Site Map



The Clear Sound of Jewels

There is nothing dearer to us than life. Whether a man be rich or poor, if he does not live out a long life, he will not accomplish his true purpose. Even if one had to throw away thousands in wealth and valuables to do so, life is something he should buy.

It is said that life is of small account compared with right-mindedness.[1] In truth, it is right-mindedness that is most esteemed.

Nothing is more precious than life. Yet, at the moment when we must throw away this valued life and stand on right-mindedness, there is nothing more highly esteemed than right-mindedness.

Looking carefully at the world, we can see that there are many people who throw away their lives lightly. But do you suppose one person in a thousand would die for right-mindedness? It would seem that among the humble servant class, contrary to what you might expect, there are many who would. Yet it would be difficult for people who think themselves wise to do the same.

As I was saying such things half to myself while passing a long spring day, a certain man came up and said something like this:

"While wealth truly pleases our hearts, having life is the greatest wealth of all. So when it comes to the moment of reckoning, a man will throw away his wealth to keep his life intact. But when you think that a man will not hesitate to throw away the life he so values for the sake of right-mindedness, the value of right-mindedness is greater than life itself. Desire, life and right-mindedness--among these three, isn't the latter what man values most?"

At that time, I replied something along these lines.

"Desire, life and right-mindedness--to say that right-mindedness is the most valued among these three is only natural. But to say that all men without exception value right-mindedness the most among these three misses the mark. There is no man who simply values desire and life but keeps right-mindedness in his thoughts."

Then another man said, "Wealth is a jewel of life. Without life, wealth is useless, so life alone is valuable. However, it is said that there are many who lightly throw away their lives for right-mindedness."

I asked, "Is any man able to take his life lightly for the sake of right-mindedness?"

He responded, "There are many people in this world who cannot abide being insulted and who will quickly, along with their foes of the moment, throw away their lives in a fight. This is having right-mindedness foremost in mind and taking one's life lightly. It is dying for right-mindedness rather than for wealth or life.

"Those who were cut down in the face of battle-their number can hardly be known. All were men who died for right-mindedness. With this in mind, it can be said that all men value right-mindedness over desire and life."

I said, "Dying because someone is vexed at being insulted resembles right-mindedness, but it is not that at all. This is forgetting oneself in the anger of the moment. It is not right-mindedness in the least. Its proper name is anger and nothing else. Before a person has even been insulted, he has already departed from right-mindedness. And for this reason, he suffers insult. If one's right-mindedness is correct when he is associating with others, he will not be insulted by them. Being insulted by others, one should realize that he had lost his own right-mindedness prior to the offense."

Right-mindedness is a matter of extreme importance. Its substance is none other than the Principle of Heaven, which gives life to all things. When this is acquired by the human body, it is called one's nature. Its other names are virtue, the Way, human-heartedness, probity and propriety. While the name changes according to the situation, and though its function is different, in substance it is only one thing.

When this is written as human-heartedness and the situation involves human intercourse, its function is benevolence.

When it is written as right-mindedness and the situation involves social station and integrity, its function is in making no mistakes in clarity of judgment.

Even in dying, if one has not hit upon the principle therein, he has no right-mindedness, albeit some think that if a person just dies, he had this quality .[2]

Right-mindedness is considered to be the substance devoid of perversity that is the core of the human mind; and in using the straightness in that core of the mind as a plumb-line, everything produced will exhibit right-mindedness.

Disregarding this core and dying because of desire is not right-minded death. As for those people we mentioned who die for right-mindedness, can there even be one in a thousand who would truly do so?

In regard to this, from the time one has been taken into a daimyo's service, of the clothes on his back, the sword he wears at his side, his footgear, his palanquin, his horse and all of his material, there is no single item that is not due to the favor of his lord. Family, wife, child and his own retainers--all of them and their relations--not one can be said not to receive the lord's favor. Having these favors well impressed on his mind, a man will face his lord's opponents on the battlefield and cast away his one life. This is dying for right-mindedness.

This is not for the sake of one's name. Nor for gaining fame, a stipend and a fief. Receiving a favor and returning a favor--the sincerity of the core of the mind consists solely of this.

Is there one person in a thousand who would die like this? If there were one person in a thousand, then there would be a hundred in a hundred thousand, and for any eventuality there would be a hundred thousand men available.

In truth, one hundred right-minded men would be hard to find.

Regardless of the epoch, whenever the country was in disorder, there might be five to seven thousand corpses after a battle. Among them were men who met the enemy and made names for themselves. Others were struck down by the enemy without anyone's noticing. All of these men would seem to have died for right-mindedness, but many of them did not. Many died for name and for profit.

