Ultimate Crisis and Resurrection1 I : Sin and Death ; II : Redemption
Part I : Sin and Death
I Religious Time
THESE days I have been thinking of a three dimensional problem concerning man's way of being. Perhaps it may best be expressed in terms of depth, width, and length. By depth I mean probing man as deep as the bottom of his self-awareness and, finally, awaking to the Formless Self.
While by form one can mean either physical or mental, what is ordinarily called the "self" has both these forms. Getting free from such a self and realizing the Self that is in both ways formless is what I mean when I speak of the problem of depth. This is of course something which cannot be easily understood by means of theoretical explanation. At this time I will not go beyond what I have just stated.
What I call width has some immediate connection with the Formless Self. For now, however, let me put aside the question of this connection and, about the width dimension, simply say that it is being liberated from the egoism of nation states or races, expanding it to the entirety of the human race, and thus standing on a perspective of brotherly love for all humanity, while still paying due respect to the particularity of all nations and races. That is the problem (p. 12) of width. Of course this comes to be the problem of the relationship between the whole and the individual.
Length, the direct meaning of which is chronological, of course also includes spatial extension as well. Length, then, means forming history on the basis of the other two dimensions of man's being. Therefore, this kind of length comes to have a different meaning than history in the ordinary sense of the term, because it is length which issues from the first and the second perspective, depth and width. In other words -- speaking from the point of self -- the self reaches its depths, from out of which it moves in width or extension. It is this kind of extension, as extensive as to cover the whole humankind which forms history, that I mean by length. To summarize then, length means living the life of history while transcending history. However, it is only when one is free -- even while constantly forming history -- not only from what has been formed but also even from the work of formation itself that we can speak of forming history while transcending history.
Religion is varied in its actual forms, but I think true religion ought to be something that is possessed of the above structure. Therefore, such religion is not a mere religion; it comes to mean history as well as religion, or religion as well as history. In the aspect of its transcending history it is religion, whereas in its aspect of formation, it is history. In history as ordinarily understood, however, the aspect of transcendence is not thoroughgoing. Of course, relatively one could speak of the possibilities of such an aspect, but not in the ultimate sense.
Religion must of necessity have the meaning of transcending history. But when people speak of transcendence, I think that in most cases they believe that religion transcends what we ordinarily call history so as to cross it transversely. By crossing I mean that religious time of a completely different order from historical time intersects the latter. The intersection itself is actual time, according to this way of thinking. This actual time is the present of religious time; the part before it crosses the present is the past; the part after the crossing is the future. Certainly I do not assert this kind of religious time which crosses historical time to be the true religious time. But this way of thinking is what people usually have in religion.
In Buddhism, for example, we see such a way of thinking. The Buddhists' so-called "three lives" are never the past, present, and future of historical time. (p. 14) They are rather the time originating from somewhere completely beyond history and entering this human world of history, which, after entering, finishes and leaves the actual historical time. They consider this actual historical time to be the present life, the part before entering it the previous life, and the part after leaving it the coming life. In religion such a form of time is established ideationally, and this seems to have its own reason. It is a necessary result of an idea that a Buddhaland or a Pure Land cannot be sought within this actual, historical world of man. When people consider man's originally being a Buddha on the basis of such religious time, they may naturally think of the original Buddhahood in the previous life. On the other hand, they naturally think of attaining rebirth in the Pure Land as a matter of a future life in the course of religious time. Therefore, in religion, apart from what we nowadays call the world of history, we must acknowledge this form of time to be the regular notion.
However, is such a form of time to be accepted as the ultimate nature of time? Is it not a mere postulate or a rationally deducted conclusion? One may possibly conceive of such time by analogy with the causal relationships which are established in historical time. Or it might be that such time was actually separately established, and that then its relationship with historical time was elaborated. In any case, however, such religious time never coincides with historical time; and religion of this kind is isolated and is an escape from the actualities of life. For example, if becoming a Buddha or having rebirth in the Pure Land is a matter of a future life, since it occurs after this actual time in which we live is completely terminated, that is, in the future after death, then to attain it would be absolutely impossible. If attainment be in the future after death, then the religious world cannot but be isolated from the actual world, and this latter will consequently be left behind by religion. This is far from convincing to us. Religious time ought necessarily to be what coincides with historical time. I do not think that religious time is established in its relation to historical time by crossing the latter. I rather think that historical time is established with religious time as its fundamental subject. In other words, with Formless Self, or Self without form, as its basis and fundamental subject, historical time is established. Therefore, the length dimension, as I mentioned above, comes to mean a Supra-historical formation of history, a Supra-historical living of history.
II The raison dfêtre of Religion
As I have mentioned above, I am considering the problem of man from the three aspects of depth, width, and length, through which I hope to solve various problems. Here I should like first of all, to consider the first, that is, the aspect of depth, that is, to probe deeply into man's self-awareness. This will be seen to have a connection with the problem of death and sin. While I have taken a keen interest in religion both scientifically and practically, for me the problem of depth has been the problem of religion.
Since there are various kinds, or forms, of religion, it may be dogmatism to take up only one kind or form from among them and call it religion. On the other hand, to look upon all those which are called religion as religion would not be very convincing. Some of them appear to be far from deserving to be so called, often, it must be said, with some reason. One cannot affirm everything that is called religion, although it is not easy to say which to deny. According to the positivistic approach to the history of religion or the science of religion, one must study as many forms of religion as possible, affirming them all to be religion. In such a case the problem of which religion is genuine and which not is not considered. However, when we concern ourselves with the various forms of religion, we really cannot help making judgments and evaluations about them. That is, one must investigate whether or not this or that particular form is a developed religion or a primitive one, and, going one step further, examine whether or not it is really religion.
Especially when one seeks to enter religion, that is, when one wishes to "seek the Way," which religion one should choose should not be a matter of each person's merely subjective opinion. This, the most important problem, is an objective one. Taking a false step in this regard will lead one into serious difficulties. Therefore, for those who seek religion, what true religion is should be a matter of greatest concern. Further, besides the problem of what religion one should seek, problems such as the objective value religion has for us and the raison dfêtre of religion become very important. Those who can feel satisfied with their own firm, subjective belief in some religion may feel themselves safe. However, to seekers of the Way in modern times who are very critical, and who refuse to be persuaded by anything that lacks objectivity, (p. 16) the problem, the true religion that has its own reason, is really a grave matter that can hardly be left unattended.
For me also, as one who seeks religion, if the religion were without a raison dfêtre not merely for me as an individual but for man per se, I would not be able to have a firm commitment to that religion. I would readily relinquish it. Should one want to preserve religion and feel obliged to find out some reason for it, that kind of preoccupation would stand in the way, and one might come to defend religion without reason. This would actually mean one's defending some already established particular form of religion. Looking at the matter from the viewpoint of a free man -- who feels no need to defend religion -- I go so far as to think that if religion has no raison dfêtre at all for man per se, it has nothing to do with us.
Where in man does one find the "moment" whereby he needs religion? Where in mankind -- not in a particular individual -- does one find the reason that religion must exist? This is a very grave concern for me. Only when it is settled, can we say that religion has a raison dfêtre for any and all persons. Or rather we had better say that we can call religion that which has such a raison dfêtre. If it has such a raison dfêtre and hence must of necessity exist for man, then it can be called true religion. To tell the truth, that is a very difficult problem. Is there any reason at all why religion ought to exist for man? In other words the problem is: Where in man does one find the "moment" which prevents man from remaining merely man? Where is the objective reason for which man cannot abide at ease with merely being man? If one can find any such objective reason, then one will be sure that man cannot remain a merely ordinary man, that man cannot help going beyond that, and that at this point religion is established objectively and reasonably. In conclusion the problem will be, whether or not man can ever remain simply man.
As for ways of thinking about man, there are many, needless to say, wherein both man and transcending man are spoken of; but it is not clear what kind of man is transcended and in what manner. Inquiring into the problem of what man is is extremely difficult, hardly to be settled easily. However, in our present times, in the modern age of uneasiness in which we stand, perhaps we can say this: When one speaks of transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world, Theonomous men such as those of medieval faith can no longer be called modern men. Let me use the term "Theonomy" here to characterize the medi-(p. 17)eval type of faith which finds its ultimate shelter in the divine law. Certainly it is not that there is no reason for the existence of Theonomy. But in modern times, and in the present age which is its vanguard, man has gotten rid of the kind of man that lives according to such Theonomy. Man has become autonomous. Even more clearly then, types of religion which precede Theonomous religion, such as animism and fetishism, certainly belong to the past, and have no raison dfêtre today. If one calls them religion, it is only by name; they cannot be living religions with their own raison dfêtre. Concerning religions of the medieval type I cannot afford now to go into detail, but since modern man's autonomous self-awareness has become central, even though such religions exist today, they cannot truly be called present-age religion. Religions of the medieval type have lost their raison dfêtre, and have already died out or are dying. Anyway, I believe that in the present age when man is awake as autonomous man, the medieval type religions can no longer continue to exist, and are going to die out. Even though medieval type religions survive today, this is an age when autonomous man's self-awareness is the subject. In other words, the present age is the age of humanism. If one calls religions of the medieval type theism, the self-awareness of today's autonomous man is humanism. Further, this autonomy is not narrow intellectualism; it is rationalism in a broader sense. Today's man, therefore, is a rational man in the broad sense of the term who overcomes bondage to the senses through Reason. Such men of reason, we can in a sense say, are engaged today in forming the world.
