Dai-gu, who asked him whence he came. Being informed that he was from Obak, Dai-gu further inquired what instruction he had under the master. Rin-zai answered: 'I asked him three times about the essence of Buddhism, and he slapped me three times. But I am yet unable to see whether I had any fault or not.' Dai-gu said: 'Obak was tender-hearted even as a dotard, and you are not warranted at all to come over here and ask me whether anything was faulty with you.'
"Being thus reprimanded, the signification of the whole affair suddenly dawned upon the mind of Rin-zai, and he exclaimed: 'There is not much, after all, in the Buddhism of Obak.' Whereupon Dai-gu took hold of him, and said: 'This ghostly good-for-nothing creature! A few minutes ago you came to me and complainingly asked what was wrong with you, and now boldly declare that there is not much in the Buddhism of Obak. What is the reason of all this? Speak out quick! speak out quick!' In response to this, Rin-zai softly struck three times his fist at the ribs of Dai-gu. The latter then released him, saying: 'Your teacher is Obak, and I will have nothing to do with you.'
"Rin-zai took leave of Dai-gu and came back to Obak, who, on seeing him come, exclaimed: 'Foolish fellow! what does it avail you to come and go all the time like this?' Rin-zai said: 'It is all due to your doting kindness.'
"When, after the usual salutation, Rin-zai stood by the side of Obak, the latter asked him whence he had come this time. Rin-zai answered: "In obedience to your kind instruction, I was with Dai-gu. Thence am I come.'And he related, being asked for further information, all that had happened there.
"Obak said: 'As soon as that fellow shows himself up here, I shall have to give him a good thrashing.' 'You need not wait for him to come; have it right this moment,' was the reply; and with this Rin-zai gave his master a slap on the back.
"Obak said: 'How dares this lunatic come into my presence and play with a tiger's whiskers?' Rin-zai then burst out into a Ho,[FN#85] and Obak said: 'Attendant, come and carry this lunatic away to his cell.'"
[FN#85] A loud outcry, frequently made use of by Zen teachers, after Rin-zai. Its Chinese pronunciation is 'Hoh,' and pronounced 'Katsu' in Japanese, but 'tsu' is not audible.8. The Courage and the Composure of Mind of the Zen Monk and of the Samurai.
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, with unflinching courage. He would never turn back from, but fight till his last with his enemy. To be called a coward was for him the dishonour worse than death itself. An incident about Tsu Yuen (So-gen), who came over to Japan in 1280, being invited by Toki-mune[FN#86] (Ho-jo), the Regent General, well illustrates how much Zen monks resembled our Samurais. The event happened when he was in China, where the invading army of Yuen spread terror all over the country. Some of the barbarians, who crossed the border of the State of Wan, broke into the monastery of Tsu Yuen, and threatened to behead him. Then calmly sitting down, ready to meet his fate, he composed the following verses
"The heaven and earth afford me no shelter at all; I'm glad, unreal are body and soul.
Welcome thy weapon, O warrior of Yuen! Thy trusty steel, That flashes lightning, cuts the wind of Spring, I feel."
This reminds us of Sang Chao[FN#87] (So-jo), who, on the verge of death by the vagabond's sword, expressed his feelings in the follow lines:
"In body there exists no soul.
The mind is not real at all.
Now try on me thy flashing steel, As if it cuts the wind of Spring, I feel."
[FN#87] The man was not a pure Zen master, being a disciple of Kumarajiva, the founder of the San Ron Sect. This is a most remarkable evidence that Zen, especially the Rin Zan school, was influenced by Kumarajiva and his disciples. For the details of the anecdote, see E-gen.
The barbarians, moved by this calm resolution and dignified air of Tsu Yuen, rightly supposed him to be no ordinary personage, and left the monastery, doing no harm to him.9. Zen and the Regent Generals of the Ho-Jo Period.
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai class, the Regent Generals, especially such able rulers as Toki-yori, Toki-mune, and others noted for their good administration, of the Ho-jo period (1205-1332) greatly favoured Zen. They not only patronized the faith, building great temples[FN#88] and inviting best Chinese Zen teachers[FN#89] but also lived just as Zen monks, having the head shaven, wearing a holy robe, and practising cross-legged Meditation.
[FN#88] To-fuku-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was built in 1243. Ken-cho-ji, the head temple of a subsect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was built in 1253. En-gaku ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was built in 1282. Nan-zen-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was erected in 1326.
[FN#89] Tao Lung (Do-ryu), known as Dai-kaku Zen-ji, invited by Tokiyori, came over to Japan in 1246. He became the founder of Ken-cho-ji-ha, a sub-sect of the Rin Zai, and died in 1278. Of his disciples, Yaku-o was most noted, and Yaku-o's disciple, Jaku-shitsu, became the founder of Yo-genji-ha, another sub-sect of the Rin Zai. Tsu Yuen (So-gen), known as Buk-ko-koku-shi, invited by Toki-mune, crossed the sea in 1280, became the founder of En-gaku-ji-ha (a sub-sect of the Rin Zai), and died in 1286. Tsing Choh (Sei-setsu), invited by Taka-toki, came in 1327, and died in 1339. Chu Tsun (So-shun) came in 1331, and died in 1336. Fan Sien (Bon-sen) came together with Chu Tsun, and died in 1348. These were the prominent Chinese teachers of that time.
Toki-yori (1247-1263), for instance, who entered the monastic life while be was still the real governor of the country, led as simple a life, as is shown in his verse, which ran as follows:
"Higher than its bank the rivulet flows;
Greener than moss tiny grass grows.
No one call at my humble cottage on the rock, But the gate by itself opens to the Wind's knock."
Toki-yori attained to Enlightenment by the instruction of Do-gen and Do-ryu, and breathed his last calmly sitting cross-legged, and expressing his feelings in the following lines:
"Thirty-seven of years, Karma mirror stood high; Now I break it to pieces, Path of Great is then nigh." His successor, Toki-mune (1264-1283), a bold statesman and soldier, was no less of a devoted believer in Zen. Twice he beheaded the envoys sent by the great Chinese conqueror, Kublai, who demanded Japan should either surrender or be trodden under his foot. And when the alarming news of the Chinese Armada's approaching the land reached him, be is said to have called on his tutor, Tsu Yuen, to receive the last instruction. "Now, reverend sir," said. he, "an imminent peril threatens the land." "How art thou going to encounter it?" asked the master. Then Toki-mune burst into a thundering Ka with all his might to show his undaunted spirit in encountering the approaching enemy. "O, the lion's roar!" said Tsu Yuen.
"Thou art a genuine lion. Go, and never turn back." Thus encouraged by the teacher, the Regent General sent out the defending army, and successfully rescued the state from the mouth of destruction, gaining a splendid victory over the invaders, almost all of whom perished in the western seas.10. Zen after the Downfall of the Ho-Jo Regency.
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the downfall of the Regency in 1333, sanguinary battles were fought between the Imperialists and the rebels. The former, brave and faithful as they were, being outnumbered by the latter, perished in the field one after another for the sake of the ill-starred Emperor Go-dai-go (1319-1338), whose eventful life ended in anxiety and despair.
[FN#90] Although Zen was first favoured by the Ho-jo Regency and chiefly prospered at Kama-kura, yet it rapidly began to exercise its influence on nobles and Emperors at Kyo-to. This is mainly due to the activity of En-ni, known as Sho-Ichi-Koku-Shi (1202-1280), who first earned Zen under Gyo-yu, a disciple of Ei-sai, and afterwards went to China, where he was Enlightened under the instruction of Wu Chun, of the monastery of King Shan. After his return, Michi-iye (Fuji-wara), a powerful nobleman, erected for him To-fuku-ji in 1243, and he became the founder of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai, named after that monastery. The Emperor Go-saga (1243-1246), an admirer of his, received the Moral Precepts from him. One of his disciples, To-zan, became the spiritual adviser of the Emperor Fushi-mi (1288-1298), and another disciple, Mu kwan, was created the abbot of the monastery of Nan-zen-ji by the Emperor Kame-yama (1260-1274), as the founder of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name.
Another teacher who gained lasting influence on the Court is Nan-po, known as Dai-O-Koku-Shi (1235-1308), who was appointed the abbot of the monastery of Man-ju-ji in Kyo to by the Emperor Fushi-mi. One of his disciples, Tsu-o, was the spiritual adviser to both the Emperor Hana-zono (1308-1318) and the Emperor Go-dai-go. And another disciple, Myo-cho, known as Dai-To-Koku-Shi (1282-1337), also was admired by the two Emperors, and created the abbot of Dai-toku-ji, as the founder of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name. It was for Myo-cho's disciple, Kan-zan (1277 1360), that the Emperor Hana-zono turned his detached palace into a monastery, named Myo-shin-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name.
It was at this time that Japan gave birth to Masa-shige (Kusu-noki), an able general and tactician of the Imperialists, who for the sake of the Emperor not only sacrificed himself and his brother, but by his will his son and his son's successor died for the same cause, boldly attacking the enemy whose number was overwhelmingly great. Masa-shige's loyalty, wisdom, bravery, and prudence are not merely unique in the history of Japan, but perhaps in the history of man. The tragic tale about his parting with his beloved son, and his bravery shown at his last battle, never fail to inspire the Japanese with heroism. He is the best specimen of the Samurai class. According to an old document,[FN#91] this Masa-shige was the practiser of Zen, and just before his last battle he called on Chu Tsun (So-shun) to receive the final instruction. "What have I to do when death takes the place of life?" asked Masa-shige. The teacher replied:"Be bold, at once cut off both ties, The drawn sword gleams against the skies."
Thus becoming, as it were, an indispensable discipline for the Samurai, Zen never came to an end with the Ho-jo period, but grew more prosperous than before during the reign[FN#92] of the Emperor Go-dai-go, one of the most enthusiastic patrons of the faith.
[FN#91] The event is detailed at length in a life of So-shun, but some historians suspect it to be fictitious. This awaits a further research.[FN#92] As we have already mentioned, Do-gen, the founder of the
Japanese So To Sect, shunned the society of the rich and the powerful, and led a secluded life. In consequence his sect did not make any rapid progress until the Fourth Patriarch of his line, Kei-zan (1268-1325) who, being of energetic spirit, spread his faith with remarkable activity, building many large monasteries, of which Yo-ko-ji, in the province of No-to, So-ji-ji (near Yokohama), one of the head temples of the sect, are well known. One of his disciples, Mei ho (1277-1350), propagated the faith in the northern provinces; while another disciple, Ga-san (1275-1365), being a greater character, brought up more than thirty distinguished disciples, of whom Tai-gen, Tsu-gen, Mu-tan, Dai-tetsu, and Jip-po, are best known.
Tai-gen (died 1370) and big successors propagated the faith over the middle provinces, while Tsu-gen (1332-1391) and his successors spread the sect all over the north-eastern and south-western provinces. Thus it is worthy of our notice that most of the Rin Zai teachers confined their activities within Kamakura and Kyo-to, while the So To masters spread the faith all over the country.
The Shoguns of the Ashi-kaga period (1338-1573) were not less devoted to the faith than the Emperors who succeeded the Emperor Go-dai-go. And even Taka-uji (1338-1357), the notorious founder of the Shogunate, built a monastery and invited So-seki,[FN#93] better known as Mu-So-Koku-Shi, who was respected as the tutor by the three successive Emperors after Go-dai-go. Taka-uji's example was followed by all succeeding Shoguns, and Shogun's example was followed by the feudal lords and their vassals. This resulted in the propagation of Zen throughout the country. We can easily imagine how Zen was prosperous in these days from the splendid monasteries[FN#94] built at this period, such as the Golden Hall Temple and the Silver Hall Temple that still adorn the fair city of Kyo-to.
[FN#93] So-seki (1276-1351) was perhaps the greatest Zen master of the period. Of numerous monasteries built for him, E-rin-ji, in the province of Kae, and Ten-ryu-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name, are of importance. Out of over seventy eminent disciples of his, Gi-do (1365-1388), the author of Ku-ge-shu; Shun-oku (1331-1338), the founder of the monastery of So-koku-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name; and Zek-kai (1337-1405), author of Sho-ken-shu, are best known.
[FN#94] Myo-shin-ji was built in 1337 by the Emperor Hana-zono; Ten-ryu-ji was erected by Taka-uji, the first Shogun of the period, in 1344; So-koku-ji by Yosh-imitsu, the third Shogun, in 1385; Kin-Kaku-ji, or Golden Hall Temple, by the same Shogun, in 1397; Gin-kaku-ji, or Silver Hall Temple, by Yoshi-masa, the eighth Shogun, in 1480.11. Zen in the Dark Age.