The first thought is of doing something for fame; the second is to think of establishing a name, and later of receiving land and coming up in the world.

There are people who accomplish notable feats, attract fame and come up in the world. There are those who die in battle. There are among the older samurai those who would make a name for themselves in the next battle so as to leave it to their descendants in their old age; or if they did not die in battle, they would try to leave both name and estate. All these take their lives lightly, but all are concerned with name and profit. Theirs is a hot-blooded death born of desire. It is not right-mindedness.

Those who receive a kind word from their lord and devote their lives to him also die a death of right-mindedness. But there are none who value right-mindedness even though it is what should be valued most. So those who throw away their lives for desire, and those who hold their lives dear and expose themselves to shame belong with those who take right-mindedness lightly, whether they live or die.

Ch'eng Ying and Ch'u Chiu died together for the sake of right-mindedness.[3] Po I and Shu Ch'i were men who thought deeply about right-mindedness, and lamented the fact that a vassal would kill his own king.[4] In the end, they died of starvation at the foot of Mount Shouyang.

In seeking out men like these, we find there weren't many, even in antiquity. Even more so, in today's Way-less world, there are likely none who, valuing right-mindedness, would lightly toss aside both desire and life. Usually people throw away their lives for the sake of desire, or they hold their lives dear and cover themselves with shame. None know a hair's tip about right-mindedness.

All men put on the face of right-mindedness, but they do not truly think about it. Because of this folly, when some unpleasantness is visited upon a man, he is unable to bear it and spits out words of abuse. The object of these words is then mortified and proceeds to throwaway his life in retaliation. This man is not only lacking in right-mindedness, he reeks of desire.

To think that I can perpetrate some unpleasantness on a man and avoid his verbal abuse--this is nothing but a manifestation of desire. It is the kind of passion involved when a man gives someone a rock and, if the person gives him gold in return, becomes his friend; but if the other gives him a rock in return, cuts off his head. When a man praises another in glowing terms, such words are likely to be returned to him as well. But when he slanders another and, the slander being given back in kind, cuts off the man's head and dies himself, this is desire. It is the opposite of right-mindedness and the height of stupidity.

Moreover, those who are samurai all have masters, and to throw away the life that should be given up for one's lord, dying for the sake of an argument, is not to know the difference between right and wrong. It is, above all, not to know the meaning of right-mindedness.

What is called desire is not simply attaching oneself to wealth, or thinking only about one's fancies for silver and gold.

When the eye sees colors, this is desire.

When the ear hears sounds, this is desire.

When the nose smells fragrances, this is desire.

When a single thought simply germinates, this is called desire.

This body has been solidified and produced by desire. and it is in the nature of things that all men have a strong sense of it. Although there is a desireless nature confined within this desire-firmed and produced body, it is always hidden by hot-bloodedness, and its virtue is difficult to sow. This nature is not protected easily. Because it reacts to the Ten Thousand Things in the external world, it is drawn back by the Six Desires, and submerges beneath them.[5]

This body is composed of the Five Skandhas: form, feeling, conception, volition and consciousness.

Form is the carnal body.

Feeling is the carnal body's sensing of good and evil, right and wrong, sorrow and joy, and pain and pleasure.

Conception means predilections. It is hating evil, desiring good, fleeing from sorrow, hoping for joy, avoiding pain and desiring pleasure.

Volition means operating the body on the basis of feeling and perceptions. This means hating pain and so obtaining pleasure, or hating evil and so doing things that are good for oneself.

Consciousness is discriminating the good and evil, right and wrong, pain and pleasure, and joy and sorrow of the above feeling, conception and volition. Through consciousness, evil is known to be evil, good to be good, pain to be pain, and pleasure to be pleasure.

Because consciousness discriminates and forms prejudices, it abhors the ugly and adheres to the beautiful, and according to its attachments, the carnal body moves.

Because the carnal body exists, there is the skandha of feeling.

Because the skandha of feelings exists, there is the skandha of conception.

Because the skandha of conception exists, it brings the skandha of volition into action.

Because the skandha of volition is brought into action, the skandha of consciousness exists.

