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An introduction to Zen Buddhism PDF

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^m An Evergreen Black Cat Book BC-66 An Introduction Zen Buddhism to by D. T. Suzuki Foreword by Dr. C. G. Jung An Introduction to Zen Buddhism DAISETZ TEITARO SUZUKI, D. Litt. Professor of Buddhist Philosophy Otani University, Kyoto With a Foreword by Dr. C. G. Jung An Evergreen Black Cat Book %fi GROVE PRESS, INC. NEW YORK All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-14383 First Evergreen Black Cat Edition 1964 Fourth Printing Manufactured in the United States of America CONTENTS Author's Preface 8 Foreword by C. G. Juno, M.D., LL.D., D.Litt., D.Sc. 9 I Preliminary 31 n What is Zen? 38 m Is Zen Nihilistic? 48 rv Illogical Zen 58 V Zen a Higher Affirmation 66 VI Practical Zen 74 vn Satori, or Acquiring a New Viewpoint 88 vra The Koan 99 DC The Meditation Hall and the Monk's Life 118 4 PREFACE T„ HE articles collected here were originally written for the J^ew East, which was published in Japan during the 191 War under the editorship of Mr. Robertson Scott. The editor suggested publishing them in book-form, but I did not feel like doing so at that time. Later, they were made the basis of the First Series of my J^en Essays (1927), which, therefore, naturally cover more or less the same ground. Recently, the idea came to me that the old papers might be after all reprinted in book-form. The reason is that my ^en Essays is too heavy for those who wish to havejust a little pre- liminary knowledge of Zen. Will not, therefore, what may be regarded as an introductory work be welcomed by some ofmy foreign friends? With this in view I have gone over the entire MS., and whatever inaccuracies I have come across in regard to diction as well as the material used have been corrected. While there are quite a few points I would like to see now expressed some- what differendy, I have left them as they stand, because their revision inevitably involves the recasting of the entire context. So long as they are not misrepresenting, they may remain as they were written. If the book really serves as a sort of introduction to Zen Buddhism, and leads the reader up to the study of my other works,theobject isattained. Noclaimismadehereforascholarly treatmentofthesubject-matter. The companion book. Manual of ^en Buddhism, is recom- mended to be used with this Introduction. D. T. S. Kamakura, August 1934 FOREWORD by Dr. C. G. Jung D AiSETz Teitaro Suzuki's w'orks on Zen Buddhism are among the best contributions to the knowledge of living Budd- hism that recent decades have produced, and Zen itself is the most impxDrtant fruit that has sprung from that tree whose roots are the collections of the Pali-Canon.^ We cannot be sufficiendy grateful to the author, first for the fact ofhis having brought Zen closer to Western understanding, and secondly for the manner in which he has achieved this task. Oriental religious conceptions are usually so very different from our Western ones that even the very translation ofthe words brings one up against the greatest difficulties, quite apart from the meaningofthe ideas exposed, which under certain circumstances are better left untranslated. I have only to mention the Chinese "Tao'\ which no European translation has yet achieved. The original Buddhist writings themselves contain views and ideas which are more or less unassimilable by the average Western understanding. I do not know, for example, just what spiritual (or perhaps climatic?) background or preparation is necessary before one can deduce any completely clear idea from the Buddhist Kamma. In spite ofall that we know about the essence of Zen, here too there is the question of a central perception of unsurpassed singularity. This strange perception is called Saton, and may be translated as "Enlightenment". Suzuki says (see page 95), "Satori is the raison d'etre ofZen, and without it there is no Zen." It should not be too difficult for the Western mind to grasp what a mystic understands by "enlightenment", or what is known as "enlightenment" in religious parlance. •Theorigin,aaOrientalauthorsthemselvesadmit,isthe"FlowerSermon" ofBuddha. On this occasion he held up a flower to a gathering ofstudents, without uttering a word. Only Kas>apa understood him. (Shuej Ohasama: ^en. DtrUbendigeBuddhismusinJapan, 1925,p. 3.) 9 : AN INTRODUCTION TO ZEN BUDDHISM Satori, however, depicts an art and a way of enlightenment which is practically impossible for the European to appreciate. I would point out the enlightenment of Hyakujo (Pai-chang Huai-hai, a.d. 724-814) on page 89, and the legend on pages 92-3 ofthis book. The following may serve as a fiirther example: A monk once went to Gensha, and wanted to learn where the entrance to the path of truth was. Gensha asked him, "Do you hear the murmuring of the brook?" "Yes, I hear it," answered the monk. "There is the entrance," the master instructed him. I will be content with these few examples, which illustrate clearly the opacity of the satori experiences. Even if we take example after example, it is still extremely hazy how such an enlightenment comes and ofwhat it consists; in other words, by what or about what one is enlightened. Kaiten Nukariya, who was himself a Professor at the So-To-Shu Buddhist College in Tokyo,^ says, sp>eaking ofenlightenment "Havingsetourselvesfreefrom the misconception ofSelf, nextwemustawakenourinnermostwisdom,pureand divine, called the Mind of Buddha, or Bodhi, or Prajna by Zen Masters. It is the divine light, the inner heaven, the key to allmoral treasures, the source ofall influence and power, the seat ofkindness,justice, sympathy, impartial love, humanity, and mercy, the measure of all things. When this innermost wisdom is fully awakened, we are able to realize that each and everyone ofus is identical in spirit, in essence, in nature with the universal life or Buddha, that each ever lives face to face with Buddha, that each is beset by the abundant grace ofthe Blessed One, that He arouses his moral nature, that He opens his spiritual eyes, that He unfolds his new capacity, that He appoints his mission, and that life is not an ocean of birth, disease, old age and death, nor the vale of tears, but the holy temple ofBuddha, the Pure Land, where he can enjoy the bliss ofNirvana. Then our minds go through an entire revolution. We are *^Seehisbook: TheReligionoftheSamurai, 1913,p. 133. 