The latter half of the Ashikaga period was the age of arms and bloodshed. Every day the sun shone on the glittering armour of marching soldiers. Every wind sighed over the lifeless remains of the brave. Everywhere the din of battle resounded. Out of these fighting feudal lords stood two champions. Each of them distinguished himself as a veteran soldier and tactician. Each of them was known as an experienced practiser of Zen. One was Haru-nobu[FN#95] (Take-da, died in 1573), better known by his Buddhist name, Shin-gen. The other was Teru-tora[FN#96] (Uye-sugi, died in 1578), better known by his Buddhist name, Ken-shin. The character of Shin-gen can be imagined from the fact that he never built any castle or citadel or fortress to guard himself against his enemy, but relied on his faithful vassals and people; while that of Ken-shin, from the fact that he provided his enemy, Shin-gen, with salt when the latter suffered from want of it, owing to the cowardly stratagem of a rival lord. The heroic battles waged by these two great generals against each other are the flowers of the Japanese war-history. Tradition has it that when Shin-gen's army was put to rout by the furious attacks of Ken-shin's troops, and a single warrior mounted on a huge charger rode swiftly as a sweeping wind into Shin-gen's head-quarters, down came a blow of the heavy sword aimed at Shin-gen's forehead, with a question expressed in the technical terms of Zen: "What shalt thou do in such a state at such a moment?" Having no time to draw his sword, Shin-gen parried it with his war-fan, answering simultaneously in Zen words: "A flake of snow on the red-hot furnace!" Had not his attendants come to the rescue Shin-gen's life might have gone as 'a flake of snow on the red-hot furnace.' Afterwards the horseman was known to have been Ken-shin himself. This tradition shows us how Zen was practically lived by the Samurais of the Dark Age.
[FN#95] Shin-gen practised Zen under the instruction of Kwai-sen, who was burned to death by Nobu-naga (O-da) in 1582. See Hon-cho-ko-so-den.[FN#96] Ken-shin learned Zen under Shu-ken, a So Ta master. See
Although the priests of other Buddhist sects had their share in these bloody affairs, as was natural at such a time, yet Zen monks stood aloof and simply cultivated their literature. Consequently, when all the people grew entirely ignorant at the end of the Dark Age, the Zen monks were the only men of letters. None can deny this merit of their having preserved learning and prepared for its revival in the following period.[FN#97]
[FN#97] After the introduction of Zen into Japan many important books were written, and the following are chief doctrinal works: Ko-zen-go-koku-ron, by Ei-sai; Sho bo-gen-zo; Gaku-do-yo-zin-shu; Fu-kwan-za-zen-gi; Ei-hei-ko-roku, by Do-gen; Za-zen-yo-zin-ki; and Den-ko-roku, by Kei-zan.12. Zen under the Toku-gana Shogunate.
Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the Toku-gana Shogunate (1603-1867). During this period the Shogunate gave countenance to Buddhism on one hand, acknowledging it as the state religion, bestowing rich property to large monasteries, making priests take rank over common people, ordering every householder to build a Buddhist altar in his house; while, on the other hand, it did everything to extirpate Christianity, introduced in the previous period (1544). All this paralyzed the missionary spirit of the Buddhists, and put all the sects in dormant state. As for Zen[FN#98] it was still favoured by feudal lords and their vassals, and almost all provincial lords embraced the faith.
[FN#98] The So To Sect was not wanting in competent teachers, for it might take pride in its Ten-kei (1648-1699), whose religious insight was unsurpassed by any other master of the age; in its Shi getsu, who was a commentator of various Zen books, and died 1764; in its Men-zan (1683-1769), whose indefatigable works on the exposition of So To Zen are invaluable indeed; and its Getsu-shu (1618-1696) and Man-zan (1635-1714), to whose labours the reformation of the faith is ascribed. Similarly, the Rin Zai Sect, in its Gu-do (1579-1661); in its Isshi (1608-1646); in its Taku-an (1573-1645), the favourite tutor of the third Shogun, Iye-mitsu; in its Haku-in (1667-1751), the greatest of the Rin Zai masters of the day, to whose extraordinary personality and labour the revival of the sect is due; and its To-rei (1721-1792), a learned disciple of Haku-in. Of the important Zen books written by these masters, Ro-ji-tan-kin, by Ten-kei;
Men-zan-ko-roku, by Men-zan; Ya-sen-kwan-wa, Soku-ko-roku, Kwai-an-koku-go, Kei-so-doku-zui, by Haku-in; Shu-mon-mu-jin-to-ron, by To-rei, are well known.
It was about the middle of this period that the forty-seven vassals of Ako displayed the spirit of the Samurai by their perseverance, self-sacrifice, and loyalty, taking vengeance on the enemy of their deceased lord. The leader of these men, the tragic tales of whom can never be told or heard without tears, was Yoshi-o (O-ishi died 1702), a believer of Zen,[FN#99] and his tomb in the cemetery of the temple of Sen-gaku-ji, Tokyo, is daily visited by hundreds of his admirers. Most of the professional swordsmen forming a class in these days practised Zen. Mune-nori[FN#100](Ya-gyu), for instance, established his reputation by the combination of Zen and the fencing art.[FN#99] See "Zen Shu," No. 151. [FN#100] He is known as Ta-jima, who practised Zen under Taku-an. The following story about Boku-den (Tsuka-hara), a great swordsman, fully illustrates this tendency:
"On a certain occasion Boku-den took a ferry to cross over the Yabase in the province of Omi. There was among the passengers a Samurai, tall and square-shouldered, apparently an experienced fencer. He behaved rudely toward the fellow-passengers, and talked so much of his own dexterity in the art that Boku-den, provoked by his brag, broke silence. 'You seem, my friend, to practise the art in order to conquer the enemy, but I do it in order not to be conquered,' said Boku-den. 'O monk,' demanded the man, as Boku-den was clad like a Zen monk, 'what school of swordsmanship do you belong to?' Well, mine is the Conquering-enemy-without-fighting-school.' 'Don't tell a fib, old monk. If you could conquer the enemy without fighting, what then is your sword for?' 'My sword is not to kill, but to save,' said Boku-den, making use of Zen phrases; 'my art is transmitted from mind to mind.' 'Now then, come, monk,' challenged the man, 'let us see, right at this moment, who is the victor, you or I.' The
gauntlet was picked up without hesitation. 'But we must not fight,' said Boku-den, 'in the ferry, lest the passengers should be hurt. Yonder a small island you see. There we shall decide the contest.' To this proposal the man agreed, and the boat was pulled to that island. No sooner had the boat reached the shore than the man jumped over to the land, and cried: 'Come on, monk, quick, quick!' Boku-den, however, slowly rising, said: 'Do not hasten to lose your head. It is a rule of my school to prepare slowly for fighting, keeping the soul in the abdomen.' So saying he snatched the oar from the boatman and rowed the boat back to some distance, leaving the man alone, who, stamping the ground madly, cried out: 'O, you fly, monk, you coward. Come, old monk!' 'Now listen,' said Boku-den, 'this is the secret art of the Conquering-enemy-without-fighting-school. Beware that you do not forget it, nor tell it to anybody else.' Thus, getting rid of the brawling fellow, Boku-den and his
fellow-passengers safely landed on the opposite shore."[FN#101] The O Baku School of Zen was introduced by Yin Yuen (In-gen) who crossed the sea in 1654, accompanied by many able disciples.[FN#102] The Shogunate gave him a tract of land at Uji, near Kyo-to, and in 1659 he built there a monastery noted for its Chinese style of
architecture, now known as O-baku-san. The teachers of the same school[FN#103] came one after another from China, and Zen[FN#104] peculiar to them, flourished a short while.
[FN#102] In-gen (1654-1673) came over with Ta-Mei (Dai-bi, died 1673), Hwui Lin (E-rin died 1681), Tuh Chan (Doku-tan, died 1706), and others. For the life of In-gen: see Zoku-ko-shu-den and Kaku-shu-ko-yo.
[FN#103] Tsih Fei (Soku-hi died 1671), Muh Ngan (Moku-an died 1684), Kao Tsuen (Ko-sen died 1695), the author of Fu-so-zen-rin-so-bo-den, To-koku-ko-so-den, and Sen-un-shu, are best known.[FN#104] This is a sub-sect of the Rin Zai School, as shown in the following table: TABLE OF THE TRANSMISSION OF ZEN FROM CHINA TO JAPAN.
2. Hwui Ko (E-ka).
3. San Tsang (So-san).
4. Tao Sin (Do-shin).
5. Hung Jan (Ko nin).
---THE NORTHERN SECT 6. Shang Siu (Jin-shu).
---THE SOUTHERN SECT 6. Hwui Nang (E-no).
---THE RIN ZAI SCHOOL. 7. Nan Yoh (Nan-gaku).
---11. Lin Tsi (Rin-zai).
---21. Yuen Wu (En-go).
---22. Fuh Hai (Bukkai).
---THE O BAKU SCHOOL. 42. In-gen.
---25. Hti Ngan (Kyo-an).
---THE SO TO SCHOOL.
7. Tsing Yuen (Sei-gen).
---8. Shih Teu (Seki-to).
---11. Tung Shan (To-zan).
---23. Ju Tsing (Nyo-jo).
The O Baku School is the amalgamation of Zen and the worship of Amitabha, and different from the other two schools. The statistics for 1911 give the following figures:The Number of Temples:
The So To School 14,255 The Rin Zai School 6,128 The O Baku School 546The Number of Teachers:
The So To School 9,576 The Rin Zai School 4,523 The O Baku School 349
It was also in this period that Zen gained a great influence on the popular literature characterized by the shortest form of poetical composition. This was done through the genius of Ba-sho,[FN#105] a great literary man, recluse and traveller, who, as his writings show us, made no small progress in the study of Zen. Again, it was made use of by the teachers of popular[FN#106] ethics, who did a great deal in the education of the lower classes. In this way Zen and its peculiar taste gradually found its way into the arts of peace, such as literature, fine art, tea-ceremony, cookery, gardening, architecture, and at last it has permeated through every fibre of Japanese life.
[FN#105] He (died 1694) learned Zen under a contemporary Zen master (Buccho), and is said to have been enlightened before his reformation of the popular literature.
[FN#106] The teaching was called Shin-gaku, or the 'learning of mind.' It was first taught by Bai-gan (Ishi-da), and is the
reconciliation of Shintoism and Buddhism with Confucianism. Bai-gan and his successors practised Meditation, and were enlightened in their own way. Do-ni (Naka-zawa, died 1803) made use of Zen more than any other teacher.
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of Zen began to wane, and for some thirty years remained in inactivity; but since the Russo-Japanese War its revival has taken place. And now it is looked upon as an ideal faith, both for a nation full of hope and energy, and for a person who has to fight his own way in the strife of life. Bushido, or the code of chivalry, should be observed not only by the soldier in the battle-field, but by every citizen in the struggle for existence. If a person be a person and not a beast, then he must be a Samurai-brave, generous, upright, faithful, and manly, full of self-respect and self-confidence, at the same time full of the spirit of self-sacrifice. We can find an incarnation of Bushido in the late General Nogi, the hero of Port Arthur, who, after the sacrifice of his two sons for the country in the Russo-Japanese War, gave up his own and his wife's life for the sake of the deceased Emperor. He died not in vain, as some might think, because his simplicity, uprightness, loyalty, bravery, self-control, and
self-sacrifice, all combined in his last act, surely inspire the rising generation with the spirit of the Samurai to give birth to hundreds of Nogis. Now let us see in the following chapters what Zen so closely connected with Bushido teaches us.
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of Mahayana or of Hinayana. There are twofold Tripitakas (or the three collections of the Buddhist scriptures)-namely, the
Mahayana-tripitaka and the Hinayana-tripitaka. The former are the basis of the Mahayana, or the higher and reformed Buddhism, full of profound metaphysical reasonings; while the latter form that of the Hinayana, or the lower and early Buddhism, which is simple and ethical teaching. These twofold Tripitakas are as follows:
The Sutra Pitaka.-The Saddharma-pundarika-sutra,
Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra, Avatamsaka-sutra, Prajnyaparamita-sutra, Amitayus-sutra, Mahaparinirvana-sutra, etc.
The Abhidharma Pitaka.--Mahaprajnyaparamita-sutra, Mahayana-craddhotpada-castra, Madhyamaka-castra, Yogacarya bhumi-castra, etc.
The Sutra Pitaka.--Dirghagama, Ekottaragama, Madhyamagama, Samyuktagama, etc.
The term 'Tripitaka,' however, was not known at the time of Shakya Muni, and almost all of the northern Buddhist records agree in stating that the Tripitaka was rehearsed and settled in the same year in which the Muni died. Mahavansa also says: "The book called Abhidharma-pitaka was compiled, which was preached to god, and was arranged in due order by 500 Budhu priests." But we believe that Shakya Muni's teaching was known to the early Buddhists, not as Tripitaka, but as Vinaya and Dharma, and even at the time of King Acoka (who ascended the throne about 269 B.C.) it was not called Tripitaka, but Dharma, as we have it in his Edicts. Mahayanists unanimously assert the compilation of the Tripitaka in the first council of Rajagrha, but they differ in opinion as to the question who rehearsed the Abhidharma; notwithstanding, they agree as for the other respects, as you see in the following:
The Sutra Pitaka, compiled by Ananda; the Vinaya Pitaka, compiled by Upali; the Abhidharma Pitaka, compiled by Ananda--according to Nagarjuna (Mahaprajnyaparamita-castra).
The Sutra Pitaka, compiled by Ananda; the Vinaya Pitaka, compiled by Upali; the Abhidharma Pitaka, compiled by Kacyapa according to Huen Tsang (Ta-tan-si-yu-ki).
The Sutra Pitaka, compiled by Ananda; the Vinaya Pitaka, compiled by Upali; the Abhidharma Pitaka, compiled by Purna--according to Paramartha ('A Commentary on the History of the Hinayana Schools').