Because of the skandha of consciousness, we discriminate between good and evil, right and wrong, and ugly and beautiful, thoughts arise concerning acceptance and rejection, and, just as these thoughts arise, the carnal body is born. This is like the sun or moon being reflected in puddles of water. The Buddha explained that "the manifestation of form in response to the material world is like the moon in the midst of the water."[6]

Form, feeling, conception, volition, consciousness--then from consciousness back to form--if these are condensed over and over again, the linkage of the Five Skandhas according to the flow of the Twelve Links in the Chain of Existence, having received this body, begins with a single thought of our consciousness.[7]

Consciousness is, therefore, desire. This desire, this consciousness, gives rise to this body of the Five Skandhas. As the entire body is something hardened by desire, when a single hair is pulled from the head, thoughts of desire will arise. When you are touched by the tip of a finger, thoughts of desire arise. Even when you are touched by the tip of a toenail, thoughts of desire arise. The entire body is solidified by desire.

Within this body solidified by desire is concealed the absolutely desireless and upright core of the mind. This mind is not in the body of the Five Skandhas, has no color or form, and is not desire. It is unwaveringly correct, it is absolutely straight. When this mind is used as a plumb-line, anything done at all will be right-mindedness. This absolutely straight thing is the substance of right-mindedness.

Right-mindedness is a name added temporarily when it manifests itself in external affairs. It is also called human-heartedness. Benevolence is its function. When we indicate its substance, we say "human-heartedness;" benevolence is a designation we give it temporarily. Human-heartedness, right-mindedness, propriety, wisdom--the substance is the same, but the names are different.

These things should be understood as the core of the mind.  It is for this reason that the Way of Confucius is said to be that of sincerity and sympathy. Sincerity is the same as "the core of the mind." Sympathy is the same as "like mind" or oneness." If the core of the mind and like-mindedness are achieved, not one in ten thousand affairs will ever turn out poorly.

Even though one may say such things, if a man has not been enlightened, you may explain for a hundred days and he may listen for a hundred days, but he is little likely to gain the Way.

It we speak thusly and there be those who deny what we say, it would be best to look at the innermost thoughts and actions of the people who lecture and listen to the Confucian Classics. It is no different with those who lecture and those who listen to the Buddhist scriptures. This is not just a criticism of Confucianism. A person may be as eloquent as a rushing stream, but if his mind has not been enlightened and if he has not seen into his own true nature, he will not be someone to be relied upon. We should be able to discern this quickly from a person's behavior.

A certain person expressed his doubts, saying, "If even the acts of seeing and hearing are desire, if even the raising of a single thought is desire, how will we be able to attain right-mindedness? The concentration of a single thought is like a rock or tree. Being like a rock or tree, one is not likely to act with right-mindedness for his master's sake. If one does not actuate a strong sense of willpower, it will be difficult to accomplish."

I said, "This is a justifiable doubt. With no thoughts in the mind, one will run neither to the right nor to the left, will climb neither up nor down, but will go only straight ahead. When a single thought just barely arises, one will run to the right or left, climb up or down, and finally arrive at the place of his desire. This is why it is called desire.

"The virtue of the unwaveringly correct is hidden. If this desire is not put into action, one is not likely to achieve either good or evil. Even if you have a mind to rescue a man who has fallen into an abyss, if you have no hands, you will not be able to do so. Again, if a man has a mind to push someone into an abyss, if he has no hands, he will not be able to do so. In this way, whether it be success or failure, as soon as there are hands that bring about success or failure, the nature of things is departed from.

"One borrows the strength of desire while either succeeding or failing, and when he considers the unwaveringly correct and straight mind to be his plumb-line and acts according to it, success and failure are still matters of that strength.

"But if one does not stray from this plumb-line, it is not called desire. It is called right-mindedness. Right-mindedness is none other than virtue.

"Consider the core of the mind to be a wagon, with will-power to be carried about in it. Push it to a place where there can be failure, and there will be failure. Push it to a place where there can be success, and there will be success. But whether there is success or failure, if one entrusts himself to the straightness of this wagon of the core of the mind, he will attain right-mindedness in either case. Severing oneself from desire and being like a rock or tree, nothing will ever be achieved. Not departing from desire, but realizing a desireless right-mindedness--this is the Way ."

Among the gods, there are those who are famous and those who are unknown. Sumiyoshi, Tamatsushima, Kitano and Hirano are all famous gods. When we simply speak of the gods, we mean the ones whose names we do not know. When we speak of worshipping and revering the gods, we do not make distinctions among the names of Sumiyoshi, Tamatsushima, Hirano and Kitano. We worship and revere the gods regardless of who they are.

When the god of Kitano is worshipped, the god of Hirano is left aside, If the god of Hirano is being revered, Kitano is put aside.

Limiting one god to one location, the other gods are not considered to be of value. This particular god is revered exclusively, or this one is worshipped and the other discarded.