10 FOREWORD no more troubled by anger and hatred, no more bitten by envy and ambition, no more stung by sorrow and chagrin, no more overwhelmed by melancholy and despair," etc. That is how an Oriental, himselfa disciple ofZen, describes the essence of enlightenment. It must be admitted that this passage would need only the most minute alterations in order not to be out of place in any Christian mystical book of devo- tion. Yet somehow it fails to help us as regards understanding the satori experience described by this all-embracing casuistry. Presumably Nukariya is speaking to Western rationalism, of which he himself has acquired a good dose, and that is why it all sounds so flatly edifying. The abstruse obscurity of the Zen anecdotes is preferable to this adaptation: ad usum Delphini; it conveys a great deal more, while saying less. ^en is anything but aphilosophy in the Western sense ofthe word.^ This is the opinion expressed by RudolfOtto in his introduction to Ohasama's book on ^en, when he says that Nukariya has fitted the magic oriental world ofideas into our Western philo- sophic categories, and confused it with these. Ifpsycho-physical parallelism, the most wooden of all doctrines, is invoked in order to explain this mystical intuition of Not-twoness {^fichtzweiheit) and Oneness and the coincidentia oppositorium, one is completely ejected from the sphere of koan and kwatsu and satori} It is far better to allow oneselfto become deeply imbued beforehand with the exotic obscurity ofthe Zen anecdotes, and to bear in mind the whole time that satori is a mysterium ineffabile, as indeed the Zen masters wish it to be. Between the anecdotes and the mystical enlightenment there is, for our understanding, a gulf, the pMDSsibility ofbridging which can at best be indicated but never in practice achieved.' One has the feeling oftouching up>on a true secret, not something that has been imagined or pretended; this is not a case ofmystifying secrecy, but rather of '"Zenis neitherpsychologynorphilosophy." *OIfttion isnpiOtehaosfatmhias:I^<ant,tep.mpvtiii".explanationa" in what follows, I am still fullyawarethatinthesenseofsatcriwhatIsaycanonlybeuseless. Icouldnot resist,however, theattempt tomanoeuvr—eourWestern understandingatleast into the proximity ofan understanding a task so difficult that in so doing onemusttakeupononeselfcertaincrimesagainstthespiritofZen. II AN INTRODUCTION TO ZEN BUDDHISM an experience that baffles all languages. Satori comes as some- thing unexpected, not to be expected. When within the realm of Christianity visions of the Holy Trinity, the Madonna, the Crucifixion or the Patron Saint are vouchsafed, one has the impression that this is more or less as it should be. ThatJacob Boehme should obtain a glimpse into the centrum naturae by means ofthe sunbeam reflected in the tin plate is also understandable. It is harder to accept Master Eckehart's vision of "the litde naked boy",^ or even Sweden- borg's "man in the red coat" who wanted to wean him from overeating, and whom, in spite of this or perhaps because of it, he recognized as the Lord God.* Such things are difficult to accept, bordering as they do on the grotesque. Many of the satori experiences, however, do not merely border on the gro- tesque; they are right there in the midst of it, sounding like complete nonsense. For anyone, however, who has devoted considerable time to studying with loving and understanding care the flowerlike nature of the spirit of the Far East, many of these amazing things, which drive the all too simple European from one perplexity to another, fall away. Zen is indeed one ofthe most wonderful blossoms of the Chinese spirit,' which was readily impregnated by the immense thought-world of Buddhism. He, therefore, who has really t—ried to understand Buddhist doctrine, ifonly to —a certain degree i.e. by renouncing various Western prejudices will come upon certain depths beneath the bizarre cloakofthe individual satoriexperiences, orwill sensedisquieting difficulties which the philosophic and religious West has up to now thought fit to disregard. As a philosopher, one is exclusively concerned with that understanding which, for its own part, has nothingtodowithlife. Andasa Christian, onehasnothing todo with paganism ("I thank thee. Lord, that I am not—as other men"). There is no satori within these Western bounds that is an Oriental affair. But is it really so? Have we in fact no satori? •See TexteamderdeuUchen Mystikdes 14 und15, Jahrhunderts, published by AdolfSpamer, 1912, p. 143. •William White: EmanuelSwedenborg, 1867, Vol. I, p. 243. •"Zen is undoubtedly one ofthe most preciousand in many respects one ofthe most remarkable spiritual graces with which Oriental man has been blessed." (Suzviki:Essays, I,p.249.) 12

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