The above-mentioned discrepancy clearly betrays the uncertainty of their assertions, and gives us reason to discredit the compilation of Abhidharma Pitaka at the first council. Besides, judging from the Dharma-gupta-vinaya and other records, which states that Purna took no part in the first council, and that he had different opinions as to the application of the rules of discipline from that of Kacyapa, there should be some errors in Paramartha's assertion.
Of these three collections of the Sacred Writings, the first two, or Sutra and Vinaya, of Mahayana, as well as of Himayana, are believed to be the direct teachings of Shakya Muni himself, because all the instructions are put in the mouth of the Master or sanctioned by him.
The Mahayanists, however, compare the Hinayana doctrine with a resting-place on the road for a traveller, while the Mahayana doctrine with his destination. All the denominations of Buddhism, with a single exception of Zen, are based on the authority of some particular sacred writings. The Ten Dai Sect, for instance, is based on Saddharma-pundarika-sutra; the Jo Do Sect on Larger
Sukhavati-vyuha, Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha, and Amitayus-dhyana-sutra; the Ke Gon Sect on Avatamsaka-sutra; the Hosso Sect on Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra.
Zen is based on the highest spiritual plane attained by Shakya Muni himself. It can only be realized by one who has attained the same plane. To describe it in full by means of words is beyond the power even of Gotama himself. It is for this reason that the author of Lankavatara-sutra insists that Shakya Muni spoke no word through his long career of forty-nine years as a religious teacher, and that of Mahaprajnyaparamita-sutra[FN#108] also express the same opinion. The Scripture is no more nor less than the finger pointing to the moon of Buddhahood. When we recognize the moon and enjoy its benign beauty, the finger is of no use. As the finger has no brightness whatever, so the Scripture has no holiness whatever. The Scripture is religious currency representing spiritual wealth. It does not matter whether money be gold, or sea-shells, or cows. It is a mere substitute. What it stands for is of paramount importance. Away with your stone-knife! Do not watch the stake against which a running hare once struck its head and died. Do not wait for another hare. Another may not come for ever. Do not cut the side of the boat out of which you dropped your sword to mark where it sunk. The boat is ever moving on. The Canon is the window through which we observe the grand scenery of spiritual nature. To hold communion directly with it we must get out of the window. It is a mere stray fly that is always buzzing within it, struggling to get out. Those who spend most of their lives in the study of the Scriptures, arguing and explaining with hair-splitting reasonings, and attain no higher plane in spirituality, are religious flies good for nothing but their buzzing about the nonsensical technicalities. It is on this account that Rin-zai declared:[FN#109] 'The twelve divisions of the Buddhist Canon are nothing better than waste paper.'[FN#108] Mahaprajnyaparamita-sutra, vol. 425. [FN#109] Rin-zai-roku. 2. No Need of the Scriptural Authority for Zen.
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with the primitive faith of Hinayanism, and are inclined to call Mahayanism, a later developed faith, a degenerated one. If the primitive faith be called the genuine, as these scholars think, and the later developed faith be the degenerated one, then the child should be called the genuine man and the grown-up people be the degenerated ones; similarly, the primitive society must be the genuine and the modern civilization be the degenerated one. So also the earliest writings of the Old Testament should be genuine and the four Gospels be degenerated. Beyond all doubt Zen belongs to Mahayanism, yet this does not imply that it depends on the scriptural authority of that school, because it does not trouble itself about the Canon whether it be Hinayana or Mahayana, or whether it was directly spoken by Shakya Muni or written by some later Buddhists. Zen is completely free from the fetters of old dogmas, dead creeds, and conventions of stereotyped past, that check the development of a religious faith and prevent the discovery of a new truth. Zen needs no Inquisition. It never compelled nor will compel the compromise of a Galileo or a Descartes. No excommunication of a Spinoza or the burning of a Bruno is possible for Zen.
On a certain occasion Yoh Shan (Yaku-san) did not preach the doctrine for a long while, and was requested to give a sermon by his assistant teacher, saying: "Would your reverence preach the Dharma to your pupils, who long thirst after your merciful instruction?" "Then ring the bell," replied Yoh Shan. The bell rang, and all the monks assembled in the Hall eager to bear the sermon. Yoh Shan went up to the pulpit and descended immediately without saying a word. "You, reverend sir," asked the assistant, "promised to deliver a sermon a little while ago. Why do you not preach?" "Sutras are taught by the Sutra teachers," said the master; "Castras are taught by the Castra teachers. No wonder that I say nothing."[FN#110] This little episode will show you that Zen is no fixed doctrine embodied in a Sutra or a Castra, but a conviction or realization within us.[FN#110] Zen-rin-rui-shu and E-gen.
To quote another example, an officer offered to Tung Shan (To-zan) plenty of alms, and requested him to recite the sacred Canon. Tung Shan, rising from his chair, made a bow respectfully to the officer, who did the same to the teacher. Then Tung Shan went round the chair, taking the officer with him, and making a bow again to the officer, asked: "Do you see what I mean?" "No, sir," replied the other. "I have been reciting the sacred Canon, why do you not see?"[FN#111] Thus Zen does not regard Scriptures in black and white as its Canon, for it takes to-days and tomorrows of this actual life as its inspired pages.[FN#111] Zen-rin-rui-sha and To-zan-roku. 3. The Usual Explanation of the Canon.
An eminent Chinese Buddhist scholar, well known as Ten Dai Dai Shi (A.D. 538-597), arranged the whole preachings of Shakya Muni in a chronological order in accordance with his own religious theory, and observed that there were the Five Periods in the career of the Buddha as a religious teacher. He tried to explain away all the
discrepancies and contradictions, with which the Sacred Books are encumbered, by arranging the Sutras in a line of development. His elucidation was so minute and clear, and his metaphysical reasonings so acute and captivating, that his opinion was universally accepted as an historical truth, not merely by the Chinese, but also by the Japanese Mahayanists. We shall briefly state here the so-called Five Periods.
Shakya Muni attained to Buddhaship in his thirtieth year, and sat motionless for seven days under the Bodhi tree, absorbed in deep meditation, enjoying the first bliss of his Enlightenment. In the second week he preached his Dharma to the innumerable multitude of Bodhisattvas,[FN#112] celestial beings, and deities in the nine assemblies held at seven different places. This is the origin of a famous Mahayana book entitled Buddhavatamsaka-mahavaipulya-sutra. In this book the Buddha set forth his profound Law just as it was discovered by his highly Enlightened mind, without considering the mental states of his hearers. Consequently the ordinary hearers (or the Buddha's immediate disciples) could not understand the doctrine, and sat stupefied as if they were 'deaf and dumb,' while the great Bodhisattvas fully understood and realized the doctrine. This is called the first period, which lasted only two or three[FN#113] weeks.
[FN#112] Bodhisattva is an imaginary personage, or ideal saint, superior to Arhat, or the highest saint of Hinayanism. The term 'Bodhisattva' was first applied to the Buddha before his
Enlightenment, and afterwards was adopted by Mahayanists to mean the adherent of Mahayanism in contradistinction with the Cravaka or hearers of Hinayanism.
[FN#113] Bodhiruci says to the effect that the preachings in the first five assemblies were made in the first week, and the rest were delivered in the second week. Nagarjuna says that the Buddha spoke no word for fifty-seven days after his Enlightenment. It is said in Saddharma-pundarika-sutra that after three weeks the Buddha preached at Varanasi, and it says nothing respecting Avatamsaka-sutra. Though there are divers opinions about the Buddha's first sermon and its date, all traditions agree in this that he spent some time in
meditation, and then delivered the first sermon to the five ascetics at Varanasi.
Thereupon Shakya Muni, having discovered that ordinary bearers were too ignorant to believe in the Mahayana doctrine and appreciate the greatness of Buddhahood, thought it necessary to modify his teaching so as to adjust it to the capacity of ordinary people. So he went to Varanasi (or Benares) and preached his modified doctrine--that is, Hinayanism. The instruction given at that time has been handed down to us as the four Agamas,[FN#114] or the four Nikayas. This is called the second period, which lasted about twelve years. It was at the beginning of this period that the Buddha converted the five ascetics,[FN#115] who became his disciples. Most of the Çravakas or the adherents of Hinayanism were converted during this period. They trained their hearts in accordance with the modified Law, learned the four noble truths,[FN#116] and worked out their own salvation.[FN#114] (1) Anguttara, (2) Majjhima, (3) Digha, (4) Samyutta. [FN#115] Kondanynya, Vappa, Baddiya, Mahanana, Assaji.
[FN#116] The first is the sacred truth of suffering; the second the truth of the origin of suffering--that is, lust and desire; the third the sacred truth of the extinction of suffering; the fourth the sacred truth of the path that leads to the extinction of suffering. There are eight noble paths that lead to the extinction of suffering--that is, Right faith, Right resolve, Right speech, Right action, Right living, Right effort, Right thought, and Right meditation.
The Buddha then having found his disciples firmly adhering to Hinayanism without knowing that it was a modified and imperfect doctrine, he had to lead them up to a higher and perfect doctrine that he might lead them up to Buddhahood. With this object in view Shakya Muni preached Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra[FN#117], Lankavatara-sutra, and other sutras, in which he compared Hinayanism with Mahayanism, and described the latter in glowing terms as a deep and perfect Law, whilst he set forth the former at naught as a superficial and imperfect one. Thus he showed his disciples the inferiority of Hinayanism, and caused them to desire for Mahayanism. This is said to be the third period, which lasted some eight years.
[FN#117] This is one of the most noted Mahayana books, and is said to be the best specimen of the sutras belonging to this period. It is in this sutra that most of Shakya's eminent disciples, known as the adherents of Hinayanism, are astonished with the profound wisdom, the eloquent speech, and the supernatural power of Vimalakirtti, a Bodhisattva, and confess the inferiority of their faith. The author frequently introduces episodes in order to condemn Hinayanism, making use of miracles of his own invention.
The disciples of the Buddha now understood that Mahayanism was far superior to Hinayanism, but they thought the higher doctrine was only for Bodhisattvas and beyond their understanding. Therefore they still adhered to the modified doctrine, though they did no longer decry Mahayanism, which they had no mind to practise. Upon this Shakya Muni preached Prajnyaparamita-sutras[FN#118] in the sixteen assemblies held at four different places, and taught them Mahayanism in detail in order to cause them to believe it and practise it. Thus they became aware that there was no definite demarcation between Mahayanism and Hinayanism, and that they might become Mahayanists. This is the fourth period, which lasted about twenty-two years. Now, the Buddha, aged seventy-two, thought it was high time to preach his long-cherished doctrine that all sentient beings can attain to Supreme Enlightenment; so he preached Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, in which he prophesied when and where his disciples should become Buddhas. It was his greatest object to cause all sentient beings to be Enlightened and enable them to enjoy the bliss of Nirvana. It was for this that he had endured great pain and hardships through his previous existences. It was for this that he had left his heavenly abode to appear on earth. It was for this that he had preached from time to time through his long career of forty-seven years. Having thus realized his great aim, Shakya Muni had now to prepare for his final departure, and preached Mahaparinirvana-sutra in order to show that all the animated and inanimate things were endowed with the same nature as his. After this last instruction he passed to eternity. This is called the fifth period, which lasted some eight years.
These five periods above mentioned can scarcely be called historical in the proper sense of the term, yet they are ingeniously invented by Ten Dai Dai Shi to set the Buddhist Scriptures in the order of doctrinal development, and place Saddharma-pundarika in the highest rank among the Mahayana books. His argument, however dogmatic and anti-historical in no small degree, would be not a little valuable for our reader, who wants to know the general phase of the Buddhist Canon, consisting of thousands of fascicles.4. Sutras used by Zen Masters.
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradictions of which the Canon is full, and often contradicted himself by the ignoring of historical[FN#119] facts.
[FN#119] Let us state our own opinion on the subject in question. The foundation of Hinayanism consists in the four Nikayas, or four Agamas, the most important books of that school. Besides the four Agamas, there exist in the Chinese Tripitaka numerous books translated by various authors, some of which are extracts from Agamas, and some the lives of the Buddha, while others are entirely different sutras, apparently of later date. Judging from these sources, it seems to us that most of Shakya Muni's original teachings are embodied into the four Agamas. But it is still a matter of uncertainty that whether they are stated in Agamas now extant just as they were, for the Buddha's preachings were rehearsed immediately after the Buddha's death in the first council held at Rajagrha, yet not consigned to writing. They were handed down by memory about one hundred years. Then the monks at Vaisali committed the so-called Ten Indulgences, infringing the rules of the Order, and maintained that Shakya Muni had not condemned them in his preachings. As there were, however, no written sutras to disprove their assertion, the elders, such as Yaca, Revata, and others, who opposed the Indulgences, had to convoke the second council of 700 monks, in which they succeeded in getting the Indulgences condemned, and rehearsed the Buddha's instruction for the second time. Even in this council of Vaisali we cannot find the fact that the Master's preachings were reduced to writing. The decisions of the 700 elders were not accepted by the party of opposition, who held a separate council, and settled their own rules and doctrine. Thus the same doctrine of the Teacher began to be differently stated and believed.