When we speak of the gods, we do not limit them, one god to one place.  This would not be establishing the Way of the Gods. The Way of the Gods is established when we worship the gods, no matter where we are or what god we may be facing. We should speak of this in connection with the Way of lord and Retainer.

Lord means the emperor and retainer means the retainers of the emperor. Lord and retainer are not words used for people below these in rank, but for the present we will use them in that way.

Among the lords, there are those who are famous and those whose names are unknown. Among retainers as well, there are likely those who are famous and those who are not. In speaking of a famous lord, a man will say something like, "Our lord is Matsui Dewa," or "My lord is Yamamoto Tajima." In speaking of unknown lords, one simply says, "the lord," without mentioning his name.

For a man who is a retainer, the Way of the Lord should be established if he will simply think, "the lord." And for the lord, if he will simply think "the retainer," the Way of the Retainer should be established.

Long ago it was said that "a wise retainer does not serve two lords." This meant that it was thought that a retainer would never have two masters. The world being in decline, retainers now employ themselves under this  lord and that, in the end fitting the image of vagabond attendants while proclaiming their own merits. Such are the times in which we live.

A lord, saying that he is not pleased with one man or another, will drive the man from the household and heap shame upon him. This also puts the Way of Lord and Retainer, Master and Servant, in disorder.

Even if a retainer does serve in a number of clans, he should think of his master as being the one and only. This means that the lord will be an unknown lord, for, if he is unknown, the Way of the Lord will be established. Even if he serves in clan after clan, he should think of that lord as "the lord," and this lord as "the lord." In this way he will think of the lord with great devotion and, even though the clan may change, his mind will not. Thus, the lord will be the one and only from beginning to end.

If a man thinks, "My lord is Matsui Dewa, but he is really a lout ..." while he is receiving a stipend or fief and coming up in the world, his mind will not be thinking "the lord" at all.  When he next employs himself under Lord Yamamoto Tajima, the same mind will follow along with him. Thus, no matter where he goes, he will never understand the meaning of the word lord and is not likely to prosper.

Therefore it is better not to inquire who this lord or that might be, but to simply think "the lord," and to consider right-mindedness towards him without mentioning his name.  If this is done, and if one serves this lord with thoughts of never stopping in front of the man or even treading on his shadow the entire time he is receiving his support, whether it be one month, one year or even ten years, though he serve in many clans, the lord will be only one.

The lord, though there be a turnover of retainers, should not meddle with the Way of the Retainer. He should have love and sympathy deep in his heart, should not make distinctions between newcomers and old-timers, and should act with great charity towards all. In this way, the retainers will all be without names, the lord will be without name, and the Way of Lord and Retainer, Master and Servant, will be established. There should be no distinctions made between the new retainer who just began serving today and the old-timers who have been employed for ten to twenty years. All men should be treated with love and sympathy, and each man should be thought of as "My retainer."

It is likely that stipend and fief will differ considerably, but there should be no distinctions within the mind of human-heartedness and love. Even if a retainer has just begun his employment today, the meaning of thinking "the lord" will not be found in thinking "today's lord."

Is not this the Way of Lord and Retainer?

Li Po said:

Heaven and earth are the wayfarer's inn of the Ten Thousand Things. Fleeting time is the traveler of a hundred generations. This floating life is like a dream.[8] How long will our happiness last? The ancients lit lamps and amused themselves at night. Truly there was a reason for this.

Things does not mean only those things without sentience; it is said that man is a thing.[9] The space between heaven and earth is the inn for the traveling back and forth of both men and things. In the end, there is no standing still for either men or things. The passing of time is like the unending passing of the traveler, and the gradual passing of spring, summer, fall and winter has not changed for a hundred generations.

The body is like a dream.  When we see this and awake, not a trace remains. How much time is left for the looking?

It was not without reason that the ancients went from night to day, lighting the lamps and amusing themselves throughout the hours of darkness.

At this point, one could fall into error. There should be standards for amusement, and if there are, amusement will bear no evil. The person who has no standards will become insane. If the one amusing himself does not fall into error, he will not go beyond these standards. What we mean by standards are generally fixed limits in regards to all things. Like the joints in bamboo, amusement, for the most part, should have limits. It is not good to go beyond them.

The court nobility has the amusements of the court, the samurai class has the amusements of the samurai, and the priests have the amusements of the priests. Each should have their amusements accordingly.

It could be said that involvement in amusements unbecoming to one's station is erring in one's standards. For the court nobility, there is Chinese and Japanese poetry and the wind and stringed instruments. With these, they will pass from night to day and there should be nothing wrong. It is reasonable that the samurai class and the priests, too, should each have their own appropriate amusements.

