Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A History of Samurai and Zen (24)

ZEN AND NIRVANA
 

The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sense of the term,
but in the sense peculiar to the faith. Nirvana literally means extinction or
annihilation; hence the extinction of life or the annihilation of individuality.

To Zen, however, it means the state of extinction of pain and the
annihilation of sin. Zen never looks for the realization of its beatitude in a
place like heaven, nor believes in the realm of reality transcendental of the
phenomenal universe, nor gives countenance to the superstition of
immortality, nor does it hold the world is the best of all possible worlds, nor
conceives life simply as blessing.

It is in this life, full of shortcomings, misery, and sufferings, that Zen hopes
to realize its beatitude. It is in this world, imperfect, changing, and moving,
that Zen finds the Divine Light it worships. It is in this phenomenal
universe of limitation and relativity that Zen aims to attain to highest
Nirvana. "We speak," says the author of Vimalakirtti nirdeça sutra, "of the
transitoriness of body, but not of the desire of the Nirvana or destruction of
it." "Paranirvana," according to the author of Lankavatarasutra, "is neither
death nor destruction, but bliss, freedom, and purity." "Nirvana," says Kiai
Hwan," means the extinction of pain or the crossing over of the sea of life
and death. It denotes the real permanent state of spiritual attainment. It does
not signify destruction or annihilation. It denotes the belief in the great root
of life and spirit." It is Nirvana of Zen to enjoy bliss for all sufferings of
life. It is Nirvana of Zen to be serene in mind for all disturbances of actual
existence. It is Nirvana of Zen to be in the conscious union with Universal
Life or Buddha through Enlightenment.

~Kaiten Nukariya