This being the first open schism, one disruption after another took place among the Buddhistic Order. There were many different schools of the Buddhists at the time when King Acoka ascended the throne (about 269 B.C.), and the patronage of the King drew a great number of pagan ascetics into the Order, who, though they dressed themselves in the yellow robes, yet still preserved their religious views in their original colour. This naturally led the Church into continual disturbances and moral corruption. In the eighteenth year of Acoka's reign the King summoned the council of 1,000 monks at Pataliputra (Patna), and settled the orthodox doctrine in order to keep the Dharma pure from heretical beliefs. We believe that about this time some of the Buddha's preachings were reduced to writing, for the missionaries despatched by the King in the year following the council seem to have set out with written sutras. In addition to this, some of the names of the passages of the Dharma are given in the Bharbra edict of the King, which was addressed to the monks in Magadha. We do not suppose, however, that all the sutras were written at once in these days, but that they were copied down from memory one after another at different times, because some of the sutras were put down in Ceylon 160 years after the Council of Patna.
In the introductory book of Ekottaragama (Anguttara Nikaya), now extant in the Chinese Tripitaka, we notice the following points: (1) It is written in a style quite different from that of the original
Agama, but similar to that of the supplementary books of the Mahayana sutras; (2) it states Ananda's compilation of the Tripitaka after the death of the Master; (3) it refers to the past Buddhas, the future Buddha Maitreya, and innumerable Bodhisattvas; (4) it praises the profound doctrine of Mahayanism. From this we infer that the Agama was put in the present form after the rise of the Mahayana School, and handed down through the hand of Mahasanghika scholars, who were much in sympathy with Mahayanism.
Again, the first book of Dirghagama, (Digha Nikaya), that describes the line of Buddhas who appeared before Shakya Muni, adopts the whole legend of Gotama's life as a common mode of all Buddhas appearing on earth; while the second book narrates the death of Gotama and the distribution of his relies, and refers to Pataliputra, the new
capital of Acoka. This shows us that the present Agama is not of an earlier date than the third century B.C. Samyuktagama (Samyutta Nikaya) also gives a detailed account of Acoka's conversion, and of his father Bindusara. From these evidences we may safely infer that the Hinayana sutras were put in the present shape at different times between the third century B.C. and the first century A.D.
With regard to the Mahayana sutras we have little doubt about their being the writings of the later Buddhist reformers, even if they are put in the mouth of Shakya Muni. They are entirely different from the sutras of Hinayanism, and cannot be taken as the preachings of one and the same person. The reader should notice the following points:
(1) Four councils were held for the rehearsal of the Tripitaka namely, the first at Rajagrha, in the year of Shakya Muni's death; the second at Vaisali, some 100 years after the Buddha; the third at the time of King Acoka, about 235 years after the Master; the fourth at the time of King Kanishka, the first century A.D. But all these councils were held to compile the Hinayana sutras, and nothing is known of the rehearsal of the Mahayana books. Some are of opinion that the first council was held within the Sattapanni cave, near Rajagrha, where the Hinayana Tripitaka was rehearsed by 500 monks, while outside the cave there assembled a greater number of monks, who were not admitted into the cave, and rehearsed the Mahayana Tripitaka. This opinion, however, is based on no reliable source.
(2) The Indian orthodox Buddhists of old declared that the Mahayana sutras were the fabrication of heretics or of the Evil One, and not the teachings of the Buddha. In reply to this, the Mahayanists had to prove that the Mahayana sutras were compiled by the direct disciples of the Master; but even Nagarjuna could not vindicate the compilation of the doubtful books, and said (in
Mahaprajnyaparamita-castra) that they were compiled by Ananda and Manjucri, with myriads of Bodhisattvas at the outside of the Iron Mountain Range, which encloses the earth. Asanga also proved (in Mahayanalankara-sutra-castra) with little success that Mahayanism was the Buddha's direct teachings. Some may quote
Bodhisattva-garbhastha-sutra in favour of the Mahayana; but it is of no avail, as the sutra itself is the work of a later date.
(3) Although almost all of the Mahayana sutras, excepting Avatamsaka-sutra, treat of Hinayanism as the imperfect doctrine taught in the first part of the Master's career, yet not merely the whole life of Gotama, but also events which occurred after his death are narrated in the Hinayana sutras. This shows that the Mahayana sutras were composed after the establishment of early Buddhism.
(4) The narratives given in the Hinayana sutras in reference to Shakya Muni seem to be based on historical facts, but those in the Mahayana books are full of wonders and extravagant miracles far from facts.
(5) The Hinayana sutras retain the traces of their having been classified and compiled as we see in Ekottaragama, while Mahayana books appear to have been composed one after another by different authors at different times, because each of them strives to excel others, declaring itself to be the sutra of the highest doctrine, as we see in Saddharma-pundarika, Samdhinirmocana,
(6) The dialogues in the Hinayana sutras are in general those between the Buddha and his disciples, while in the Mahayana books imaginary beings called Bodhisattvas take the place of disciples. Moreover, in some books no monks are mentioned.
(7) Most of the Mahayana sutras declare that they themselves possess those mystic powers that protect the reader or the owner from such evils as epidemic, famine, war, etc.; but the Hinayana sutras are pure from such beliefs.
(8) The Mahayana sutras extol not only the merits of the reading, but the copying of the sutras. This unfailingly shows the fact that they were not handed down by memory, as the Hinayana sutras, but written by their respective authors.
(10) The Buddha in the Hinayana sutras is little more than a human being, while Buddha or Tathagata in the Mahayana is a superhuman being or Great Deity.
(11) The moral precepts of the Hinayana were laid down by the Master every time when his disciples acted indecently, while those of the Mahayana books were spoken all at once by Tathagata.
(12) Some Mahayana sutras appear to be the exaggeration or modification of what was stated in the Hinayana books, as we see in Mahaparinirvana-sutra.
(13) If we take both the Hinayana and the Mahayana as spoken by one and the same person, we cannot understand why there are so many contradictory statements, as we see in the following:
(a) Historical Contradictions.--For instance, Hinayana sutras are held to be the first sermon of the Buddha by the author of Saddharma-pundarika, while Avatamsaka declares itself to be the first sermon. Nagarjuna holds that Prajnya sutras are the first.
(b) Contradictions as to the Person of the Master.--For instance, Agamas say the Buddha's body was marked with thirty-two peculiarities, while the Mahayana books enumerate ninety-seven peculiarities, or even innumerable marks.
(c) Doctrinal Contradictions.--For instance, the Hinayana sutras put forth the pessimistic, nihilistic view of life, while the Mahayana books, as a rule, express the optimistic, idealistic view.
(14) The Hinayana sutras say nothing of the Mahayana books, while the latter always compare their doctrine with that of the former, and speak of it in contempt. It is clear that the name 'Hinayana' was coined by the Mahayanists, as there is no sutra which calls itself 'Hinayana.' It is therefore evident that when the Hinayana books took the present shape there appeared no Mahayana sutras. (15) The authors of the Mahayana sutras should have expected the opposition of the Hinayanists, because they say not seldom that there might be some who would not believe in and oppose Mahayanism as not being the Buddha's teaching, but that of the Evil One. They say also that one who would venture to say the Mahayana books are fictitious should fall into Hell. For example, the author of
Mahaparinirvana-sutra says: "Wicked Bhiksus would say all Vaipulya Mahayana sutras are not spoken by the Buddha, but by the Evil One."
(a) The Mahayanists' grand conception of Tathagata is the natural development of that of those progressive Hinayanists who belonged to the Mahasamghika School, which was formed some one hundred years after the Master. These Hinayanists maintained that the Buddha had infinite power, endless life, and limitlessly great body. The author of Mahaparinirvana-sutra also says that Buddha is immortal, his Dharma-kaya is infinite and eternal. The authors of
Mahayana-mulagata-hrdayabhumi-dhyana-sutra and of
Suvarnaprabha-sottamaraja-sutra enumerate the Three Bodies of Buddha, while the writer of Lankavatara-sutra describes the Four Bodies, and that of Avatamsaka-sutra the Ten Bodies of Tathagata.
(b) According to the Hinayana sutras, there are only four stages of saintship, but the Mahasamghika School increases the number and gives ten steps. Some Mahayana sutras also enumerate the ten stages of Bodhisattva, while others give forty-one or fifty two stages.
(c) The Himayana sutras name six past Buddhas and one future Buddha Maitreya, while the Mahayana sutras name thirty-five, fifty-three, or three thousand Buddhas.(d) The Hinayana sutras give the names of six Vijnyanas, while the Mahayana books seven, eight, or nine Vijnyanas. (17) For a few centuries after the Buddha we hear only of Hinayanism, but not of Mahayanism, there being no Mahayana teacher.
(18) In some Mahayana sutras (Mahavairocanabhisambodhi-sutra, for example) Tathagata Vairocana takes the place of Gotama, and nothing is said of the latter.
(19) The contents of the Mahayana sutras often prove that they were, composed, or rewritten, or some additions were made, long after the Buddha. For instance, Mahamaya-sutra says that Acvaghosa would refute heretical doctrines 600 years after the Master, and Nagarjuna would advocate the Dharma 700 years after Gotama, while Lankavatara-sutra prophesies that Nagarjuna would appear in South India.
(20) The author of San-ron-gen-gi tells us Mahadeva, a leader of the Mahasamghika School, used Mahayana sutras, together with the orthodox Tripitaka 116 after the Buddha. It is, however, doubtful that they existed at so early a date.
(21) Mahaprajnyaparamita-castra, ascribed to Nagarjuna, refers to many Mahayana books, which include Saddharma-pundarika, Vimalakirtti-nirdeca, Sukhavati-vyuha, Mahaprajnyaparamita, Pratyutpanna-buddhasammukhavasthita-samadhi, etc. He quotes in his Dacabhumivibhasa-castra, Mahaparinirvana, Dacabhumi, etc.
(22) Sthiramati, whose date is said to be earlier than Nagarjuna and later than Acvaghosa, tries to prove that Mahayanism was directly taught by the Master in his Mahayanavataraka-castra. And Mahayanottaratantra-castra, which is ascribed by some scholars to him, refers to Avatamsaka, Vajracchedikka-prajnyaparamita, Saddharmapundarika, Crimala-devi-simhananda, etc.
(23) Chi-leu-cia-chin, who came to China in A.D. 147 or A.D. 164, translated some part of Mahayana books known as Maharatnakuta-sutra and Mahavaipulya-mahasannipata-sutra.(24) An-shi-kao, who came to China in A.D. 148, translated such Mahayana books as Sukhavati-vyaha, Candra-dipa-samadhi, etc.
(25) Matanga, who came to China in A.D. 67, is said by his biographer to have been informed of both Mahayanism and Hinayanism to have given interpretations to a noted Mahayana book, entitled Suvarnaprabhasa.
(26) Sandhinirmocana-sutra is supposed to be a work of Asanga not without reason, because Asanga's doctrine is identical with that of the sutra, and the sutra itself is contained in the latter part of Yogacaryabhumi-castra. The author divides the whole preachings of the Master into the three periods that he might place the Idealistic doctrine in the highest rank of the Mahayana schools.
(27) We have every reason to believe that Mahayana sutras began to appear (perhaps Prajnya sutras being the first) early in the first century A.D., that most of the important books appeared before Nagarjuna, and that some of Mantra sutras were composed so late as the time of Vajrabodhi, who came to China in A.D. 719.
To say nothing of the strong opposition raised by the Japanese scholars,[FN#120] such an assumption can be met with an assumption of entirely opposite nature, and the difficulties can never be overcome.
[FN#120] The foremost of them was Chuki Tominaga (1744), of whose life little is known. He is said to have been a nameless merchant at Osaka. His Shutsu-jo-ko-go is the first great work of higher criticism on the Buddhist Scriptures.
To believe blindly in the Scriptures is one thing, and to be pious is another. How often the childish views of Creation and of God in the Scriptures concealed the light of scientific truths; how often the blind believers of them fettered the progress of civilization; how often religious men prevented us from the realizing of a new truth, simply because it is against the ancient folk-lore in the Bible. Nothing is more absurd than the constant dread in which religious men, declaring to worship God in truth and in spirit, are kept at the scientific discovery of new facts incompatible with the folk-lore. Nothing is more irreligious than to persecute the seekers of truth in order to keep up absurdities and superstitions of bygone ages. Nothing is more inhuman than the commission of 'devout cruelty' under the mask of love of God and man. Is it not the misfortune, not only of Christianity, but of whole mankind, to have the Bible encumbered with legendary histories, stories of miracles, and a crude cosmology, which from time to time come in conflict with science?
The Buddhist Scriptures are also overloaded with Indian superstitions and a crude cosmology, which pass under the name of Buddhism. Accordingly, Buddhist scholars have confused not seldom the doctrine of the Buddha with these absurdities, and thought it impious to abandon them. Kaiseki,[FN#121] for instance, was at a loss to distinguish Buddhism from the Indian astronomy, which is utterly untenable in the face of the fact. He taxed his reason to the utmost to demonstrate the Indian theory and at the same time to refute the Copernican theory. One day he called on Yeki-do[FN#122] a contemporary Zen master, and explained the construction of the Three Worlds as described in the Scriptures, saying that Buddhism would come to naught if the theory of the Three Worlds be overthrown by the Copernican. Then Yeki-do exclaimed: "Buddhism aims to destroy the Three Worlds and to establish Buddha's Holy Kingdom throughout the universe. Why do you waste your energy in the construction of the Three Worlds?"[FN#123][FN#121] A learned Japanese Buddhist scholar, who died in 1882. [FN#122] A famous Zen master, the abbot of the So-ji-ji Monastery, who died in 1879. [FN#123] Kin-sei-zen-rin-gen-ko-roku.