Today is an age when the man with humanism or humanistic idealism is coming into control of things, and he will continue to do so in the future. In this regard, we can say that the fields where such humanistic activity is assumed are distinctly realized as science, morality, and art, and that the development or advancement of such fields has become the matter of concern. All this apparently leaves no room for the standpoint of religion, which is spoken of as transcending reason. Even if from the "humanistic" standpoint one may speak of transcending man, one speaks so not from the standpoint of religious faith, but from that of reason. By this I mean that that which transcends man, although not yet actualized, cannot but be thought of as the ultimate of reason, like Idea. Here is a way of life in which, while rationally approving of the transcendent nature of Idea, one goes on working toward (p. 18) its actualization. Thus, to regard as religion the way of life which is considered ultimate as regards the relation between actual life and its ideal -- this can be called the standpoint of "idealistic humanism."
From such a standpoint, however, even if one speaks of religion or faith, the world of such religion or faith becomes only relatively actualized, and will never absolutely become actual. Rather in its never absolutely becoming actual history is thought to be established. Do we not here find the reason why the present age does not find satisfaction with itself? The ideal world is after all never actualized, and the actual world is the one that constantly suffers from the tantalizing glitter of the ideal.
However, it ought to be asked here whether or not this faith or religion of humanism can establish itself firmly. I mean, I should like to consider whether or not the very hope of attaining of such an Idea, or being resigned to its unattainability, has any validity at all. This will also serve as criticism of humanism itself, so that it will become criticism of the religion that is established on the ground of humanism. Where can we find the reason why the standpoint of "reason" ultimately becomes untenable?
Our problem now focuses itself upon that of the "moment" in man which necessarily leads him to religion. I should like to clarify this by considering it in relation to the problems of sin and death.
III The Religious Moment in Man
In religion -- not primitive ones, but those established out of a highly developed awareness of human nature -- what moment in man is regarded as leading him to religion? In many cases, death and sin. Christianity regards Original Sin as the moment in man which keeps him from remaining man, and which inevitably leads him to religion. Besides, since it is called "original" sin, it is the basic sin, and is considered to indicate something different from ordinary sin. Today, however, for us who attempt to understand original sin, the myth which attributes it to Adam and Eve is completely unacceptable. Therefore, such a myth cannot but be interpreted differently, perhaps, as a symbol. Never can it be accepted literally.
Perhaps there may still be people who accept it as it has been accepted, and in the Middle Ages it may have been sincerely taken literally on faith. Theirs is, however, pre-modern faith, which is unbelievable for modern man. For (p. 19) modern morality, it is unthinkable in terms of individual responsibility that the burden of the sin thus committed by man's ancestors should be borne even today by their descendants. And yet in its emphasis of sin where not only particular individuals but all human beings are guilty, it is considered to have universality.
A direct confrontation with sin is found not only in Christianity but in Buddhism as well, and there too it is seen as a religious "moment" in man. In Buddhism, among various schools, the Jodoshin (True Pure Land) school emphasizes contemplation upon man's sinfulness, considering sin as an important religious "moment" in man. Not only in the Jodoshin school, however, but in Buddhism at large sin is considered to be a religious "moment" of man. Therefore, we can say that sin is regarded as a very important "moment" which leads man to religion.
Besides sin, especially in Buddhism, death is considered to be the other, equally important religious "moment" in man. Death, in this case, first means physical death. Certainly one cannot abstractly think that physical death is all that death means; it includes mental death. In any case, when death is said to be a religious moment, it is also called into question. In Christianity, death may not be given as much weight as sin, but it cannot be supposed to have been neglected.
These two, sin and death, which ordinarily are separately considered, since they are each spoken of as the single or the grave "moment" for religion, can both be said to be the inevitable for man, and to point up man's limitation. In other words, when the moment for religion in man is said to be sin and death, this means that sin and death constitute man's limitation, and that they are what man can never overcome. We ourselves face death. There is no one who does not die. Death is negation of life; no man or no living being can overcome it. The same is true of sin. No man can escape or overcome it. We must first separately take them up to consider what each means.
The terms sin and death are taken in various ways. They have a variety of meanings and can never be defined in any single way. However, when one speaks of sin, ordinarily one is likely to think of the term in its moral sense. When there is some sin committed in the moral sense, it is natural to think about avoiding sin. From the standpoint of morality, one must take the direction of overcoming sin. Getting free from sin or overcoming sin can be (p. 20) achieved only by the moral conduct necessary to overcome sin, not by anything else. Sin, from a moral perspective, must always be overcome by moral means. However, morally speaking, one can only be negative about the possibility of completely overcoming sin. In other words, moral strength is like the limitation of idealism. Although, relatively, one can overcome each single sin, one can never get rid of sin itself, no matter how long one may try.
Ordinarily sin may be considered to belong exclusively to morality. But when we consider it well, we come to wonder whether we can limit sin to morality alone. I rather think that sin exists in science and art as well, and not just in morality. Certainly it is not of a moral type, but just as we have evil against good, we have falsity against truth, ugliness against beauty, and defilement against purity. Even if we could get rid of sin in a moral sense, we could not be free from beauty versus ugliness in the world of art, or truth vs. falsity in the world of science. Therefore, sin ought to be extended to include the problem of reason per se.
To summarize in a general manner, the concept of sin ought to be extended far enough to the kind of sin which consists in between being rational and being irrational. Meanwhile, the opposition of rational and irrational is basic to the structure of reason, so that to remove what is irrational and to leave behind only what is rational is, one must say, impossible. This becomes clear when one considers the structure of reason itself. For this reason, getting free from sin or being redeemed from sin is, speaking from the standpoint of reason, impossible.
However, by this I do not mean any impossibility of removing what is irrational in the process of rationalization. In the process one must promote individual rationalization, and in this respect reason has its own life. It is not that difficulties met with in the process make it impossible to be liberated from sin in the broader sense of the term as indicated above. I mean rather that the impossibility of being freed from sin is indubitably based on the structure of reason itself.
Distinguishing the basic contradiction, dilemma, or antinomy which is considered to exist in the structure of reason from the relative contradiction, dilemma, or antinomy which reveals itself in the process of rational activity, we will deal with the former, which is the antinomy inherent in reason itself. This (p. 21) more basic antinomy is an ultimate one which concerns the structure of reason, and, as such, is the ultimate antinomy.
The antinomy in the process of rational activity cannot but be of a relative nature; it cannot be ultimate. Distinguished from that, the basic, ultimate antinomy is no other than the fatal limitation of reason. Here we see the extremity-situation of reason itself. Here we see the ultimacy of sin. In other words, it is here that sin is said to be the unavoidable limitation of man.
This is especially the limitation of modern man who today depends on the standpoint of reason. Even though he has this in the depths of his own being, he is not aware of it himself and so continues to rely on this antinomic standpoint. Herein, fundamentally, lies the direction of history in modern times and also the direction of human life. It is in this light that I interpret the easy-going nature of human life in the modern world or in modern history. To think that by relying on the standpoint of reason we can dissolve sin is to consider possible what is really impossible.
Only when sin is seen to be such as I have been explaining, does it become the sin of man which covers the whole field of man; and unlike ordinary transgression, it comes to mean the root of all sins. In other words, sin arises because man has ultimate antinomy in the very structure of his being. Insofar as the basic antinomy is not solved, we are fated never to be redeemed from sin. In this sense, I feel that so-called original sin really does exist (although its myth is far from being convincing to us today). This original sin is that which no one has been able to escape since man's beginnings -- by which I mean since man became highly developed. To remain unaware of this would be nothing but religious ignorance -- although ordinarily few will refer to this as religious. This is man's most basic kind of ignorance. If one should look for man's darkest spot, perhaps this would be the place to look. Man's fate, the deep chasm from which he cannot escape, the abyss of man, lies there.
Realizing this kind of sin differs from the case in which I get obsessed with the idea of my sinfulness because someone else tells me I am guilty. It also differs from the case in which one categorizes each individual transgression and considers it to be extremely wicked. A question from which we cannot escape is, what makes so-called extreme wickedness possible? When we speak of original sin, which aspect of man do we point to? No mere dogma or doctrine or words -- arrogant as it might sound to speak thus -- attributedeither to (p. 22) Shakyamuni or Jesus Christ or anyone else, would ever convince me that I have committed original sin. In this very respect one might well insist that I have karma accumulated from previous lives or that I have the stains of original sin on my soul. However, I have never been ashamed or worried that I might have such karma accumulation or effects of original sin. I rather think that because I am affected thus the real situation of man becomes apparent and, far from feeling penitent, I take delight in it.
It seems that ordinarily people emphasize relative guilt out of some sentimentality, and taking it as categorical or ultimate feel themselves to be sinful or ultimately guilty. The feeling of being unable to keep on living as well as nihilistic feelings, in ordinary cases, proves, upon careful examination, to be only of a relative nature. Situations in which one is really and ultimately nihilistic will prove rarely to exist if one calmly investigates them rationally. Nowadays, there are said to be a great number of suicides. But there does not seem to be any distinct reason which may have made these suicides inevitable. In most cases relative reasons given too much emphasis seem to have brought them on.
I wonder, however, whether we can approve of such a situation. To say on such grounds that man is nothing merely reflects a very shallow understanding. Man is said to be nothing. But where should we locate this nothingness? Today people often speak of nihilism, but the basis for that, in my view, is simply in the ultimate antinomy of man. I believe that it is in this ultimate antinomy that the ground for ultimate negation of man is found. I would rather speak of the ultimate antinomy as sin than say that sin constitutes antinomy. That is the way I should like to define original sin. For all the various ways of understanding sin, I should like to think that inevitably all of them stem from this ultimate antinomy.