Strictly speaking, for priests there shouldn't be such things as amusements.  It is said, however, that "In public, not even a needle can enter, but in private, both horse and cart pass right through."[10] This means that, sympathizing with the mind of man and recognizing that the world has degenerated, we should probably allow them to have their own amusements as well. While meeting in the seclusion of night, they should be allowed to compose Chinese and Japanese poetry. Even linked verse should be appropriate. On another level, it is not unfitting for them to lean their hearts towards the moon and cherry blossoms and, accompanied by fourteen or fifteen year-old youths, to go to a place whence the moon can be viewed from beneath the blossoms, a tasteful sake jar in hand, and share some cups with them. To have a small inkstone and writing paper would not be at all in bad taste.

But even these are not considered correct for a priest who would have a religious spirit. Much less, the other unrefined entertainments.

It would not be surprising if the nobility and the samurai alike, when they realized that this floating world is but a dream, lit the lamps and amused themselves throughout the night.

There are those who say, "Everything is like a dream! The only thing to do is play!" These people rattle their minds beyond limit, sink themselves in pleasure, and go to the extremes of luxury. Though they quote the words of the men of old, they are as far from the minds of the ancients as snow is from soot.

When Ippen Shonin met Hotto Kokushi, the founder of the Kokokuji in the village of Yura in Kii Province, he said, " I have composed a poem."[11]

Kokushi said, "Let's hear it."

Shonin recited:

When I chant,
Both Buddha and self
Cease to exist,
There is only the voice that says,
Namu Amida Butsu.[12]

Kokushi said, "Something's wrong with the last couple of lines, don't you think?"

Shonin then confined himself in Kumano and meditated for twenty-one days. When he passed by Yura again, he said, "This is how I've written it":

When I chant,
Both Buddha and self
Cease to exist.
Namu Amida Butsu,
Namu Amida Butsu.

Kokushi nodded his enthusiastic approval and said, "There! You got it!"

This was written down in Kogaku Osho's notes,[13] We should look at this again and again.

I will speak about the Ten Essential Qualities.[14] They are Form, Nature, Embodiment, Power, Function, Latent Cause, External Cause, Latent Effect, Manifest Effect and Total Inseparability of one from the others. The Ten Worlds are those of Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humankind, Heaven, Learning, Realization, Bodhisattvahood and Buddhahood.[15] The Ten Essential Qualities are like these. Generally, from the Worlds of Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humankind and Heaven to the Worlds of Learning, Realization, Bodhisattvahood and Buddhahood, all are possessed of the Ten Essential Qualities.[16]

As a rule, a thing born cannot be without Form, so we speak of the Essential Quality of Form. Although Form may change in multitudinous ways, as Form it is the same. When the Form changes, even the sound of its song will change: the cuckoo sings the song of the cuckoo, the nightingale sings the song of the nightingale.

Does each of these, to express its own form, change its shape even to the extent of the song it sings? Certainly the cuckoos in the mountains and the nightingales of the valley recite their own songs. But we should not take this to mean that even the sound changes if the form changes. Song is something that makes its context more refined, and the context of words is something we combine with right-mindedness and come to know it thereby.

If something has Form, it will also have a Nature.  Although the Buddha-nature is always the same, Form follows whatever receives it, and thus changes.

All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature, and so even those in Hell, and in the Worlds of Hunger and Animality are unchanging in this. It is explained in this way, even in the sutras.

If a number of mirrors are placed around a pedestal and a single lamp is placed in the center, the lamp will be seen in each of the mirrors. The lamp is only one, but is reflected in each of the mirrors. This exemplifies the Buddha-nature being only one, yet being received by all sentient beings of the Ten Worlds, even by the hungry and by animals. This is the example of the mirror and the lamp in The Flower Garland Sutra.[17]

Embodiment means the Embodiment of the Law. In all the Ten Thousand Things there are both Embodiment and Function. Form is born of Embodiment; then, having gone its full round, it perishes. Embodiment itself is never exhausted.

Let us say that snow and ice are Function, and that water is Embodiment.  When water solidifies, it becomes ice, but then melts again and becomes the original water. Consider water as Embodiment.

This is an example of the manifestation of Embodiment when the ten thousand Forms are born from the Embodiment of the Law and then perish.

The ordinary man is unable to see beyond Form. He is unable to see Embodiment. When something is produced, he says it has manifested itself. From the standpoint of enlightenment, we say it has manifested itself when it has returned to Embodiment and can no longer be seen.