In this way Zen does not trouble itself about unessentials of the Scriptures, on which it never depends for its authority. Do-gen, the founder of the Japanese So To Sect, severely condemns (in his Sho-bo-gen-zo) the notions of the impurity of women inculcated in the Scriptures. He openly attacks those Chinese monks who swore that they would not see any woman, and ridicules those who laid down rules prohibiting women from getting access to monasteries. A Zen master was asked by a Samurai whether there was hell in sooth as taught in the Scriptures. "I must ask you," replied he, "before I give you an answer. For what purpose is your question? What business have you, a Samurai, with a thing of that sort? Why do you bother yourself about such an idle question? Surely you neglect your duty and are engaged in such a fruitless research. Does this not amount to your stealing the annual salary from your lord?" The Samurai, offended not a little with these rebukes, stared at the master, ready to draw his sword at another insult. Then the teacher said smilingly: "Now you are in Hell. Don't you see?"
Does, then, Zen use no scripture? To this question we answer both affirmatively and negatively: negatively, because Zen regards all sutras as a sort of pictured food which has no power of appeasing spiritual hunger; affirmatively, because it freely makes use of them irrespective of Mahayana or Hinayana. Zen would not make a bonfire of the Scriptures as Caliph Omar did of the Alexandrian library. A Zen master, having seen a Confucianist burning his books on the thought that they were rather a hindrance to his spiritual growth, observed: "You had better burn your books in mind and heart, but not the books in black and white."[FN#124][FN#124] Ukiyo-soshi.
As even deadly poison proves to be medicine in the band of a good doctor, so a heterodox doctrine antagonistic to Buddhism is used by the Zen teachers as a finger pointing to the principle of Zen. But they as a rule resorted to Lankavatara-sutra,[FN#125]
Mababuddhosnisa-tathagata-guhyahetu-saksatkrta-prasannatha-sarvabhodhi sattvacarya-surangama-sutra,[FN#129] Mahapari-nirvana-sutra,[FN#130] Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, Avatamsaka-sutra, and so forth.
[FN#125] This book is the nearest approach to the doctrine of Zen, and is said to have been pointed out by Bodhidharma as the best book for the use of his followers. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 175, 1761 177.
[FN#126] The author of the sutra insists on the unreality of all things. The book was first used by the Fifth Patriarch, as we have seen in the first chapter. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.
[FN#127] The sutra agrees with Zen in many respects, especially in its maintaining that the highest truth can only be realized in mind, and cannot be expressed by word of mouth. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149.
[FN#128] The sutra was translated into Chinese by Buddhatrata in the seventh century. The author treats at length of Samadhi, and sets forth a doctrine similar to Zen, so that the text was used by many Chinese Zenists. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 427 and 1629.
[FN#129] The sutra was translated into Chinese by Paramiti and Mikacakya, of the Tang dynasty (618-907). The author conceives Reality as Mind or Spirit. The book belongs to the Mantra class, although it is much used by Zenists. See Nanjo's Catalogue, No. 446.
[FN#130] The author of the book sets forth his own conception of Nirvana and of Buddha, and maintains that all beings are endowed with Buddha-nature. He also gives in detail an incredible account about Gotama's death.5. A Sutra Equal in Size to the Whole World.
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment nor of palm-leaves, nor in black and white, but one written in heart and mind. On one occasion a King of Eastern India invited the venerable Prajnyatara, the teacher of Bodhidharma, and his disciples to dinner at his own palace.
Finding all the monks reciting the sacred sutras with the single exception of the master, the Ring questioned Prajnyatara: "Why do you not, reverend sir, recite the Scriptures as others do?" "My poor self, your majesty," replied he, "does not go out to the objects of sense in my expiration nor is it confined within body and mind in my inspiration. Thus I constantly recite hundreds, thousands, and millions of sacred sutras." In like manner the Emperor Wu, of the Liang dynasty, once requested Chwen Hih (Fu Dai-shi) to give a lecture on the Scriptures. Chwen went upon the platform, struck the desk with a block of wood, and came down. Pao Chi (Ho-shi), a Buddhist tutor to the Emperor, asked the perplexed monarch: "Does your Lordship understand him?" "No," answered His Majesty. "The lecture of the Great Teacher is over." As it is clear to you from these examples, Zen holds that the faith must be based not on the dead Scriptures, but on living facts, that one must turn over not the gilt pages of the holy writ, but read between the lines in the holy pages of daily life, that Buddha must be prayed not by word of mouth, but by actual deed and work, and that one must split open, as the author of Avatamsaka-sutra allegorically tells us, the smallest grain of dirt to find therein a sutra equal in size to the whole world. "The so-called sutra," says Do-gen, "covers the whole universe. It transcends time and space. It is written with the characters of heaven, of man, of beasts, of Asuras,[FN#13l] of hundreds of grass, and of thousands of trees. There are characters, some long, some short, some round, some square, some blue, some red, some yellow, and some white-in short, all the phenomena in the universe are the characters with which the sutra is written." Shakya Muni read that sutra through the bright star illuminating the broad expanse of the morning skies, when he sat in meditation under the Bodhi Tree.[FN#13l] The name of a demon. Ling Yun (Rei-un) read it through the lovely flowers of a peach-tree in spring after some twenty years of his research for Light, and said:
"A score of years I looked for Light:
There came and went many a spring and fall. E'er since the peach blossoms came in my sight, I never doubt anything at all."
Hian Yen (Kyo-gen) read it through the noise of bamboo, at which he threw pebbles. Su Shih (So-shoku) read it through a waterfall, one evening, and said:
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religious men or philosophers, are not mere readers of books, but the perusers of Nature. Men of erudition are often lexicons in flesh and blood, but men of genius read between the lines in the pages of life. Kant, a man of no great erudition, could accomplish in the theory of knowledge what Copernicus did in astronomy. Newton found the law of gravitation not in a written page, but in a falling apple.
Unlettered Jesus realized truth beyond the comprehension of many learned doctors. Charles Darwin, whose theory changed the whole current of the world's thought, was not a great reader of books, but a careful observer of facts. Shakespeare, the greatest of poets, was the greatest reader of Nature and life. He could hear the music even of heavenly bodies, and said:
Chwang Tsz (So-shi), the greatest of Chinese philosophers, says: "Thou knowest the music of men, but not the music of the earth. Thou knowest the music of the earth, but not the music of the
heaven."[FN#132] Goethe, perceiving a profound meaning in Nature, says: "Flowers are the beautiful hieroglyphics of Nature with which she indicates how much she loves us."
Son-toku[FN#133] (Ninomiya), a great economist, who, overcoming all difficulties and hardships by which he was beset from his childhood, educated himself, says: "The earth and the heaven utter no word, but they ceaselessly repeat the holy book unwritten."[FN#133] One of the greatest self-made men in Japan, who lived 1787-1856. 7. The Absolute and Reality are but an Abstraction.
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance than a series of lectures by your verbal philosopher whom you respect. It contains within itself the whole history of the earth; it tells you what it has seen since the dawn of time; while your philosopher simply plays on abstract terms and empty words. What does his Absolute, or One, or Substance mean? What does his Reality or Truth imply? Do they denote or connote anything? Mere name! mere abstraction! One school of philosophy after another has been established on logical subtleties; thousands of books have been written on these grand names and fair mirages, which vanish the moment that your hand of experience reaches after them.
"Duke Hwan," says Chwang Tsz,[FN#134] "seated above in his hall, was" (once) reading a book, and a wheelwright, Phien, was making a wheel below it. Laying aside his hammer and chisel, Phien went up the steps and said: 'I venture to ask your Grace what words you are reading?' The duke said: 'The words of sages.' 'Are these sages alive?' Phien continued. 'They are dead,' was the reply. 'Then,' said the other, 'what you, my Ruler, are reading is only the dregs and sediments of those old men.' The duke said:[FN#134] Chwang Tsz, vol. ii., p. 24.
'How should you, a wheelwright, have anything to say about the book which I am reading? If you can explain yourself, very well; if you cannot, you shall die.' The wheelwright said: 'Your servant will look at the thing from the point of view of his own art. In making a wheel, if I proceed gently, that is pleasant enough, but the workmanship is not strong; if I proceed violently, that is toilsome and the joinings do not fit. If the movements of my hand are neither (too) gentle nor (too) violent, the idea in my mind is realized. But I cannot tell (how to do this) by word of mouth; there is a knack in it. I cannot teach the knack to my son, nor can my son learn it from me. Thus it is that I am in my seventieth year, and am (still) making wheels in my old age. But these ancients, and what it was not possible for them to convey, are dead and gone. So then what you, my Ruler, are reading is but their dregs and sediments." Zen has no business with the dregs and sediments of sages of yore.
8. The Sermon of the Inanimate.
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familiar, so simple and familiar with everyday life that they escape observation on that very account. The sun rises in the east. The moon sets in the west. High is the mountain. Deep is the sea. Spring comes with flowers; summer with the cool breeze; autumn with the bright moon; winter with the fakes of snow. These things, perhaps too simple and too familiar for ordinary observers to pay attention to, have had profound significance for Zen. Li Ngao (Ri-ko) one day asked Yoh Shan (Yaku-san): "What is the way to truth?" Yoh Shan, pointing to the sky and then to the pitcher beside him, said: "You see?" "No, sir," replied Li Ngao. "The cloud is in the sky," said Yoh Shan, "and the water in the pitcher." Huen Sha (Gen-sha) one day went upon the platform and was ready to deliver a sermon when he heard a swallow singing. "Listen," said he, "that small bird preaches the essential doctrine and proclaims the eternal truth." Then he went back to his room, giving no sermon.[FN#135][FN#135] Den-to-roku and E-gen.
The letters of the alphabet, a, b, c, etc., have no meaning whatever. They are but artificial signs, but when spelt they can express any
great idea that great thinkers may form. Trees, grass, mountains,
rivers, stars, moons, suns. These are the alphabets with which the
Zen Scripture is written. Even a, b, c, etc., when spelt, can
express any great idea. Why not, then, these trees, grass, etc., the
alphabets of Nature when they compose the Volume of the Universe?
Even the meanest clod of earth proclaims the sacred law.
Hwui Chung[FN#136] (E-chu) is said first to have given an expression to the Sermon of the Inanimate. "Do the inanimate preach the Doctrine?" asked a monk of Hwui Chung on one occasion. "Yes, they preach eloquently and incessantly. There is no pause in their orations," was the reply. "Why, then, do I not hear them?" asked the other again. "Even if you do not, there are many others who can hear them." "Who can hear them?" "All the sages hear and understand them," said Hwui Chung. Thus the Sermon of the Inanimate had been a favourite topic of discussion 900 years before Shakespeare who expressed the similar idea, saying:
"And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
"How wonderful is the Sermon of the Inanimate," says Tung Shan (To-zan). "You cannot hear it through your ears, but you can hear it through your eyes." You should hear it through your mind's eyes, through your heart's eyes, through your inmost soul's eyes, not through your intellect, not through your perception, not through your knowledge, not through your logic, not through your metaphysics. To understand it you have to divine, not to define; you have to observe, not to calculate; you have to sympathize, not to analyze; you have to see through, not to criticize; you have not to explain, but to feel; you have not to abstract, but to grasp; you have to see all in each, but not to know all in all; you have to get directly at the soul of things, penetrating their hard crust of matter by your rays of the innermost consciousness. "The falling leaves as well as the blooming flowers reveal to us the holy law of Buddha," says a Japanese Zenist.
Ye who seek for purity and peace, go to Nature. She will give you more than ye ask. Ye who long for strength and perseverance, go to Nature. She will train and strengthen you. Ye who aspire after an ideal, go to Nature. She will help you in its realization. Ye who yearn after Enlightenment, go to Nature. She will never fail to grant your request.CHAPTER IV BUDDHA, THE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT 1. The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon.
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas, 3,000[FN#137] in number, or rather countless, and also of Bodhisattvas no less than Buddhas. Nowadays, however, in every church of Mahayanism one Buddha or another together with some Bodhisattvas reigns supreme as the sole object of worship, while other supernatural beings sink in oblivion. These Enlightened Beings, regardless of their positions in the pantheon, were generally regarded as persons who in their past lives cultivated virtues, underwent austerities, and various sorts of penance, and at length attained to a complete Enlightenment, by virtue of which they secured not only peace and eternal bliss, but acquired divers supernatural powers, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, all-knowledge, and what not. Therefore, it is natural that some Mahayanists[FN#138] came to believe that, if they should go through the same course of discipline and study, they could attain to the same Enlightenment and Bliss, or the same Buddhahood, while other Mahayanists[FN#139] came to believe in the doctrine that the believer is saved and led up to the eternal state of bliss, without undergoing these hard disciplines, by the power of a Buddha known as having boundless mercy and fathomless wisdom whom he invokes.
[FN#137] Trikalpa-trisahasra-buddhanrama-sutra gives the names of 3,000 Buddhas, and Buddhabhisita-buddhanama-sutra enumerates Buddhas and Bodhisattvas 11,093 in number. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 404, 405, 406, 407.[FN#138] Those who believe in the doctrine of Holy Path. See 'A History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' pp. 109-111. [FN#139] Those who believe in the doctrine of the Pure Land. 2. Zen is Iconoclastic.