In Buddhism it is said that man does not enter religion only because of the "moment" of sin. For it is said that, apart from sin, there exists the "moment" of death. If sin is spoken of not in its ordinary sense but according to the above interpretation, then our next problem is how we should think of death in a manner similar to our treatment of sin. I need not mention here that when one speaks of hating death one has hope in life, and this indicates that death is inseparable from life. There is no death as such alone; death, after all, is not to (p. 23) be separated from life. It is death as the other side of life. In this sense, one must say that death is invariably of the life-death nature.
From the viewpoint that death is unfailingly of life-death nature, it must be said that there is no life apart from the life of life-death nature. Life of the life-death nature cannot possibly acquire a life which has the nature of life alone. In other words, for life of the life-death nature it may be possible to relatively overcome death but is ultimately impossible to do so. This is true because at the bottom of life there exists the antinomy of life vs. death. It is only in the case of ordinary life that living or dying can become a question. According to my view, one should fear not death but life-death. Then our sharing in the life-death nature comes to be the basic problem of our life. In other words, our life stands on the basis of the ultimate antinomy of being at once life and death. Therefore, the meaning of death ought to be deepened to the extent that not mere death against life but the very being life-death is death.
Besides, this life-death nature can be spoken of in relation to all living beings, that is, in relation to all that which is alive. In this case life-death means origination-extinction, which is not necessarily limited to man's life-death.
The term origination-extinction is an all-inclusive one. It applies to man as well as to everything else. However, we must extend the content much further than life-death or origination-extinction, and bring it to the very point of existence-nonexistence. In other words, it comes to mean the life-death of man's life in its being-nonbeing or in its existence-nonexistence. Therefore, if one speaks of getting rid of death as redemption from mere death, he is not very exact in his way of expression. Rather it should be getting rid of the life-death nature.
Consequently as regards death, one must say that the very ultimate antinomy life-death is death. This is what I consider to be ultimate death or ultimate extinction. This is what is called Great Death in Chan (Zen, in Japanese). Ultimate death, which can also be called ultimate negation, is evidently not any mental negation as an abstract idea; it ought necessarily to be fundamentally subjective.
VI Sin and Death as Inseparable, and Emancipation
As I have mentioned above, by sin I think we should mean the ultimate antinomy rational-irrational, which is found in the structure of reason. Nothing else, I should like to say, is the real, ultimate sin. As for death also, it is nothing but the ultimate antinomy existence-nonexistence, which lies at the bottom of life, and which I consider to be ultimate death. That is how I should like to interpret sin and death; or rather, extreme though it may sound, I think that is the way they really are. They ought to be so; they cannot but be so. In Buddhism, in the case when death is said to be the "moment" for religion in man, if the death is to be man's extremity-situation, it ought to be deepened to the kind of death I am referring to. The interpretation of sin also ought to be as thoroughgoing as the one which I have outlined above.
In the above I have mentioned separately the ultimate antinomy of life-death and that of the rational-irrational. This may have made them appear separate from and unrelated to each other. But the truth is that these two cases of ultimate antinomy are never two in us; in the concrete, actual man they are one. The ultimate antinomy of life-death and that of the rational-irrational are not separable from one another; they are indivisible. To take up either life-death or the rational-irrational alone, apart from the other, is evidently an abstract matter. In their concrete reality these two are one; there is never one apart from the other. To ask why the ultimate antinomy of life-death becomes pain or suffering in us is already a question based on the judgment of reason. Not only because one feels that pain is detestable but also because one judges that it is to be detested, does liberation from pain come to be a problem that is really objective. Further, sin without a sinner is a mere idea; the concrete man who lives to die is the sinner.
Such ultimate antinomy really pressing upon us is the true "moment" of religion. A death or a sin which one can look upon is an abstract one, a mere object of thought. We are confronted by ultimate death, ultimate sin. This ultimate antinomy is the very self-awareness in which existence and value are one; it is not anything to be known externally. It is original to man; it is at once my way of being and that of all human beings
The "moment" of religion for man ultimately lies here. And any kind of religion should be brought home here, should be pursued to this depth. As (p. 25) for relative religious moments in man, there may be a variety of them. It is only when one goes from relative moments to the ultimate moment that there prevails the ultimate antinomy which is fundamentally subjective. It is there that there obtains the true religious "moment." This is so, I believe, whether we know it or not.
In Buddhism when one speaks of sin, one calls into question not only evil or sin but the three antinomies: good-evil, right-wrong, and pure-defiled. Again since death is ultimately of life-death nature, and since liberation from death is liberation from life-and-death, Buddhism regards the kind of ultimate antinomy which I refer to as the "moment" for religion. Further, in Buddhism, when one speaks of the liberated state of man, liberation from origination-extinction is also called "nonorigination-nonextinction," "No-birth-No-death," "birth-and-death as one truth" and so on. Freedom from discrimination of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, pure vs. defiled, is called "No-good-No-evil," "true-and-false as one truth," "pure-and-defiled as non-duality," and so forth. Here that which has been liberated from the moment of ultimate death, ultimate sin, is considered to be man's true way of being. As remarked by the Sixth Patriarch of Chan in China2 :"When you do not think of good or evil, ... your original face at the very time." Through and through this is a case of the Not-thinking-either-of-good-or-evil. Also, in the expression by the Sixth Patriarch3: "The face that you had before your parents gave you birth." The self prior to birth from one's parents means the Self without the life-death nature. Such a question the Sixth Patriarch posed to a monk, saying, "At the very time you do not think of good or evil, please give back to me the Face that you had before your parents gave birth to you." This constitutes the basic task of man. Without the solution to this problem one cannot help falling into anxiety and desperation.
Similar expressions are found abundantly among the Chan gon'an (koan). Such a problem, which has become one with the person who wrestles with it is the "great doubting-mass" (dayituan; daigidan) i.e., the self as ultimate negation. Here my (p. 26) whole body and whole mind is one as fundamental subject. Such a basic "great doubting-mass" is itself the ultimate antinomy. Although ordinary doubts are intellectual, this "great doubting-mass," despite the intellectual term "doubting," is no mere intellectual doubt. It means something total, in which emotional anguish and volitional dilemma, as well as intellectual doubting, are one fundamental subject.
In this regard, the "great doubting-mass" completely differs quantitatively and qualitatively from the "doubt" in Descartes' de omnibus dubitandum ("Concerning the necessity of doubting everything"), which served as an important moment in the change from the Middle Ages to modern times. The "great doubting-mass" is all-inclusive, total, and ultimately and radically subjective. Here, what is being doubted is the very doubter himself, and the one who doubts is that which is doubted; there is no distinction between that which acts and that which is acted on, between subject and object. This is the one great mass of doubt to which all the doubts are reduced and upon which all the doubtings are based. Therefore, clearly enough, this is far from something like a sum total of possible particular doubts.
In Chan from very early days there has been a term "great doubt" (dayi; daigi). In my view the "great doubt" of Chan ought to be what I mean by the "great doubting-mass." If the "great doubt" of Chan were to mean, as it has tended to be mistaken in the tradition of Chan koan heretofore, a doubt or a koan which concerns some particular, individual thing or matter, we must say that it would be unworthy of being called the great doubt. As for the well-known koan of Zhaozhou's "Wu" ("Mu"; "Nothing"), which is presented as the first case of the Wumenguan4, even if the koan becomes, as Venerable Wumen said, "the doubting-mass (given rise (p. 27) to) with your whole being," should it remain a particular doubting-mass, it could never be called "great doubting-mass." Insofar as it is not great doubting-mass, even when it is broken through and awakening opens up, it would be no more than particular awareness which has form; it could never be called Great Awakening or Awaking-Mass, which, Linji said5, "Without any form, penetrates throughout the ten directions and right now is working in your presence." Because the doubt is exhaustively thoroughgoing, totally single, and fundamentally subjective, the Awakening also can be exhaustively total and fundamentally subjective.
For the overcoming of this doubting-mass, the bottom of man ought to be broken through. The way of breaking through it is only this -- to be awakened (p. 28) to the True Self, the self in whom the doubting-mass is resolved. Here is a leap. The self in ultimate antinomy cannot become the True Self with continuity. Only when the self which is ultimately antinomic breaks up, does the Self of Oneness awake to itself.
Therefore, we must say that there is a leap, a discontinuity. However, this does not mean that one is saved by someone else or that redemption comes from God or Buddha. The self of life-death nature breaking up and becoming the Self without life-death means that the self of life-death nature becomes awakened to its original Self. In this sense the Self without life-death has continuity with the self of life-death nature. In this Self-awakening, like between the doubter and the doubted, there is no separation between the awakened and what one is awakened to. While the doubting-mass breaks and the True Self is awakened to, the former is related to the latter in a very special manner as the darkness of night which is dark through and through is to the brightness which prevails after sunrise.
By the True Self I mean the Self that is not the ordinary self, the Self that has become free, in the true sense of the term, from death and sin, the Self that is not limited by either time or space, the Self that is empty and nothing – Formless Self, Egoless Self –.