The snow at the peaks,
The ice at the mountain depths
Melt and raise
The sound in the foothills:
The water of spring.

This is written about Embodiment.

If a thing is possessed of Form, Nature and Embodiment, it must also have Power. Power is the strength to be able to function efficaciously; it is the strength behind the achievement of all phenomena. Concerning all things, what achieves effect is Power.

The constancy of the always green pine in the midst of luxuriantly green leaves on the summer mountain is especially well known in song. This is because it does not change its color in either frost or in late autumn showers. It remains constant even during the coldest part of the year and so is sung about and regarded as the Essential Quality of Power.

Because there is Power, Function accords performance to all things. If one goes on without slackening his efforts, learning one Chinese character today and another tomorrow, he should be able to achieve anything. The meaning of Function should be understood through the saying, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Given Form, Nature, Embodiment, Power and Function, no matter what is done, it can be done at will.  This is Latent Cause.  If something is not done, it is to one's own detriment, and there is nothing that cannot be done. Without both Latent Cause and External Cause, one will not likely get as far as the state of Buddhahood.[18]

The Chinese character for Latent Cause, for instance, is also read as "to depend on." This means that "depending on" one thing, various other things are obtained.

Planting the seed in the ground in spring is said to be the Latent Cause. And, though one has planted it firmly, if there is no help from the rain and dew, nothing will grow. The help of the rain and dew is said to be the External Cause.  Depending on the help of the rain and dew, the plant will grow and there will be fruit in the fall. This is Latent Effect.

When the heart is filled
And will not be put at rest,
My hopes will be
After a thousand sheaths
Of the honeysuckle vine.[19]

The meaning of this is that the setting up of the honeysuckle is the Latent Cause of getting married. Furthermore, the intermediation is said to be the External Cause, and, in the end, the couple becoming man and wife and prospering with children could be said to be an example of Latent Effect.

In the same way, if one would become a Buddha, if he does not first act in accordance with the Latent Cause, he will not reach the state of Buddhahood. Make discipline the Latent Cause, and later you will obtain the effect.

The word effect carries the meaning of "fruit." Depending on the planting of the Latent Cause in spring, one obtains the fruit in the fall. This is an example of the state of Buddhahood.

External Cause is seen in the above notes.

The ship under sail
Has surely passed
The Cape of Wada,
Driven as it is
By the mountain winds of Muko.

The ship is the Latent Cause. The wind is the External Cause. Arriving at the other shore is the Latent Effect. Without the ship, one cannot reach the other shore. And, even though the ship exists, one cannot be without the External Cause of the wind. This is said to be the harmony of Latent Cause and External Cause. The mountain winds of Muko should be considered to be the External Cause. If one would become a Buddha, he cannot do without the discipline of the Latent Cause.

Because I planted them,
I can see their ripening
At the ends of the branches,
Branches grown thick
With the pears at Iki Bay.

This is Latent Effect.

Obtaining the state of Buddhahood is like planting pear trees and then watching them grow.

At the Bay of Iki
On branches grown thick
With pears that ripen,
with pears that do not;
Are they not faithful
Even in sleep?

This is the original poem. Iki Bay is in Ise.

Manifest Effect

Wait and see!
When you who treat others
So cruelly try to love
You will surely know
(The way I feel.)

This love poem means, "Even though you treat me so cruelly, you are certainly not without love yourself. Perhaps you will come to know what love is. At that time you will get your reward."

If you do good in this life, you will be rewarded with good in the next. If you do evil, you will be rewarded with evil. This is Manifest Effect. If the Latent Cause is good, the Latent Effect will be good. If the Latent Cause is evil, the Latent Effect will be evil. It is like an echo responding to a voice, or a shadow accompanying a form.

That one disciplines himself with the Latent Cause in one life and obtains the reward in the next is natural. But there are also occasions of a present Latent Cause accompanied by a present Manifest Effect, a Latent Cause in the past followed by a present Manifest Effect, and a Latent Cause in the present followed by a Manifest Effect in the future. It goes from one world to the next, appearing sooner or later, and is something that cannot be avoided. There is also such a thing as simultaneous latent Cause and Effect.

We can make an example with the flower as the Latent Cause and the fruit as the Manifest Effect. On a melon, the flower and fruit grow at the same time. With the rice plant, the fruit--or rather grain--grows, and the flower blossoms on its crown. Such things can be taken as examples.

Total Inseparability. From the Essential Quality of Form to the Essential Quality of Manifest Effect , there is no violation of Beginning to End. They go around and around from Root to Branch and are called the Ten Points. The Very Extremity means going to the very ultimate. This is, of course, the Ten Worlds. All living things--even the little worms--are possessed of these Ten Essential Qualities. Even the inanimate are not different from this.