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of Buddha seemed too crude to be accepted unhesitatingly and the doctrine too much irrelevant with and uncongenial to actual life. Since Zen denounced, as we have seen in the previous chapter, the scriptural authority, it is quite reasonable to have given up this view of Buddha inculcated in the Mahayana sutras, and to set at naught those statues and images of supernatural beings kept in veneration by the orthodox Buddhists. Tan Hia (Tan-ka), a noted Chinese Zen master, was found warming himself on a cold morning by the fire made of a wooden statue of Buddha. On another occasion he was found mounting astride the statue of a saint. Chao Chen (Jo-shu) one day happened to find Wang Yuen (Bun-yen) worshipping the Buddha in the temple, and forthwith struck him with his staff. "Is there not anything good in the worshipping of the Buddha?" protested Wang Yuen. Then the master said: "Nothing is better than anything good."[FN#140] These examples fully illustrate Zen's attitude towards the objects of Buddhist worship. Zen is not, nevertheless, iconoclastic in the commonly accepted sense of the term, nor is it idolatrous, as Christian missionaries are apt to suppose.[FN#140] Zen-rin-rui-shu.
Zen is more iconoclastic than any of the Christian or the Mohammedan denominations in the sense that it opposes the acceptance of the petrified idea of Deity, so conventional and formal that it carries no inner conviction of the believers. Faith dies out whenever one comes to stick to one's fixed and immutable idea of Deity, and to deceive oneself, taking bigotry for genuine faith. Faith must be living and growing, and the living and growing faith should assume no fixed form. It might seem for a superficial observer to take a fixed form, as a running river appears constant, though it goes through ceaseless changes. The dead faith, immutable and conventional, makes its embracer appear religious and respectable, while it arrests his spiritual growth. It might give its owner comfort and pride, yet it at bottom proves to be fetters to his moral uplifting. It is on this account that Zen declares: "Buddha is nothing but spiritual chain or moral fetters," and, "If you remember even a name of Buddha, it would deprive you of purity of heart." The conventional or orthodox idea of Buddha or Deity might seem smooth and fair, like a gold chain, being polished and hammered through generations by religious goldsmiths; but it has too much fixity and frigidity to be worn by us."Strike off thy fetters, bonds that bind thee down Of shining gold or darker, baser ore; Know slave is slave caressed or whipped, not free; For fetters tho' of gold, are not less strong to bind." --The Song of the Sannyasin. 3. Buddha is Unnamable.
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what the name implies. The Deity under the name of Brahman necessarily differs from the Being under the appellation of Jehovah, just as the Hindu differs from the Jew. In like manner the Being designated by God necessarily differs from One named Amitabha or from Him entitled Allah. To give a name to the Deity is to give Him tradition, nationality, limitation, and fixity, and it never brings us nearer to Him. Zen's object of worship cannot be named and determined as God, or Brahman, or Amitabha, or Creator, or Nature, or Reality, or Substance, or the like. Neither Chinese nor Japanese masters of Zen tried to give a definite name to their object of adoration. They now called Him That One, now This One, now Mind, now Buddha, now Tathagata, now Certain Thing, now the True, now Dharma-nature, now Buddha-nature, and so forth. Tung Shan[FN#141] (To-zan) on a certain occasion declared it to be "A Certain Thing that pillars heaven above and supports the earth below; dark as lacquer and undefinable; manifesting itself through its activities, yet not wholly comprisable within them." So-kei[FN#142] expressed it in the same wise: "There exists a Certain Thing, bright as a mirror, spiritual as a mind, not subjected to growth nor to decay." Huen Sha (Gen-sha) comparing it with a gem says: "There exists a bright gem illuminating through the worlds in ten directions by its light."[FN#143][FN#141] Tung Shan Luh (To-zan-roku, 'Sayings and Doings of Ta-zan') is one of the best Zen books. [FN#142] So-kei, a Korean Zenist, whose work entitled Zen-ke-ki-kwan is worthy of our note as a representation of Korean Zen. [FN#143] Sho-bo-gen-zo.
This certain thing or being is too sublime to be named after a traditional or a national deity, too spiritual to be symbolized by human art, too full of life to be formulated in terms of mechanical science, too free to be rationalized by intellectual philosophy, too universal to be perceived by bodily senses; but everybody can feel its irresistible power, see its invisible presence, and touch its heart and soul within himself. "This mysterious Mind," says Kwei Fung (Kei-ho), "is higher than the highest, deeper than the deepest, limitless in all directions. There is no centre in it. No
distinction of east and west, and above and below. Is it empty? Yes, but not empty like space. Has it a form? Yes, but has no form dependent on another for its existence. Is it intelligent? Yes, but not intelligent like your mind. Is it non-intelligent? Yes, but not non-intelligent like trees and stone. Is it conscious? Yes, but not conscious like you when waking. Is it bright? Yes, but not bright like the sun or the moon." To the question, "What and who is Buddha?" Yuen Wu (En-go) replied: "Hold your tongue: the mouth is the gate of evils!" while Pao Fuh (Ho-fuku) answered to the same question: "No skill of art can picture Him." Thus Buddha is unnamable, indescribable, and indefinable, but we provisionally call Him Buddha.
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, enlivens, and vitalizes everything. Accordingly, we may call Him the Universal Life in the sense that He is the source of all lives in the universe. This Universal Life, according to Zen, pillars the heaven, supports the earth, glorifies the sun and moon, gives voice to thunder, tinges clouds, adorns the pasture with flowers, enriches the field with harvest, gives animals beauty and strength. Therefore, Zen declares even a dead clod of earth to be imbued with the divine life, just as Lowell expresses a similar idea when he says:
"Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And groping blindly above it for light, Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers."
One of our contemporary Zenists wittily observed that 'vegetables are the children of earth, that animals which feed on vegetables are the grand-children of earth, and that men who subsist on animals are the great-grand-children of earth.' If there be no life in earth, how could life come out of it? If there be no life, the same as the animal's life in the vegetables, how could animals sustain their lives feeding on vegetables? If there be no life similar to ours in animals, how could we sustain our life by subsisting on them? The poet must be in the right, not only in his esthetic, but in his scientific point of view, in saying
Confess that I am only dust.
But once a rose within me grew; Its rootlets shot, its flowerets flew; And all rose's sweetness rolled Throughout the texture of my mould; And so it is that I impart
Perfume to them, whoever thou art."
As we men live and act, so do our arteries; so does blood; so do corpuscles. As cells and protoplasm live and act, so do elements, molecules, and atoms. As elements and atoms live and act, so do clouds; so does the earth; so does the ocean, the Milky Way, and the Solar System. What is this life which pervades the grandest as well as the minutest works of Nature, and which may fitly be said 'greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest?' It cannot be defined. It cannot be subjected to exact analysis. But it is
directly experienced and recognized within us, just as the beauty of the rose is to be perceived and enjoyed, but not reduced to exact analysis. At any rate, it is something stirring, moving, acting and reacting continually. This something which can be experienced and felt and enjoyed directly by every one of us. This life of living principle in the microcosmos is identical with that of the
macrocosmos, and the Universal Life of the macrocosmos is the common source of all lives. Therefore, the Mahaparinirvana-sutra says:
"Tathagata (another name for Buddha) gives life to all beings, just as the lake Anavatapta gives rise to the four great rivers." "Tathagata," says the same sutra, "divides his own body into innumerable bodies, and also restores an infinite number of bodies to one body. Now be becomes cities, villages, houses, mountains, rivers, and trees; now he has a large body; now he has a small body; now he becomes men, women, boys, and girls."5. Life and Change.
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form of growth and decay. Nobody can deny the transitoriness of life. One of our friends humorously observed: "Everything in the world may be doubtful to you, but it can never be doubted that you will die." Life is like a burning lamp. Every minute its flame dies out and is renewed. Life is like a running stream. Every moment it pushes onward. If there be anything constant in this world of change, it should be change itself. Is it not just one step from rosy childhood to snowy age? Is it not just one moment from the nuptial song to the funeral-dirge? Who can live the same moment twice?
In comparison with an organism, inorganic matter appears to be constant and changeless; but, in fact, it is equally subjected to ceaseless alteration. Every morning, looking into the mirror, you will find your visage reflected in it just as it was on the preceding day; so also every morning, looking at the sun and the earth, you will find them reflected in your retina just as they were on the previous morning; but the sun and the earth are no less changeless than you. Why do the sun and the earth seem changeless and constant to you? Only because you yourself undergo change more quickly than they. When you look at the clouds sweeping across the face of the moon, they seem to be at rest, and the moon in rapid motion; but, in fact, the clouds, as well as the moon, incessantly move on.
Science might maintain the quantitative constancy of matter, but the so-called matter is mere abstraction. To say matter is changeless is as much as to say 2 is always 2, changeless and constant, because the arithmetical number is not more abstract than the physiological matter. The moon appears standing still when you look at her only a few moments. In like manner she seems to be free from change when you look at her in your short span of life. Astronomers,
nevertheless, can tell you how she saw her better days, and is now in her wrinkles and white hair.
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely over thrown the old conception of the unchanging atoms, and they are now regarded to be composed of magnetic forces, ions, and corpuscles in incessant motion. Therefore we have no inert matter in the concrete, no unchanging thing in the sphere of experience, no constant organism in the transient universe. These considerations often led many thinkers, ancient and modern, to the pessimistic view of life. What is the use of your exertion, they would say, in accumulating wealth, which is doomed to melt away in the twinkling of an eye? What is the use of your striving after power, which is more short-lived than a bubble? What is the use of your endeavour in the reformation of society, which does not endure any longer than the castle in the air?
How do kings differ from beggars in the eye of Transience? How do the rich differ from the poor, how the beautiful from the ugly, bow the young from the old, how the good from the evil, how the lucky from the unlucky, how the wise from the unwise, in the court of Death? Vain is ambition. Vain is fame. Vain is pleasure. Vain are struggles and efforts. All is in vain. An ancient Hindu
"O saint, what is the use of the enjoyment of pleasures in this offensive, pithless body--a mere mass of bones, skins, sinews, marrow, and flesh? What is the use of the enjoyment of pleasures in this body, which is assailed by lust, hatred, greed, delusion, fear, anguish, jealousy, separation from what is loved, union with what is not loved, hunger, old age, death, illness, grief, and other evils? In such a world as this, what is the use of the enjoyment of pleasures, if he who has fed on them is to return to this world again and again? In this world I am like a frog in a dry well."[FN#144] Maitrayana Upanisad.
It is this consideration on the transitoriness of life that led some Taoist in China to prefer death to life, as expressed in Chwang Tsz (Su-shi):[FN#145]
"When Kwang-zze went to Khu, he saw an empty skull, bleached indeed, but still retaining its shape. Tapping it with his horse-switch, he asked it saying: 'Did you, sir, in your greed of life, fail in the lessons of reason and come to this? Or did you do so, in the service of a perishing state, by the punishment of an axe? Or was it through your evil conduct, reflecting disgrace on your parents and on your wife and children? Or was it through your hard endurances of cold and hunger? Or was it that you had completed your term of life?'
"Having given expression to these questions, he took up the skull and made a pillow of it, and went to sleep. At midnight the skull appeared to him in a dream, and said: 'What you said to me was after the fashion of an orator. All your words were about the
entanglements of men in their lifetime. There are none of those things after death. Would you like to hear me, sir, tell you about death?' 'I should,' said Kwang-zze, and the skull resumed: 'In death there are not (the distinctions of) ruler above minister below. There are none of the phenomena of the four seasons. Tranquil and at ease, our years are those of heaven and earth. No king in his court has greater enjoyment than we have.' Kwang-zze did not believe it, and said: 'If I could get the Ruler of our Destiny to restore your body to life with its bones and flesh and skin, and to give you back your father and mother, your wife and children, and all your village acquaintances, would you wish me to do so?' The skull stared fixedly at him, and knitted its brows and said: 'How should I cast away the enjoyment of my royal court, and undertake again the toils of life among mankind?'"
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hinayanism. Transience never fails to deprive us of what is dear and near to us. It disappoints us in our expectation and hope. It brings out grief,
fear, anguish, and lamentation. It spreads terror and destruction among families, communities, nations, mankind. It threatens with perdition the whole earth, the whole universe. Therefore it follows that life is full of disappointment, sufferings, and miseries, and that man is like 'a frog in a dry well.' This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Suffering.
Again, when Transcience once gets hold of our imagination, we can easily foresee ruins and disasters in the very midst of prosperity and happiness, and also old age and ugliness in the prime and youth of beauty. It gives rise quite naturally to the thought that body is a bag full of pus and blood, a mere heap of rotten flesh and broken pieces of bone, a decaying corpse inhabited by innumerable maggots. This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Impurity.[FN#146]
[FN#146] Mahasaptipatthana Suttanta, 7, runs as follows: "And, moreover, bhikkhu, a brother, just as if he had been a body abandoned in the charnel-field, dead for one, two, or three days, swollen, turning black and blue, and decomposed, apply that perception to this very body (of his own), reflecting: 'This body, too, is even so constituted, is of such a nature, has not got beyond that (fate).'"