The leap from the ordinary self to the True Self, however, is no mere leap. A special method is established there. Through its application, I believe the theological dispute between the Swiss theologians Emil Brunner (1889-1964) and Karl Barth (1886-1968) also can be solved6. The method I refer to is (p. 29) the Self-awakening in no other sense than getting awakened to the True Self. It is not the heteronomous-Theonomous method, which has completely gone beyond the limitation of autonomy. Rather, it is the method of establishing the Self on the basis of criticizing modern autonomy.
Besides, since this is the original way of being for us human beings, it can be effected no matter where, when, and for whom. Being formless itself, it takes every form and is free. While rationally ultimate freedom is one thing and ultimate freedom as fundamental subject the other, the latter, which may also be called the standpoint of Existence, since it has no form, is Nothingness. This Nothingness is no mere logical negation but the way of being of the Self that comes breaking out through the bottom of ultimate antinomy. This is fundamental subject in the sense that only from this does infinite positiveness arise. Although referred to as fundamental subject, this is not any particular, limited being, but Reality as the most basic, Self-awaking being, emancipated and redeemed.
Moreover, this being redeemed is the very way-of-being of the Self, not a mere feeling or a state of consciousness. This Self may well be called Creator because God or Buddha exists not outside but inside the Self and because it is present. In our being this kind of Self we are all equal. It is not that in the presence of an external God we are equal, which would be heteronomy. We all have the Buddha-nature; we are originally the Buddha, as it is said:
"All beings are of the Buddha-nature."7
"Every sentient being is originally the Buddha."8
In this respect human beings are all equal. This is the field of "width," the standpoint of all humankind.
As I have initially mentioned, it ought to be that in the point of depth we become the True Self, emancipated from the ultimate antinomy of sin and death, that in the point of width we solve various problems from the standpoint of brotherly love of humankind, and that in the point of length, i.e., history, the Self of No life-death nature goes on living in the midst of life-and-death, forming history while transcending it.
Part II: Redemption
I What is Redemption?
SO-CALLED "redemption" is of various kinds and different levels. The question I should like to consider is, What kind or what level of redemption should we regard as ultimate? The problem will be, Who is redeemed from what and how is he redeemed? There is no doubt that it is I who am to be saved. This does not mean that I am the only one to be saved. It should be that when I am saved all human beings are saved at the same time.
As it is said in Buddhism, "In both self-benefit and benefiting others lies the perfection of Awakening and practice."9 One's own redemption is not everything, for that cannot be considered true redemption. Instead of being merely subjective and individual, true redemption ought to have an objective validity applicable to any person. Otherwise, as redemption, the saying "In both self-benefit and benefiting others lies the perfection of Awakening and practice" would not apply to it.
Next, a way of thinking which looks upon a particular god as savior cannot lead to true redemption. Redemption ought to be equally available to all persons. A manner of redemption in which some particular savior saves some particular person can never lead to the true redemption of all human beings. Belief in the existence of a particular savior is a shortcoming peculiar to theism.
Buddhism affords an example of the kind of redemption at which we aim, redemption that is realized on the standpoint of equality. Although Buddhism includes differing viewpoints, from the ultimate standpoint of Buddhism, the savior is not different from the saved. Where is the basis for this deliverance (p. 38) which is thoroughly and equally available to all human beings, with no distinction between the savior and the saved ?
According to Buddhism, redemption is already present in every person. Sentient beings are, without exception, originally saved. This is the standpoint of Buddhism. From the viewpoint of those not yet saved, Buddhism holds that sentient beings must all be saved. This is expressed most clearly in the Buddhist expression, "All beings are of the Buddha (i.e., Awakened) nature." This means that redemption is not what one is given from outside, that is, a favor by external blessing in the form of revelation from Heaven or of Grace. Rather, all sentient beings originally have the Buddha-nature.
It is Buddhism's view that, although at present sentient beings are not yet awake to their Buddha-nature, it is nevertheless true that they are the Buddha, without any distinction between the savior and the saved. This means that the ground for man's redemption is basically inherent in him. Its presence is the basic or ultimate moment in man, which makes his redemption possible.
I do not mean that in Buddhism there is no view which rejects this point and distinguishes the savior from the saved. Such a view, however, is not Buddhism's basic principle. It is of only secondary or tertiary importance. It is because of this equality of the savior and the saved that we can actually hope for redemption. Unlike the belief that redemption comes only to a particular person or persons, or the belief that redemption comes only from a savior, Buddhism teaches that everyone has the possibility of being saved. The kind of conflict which is seen in the theological dispute between Barth and Brunner does not really exist in Buddhism.
Further, when we consider the person to be saved analytically, we come to the conclusion that his actually not being saved -- by which I mean his not being in his original way of being -- and his being saved should consequently prove to be one. This can be seen from the nondivisibility of the savior and the saved, too. But at the same time one must consider the following matter.
Ordinarily it is thought that when a person is saved a certain conversion takes place whereby the person that existed before redemption is negated to become a saved person. Between the person before redemption and the person after redemption a break is thought to have taken place to sever the continuity. Yet in the case of the unsaved becoming saved, real redemption does not (p. 39) really result from a break, in which the unsaved person completely disappears and a saved person appears in his place. Unless there is continuity, there will not be a point at which the unsaved becomes saved. Therefore, although certainly there must be a negation of the unsaved, the question arises in what respect he is negated, or rather, what is negated, and what it is that remains. That is, it is the problem of where continuity really takes place and where discontinuity really exists. Speaking from the standpoint of "awaking to the True Self," the True Self constitutes the aspect of continuity. Continuity exists in the sense that the True Self is inherent in the unsaved.
The True Self exists within the unsaved person in the sense that, though unsaved, one has the possibility of being saved and as a matter of fact is saved. From the viewpoint of the unsaved, therefore, the True Self has not yet manifested itself. Consequently, the problem of redemption becomes the relation between the true way of being and the untrue way of being. In other words, although the Buddha-nature or the True Self actually manifests itself on our sensations and consciousness, when one is not in the true way of being one is not awakened to it. When one becomes awakened to it, a relationship of continuity is established by which the unsaved becomes the saved. In other words, redemption comes to mean that the True Self awakens within us, or that we are awakened to the True Self. By our getting awakened to the True Self, we become saved.
It can thus be said that one who has been considered unsaved is in truth already saved. In this sense the notion of not being saved is actually false and being saved is true. For upon getting awakened to our True Self, we can see why we are originally saved. Here we must consider the problem of truth and falsity. Some religions consider the actual human beings are unsaved, that the unsaved human beings are in their true mode of being, and that redemption means going beyond that way of being. Such religions, then, must always expect redemption to depend upon some absolutely "other" power. When one supposes that man is originally sinful, or of life-death nature, redemption cannot but depend on what is "other" to man. Christianity holds this view, and in Buddhism as well, such a notion is not entirely lacking.
But that is not what I mean by redemption. By redemption I mean that human beings are "originally" saved, that they are originally the Buddha or "truly as they are" (tathata; zhenru; shinnyo). Here lies the great difference. Primarily in (p. 40) Buddhism it is not the sinful, life-death way of being but the no life-death, no-good and no-evil way of being that is genuinely original. Here the term "originally," should not be taken in the ordinary sense such as found in the ethical doctrine that man's inborn nature is good. The categories of good and evil cannot be applied to it. It is often thought that while the Buddha-nature is inherent in us, as we live our day-to-day existence, we are completely different from it. In other words, by "inherence" people often mean immanent transcendence, so that with them the Buddha-nature, immanent as it is, is far removed from the actualities of life. However, immanence is not the true way of the Buddha-nature. The Buddha-nature is neither transcendent nor in the ordinary sense, actual. It is the constantly awaking, ultimate present. The awakened is the true Buddha-nature; the immanent is not yet the true Buddha-nature. Therefore, redemption points, more than anything else, to the presence of the saved. It is not a matter of either the future or the past. One's being saved at the present time is the true way of redemption.
But as I have mentioned, I do not mean by this the presence of the saved on the basis of the existence of the savior and the saved. Redemption here means the present which is without either the savior or the saved. This I should like to call "awaking to the original Self."
Often the oneness of the savior and the saved is understood in a mystic way as the union of the divine and the human. In this view the divine exists and then we empty ourselves and become unified with the divine that exists on the "other side." That is one way of union. With mystics, that is usually the case. But not with all mystics. For example, what of Eckhart (1260-1327) ?
Eckhart from the Christian viewpoint is interpreted to mean that God, as an absolute Other, exists, and that man, emptying himself, is unified with Him. Buddhism also has a mode of inner contemplation, according to which there is an objective immanent Buddha, and the contemplator attains unity with it by emptying himself. But I do not think this is Buddhism. The unity between the Buddha and the ordinary being, or the non-duality between the sentient being and the Buddha, exists nowhere else than in awaking to the True Self. In this unity or non-duality, there is no Buddha to be recognized as Buddha, no human to be recognized as human, neither savior nor saved. True redemption exists not where one commits himself to the savior, but where neither the savior nor the saved exist.
(p. 41) In that sense, redemption means Awakening -- awakening to the True Self. In Buddhism, the only religious activity thinkable is the religious activity of "Awakening." I should like to characterize Buddhism not as a faith, nor as a way of contemplation, nor as the union of the divine and the human, but as Awakening. In that sense, the "Buddha" comes to be the "Self." That I am the Buddha and the Buddha is me does not mean emptying myself to become one with the Buddha. It means that he who is awakened to the original Self is the Buddha.
