A Western Approach to Zen by Christmas Humphreys

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By Christmas Humphreys

Satori is a degree alongside the best way, a gateless gate that needs to be entered at the route to enlightenment. With profound idea and consummate compassion, the founding father of the Buddhist Society in London invitations critical scholars of religious evolution to take advantage of Western innovations to accomplish satori, the adventure of harmony and divinity in all points of being. Humphreys refocuses the knowledge of Zen for the Western reader and illuminates the onerous route to enlightenment.

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He realm o f Prajna-intuition a s Ihe East describes it. Let us climb. At Ihe top, at Ihe highest point of human Ihought, is what Ihe Hindus call T H A T, and Ihe Buddha, 'Ihe Unborn, Unoriginated Unconditioned'. In Ihe Parinirvana Suna it is called 'Ihe one principle of life which exists independently of all external phenomena'. he One. Eckhart called it GotIheit, 'Godness' beyond God. It is Ihe Namelessness wiIh many names. hat its first emanation is One, an indivisible unity which yet, in Ihe process of manifestation, divides itself in two.

Wal she writes that 'early Buddhism gave India a more definite doctrine, c:ult or theory of rebirth than any other religion before or since' . In the Pali Canon the Buddha refused to support or deny a Self, partly because he wished to avoid inclusion in any of the rival schools of the day, and partly because such argument 'did not conduce to peace of mind, Nirvana'. He wanted his disciples to concentrate on the long way through the lives in which, by perperual self-training, they would remove the Fetters, eliminate the Stains, let the Three Fires die for want of fuelling and so be free of Illusion.

This covers motive, the right reason for beginning to tread the Path, and right motive is, as already shown, of paramount imponance. 3, 4 and 5 are concerned with Sila, morality, or as I prefer to call it, character-building, the true foundation of the Buddhist way of life, on which all study, meditation and the development of powers should be securely based. Without at least some tramlines of right conduct, some internal self-imposed discipline, the strongest mind may fail. ', as the Dhammapada rightly points out, and the Path should be trodden 37 A WESTERN A P P R O A C H TO Z E N from the first with a mind awakening to Wisdom and a heart to Com­ passion, for the two are one.

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