And, again, Transience holds its tyrannical sway not only over the material but over the spiritual world. At its touch Atman, or soul, is brought to nothing. By its call Devas, or celestial beings, are made to succumb to death. It follows, therefore, that to believe in Atman, eternal and unchanging, would be a whim of the ignorant. This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of No-atman.
If, as said, there could be nothing free from Transience, Constancy should be a gross mistake of the ignorant; if even gods have to die, Eternity should be no more than a stupid dream of the vulgar; if all phenomena be flowing and changing, there could be no constant noumena underlying them. It therefore follows that all things in the
universe are empty and unreal. This is the doctrine called by the Hinayanists the Holy Truth of Unreality. Thus Hinayana Buddhism, starting from the doctrine of Transience, arrived at the pessimistic view of life in its extreme form.
8. Change as seen by Zen.
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transience, but it has come to a view diametrically opposite to that of the Hindus. Transience for Zen simply means change. It is a form in which life manifests itself. Where there is life there is change or Transience.
Where there is more change there is more vital activity. Suppose an absolutely changeless body: it must be absolutely lifeless. An eternally changeless life is equivalent to an eternally changeless death. Why do we value the morning glory, which fades in a few hours, more than an artificial glass flower, which endures hundreds of years? Why do we prefer an animal life, which passes away in a few scores of years, to a vegetable life, which can exist thousands of years? Why do we prize changing organism more than inorganic matter, unchanging and constant? If there be no change in the bright hues of a flower, it is as worthless as a stone. If there be no change in the song of a bird, it is as valueless as a whistling wind.
If there be no change in trees and grass, they are utterly
unsuitable to be planted in a garden. Now, then, what is the use of our life, if it stand still? As the water of a running stream is always fresh and wholesome because it does not stop for a moment, so life is ever fresh and new because it does not stand still, but rapidly moves on from parents to children, from children to grandchildren, from grandchildren to great-grandchildren, and flows on through generation after generation, renewing itself ceaselessly.
We can never deny the existence of old age and death--nay, death is of capital importance for a continuation of life, because death carries away all the decaying organism in the way of life. But for it life would be choked up with organic rubbish. The only way of life's pushing itself onward or its renewing itself is its producing of the young and getting rid of the old. If there be no old age nor death, life is not life, but death.9. Life and Change.
Transformation and change are the essential features of life; life is not transformation nor change itself, as Bergson seems to assume. It is something which comes under our observation through transformation and change. There are, among Buddhists as well as Christians, not a few who covet constancy and fixity of life, being allured by such smooth names as eternal life, everlasting joy, permanent peace, and what not. They have forgotten that their souls can never rest content with things monotonous. If there be everlasting joy for their souls, it must be presented to them through incessant change. So also if there be eternal life granted for their souls, it must be given through ceaseless alteration. What is the difference between eternal life, fixed and constant, and eternal death? What is the difference between everlasting bliss, changeless and monotonous, and everlasting suffering? If constancy, instead of change, govern life, then hope or pleasure is absolutely impossible. Fortunately, however, life is not constant. It changes and becomes. Pleasure arises through change itself. Mere change of food or clothes is often pleasing to us, while the appearance of the same thing twice or thrice, however pleasing it may be, causes us little pleasure. It will become disgusting and tire us down, if it be presented repeatedly from time to time.
An important element in the pleasure we derive from social meetings, from travels, from sight-seeings, etc., is nothing but change. Even intellectual pleasure consists mainly of change. A dead, unchanging abstract truth, 2 and 2 make 4, excites no interest; while a changeable, concrete truth, such as the Darwinian theory of evolution, excites a keen interest.10. Life, Change, and Hope.
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimistic view of life. On the contrary, it gives us an inexhaustible source of pleasure and hope. Let us ask you: Are you satisfied with the present state of things? Do you not sympathize with poverty-stricken millions living side by side with millionaires saturated with wealth?
Do you not shed tears over those hunger-bitten children who cower in the dark lanes of a great city? Do you not wish to put down the stupendous oppressor--Might-is-right? Do you not want to do away with the so-called armoured peace among nations? Do you not need to mitigate the struggle for existence more sanguine than the war of weapons?
Life changes and is changeable; consequently, has its future. Hope is therefore possible. Individual development, social betterment, international peace, reformation of mankind in general, can be hoped.
Our ideal, however unpractical it may seem at the first sight, can be realized. Moreover, the world itself, too, is changing and changeable. It reveals new phases from time to time, and can be moulded to subserve our purpose. We must not take life or the world as completed and doomed as it is now. No fact verifies the belief that the world was ever created by some other power and predestined to be as it is now. It lives, acts, and changes. It is transforming itself continually, just as we are changing and becoming. Thus the doctrine of Transience supplies us with an inexhaustible source of hope and comfort, leads us into the living universe, and introduces us to the presence of Universal Life or Buddha.
The reader may easily understand how Zen conceives Buddha as the living principle from the following dialogues: "Is it true, sir," asked a monk of Teu tsz (To-shi), "that all the voices of Nature are those of Buddha?" "Yes, certainly," replied Teu tsz. "What is, reverend sir," asked a man of Chao Cheu (Jo-shu), "the holy temple (of Buddha)?" "An innocent girl," replied the teacher. "Who is the master of the temple?" asked the other again. "A baby in her womb," was the answer. "What is, sir," asked a monk to Yen Kwan (Yen-kan), "the original body of Buddha Vairocana?"[FN#147] "Fetch me a pitcher with water," said the teacher. The monk did as he was ordered. "Put it back in its place," said Yen Kwan again.[FN#148][FN#147] Literally, All Illuminating Buddha, the highest of the Trikayas. See Eitel, p. 192. [FN#148] Zen-rin-rui-shu. 11. Everything is Living according to Zen.
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve itself, to assert itself, to push itself forward, and to act on its environment, consciously or unconsciously. The innate, strong tendency of the living is an undeveloped, but fundamental, nature of Spirit or Mind. It shows itself first in inert matter as impenetrability, or
affinity, or mechanical force. Rock has a powerful tendency to preserve itself. And it is hard to crush it. Diamond has a robust tendency to assert itself. And it permits nothing to destroy it. Salt has the same strong tendency, for its particles act and react by themselves, and never cease till its crystals are formed. Steam, too, should have the same, because it pushes aside everything in its way and goes where it will.
In the eye of simple folks of old, mountains, rivers, trees, serpents, oxen, and eagles were equally full of life; hence the deification of them. No doubt it is irrational to believe in nymphs, fairies, elves, and the like, yet still we may say that mountains stand of their own accord, rivers run as they will, just as we say that trees and grass turn their leaves towards the sun of their own accord. Neither is it a mere figure of speech to say that thunder speaks and hills respond, nor to describe birds as singing and flowers as smiling, nor to narrate winds as moaning and rain as weeping, nor to state lovers as looking at the moon, the moon as looking at them, when we observe spiritual element in activities of all this. Haeckel says, not without reason: "I cannot imagine the simple chemical and physical forces without attributing the movement of material particles to conscious sensation." The same author says again: "We may ascribe the feeling of pleasure and pain to all atoms, and so explain the electric affinity in chemistry."12. The Creative Force of Nature and Humanity.
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests itself as mechanical force or chemical affinity in the inorganic nature, unfolds itself as the desire of the preservation of species in the vegetables and animals. See how vegetables fertilize themselves in a complicated way, and how they spread their seeds far and wide in a most mysterious manner. A far more developed form of the same desire is seen in the sexual attachment and parental love of animals. Who does not know that even the smallest birds defend their young against every enemy with self -sacrificing courage, and that they bring food whilst they themselves often starve and grow lean? In human beings we can observe the various transformations of the self-same desire. For instance, sorrow or despair is experienced when it is impossible; anger, when it is hindered by others; joy, when it is fulfilled; fear, when it is threatened; pleasure, when it is facilitated.
Although it manifests itself as the sexual attachment and parental love in lower animals, yet its developed forms, such as sympathy, loyalty, benevolence, mercy, humanity, are observed in human beings. Again, the creative force in inorganic nature, in order to assert itself and act more effectively, creates the germ of organic nature, and gradually ascending the scale of evolution, develops the sense organs and the nervous system; hence intellectual powers, such as sensation, perception, imagination, memory, unfold themselves. Thus the creative force, exerting itself gradually, widens its sphere of action, and necessitates the union of individuals into families, clans, tribes, communities, and nations. For the sake of this union and co-operation they established customs, enacted laws, and instituted political and educational systems. Furthermore, to reinforce itself, it gave birth to languages and sciences; and to enrich itself, morality and religion.
13. Universal Life is Universal Spirit.
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal Life is not a blind vital force, but Creative Spirit, or Mind, or
Consciousness, which unfolds itself in myriads of ways. Everything in the universe, according to Zen, lives and acts, and at the same time discloses its spirit. To be alive is identically the same as to be spiritual. As the poet has his song, so does the nightingale, so does the cricket, so does the rivulet. As we are pleased or offended, so are horses, so are dogs, so are sparrows, ants, earthworms, and mushrooms. Simpler the body, simpler its spirit; more complicated the body, more complicated its spirit. 'Mind slumbers in the pebble, dreams in the plant, gathers energy in the animal, and awakens to self-conscious discovery in the soul of man.'
It is this Creative, Universal Spirit that sends forth Aurora to illuminate the sky, that makes Diana shed her benign rays and Æolus play on his harp, wreathes spring with flowers, that clothes autumn with gold, that induces plants to put forth blossoms, that incites animals to be energetic, and that awakens consciousness in man. The author of Mahavaipulya-purnabuddha-sutra expressly states our idea when he says: "Mountains, rivers, skies, the earth: all these are embraced in the True Spirit, enlightened and mysterious." Rin-zai also says: "Spirit is formless, but it penetrates through the world in the ten directions."[FN#149] The Sixth Patriarch expresses the same idea more explicitly: "What creates the phenomena is Mind; what transcends all the phenomena is Buddha."[FN#150][FN#149] Rin-zai-roku. [FN#150] Roku-so-dan-kyo. 14. Poetical Intuition and Zen.
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the poetical intuition of man never fails to find it, and to delight in everything typical of that Spirit. "The leaves of the plantain," says a Zen poet, "unfold themselves, hearing the voice of thunder. The flowers of the hollyhock turn towards the sun, looking at it all day long." Jesus could see in the lily the Unseen Being who clothed it so lovely. Wordsworth found the most profound thing in all the world to be the universal spiritual life, which manifests itself most directly in nature, clothed in its own proper dignity and peace. "Through every star," says Carlyle, "through every grass blade, most through every soul, the glory of present God still beams."
It is not only grandeur and sublimity that indicate Universal Life, but smallness and commonplace do the same. A sage of old awakened to the faith[FN#151] when he heard a bell ring; another, when he looked at the peach blossom; another, when he heard the frogs croaking; and another, when he saw his own form reflected in a river. The minutest particles of dust form a world. The meanest grain of sand under our foot proclaims a divine law. Therefore Teu Tsz Jo-shi), pointing to a stone in front of his temple, said: "All the Buddhas of the past, the present, and the future are living therein."[FN#152][FN#151] Both the Chinese and the Japanese history of Zen are full of such incidents. [FN#152] Zen-rin-rui-shu and To-shi-go-roku. 15. Enlightened Consciousness.
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on indirect experience, we can have direct experience of life within us. In the first place, we experience that our life is not a bare mechanical motion or change, but is a spiritual, purposive, and self-directing force. In the second place, we directly experience that it knows, feels, and wills. In the third place, we experience that there exists some power unifying the intellectual, emotional, and volitional activities so as to make life uniform and rational. Lastly, we experience that there lies deeply rooted within us Enlightened Consciousness, which neither psychologists treat of nor philosophers believe in, but which Zen teachers expound with strong conviction. Enlightened Consciousness is, according to Zen, the centre of spiritual life. It is the mind of minds, and the
consciousness of consciousness. It is the Universal Spirit awakened in the human mind. It is not the mind that feels joy or sorrow; nor is it the mind that reasons and infers; nor is it the mind that fancies and dreams; nor is it the mind that hopes and fears; nor is it the mind that distinguishes good from evil. It is Enlightened Consciousness that holds communion with Universal Spirit or Buddha, and realizes that individual lives are inseparably united, and of one and the same nature with Universal Life. It is always bright as a burnished mirror, and cannot be dimmed by doubt and ignorance. It is ever pure as a lotus flower, and cannot be polluted by the mud of evil and folly. Although all sentient beings are endowed with this Enlightened Consciousness, they are not aware of its existence, excepting men who can discover it by the practice of Meditation. Enlightened consciousness is often called Buddha-nature, as it is the real nature of Universal Spirit. Zen teachers compare it with a precious stone ever fresh and pure, even if it be buried in the heaps of dust. Its divine light can never be extinguished by doubt or fear, just as the sunlight cannot be destroyed by mist and cloud. Let us quote a Chinese Zen poet to see how Zen treats of it:[FN#153]
"I have an image of Buddha,
The worldly people know it not.
It is not made of clay or cloth,
Nor is it carved out of wood,
Nor is it moulded of earth nor of ashes.
No artist can paint it;
No robber can steal it.
There it exists from dawn of time.
It's clean, although not swept and wiped. Although it is but one,
Divides itself to a hundred thousand million forms."