Let's take examples from the fruits of the chestnut and the persimmon. T o say that these have neither pain nor sorrow is to judge from the view of mankind. It can be seen that they are naturally outfitted with both pain and sadness.

The appearance of pain in grasses and trees is no different from the countenance of suffering among human beings. When they are watered and the like, they grow and appear happy. When they are cut and fall, the withering of their leaves is no different from the death of a human being.

Their pain and sadness are not known to human beings.  And when grasses and trees look at the sadness of human beings, it is just like human beings looking at them, and they probably think we have no pain or sadness either. Simply, it seems that we do not know the affairs of grasses and trees, nor do they know ours. This is written in the books of the Confucianists.

When there are fences or roofed mud walls on the north side of growing plants, those plants will lean towards the south. Observing this, it is clear that plants know what is harmful to them, although they do not have eyes.

Sleeping at night and opening during the day, the lily is another example we could use.  However, it is not the lily alone, but all grasses and trees that do not lack this nature.

It is because we do not pay attention that we pass along unknowing. Those who know completely about grasses and trees are sages. We do not understand these things because of our rough and conforming minds.

Whether something is sentient or insentient is calculated roughly. There is probably nothing in existence that is not sentient.  Don't we say they are insentient because they lack the fashion of the things that are?

It is said that when a chicken is cold, it will fly up into the trees; when a duck is cold, it will swim in the water. Isn't this like thinking that, because a duck swims in the water when it is cold, it has no sense of cold, or because a chicken flies up into the trees when it is cold, it has no sense of cold, either?

Water is cold, and this is said to be its nature. Fire is hot, and this is considered to be its nature. From the standpoint of fire, water has no nature; from the standpoint of water, fire has no nature. Although it could be thought of in this way, in fact, they both have their own natures. We cannot say that anything is without its nature.

If we observe phenomena closely, it cannot be thought that anything between heaven and earth is really different. If we see differences, it is due to the narrowness of our vision.

This is like Mount Fuji's being concealed by a tree thick with branches and leaves, and my not being able to see it. But how can Mount Fuji be concealed by a single tree? It is simply because of the narrowness of my vision and because the tree stands in the way of my vision that Mount Fuji cannot be seen. We go on thinking that the tree is concealing Mount Fuji. Yet it is due to the narrowness of my vision.

Not understanding the principle of things, people often put on knowing faces and criticize those who do understand.  And while they seem to be laughing at others, they are really laughing at themselves. At least those who truly understand must think so.

Look with real attention at the way the world is now. The earth is a mother and heaven a father. If we lodge the seed of the chestnut or the persimmon in the earth, the sprout appears and the fruit of the original chestnut or persimmon comes forth unchanged. In this way, it is brought up by a father and mother.  Saying that it is lodged indicates that it is something brought in from another place.

For the human being, too, earth is mother and heaven is father, and the phenomenon that becomes the child is something brought in and lodged from another place.

What is called meta-existence is not the least bit different from thinking of things in this present existence. For this reason, this present existence is also called "an existence."

When this present existence comes to an end, there is what is called meta-existence. Then, meta-existence is altered and there is later-existence, or reincarnation. In any of these, there is absolutely no change in the mind that is in this present body.

Although there is a body even in meta-existence, it cannot be seen by human eyes because of its dimness, As for the meta-existence of those who were deeply attached to this world, there are cases of people having seen them. Since this is something that is out of the ordinary, people doubt these events and either blame them on the transformations of foxes and raccoon dogs, or explain them as illusory visions of the dead.

Both of the above situations are apt to occur as well.  Admitting this, we should not dispose of each and every case as either one or the other. Real things also exist in this world. Such things are not just in the mouths of men. They have also been left by the pens of those who lived in the World of the Way and who were men of the Way themselves. When we do not measure up to the wisdom of the men who wrote these things, we should understand that we will have doubts.

When we see things in the middle of a dream, although we do not see and hear them with the eyes and ears given to us at birth, we distinctly meet people, say things, hear things, see colors, and even have sexual relations. We wrestle with the things that concern us daily, and, just as we think we are going to resolve our desires, wake up.

It is upon awakening that we realize it was a dream. In the dream itself we never think, "This is a dream" or "This is not real."

During a dream, this body is still alive and bound and cannot go to the places it would like. But with the strength of its own thoughts, it is able to see those places by drawing them to itself.

