Historical Reprints Religion Religion of the Samurai

Religion of the Samurai

Religion of the Samurai
Catalog # SKU1725
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Kaiten Nukariya


Religion of the Samurai

A Study Of Zen Philosophy
& Discipline In China & Japan

Kaiten Nukariya

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.

From the Author:

We have singled out of thirteen Japanese sects the Zen Sect, 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.

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; accordingly the statement of these ideas may serve as an explanation of the present movement conducted by young and able reformers of Japanese Buddhism. 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 paper by religionists, as done by Zen masters.

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. Such an attitude of religionists can hardly be found in any other religion.

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, 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.

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 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.


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, from earliest times. "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 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.

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 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 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, Nagarjuna, Kanadeva, and Vasubhandhu.



Chapter I History Of Zen In China
       1. Origin of Zen in India.
       2. 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.
       7. The Fourth Patriarch and the Emperor Tai Tsung (Tai-so).
       8. The Fifth and the Sixth Patriarchs.
       9. The Spiritual Attainment of the Sixth Patriarch.
       10. Flight of the Sixth Patriarch.
       11. The Development of the Southern and of the Northern School of Zen.
       12. Missionary Activity of the Sixth Patriarch.
       13. The Disciples under the Sixth Patriarch.
       14. Three Important Elements of Zen.
       15. Decline of Zen.

Chapter II History Of Zen In Japan
       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 of the Samurai.
       8. The Courage and the Composure of Mind of the Zen Monk and of 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-gana Shogunate.
       13. Zen after the Restoration.

Chapter III The Universe Is The Scripture Of Zen
       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 Zen Masters.
       5. A Sutra Equal in Size to the Whole World.
       6. Great Men and Nature.
       7. The Absolute and Reality are but an Abstraction.
       8. The Sermon of the Inanimate.

Chapter IV Buddha, The Universal Spirit
       1. The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon.
       2. Zen is Iconoclastic.
       3. Buddha is Unnamable.
       4. Buddha, the Universal Life.
       5. Life and Change.
       6. Pessimistic View of the 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.
       17. Enlightened Consciousness is not an Intellectual Insight.
       18. Our Conception of Buddha is not Final.
       19. How to Worship Buddha.

Chapter V The Nature Of Man
       1. Man is Good-natured according to Mencius.
       2. Man is Bad-natured according to Siun Tsz (Jun-shi).
       3. Man is both Good-natured and Bad-natured according to Yan Hiung (Yo-yu).
       4. Man is neither Good-natured nor Bad-natured according to Su Shih (So-shoku).
       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 (O-yo-mei) and a Thief.
       11. The Bad are the Good in the Egg.
       12. The Great Person and 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.

Chapter VI Enlightenment
       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.

Chapter VII Life
       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. Retribution in the Past, the Present, and the Future Life.
       10. The Eternal Life as taught by Professor Munsterberg.
       11. Life in the Concrete.
       12. Difficulties are no Match for the Optimist.
       13. Do Thy Best and Leave the Rest to Providence.

Chapter VIII 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.

Appendix Origin of Man (Gen-Nin-Ron)

Chapter I Refutation of Delusive and Prejudiced (Doctrine)

Chapter II Refutation of Incomplete and Superficial (Doctrine)
       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.

Chapter III The Direct Explanation of the Real Origin
       5. The Ekayana Doctrine that Teaches the Ultimate Reality.

Chapter IV Reconciliation of the Temporary With the Real Doctrine

Softcover, 8¼" x 10¾", 200+ pages
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