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for its possessor, not a relative knowledge of things as his intellect does, but the profoundest insight in reference to universal brotherhood of all beings, and enables him to understand the absolute holiness of their nature, and the highest goal for which all of them are making. Enlightened Consciousness once awakened within us serves as a guiding principle, and leads us to hope, bliss, and life; consequently, it is called the Master[FN#154] of both mind and body. Sometimes it is called the Original[FN#155] Mind, as it is the mind of minds. It is Buddha dwelling in individuals. You might call it God in man, if you like. The following dialogues all point to this single idea:
On one occasion a butcher, who was used to kill one thousand sheep a day, came to Gotama, and, throwing down his butcher-knife, said "I am one of the thousand Buddhas." "Yes, really," replied Gotama. A monk, Hwui Chao (E-cha) by name, asked Pao Yen (Ho-gen): "What is Buddha?" "You are Hwui Chao," replied the master. The same question was put to Sheu Shan (Shu-zan), Chi Man (Chi-mon), and Teu Tsz (To-shi), the first of whom answered: "A bride mounts on a donkey and her mother-in-law drives it;" and the second: "He goes barefooted, his sandals being worn out;" while the third rose from his chair and stood still without saying a word. Chwen Hih (Fu-kiu) explains this point in unequivocal terms: "Night after night I sleep with Buddha, and every morning I get up with Him. He accompanies me wherever I go. When I stand or sit, when I speak or be mute, when I am out or in, He never leaves me, even as a shadow accompanies body. Would you know where He is? Listen to that voice and word."[FN#156][FN#154] It is often called the Lord or Master of mind. [FN#155] Another name for Buddha is the Original Mind" (Kechi-myaku-ron). [FN#156] For such dialogues, see Sho-yo-roku, Mu-mon-kan, Heki-gan-shu. Fu-kiu's words are repeatedly quoted by Zen masters. 17. Enlightened Consciousness is not an Intellectual Insight.
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight, for it is full of beautiful emotions. It loves, caresses, embraces, and at the same time esteems all beings, being ever merciful to them. It has no enemies to conquer, no evil to fight with, but constantly finds friends to help, good to promote. Its warm heart beats in harmony with those of all fellow beings. The author of
Brahmajala-sutra fully expresses this idea as he says: "All women are our mothers; all men our fathers; all earth and water our bodies in the past existences; all fire and air our essence."
Thus relying on our inner experience, which is the only direct way of knowing Buddha, we conceive Him as a Being with profound wisdom and boundless mercy, who loves all beings as His children, whom He is fostering, bringing up, guiding, and teaching. "These three worlds are His, and all beings living in them are His children."[FN#157] "The Blessed One is the mother of all sentient beings, and gives them all the milk of mercy."[FN#158] Some people named Him Absolute, as He is all light, all hope, all mercy, and all wisdom; some, Heaven, as He is high and enlightened; some, God, as He is sacred and mysterious; some, Truth, as He is true to Himself; some, Buddha, as He is free from illusion; some, Creator, as He is the creative force immanent in the universe; some, Path, as He is the Way we must follow; some, Unknowable, as He is beyond relative knowledge; some, Self, as He is the Self of individual selves. All these names are applied to one Being, whom we designate by the name of Universal Life or Spirit.[FN#157] Saddharma-pundarika-sutra. [FN#158] Mahaparinirvana-sutra. 18. Our Conception of Buddha is not Final.
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been completely and exhaustively revealed in our Enlightened Consciousness? To this question we should answer negatively, for, so far as our limited experience is concerned, Universal Spirit reveals itself as a Being with profound wisdom and boundless mercy; this, nevertheless, does not imply that the conception is the only possible and complete one. We should always bear in mind that the world is alive, and changing, and moving. It goes on to disclose a new phase, or to add a new truth. The subtlest logic of old is a mere quibble of nowadays. The miracles of yesterday are the commonplaces of to-day. Now theories are formed, new discoveries are made, only to give their places to newer theories are discoveries. New ideals realized or new desires satisfied are sure to awaken newer and stronger desires. Not an instant life remains immutable, but it rushes on, amplifying and enriching itself from the dawn of time to the end of eternity.
Therefore Universal Life may in the future possibly unfold its new spiritual content, yet unknown to us because it has refined, lifted up, and developed living beings from the amœba to man, increasing the intelligence and range of individuals, until highly civilized man emerge into the plane of consciousness-consciousness of divine light in him. Thus to believe in Buddha is to be content and thankful for the grace of His, and to hope for the infinite unfoldment of His glories in man.
19. How to Worship Buddha. The author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra well explains our attitude towards Buddha when he says: "We ask Buddha for nothing. We ask Dharma for nothing. We ask Samgha for nothing." Nothing we ask of Buddha. No worldly success, no rewards in the future life, no special blessing. Hwang Pah (O-baku) said: "I simply worship Buddha.
I ask Buddha for nothing. I ask Dharma for nothing. I ask Samgha for nothing." Then a prince[FN#159] questioned him: "You ask Buddha for nothing. You ask Dharma for nothing. You ask Samgha for nothing.
What, then, is the use of your worship?" The Prince earned a slap as an answer to his utilitarian question.[FN#160] This incident well illustrates that worship, as understood by Zen masters, is a pure act of thanksgiving, or the opening of the grateful heart; in other words, the disclosing of Enlightened Consciousness. We are living the very life of Buddha, enjoying His blessing, and holding communion with Him through speech, thought, and action. The earth is not 'the vale of tears,' but the glorious creation of Universal Spirit; nor man 'the poor miserable sinner' but the living altar of Buddha Himself. Whatever we do, we do with grateful heart and pure joy sanctioned by Enlightened Consciousness; eating, drinking, talking, walking, and every other work of our daily life are the worship and devotion. We agree with Margaret Fuller when she says: "Reverence the highest; have patience with the lowest; let this day's
performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant? Pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet, and from it learn all."
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, seem to have taken so keen an interest in the study of human nature that they proposed all the possible opinions respecting the subject in question-namely, (1) man is good-natured; (2) man is bad-natured; (3) man is good-natured and bad-natured as well; (4) man is neither good-natured nor bad-natured. The first of these opinions was proposed by a most reputed Confucianist scholar, Mencius, and his followers, and is still adhered to by the majority of the Japanese and the Chinese Confucianists. Mencius thought it as natural for man to do good as it is for the grass to be green. 'Suppose a person has happened,' he would say, 'to find a child on the point of tumbling down into a deep well. He would rescue it even at the risk of his life, no matter how morally degenerated he might be. He would have no time to consider that his act might bring him some reward from its parents, or a good reputation among his friends and fellow-citizens. He would do it barely out of his inborn good-nature.' After enumerating some instances similar to this one, Mencius concludes that goodness is the fundamental nature of man, even if he is often carried away by his brutal disposition.
[FN#161] Mencius (372-282 B.C.) is regarded as the beat expounder of the doctrine of Confucius. There exists a well-known work of his, entitled after his own name. See 'A History of Chinese Philosophy,' by R. Endo, and also 'A History of Chinese Philosophy' (pp. 38-50), by G. Nakauchi.2. Man is Bad-natured according to Siun Tsz[FN#162] (Jun-shi).
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by another diametrically opposed theory propounded by Siun Tsz (Jun-shi) and his followers. 'Man is bad-natured,' says Siun Tsz, 'since he has inborn lust, appetite, and desire for wealth. As he has inborn lust and appetite, he is naturally given to intemperance and wantonness. As he has inborn desire for wealth, he is naturally inclined to quarrel and fight with others for the sake of gain.' Leave him without discipline or culture, he would not be a whit better than the beast. His virtuous acts, such as charity, honesty, propriety, chastity, truthfulness, are conduct forced by the teachings of ancient sages against his natural inclination. Therefore vices are congenial and true to his nature, while virtues alien and untrue to his fundamental nature.[FN#162] Siun Tsz's date is later by some fifty years than Mencius.
Siun Tsz gives the reason why man seeks after morality, saying that man seeks what he has not, and that he seeks after morality simply because he has not morality, just as the poor seek riches. See 'A History of Chinese Philosophy' (pp. 51-60), by G. Nakauchi, and 'A History of Development of Chinese Thought,' by R. Endo.
These two theories are not only far from throwing light on the moral state of man, but wrap it in deeper gloom. Let us raise a few questions by way of refutation. If man's fundamental nature be good, as Mencius maintains, why is it easy for him to be vicious without instruction, while he finds it hard to be virtuous even with instruction. If you contend that good is man's primary nature and evil the secondary one, why is be so often overpowered by the secondary nature? If you answer saying that man is good-natured originally, but he acquires the secondary nature through the struggle for existence, and it gradually gains power over the primary nature by means of the same cause, then the primitive tribes should be more virtuous than the highly civilized nations, and children than grownup people. Is this not contrary to fact?
If, again, man's nature is essentially bad, as Siun Tsz holds, how can he cultivate virtue? If you contend that ancient sages invented so-called cardinal virtues and inculcated them against his natural inclination, why does he not give them up? If vices be congenial and true to man's nature, but virtues be alien and untrue to him, why are virtues honoured by him? If vices be genuine and virtue a deception, as you think, why do you call the inventors of that deceiving art sages? How was it possible for man to do good before these sages' appearance on earth?3. Man is both Good-natured and Bad-natured according to Yan Hiung[FN#163] (Yo-yu).
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less real than evil, and evil is no more unreal than good. Therefore man must be double-natured-that is, partly good and partly bad. This is the reason why the history of man is full of fiendish crimes, and, at the same time, it abounds with godly deeds. This is the reason why mankind comprises, on the one hand, a Socrates, a Confucius, a Jesus, and, on the other, a Nero and a Kieh. This is the reason why we find to-day a honest fellow in him whom we find a betrayer to-morrow.
[FN#163] Yan Hiung (died A.D. 18) is the reputed author of Tai Huen (Tai-gen) and Fah Yen (Ho-gen). His opinion in reference to human nature is found in Fah Yen.
This view of man's nature might explain our present moral state, yet it calls forth many questions bard to answer. If this assertion be true, is it not a useless task to educate man with the purpose of making him better and nobler? How could one extirpate man's bad nature implanted within him at his origin? If man be double-natured, how did he come to set good over evil? How did he come to consider that he ought to be good and ought not to be bad? How could you establish the authority of morality?4. Man is neither Good-natured nor Bad-natured according to Su Shih (So-shoku).[FN#164]
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih and other scholars influenced by Buddhism, which maintains that man is neither good-natured nor bad-natured. According to this opinion man is not moral nor immoral by nature, but unmoral. He is morally a blank. He is at a crossroad, so to speak, of morality when he is first born. As he if; blank, he can be dyed black or red. As he is at the cross-road, he can turn to the right or to the left. He is like fresh water, which has no flavour, and can be made sweet or bitter by circumstances. If we are not mistaken, this theory, too, has to encounter insurmountable difficulties. How could it be possible to make the unmoral being moral or immoral? We might as well try to get honey out of sand as to get good or evil out of the blank nature. There can be no fruit of good or evil where there is no seed of good or bad nature. Thus we find no satisfactory solution of the problem at issue in these four theories proposed by the Chinese scholars--the first theory being incompetent to explain the problem of human depravity; the second breaking down at the origin of morality; the third failing to explain the possibility of moral culture; the fourth being logically self-contradictory.[FN#164] Su Shih (1042-1101), a great man of letters, practiser of Zen, noted for his poetical works. 5. There is no Mortal who is Purely Moral.
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be good as well as bad; or he should be neither good nor bad. There can be no alternative possible besides these four propositions, none of which can be accepted as true. Then there must be some misconception in the terms of which they consist. It would seem to some that the error can be avoided by limiting the sense of the term 'man,' saying some persons are good-natured, some persons are bad-natured, some persons are good-natured and bad-natured as well, and some persons are neither good-natured nor bad-natured. There is no contradiction in these modified propositions, but still they fail to explain the ethical state of man. Supposing them all to be true, let us assume that there are the four classes of people: (1) Those who are purely moral and have no immoral disposition; (2) those who are half moral and half immoral; (3) those who are neither moral nor immoral; (4) those who are purely immoral and have no moral disposition. Orthodox Christians, believing in the sinlessness of Jesus, would say he belongs to the first class, while Mohammedans and Buddhists, who deify the founder of their respective faith, would in such case regard their founder as the purely moral personage. But are your beliefs, we should ask, based on historical fact? Can you say that such traditional and self-contradictory records as the four gospels are history in the strict sense of the term? Can you assert that those traditions which deify Mohammed and Shakya are the statements of bare facts? Is not Jesus an abstraction and an ideal, entirely different from a concrete carpenter's son, who fed on the same kind of food, sheltered himself in the same kind of building, suffered from the same kind of pain, was fired by the same kind of anger, stung by the same kind of lust as our own? Can you say the person who fought many a sanguinary battle, who got through many cunning negotiations with enemies and friends, who personally experienced the troubles of polygamy, was a person sinless and divine? We might allow that these ancient sages are superhuman and divine, then our classification has no business with them, because they do not properly belong to mankind. Now, then, who can point out any sinless person in the present world? Is it not a fact that the more virtuous one grows the more sinful he feels himself? If there be any mortal, in the past, the present, and the future, who declares himself to be pure and sinless, his very declaration proves that he is not highly moral. Therefore the existence of the first class of people is open to question.6. There is no Mortal who is Non-Moral or Purely Immoral.