This is a subtle point. When we are truly saved, our way of being ought to be that of the awakened, that is, of the Buddha. This becomes clear when we dig thoroughly and unreservedly into our true redemption. Buddhism in its primary principle has always been in that way. Buddhism is only one example of this to be found in the past. Shakyamuni's attainment of Awakening also is but one example of it. Because Shakyamuni attained that kind of awakening, he is regarded as a Buddha. Since there is his example, we naturally feel familiarity with it, and go on shielding and sustaining it. I am not speaking out of arrogance; I am presenting a way of thinking in which the natural flow of things is like that. So much for the problem of who is saved.
II Value and Anti-value
Now I should like to take up the questions, From what and how is one saved? The first, from what is one saved, also becomes the question of the ground for the objective validity of religion. In other words, it is the question of why it is necessary for man to be saved. That is, where does the objective and valid ground for religious redemption lie? Unless this becomes truly clear, the raison dfêtre of religion in man will not become clear. If the raison dfêtre of religion is not clarified, we shall not see any objective or valid reason for our religious practice or religious undertakings. Therefore, this is a very important problem for religion. Nevertheless, it has not been squarely grappled with and so I have been attempting to give it proper consideration.
There seems to be a variety of worries from which we ought to be saved. But now the problem is, what worries can be called religious worries. The nature of most of the worries man suffers from would seem to be relative rather than ultimate. Sometimes one has what seem to be ultimate worries, but upon careful scrutiny they tend to prove to be a subjective raising of relative worries (p. 42) to the level of ultimate worries or else relative worries given undue emphasis. What, in fact, are the truly ultimate worries? What are the worries from which one can never be delivered? If religion is deliverance, not from relative worries, but from ultimate ones, or ultimate deliverance from all worries, where in man do the ultimate worries lie? We must look carefully into this.
I would conclude that ultimate worries derive from the following two which constitute man's actual way of being. That is, first, man is a being involved with values; and second, at the same time, man is a conditioned, time-space being. As long as we continue to be involved with values, our worries will never be exhausted. And man is a being involved with sense values and rational values. Our values begin with sense values and proceed to rational ones. That is, man's life based on value proceeds from a life of sense values toward a life of rational values. But when one leads a life based on rational values, the opposition of rational and irrational never ends.
This opposition is the basic "moment" of rational life, and its coming to an end will after all mean the negation of rational life. Needless to say, in the rational life these two opposites will never cease to exist. The irrational being overcome by the rational and transformed into the rational is the direction of rational life. Therefore, worries in the rational life lie in the never-ending opposition of these two. The worries of rational life are overcome, that is, we are delivered from them, after all, when the rational has exhaustively overcome the irrational. It is the ultimate of rational life that the irrational be completely exhausted and the purely rational alone remain.
It is only then that we could say our worries have completely ceased to exist. Therefore, when one considers the validity of his rational way of life and goes on living on that basis, the exhaustion of worries is thinkable only when the rational has overcome the irrational. Although worries from senses always haunt human life, life based only on the senses has a very subjective validity. Objectively it is without foundation. The objective validity which human life is required to have will be impossible in other than the purely rational life just mentioned. In other words, man's worries will not all be dissolved until the irrational is completely overcome. This is what all modern philosophies which base themselves on reason seem to approve of. But the aim of rational life to become purely rational, from the standpoint of rational life, must be said to be contradictory. While rational life inevitably comes to have that kind of ideal, (p. 43) the very having of an ideal must be said to be the contradiction of rational life. Because it is a contradiction, the "purely rational life," although it is something constantly hoped for -- to hope is inevitable to rational life -- can nevertheless never be achieved. It must always remain an eternal "Idea."
This means that worries are never really exhausted, never removed. The wish to find the life which is the most objective and valid for us human beings is thus unrealizable. It is in this unrealizability of rational life that the ultimate worries of human beings today -- the kind of worries to which all the relative worries are reduced -- are considered to exist. In other words, the ground for the ultimate worries, one cannot help believing, lies in the structure of rational life itself. The ground is the contradiction of rational-irrational which is the basic structure of reason, the very contradiction inherent in reason itself. Consequently, in order to be truly delivered from ultimate worries, the resolution of the rational-irrational conflict, which is contained in rational life itself, must be brought out. It must be brought out, however, not in the future as is usually thought to be the case, but at the starting point of rational life. Only then does deliverance from the worries which in rational life can never be resolved become possible.
The worries inherent in reason cannot be resolved in the future of our rational life. Rather at the root of rational life there ought to be a resolution of rational life itself. Here is the reason why the basic criticism of rational life arises -- criticism of the age which regards rational life as the basis of human life, the age which has reason as its fundamental subject. I believe, therefore, that through a criticism of reason, through criticizing rational life itself, there ought to arise an orientation for going beyond rational life. To speak in terms of a historical period of time, there ought to be a change from the modern era which holds reason as its fundamental subject to an era which fundamentally criticizes reason. There ought to be an internal demand not only for a criticism of reason but for a new era which transcends reason or which resolves reason into its source.
In fact, I suspect that the deadlock of rational life is already manifesting itself in various fields, though unperceived. From the point of view of rational life, the "moment" in man which leads him to religion, after all, is considered to exist in the basic contradiction lying at the bottom of this rational life.
III Existence and Non-existence
Although inseparable from this rational life and unthinkable apart from it, our time-space existence, temporarily distinguished from values in rational life, becomes the problem here. We can say that we are at once rational existence and time-space existence. Rational existence and time-space existence, in the concrete human being, can never be separated. They are to the end one body, not two. Without time-space existence, no rational life is possible; without rational life, no time-space existence is possible.
To take up for brief consideration here the question of time-space existence, man cannot avoid being simultaneously both existence and non-existence, both non-existence and existence. Man's being alive means that he has time-space existence; and being alive is never being alive alone. Death, its correlate, necessarily accompanies it. Pure life is impossible. So is pure death. In this sense the time-space existence of man must be said to be of life-death nature. In the life-death type of existence the ideal goal of man's time-space being is thus the attainment of pure life, that is, eternal life. In this regard, man must be said to be always aiming at pure life.
When we consider, however, why life is so desirable to man, we realize that if life should remain mere time-space existence without any value judgment passed upon it, life itself would not be found desirable. Therefore, wherever pure life is desired, a value judgment is already inseparably joined to it. Furthermore, even if life be lived for a hundred, a thousand, or tens of thousands of years, it will never become pure life, because life is inseparably accompanied by death. Pure life is absolutely impossible for humanity.
Although pure life is desired, it must be said to be eternally impossible. In this impossibility there exists the basic affliction of man's existence. The source of affliction of our life lies, after all, in the life-death nature of life. Therefore, this is not a problem to be solved in the future -- as we have seen in the case of value-based life -- no matter how many years that future may extend to. This is the kind of problem which ought to be solved at the very root of life. That means, unless the problem of life-death existence is radically resolved, the problem of life, no matter how long one may strive, can never be solved. Therefore, the direction of its resolution differs from that ordinarily thought to be the correct one. The usual direction of solving the problem of (p. 45) life, the direction of medical science or the like, is that of attempting to solve it on the temporal plane -- sometime in the future. But this is open to radical criticism. Certainly we do proceed, and cannot help proceeding, in the direction of resolving the problem of life on the temporal plane in the future. Yet it is absolutely impossible to completely resolve it by proceeding in that direction. Here we must see a deep criticism of our ordinary attempt to resolve the problem of life.
As I have explained above, in both aspects of value and existence, man contains unsolvable contradictions in himself at the starting point or basis of his life. Besides, in the concrete human being, the two contradictions are found to exist in an indistinguishable, inseparable way. In that sense, they are non-dual contradictions, an absolute, ultimate contradiction. That is, they are considered to be ultimate worries, the moment in man which requires ultimate deliverance.
I am convinced that here and nowhere else lies man's truly fundamental affliction. I do not assert this without giving reasons. My assertion does not come out of dogmatic belief, but out of the reasons I have mentioned. And can we not speak of this affliction as the ultimate antinomy inherent in man? Besides, far from being merely objectively cognized as an ultimate contradiction, that antinomy comes to be experientially and clearly realized by us as our present existence itself. The actual self is such an ultimately antinomic man. Not a merely subjective, individual man, but every man, without exception, is that antinomic man. And that is man's fatal destiny and affliction. It is never phenomenal, relative affliction, but an ontological, ultimate one. And since it is an affliction which goes beyond our handling, we actual humans are driven into a dilemma which we, as we are, cannot in any way solve. Ultimate dilemma and ultimate agony becoming one constitutes what I am. That way of my being, it must be said, is the basic "moment" in me from which I must rid myself.
Today nihilism has come to stand out in relief in various ways, and attempts have been made to consider its "moment." But what is the real "moment" which makes man nihilistic? It can never be sought except in man's ultimately antinomic nature. From this viewpoint we can consider past religions too. Religions which are too superficial to be called religions, very primitive religions, seem to seek their "moment" in a future resolution of the problem of our sense values. In the rational world, however, these religions are doomed (p. 46) to see their "moment" itself suffer criticism and negation. Therefore, for the modern man who lives a rational life, the kind of existence that seeks its moment in the sense world no longer holds good, for it has lost its validity for man.