When one truly dies and leaves his own body, he goes where he wants to go like a cat released from a string. Although one's thoughts are the same as the thoughts in a dream, it is now as though he can go freely wherever he likes.

In the midst of profound darkness or when the doors and windows are shut, one enters a state of freedom This is because he has no form.

In this case, although there is a form, there is no corporality, and it is like seeing the reflection of a lamp or the moon on the water. There are no hindrances.

This body acting as a barrier, one cannot enter the innermost shrine, but the mind can be conversant with that which is within, just as thoughts can pass through the Mountain of Silver or the Wall of Iron.[20] It is unlikely this mystery will be understood by the common run of men.

The Buddha and patriarchs understood this, but the common people do not know it at all.  Not knowing it, they have doubts, and foolishness is added to foolishness.

There are any number of things I do not know and, not knowing them, I simply say they do not exist. Let's say I know six or seven things out of a hundred. When spoken to about those remaining, if I say they do not exist, then ninety things have ceased to be. But if I know fifteen or so, among those things that did not exist before, five or six more have come into existence. For those people who know twenty or thirty things, the number of non-existent things has decreased to only seventy. If one knows sixty or seventy out of a hundred, the remaining thirty or forty become just like those just mentioned. And when one knows all these things and thinks that there is nothing he does not know, it is because he is still unknowing.

If a man advances, making things clear one after another, he should be able to know all things. If there is something one knows, no one is likely to say that it does not exist, but if someone does it will be because he himself is ignorant of the matter.

A man who is extremely foolish should come to know something in the end because of his faith. On the other hand, isn't it said that "A half-baked martial art is the foundation of great injury?"

I understand that the Five Roots do not survive into meta-existence.[21] At that time the Five Roots of our present existence are transferred to the sixth sense of Consciousness. The Five Roots then have no form, but they continue to function.

As the sixth sense of Perception is consciousness, it has no form.[22] But because it has the faculties of seeing and hearing, in the middle of a dream while the physical eyes and ears do not help out, a different form is produced and seeing and hearing take place.  It is called Consciousness because, although such and such a form does not exist, its function does.

If the form does not exist and it is something we cannot know, it is better just to say "seeing" or "hearing." Because seeing and hearing are transferred to Consciousness and have gone to a second level, the forms of the Five Roots are discarded and their functions are carried by Consciousness.

Although the Five Roots do not exist in meta-existence, discernment of the five senses is no different from that in this present existence. One simply cannot see this from the outside. For the person involved, it is just like this present world.  Moreover, even if the existence of the body were not denied, it is so vague that it is difficult to see.

When a bird flies through an empty sky, it becomes less clear as it gets farther away, and we come to think of it as having disappeared. Although we have lost sight of the form, it is not a matter of the bird's form vanishing and no longer existing, We do not see it because it has become too dim.

His form being weak and not clearly seen, we do not see a person in meta-existence. A person in this state can see us just as he did when living, but people do not know this.

When people who committed serious sins are in meta-existence, their forms are apparent. People see this naturally and call them ghosts and the like. Again, this is not something that does not exist. If people were deeply attached in this world, their forms are not weak at all.

It is like boiling up a broth from many things to make medicine. If the ingredients are weak, the broth will be weak. If the ingredients are thick, the broth will be thick. What is used for the broth will clearly be known. A very thin broth will be just like water. If it is just like water, people will not know it to be broth, but will view it simply as water.

In meta-existence, the form of a person who was deeply attached is apparent. But the person whose form is weak is the same as thin air, and we cannot see him. We cannot see him, but he can see us.

Because I have form, I can be seen, Because their forms are dim, I am unable to see them.  In the Ming-i Chi, this is exemplified by the grain of barley.[23]

With a single grain of barley, the bud sprouts, and although
it is endowed with the same functions as the original barley,
if water and earth do not unify, it will not become barley
at all.

Human consciousness and the objective world unite, sundry thoughts are born, and from these many others are born in turn. Pulled by these thoughts, this body of form is received and produced. It is not simply something strange that has rained down from heaven.

Beginning with the single thought that has no beginning, the multifarious things thus come to be. When you go and look carefully for its source, being a single thought with no beginning, you find that it has none at all. Having no origin at all, the birth of the infinite variety of things could be called a mystery.

Go to Next Page

Exit Survey

I am interested in:
Law and Government
Visual Arts

I came to the Library:
To write a class paper
To do other research
To read for pleasure

How I got here:
Been here before
Teacher referred me
Search Engine
Someone else referred me

How I feel about the Library:
Will return
Will refer others
Probably won't return
Skip Survey