In basing himself on his rational life, man proceeds in the direction of solving his problems in a thoroughly rational manner. We human beings belonging to a high level of modern culture are going in that direction. So is modern humanism. But religion based on humanism, which is conceived in the process of actualizing humanism, is a religion which eternally believes and postulates that the ultimate ideal aimed at by reason should necessarily be actualized in the future. This is called religion because, although its ultimate goal is destined never to be actualized, it believes that destiny will finally be overcome and its goal finally attained. This may be called a humanistic religion. It may give rational human life a hopeful direction and the strength to live. Without such a belief, rational life cannot but fall into despair. It is a natural postulate of rational life that this kind of religion is in demand as a relief from despair. Immanuel Kant's (1724-1804) exposition of the basis of religion is also to be understood in this way.
Since the above-described relief, a natural postulate though it is, cannot be actualized by man, the natural conclusion is that it must be actualized by some power that goes beyond man. So there comes to be postulated a super-human power to actualize it, or the divine grace of a pre-established harmony. But after all it is nothing but a postulate; it does not know how to deal with the basic contradictions of rational life.
The same is true of the aspect of existence. Despite the various considerations aimed at saving man from death, the destiny of man's time-space existence, after all, remains untouched. Remaining ignorant of this destiny must also be said to be the great tragedy of man. His carrying this insurmountable tragedy within himself and endlessly pursuing the world of empty hope might emotionally furnish some relief. However, speaking realistically, no such emotional relief will do. Since the objectively valid, basic "moment" that necessitates man's redemption from being man is the ultimate antinomy, there is no ultimate redemption without resolution of the antinomy at its very roots.
It is not that none of the established religions were aware of this. In Buddhism (p. 47) man is said to be the existence not exempted from the two extremes: true vs. false, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, pure vs. defiled, and so on. This may be regarded as expressing man's ultimate antinomy from the aspect of values. But it cannot be considered to have been understood in the distinct form of what I call "ultimate antinomy." On the other hand, while Buddhism says that man must be liberated not from death, but from birth-death or from being-nonbeing, this may be looked upon as meaning that man's life is ultimately antinomic. But I wonder to what extent the relationship between the ultimate antinomy of existence and the ultimate antinomy of values has been clarified in Buddhism. Ordinarily the two are treated as if unrelated to one another. Birth-death has been treated as birth-death alone; true-false, good-evil, and pure-defiled are treated merely in themselves. In other words, while the ultimate antinomy of existence and the ultimate antinomy of values are inseparably related to one another and are actually one ultimate antinomy, the problem is whether that is clearly understood. For example, when birth-death is spoken of, I wonder whether it is inseparably connected with true-false, and whether when true-false is spoken of, birth-death is inseparably connected with it.
While in Buddhism the discrimination of good-evil or birth-death is said to be the basic moment of delusion, if we interpret this discrimination as ultimate antinomy, this discrimination will not be limited to mere intellectual discrimination. The totality of value-based life comes to be of the nature of discrimination. Here we must see the ultimate meaning of discrimination. The reason why discrimination is wrong can be explained only with respect to the ultimate antinomy.
In that sense, it may be possible to interpret or re-interpret the Buddhist concepts of birth-death or good-evil from the view of ultimate antinomy or, rather, from the point of our ultimately antinomic way of being. Unless they are re-interpreted in that manner, the Buddhist concepts of birth-death, of good-evil, and so on will be one-sided, and not fundamental; that is, they will not be interpreted properly. Buddhism gives the reason why sentient beings ought to become Buddha by saying that man is of a birth-death or good-evil nature. Here certainly we find a criticism of reason; in order to make the criticism fundamental enough, one must necessarily reduce it to the ultimate antinomy. Otherwise, no true interpretation will be possible.
Likewise, in Christianity, if sin is considered only on the basis of value it will remain based on man's rationality. It will never point to the source, man's rationality itself. Since, however, original sin is spoken of, there ought to be the objectively valid ground in man -- in every human being -- for the so-called original sin. Unless the ground for original sin is clarified, it cannot help remaining a mere myth or a mere matter of faith. Therefore, if original sin ought to be objectively valid in man, the understanding of original sin ought to be deepened or re-interpreted to encompass man's ultimate antinomy. While the term is an expression of value, unless original sin comes to be of one body with existential life-death, it cannot be but one-sided. Consequently, I think that original sin also, in the end, comes to mean man's ultimate antinomy.
In this way, when we ask, "From what should man be saved ?" I think in the case of religion we cannot help concluding that man ought to be saved from his ultimate antinomy.
IV How to be Saved
Next, let us go on to the question, "How is man saved ?" I should like to include here both the method by which one is saved and the state in which he is saved. This is a very difficult problem. It constitutes the methodology of religion which requires objective validity. After all, however, it means our turning now from ultimately antinomic men to those who have gotten completely free from the antinomy. It ought not to be a mere isolation of ourselves from man's actual, ultimate antinomy but an overcoming of that antinomy and getting completely free from it. It ought not to mean, as it ordinarily does, to die of the antinomy, or to escape to some other world, or to have God or Buddha of the "other" nature lead us somewhere else. It ought to be that antinomic man is transformed into one who is completely freed from the antinomy from within. One that is antinomic himself being transformed into one who is completely free from that way of being -- this is the true and ultimate conversion.
Now our problem is the method of transformation from the man of ultimate antinomy to the man who has broken through and become free from it. Since this is impossible on the standpoint of reason, that is, on that of ultimate antinomy, then any solution based on reason ought to be abandoned. Therefore, some new method must be found which is not of the rational nature. What we need is a method by which we become the Self that is not of the (p. 49) nature of value-antivalue or existence-nonexistence. And that will be a so-called religious method. Then the problem arises whether there is any such method. This method is our awaking to our Self that does not possess a value-antivalue, existence-nonexistence nature. Ordinarily we as such Self are not awake. Our not being awake means that we are rational beings. That is, our being rational existences prevents us from awakening. When we are driven into what I have called ultimate antinomy, our original Self, taking this antinomy as the "moment" and breaking through it, awakens. This is the awakening that breaks through and emerges from the extremity-situation of reason. That is, it is the awakening of that which has not been awake until now.
For one who is not awakened, this may be almost impossible to understand. As long as one remains positive of his rational standpoint, he cannot see the limitations of reason. But when reason is deeply reflected upon and criticized, the ultimate antinomy can be realized at its bottom. It is realized not as anything objective, but as the fundamental subject. While this is self-realization, or the ultimate antinomy realizing itself, what has penetrated through it also emerges as Self-realization.
This awakened state is also we ourselves, but it is neither the self of existence-nonexistence nor the self of value-antivalue. It is the self of non-"existence-nonexistence," non-"value-antivalue." It goes beyond all definitions, beyond all forms. It is, as it were, the Formless Self. By our awaking to this Formless Self, we overcome the ultimate antinomic self and come to be saved from the ultimate antinomy. This is achieved not by the ultimately antinomic self overcoming the antinomy. Rather from the bottom of ultimate antinomy, the Self in whom the antinomy is overcome awakens. Of course the ultimate antinomy serves as the "moment" toward it. But it is no more than the moment. Never is it the "moment" that becomes the overcoming subject. It is by the Self awaking to Itself, which is free from the ultimate antinomy lying at the abyss of the rational self, that the antinomy is overcome. In that case, it is not that the awakened self exists outside the ultimate antinomy, separated from it as some other isolated being. Rather, emerging free from within the ultimate antinomy, casting it off, the Self awakens. In other words, the awakened Self is the Self that has cast off the ultimate antinomy, emerging from it. This comes to be the Self of the ultimate true way of being, man in his true mode of being. To call it "true" does not mean that the Self harbors any op-(p. 50)position between true and not true. It is free even from that opposition. It awakens as the Self that goes beyond right or wrong, beyond birth or death.
Therefore, when we speak of redemption, it is not redemption in which one is saved by an absolutely other God or Buddha. The saved comes to awake from within -- the one that has not been awake awakens. There even the term "to be saved" may not be appropriate, in that it may suggest we are being saved by someone else. Here, however, one is saved by no one else but the Self. By "being saved" I mean that the True Self -- originally awakened though yet not awake -- awakens, and that the ultimate antinomy is thereby overcome. Therefore, concerning the relation between the saved-self and the not-yet-saved-self, it is too delicate a matter to speak of either continuity or discontinuity.
From the aspect of the ultimate antinomy which is the ultimate extremity-situation of the actual man, no step forward from the extremity-situation is possible. Here continuity is considered not to exist. Should one be saved by some God or Buddha of absolutely "other" nature, only discontinuity will prevail. There will be no continuity between the saved and the savior. Redemption will be nothing but a miracle or mystery, and the saved will stand dependent on the savior. Since the one who is saved will thus be absolutely dependent on the savior, man's autonomy or independence will be lost.
"Coming to awake," however, means that the one who is originally awakened but at present unawakened comes to awake, and that is the True Self. In other words, the True Self, by awaking, casts off the rational self, and negates it. Having emerged free from and cast off the extremity-situation of rational autonomy, this is, as it were, depth autonomy. Such is the basic, ultimate autonomy that has emerged from and cast off the fatal, ultimate antinomy of rational autonomy. The rational self cannot yet be spoken of as thoroughly ultimate autonomy. This awakened Self, however, is absolutely autonomous. Its autonomy is absolute; it is free from heteronomy vs. autonomy. Therefore, here we need no mythically conceived or piously believed-in absolute other being. Awakening means getting absolutely independent.
We can take an example of such a way of awakening from Buddhism. Although "Buddha" is variously interpreted even in Buddhism, the true Buddha or the Buddha in its true way of being, as the original Sanskrit term "Bud(p. 50)dha" indicates, means an Awakened one. A Buddha means one who is awake. It never means one who believes in an Other, or one who is saved by an Other. It is not the one who is believed in, not even the savior who stands as the Other. The Buddha is the one who is himself awake. He is awake to the Self that transcends birth vs. death and good vs. evil, the Self that has broken through and become free from the ultimate antinomy. One can awake to this only for himself, since this is himself. That is to say, the awaking awakes to itself. Needless to say, there do not exist the two: the one that is awake and that to which one is awakened. In Buddhist terms, neither "actor" nor "acted upon" exist. In the terms of phenomenology, this is an awakening without Noema and Noesis. Therefore, it is not anything to be taught by others.
In Buddhism too, the Buddha is said to be autonomous, self-abiding, not taught by others, or obtained from without. It is the so-called "Original Face". The Original Face, completely covered because of various obstacles and not awake itself, is the sentient being. When it comes to awaken, the sentient being becomes the Awakened One, the Buddha. The ultimate Buddhist method is neither through consciousness on the sensory-rational level, nor through faith, which is called religious Noesis, but through Awakening.
In the Chan School it is said, "Cold or warm, know it yourself." This should be, unlike what is asserted about ordinary experience, only what is applied to Awakening. Other things can be known in many ways other than "Cold or warm, know it yourself." Awakening, however, can be known in no other way. Just as even the self in the ordinary sense, insofar as it is self, cannot be taught by others, so Awakening, though the content differs, since it is Self, cannot awake except by and for Itself.
In connection with this, however, one must say that occasions helping one to attain Awakening are innumerable. Yet, after all, all these helping occasions can be reduced to the ultimate antinomy. Only when they are reduced to this, and when it is broken through, does the total, radical solution take place. It is a sequence in which the root problem is first solved and the branch problems second. The solution of branch problems alone will not bring about the solution of the root problem. The root problem must be uprooted. Instead of extinction of individual worries one after another, a severance of the root of afflictions must take place. Thus, the Awakening of the Formless Self is, when speaking of afflictions, the extirpation of them all. Otherwise, afflictions will (p. 52) endlessly continue, and there will never be deliverance from them. Religion is the eradication of worries by awaking to the original Self.
That Self, awakened, flows backward into the unawakened self and fills it. The original Self becomes the fountainhead, and the way of being of the ordinary self becomes what has come out of that fountainhead. Or contrariwise, the ordinary self returns to the fountainhead. Thus does positiveness or affirmativeness arise. That direction, which is the opposite of the one toward the original Self, brings about a positive continuity with it. Previously there was the self-negating continuity from the unawakened self to the awakened Self. Now, on the contrary, there is effected the affirmative, positive continuity from the awakened Self to the unawakened self. That comes to mean resurrection or resuscitation of the self. It is only here that one can speak of absolute affirmation.
Upon awaking to the True Self there comes an absolute affirmation of the self. Where the awakened Self affirmatively restores the actualities to true life, there true religion is established. In other words, the world which has had the rational self as its fundamental subject is converted to the world which has the awakened Self as the Fundamental Subject. That world is not differently located in time and space from the ordinary world. Rather, from the fountainhead of time and space, therein time-and-space is established and therefrom time-and -space arises.
The world which has this awakened Self as its Fundamental Subject is the world which, while transcending reason, freely lives the rational life, and which, transcending life vs. death, lives freedom. This is what should be called the truly religious world. Transcending the negative-affirmative, fatally wrong infinity of ordinary history, it is the standpoint that goes on creating history unobstructedly with ultimate affirmation. It is also the standpoint which criticizes religions which seek an ideal world completely different from the actual historical world, such as Heaven or the Pure Land of Bliss. These are completely different worlds, isolated from actual history.
Seeking such an isolated world is, after all, an escape from the weariness of actual history, and it never effects the redemption of the actual realities. Even if an ideal world should exist somewhere else apart from the actual world, it would have nothing to do with the actual world, which would remain unsaved. Moreover, even if such a world should be affirmed in one way or another in its relation to the actual world, the affirmation still could not be (p. 53) anything but escape from reality. A world isolated from the world of actual history is no more than a fairy tale or myth.
Thus the world of the religion of Awakening is what is established through its criticism of religions which isolate themselves from reality and its criticism of the historical idealism of modern humanism. Such ought to be the redeemed, true world of history. Here, redemption is not a matter of an eternal future life in another world of history. It is redemption of the fundamental subject of the actual, historical world, redeemed from the bottom of its history. Only then can we establish a new, creative, fundamentally subjective view of history based on Awakening. And only this enables us to transcend history within history, and create history without being removed from the world of history.
While one can say that religion is the ultimate liberation of man, this human liberation implies two meanings: man's transcending the limitations of history within history, and the unobstructed and free creation of history by the transcending, creative, fundamental subject. Buddhism has such expressions as:
"The physical form is void; void is the physical form." 10
"The body and the mind fallen off"; "the fallen-off body and mind." 11
"From the non-abiding root, all the forms are built up." 12
These words have been interpreted in various ways since old times, but only when interpreted as above can they offer a radical criticism of real history and the ground for rebuilding it as well.
V-1 Self, Society, and History13
Our human way of being can be understood to have three dimensions: the individual being of the self, the spatial-social being, and the temporal-historical being. These three dimensions -- self, society, and history -- are inseparable from one another in human life. To investigate the problem of how the three ought to be related, we must allow the Great Doubt to arise in us.
As human beings who are awakened in the modern sense, we ought to (p. 54) awaken ourselves to reason in its broad sense, as the way of being of the self. Since we are rationally awakened, we ought to purify reason, to build society and always create history in a rational manner. It is not easy for the self to do this. Many obstacles rise in its path. But we ought to continue to overcome them and go on forming a rational self, society, and history.
While today we meet such obstacles in various forms, it is needless to say that since the beginning of modern times wonderful progress has been made as the result of efforts to realize this rational world. Speaking from the viewpoint of man's progress and development, this is certainly something to be celebrated. But if we reconsider the matter, this very progress and development also constitutes a great threat. Startling developments such as the discovery and uses of atomic power have aroused grave worldwide anxiety. This poses an unprecedented threat to mankind. Likewise, while the growth and enlargement of the earth's different societies is a pleasing indication of man's development, it is also true that unparalleled social forces or forces of collective bodies constitute a cause for deep anxiety in modern man.
We need not dwell upon the fact that atomic power may at any moment be the ruin of mankind. The dread of such potential disaster is countless times greater than the dread of natural calamities such as earthquakes or typhoons. It produces a contradictory anxiety and fear; man's own discoveries and inventions may destroy him. In the current political alignment, too, the confrontation of the collective forces of East and West is at a point never before equaled in recorded history. No one knows when these giant opposing powers will bring unprecedented misery to mankind. Should they ever resort to war, the most terrible confusion in history would be brought down upon man. With science as its ally it would drive all of mankind, without exception, into the abyss of ruin. By his own productions man has created such a terrible threat, and he feels that it has gotten beyond his control.
We may call these the secondary forces of nature. The primary forces are what are usually called simply "natural forces." The forces of science and collective power-blocs have gotten beyond man's control, even though he produced them himself. They have become terrible threats, threatening us from without. They are beyond the control not only of individual persons but of the collective bodies, the nations themselves. Nowadays, they have become such objective forces that although sensing their threat, the whole of mankind (pp. 55) is at a loss as to what to do with them. In this respect they may be called secondary forces of nature. This is the gravest event in the whole historical development of modern times. We can see here the peculiar characteristic of the present age, its anxiety and threat. This present age has really become the turning point of modern history, and we may say that the modern era is in crisis.
This unprecedented anxiety and crisis in human history has become such that it has obliged man to curse his civilization. "Such anxiety would not have arisen had there been no scientific progress, no social development." One is tempted to look back to the good old days and condemn the present. Ten years ago (1957-58) when I travelled through Europe and the United States, I frequently met people who held such a view. The number of those who curse modern civilization seems to be increasing.
Generally speaking, religious people may consider that such a crisis is caused by a lack of awe toward God, that with faith in God there would not have been such a crisis, and that faith in God will save man from it. Usually they believe that man can overcome this crisis through theism, that is, through awe of God. I do not believe this will save the modern age from its crisis.
I believe we ought to advance our civilization even more completely and strengthen further the forces of science and society. However, we need also inquire into what causes those forces to be a threat and an anxiety for us. For modern man it is not a matter of whether or not he believes in God. The cause lies in the fact that modern man is still lacking in rational consciousness, that he lacks a moral consciousness based on the rational consciousness.
While the development of society is something to be proud of, to take delight in, it is regrettably not accompanied by a similar growth in ethical awareness. One moves ahead very rapidly whereas the other does not keep pace with it. Rather, it is going backward. This reveals where the real crisis lies. I doubt if there is any greater need than the purification or strengthening of ethical awareness. It is in this way that we can overcome the crisis of modern times. It alone can be called truly modern. To attempt to overcome the crisis of modern times through reliance upon God is, we must say, a retrogression toward pre-modern ages.
Where the uplifting of morality is concerned, even theonomy, if it had any heteronomous nature, would contradict the independence or autonomy of (p. 56) modern man. Rather, we men of the present age are expected to be already free from such a theonomy. If there remains any trace of heteronomy, we should free ourselves of it. How priceless for the development of mankind is his consciousness of his own autonomy! Any retrogression away from this autonomy toward a heteronomous theonomy would mean degeneration for humankind. We must guard against it.
Christianity holds that the fall of Adam and Eve and their removal from Paradise was the fall of all mankind. However, I should say rather that Adam and Eve thereby became independent and autonomous, that the coming into being of man's autonomy means independence from God, freedom and emancipation from God, and that far from being man's fall, this is man's progress. Therefore, we must make ourselves, society, and history more and more rational.
As regards what is ordinarily called crisis, the large and small crises which we daily experience, it is most desirable and important to overcome them through a rational development of the world. Inquiring into their causes often reveals that they come from the lack of rational consciousness. Those anxieties or threats which arise from the lack of rational consciousness are, from the standpoint of reason, "rational" in character. In other words, the anxieties are "rational" anxieties simply because the non-rational element out of which they stem is to be removed in a rational way. However, such anxieties are phenomenal; they are not basic or noumenal.
Apart from the ordinary view which regards the present age as a turning point within the history of modern times, here we have another view, which sees a far deeper turning point; it sees the present age as the critical point of the modern era itself. Instead of a crisis within modern times, one should come to think of a deeper rooted crisis, that of the modern times themselves. I mean that the modern age, insofar as it remains as it is, is itself the root cause of our anxiety. In the present age there seems to be every indication that the modern era itself is in crisis, rather than the crisis of the present age within modern times. This is what I mean by the basic, noumenal crisis, compared with which the crisis of the present age within modern times is no more than a phenomenal manifestation. To truly understand the real nature of this crisis and to overcome it -- that is religion in the true sense of the word.
This is the crisis which is beyond any kind of rational solution, because the (p. 57) source of worries is not any rational crisis but the crisis of reason itself, which goes beyond rational solution. It is this that Chan touches, in my opinion.
As the Chan expression "At great doubt is great Awakening"14 makes clear, Chan is never theism ; however, it is not rational humanism, either. Where is Chan to be located ? I think it ought to be located in reality itself. Looking for its location in past history will never do. Chan is something that must be dug up directly from the depths of reality. The place to dig for it is precisely in the crisis of which we have been speaking. Only when the great doubt penetrates there and is broken through does the truly great Awakening take place.
By the great doubt, therefore, I mean what one may call the ultimate contradiction lying at the depths of reason, that is, the basic antinomy of reason. Besides, it is only when the great doubt is of fundamentally subjective character instead of some objective doubt that there arises the self-awareness of what is called great doubting-mass. Upon the breaking up of that great doubting-mass there is actualized the Awakening-mass, as it were, of the Fundamentally Subjective nature, or bodhi (jue; kaku).
Then, the question of practice, or the problem of how to attain the great Awakening, becomes important. Since this is the crisis, as I have been mentioning, which goes beyond rational solution and which lies at the bottom of reason, that is, since this is the crisis of reason itself, its solution also ought to rely on a method which is not rational. It must break through the crisis of reason. While heretofore in Chan various methods have been considered, we must examine what method for Awakening will be most essential.
V-2 The World of Awakening: F.A.S
We modern men ought to be those who follow reason as we independently and autonomously go about forming society and creating history. The norm for doing this should be reason in its broadest sense. Society and history ought to be constructed in a rational way. As I have already mentioned, however, the present age, in the process of forming society and history, is facing a serious crisis. This is largely due to the retardation of moral reason which fails to keep pace with the progress of scientific or collective social forces. It begins with tardiness in the awakening of moral awareness both on the part of individuals and collective bodies. This tardiness causes a vicious circle. It has (p. 58) brought about the worldwide anxieties of the present age. These anxieties flow backward and cause each individual, whether he is conscious of it or not, to give birth to them anew. Each individual, under the weight of worldwide anxieties, suffers from new anxieties which go beyond individual resolution.
Besides the lag in moral awareness, another important cause is perceivable, and it is not necessarily an ethical one. As civilization has progressed, societies have become extremely complicated. We are being thrown into a kind of civilized jungle. As social structures become increasingly complicated, we are being driven deeper and deeper into that jungle. This means that we are caught in the complicated structure of civilization and society, and we have not yet established control over it. We are driven by civilization, having lost the helm and fallen into an unprecedented state of confusion.
Consequently the self that must be the fundamental subject has come to be used by things, and the controlling ability to use things has gradually been lost. The Chan master Zhaozhou said15, "You suffer use by the twelve periods of the day, whereas I can use the twelve periods." He was quite right. In the present age, far from using them, we are suffering use by the "twelve periods of the day." Besides, the complication of the world-structure and civilization is only increased by the activities of reason. Unless we can learn to live more strongly in complicated realities, even if we strive to form a solid society and a solid history, it will become completely impossible to continue forming them.
Such being the case, improving morality and establishing self-control in man are absolutely essential. Only through the strengthening of these two can the crisis of modern times we now face be overcome. We must do this by every means in our power. Independent, autonomous modern man cannot afford to lose his nerve in this crisis. He must use and keep using the whole twelve periods of the day.
But between the man who can use the twelve periods of the day and rational modern man there remains a deeper and still more important gap. It is the crisis lying in the depths of modern man. Unlike the crisis mentioned above, this crisis always hangs on man because of his very nature, irrespective of differences of time and space. I think we can call it an ontological crisis, after the manner explained above. Unless we solve this crisis, we can never be free from anxiety (p. 59) in our making society and history. That is to say, without the solution of this crisis there is no firm establishment of the fundamental subjectivity of man.
From such a viewpoint most of the crises are phenomenal and relative; they can never be considered basic. People often mistake such phenomenal and relative crises for ontological and ultimate ones. In man's inquiry into the basic source of worries, which are far from phenomenal-relative crises, various misconceptions tend to arise which take the non-basic source as basic. Such misconceptions produce more empty worries. What will be the truly basic worry, the truly fundamental crisis which differs from such relative crises?
I think it is man's life-death crisis. Generally speaking, the crisis based on existence-nonexistence or being-nonbeing, as long as it is not overcome, always shadows us. No one knows when what is ordinarily called "life" or "existence" may vanish. Nowhere can life or existence be secure. Nowhere does anything eternal exist. All that lives, all that exists, does so in the manner of living-dying or being-nonbeing. This is the natural, basic crisis of all that exists.
Meanwhile, this universal, ontological crisis is for man inseparably connected with the concrete form of value-antivalue. The desirability of existence or life proves that it is already connected to value. Death or nonbeing is terrible or loathsome because value is already combined with it. Existence and value are thus inseparably intertwined and constitute man's essential, concrete structure.
This concrete structure of man's crisis is expressed by such Buddhist terms as "transient" (or "lacking in permanence," anitya), "conditioned" (samskrita), and "subject to transformation" (parinamin). These are terms which have been emphasized in Buddhism concerning life-death. However, when life-death is said to be transient, it ought to imply value-antivalue at the same time, so as to express man's basic crisis. Unless man becomes aware of this basic crisis in its concrete form and overcomes it, unless thereby there is firmly established in him the Self that is free from both life-death and value-antivalue, he will not be able to live without anxiety.
Here lies our most basic problem. And it is in the Self-Awakening of the Formless Self that the fundamentally subjective solution of the problem exists. This Man who is not of the nature of existence-nonexistence or value-antivalue, is in Chan called the man of no-birth-death who is free from the thought of either good or bad. This is why the Formless Self has to be advocated. In the Self-Awakening of the Formless Self we acquire true life and true value. It is the (p. 60) man in whom this life and this value are one and inseparable who, having overcome the basic crisis, becomes capable of creating a world and history without anxiety. This is the Self-abiding, true Man that acts without being bound by life or death, good or bad. His being alive and active in reality is man's true way of life.
Therefore, the outcome of this method is getting awakened to the Self in whom the life of no-birth no-death and the value without the thought of either good or bad are inseparably one. The awakening attained is, after all, this Self-Awakening, where man becomes ultimately independent and autonomous, having overcome the crisis of rational independence and autonomy. The latter is of a birth-death, good-bad nature and cannot be true and ultimate independence and autonomy. True, ultimate independence and autonomy must be that which has overcome the basic crisis lying at the bottom of existence.
Chan, after all, means being awakened to the True Self, the True Man, or Original Face. The occasions in Chan for this awakening are varied and without fixed form. Here also, in their being without fixed form, we see the Chan freedom. At the particular time and place where man finds himself he takes that opportunity and awakens to the basic Self.
Since this true Self is the Self that has overcome the basic crisis, every actual existence and non-existence, every value and anti-value is directly open to the Self. It is like digging a well. The water of all wells is open to the same underground flow. My being here and now is in the ordinary sense phenomenal existence. From the standpoint of the true Self, however, this phenomenal existence is nothing else than the expression of the true Self. With our ordinary consciousness, we remain phenomenal. But by awakening from phenomenon to noumenon, the phenomenal becomes the noumenal expression, and the noumenon comes to be the master of phenomenon. The phenomenon immediately opening to the noumenon, or the phenomenon immediately awakening to the noumenon, is the Awakening of Chan.
The way to be open to it is the awakening to the Self that is not bound or defined by anything at all, either by birth vs. death or good vs. evil. Huiming was asked by the Sixth Patriarch, "At the very time you do not think of either good or evil, what is your Original Face?"16 He struggled with the (p. 61) question, and got awakened to that which does not think of either good or evil. Only then was he awakened to the True Self that is not bound by anything. Someone asked the tenth century Chinese Chan master Dasui, "How is it when life-death arrives?"17 To struggle with whole body and mind with such basic dilemma lying at the very bottom of man -- this is the method to penetrate into the root source.
But, instead of using different expressions like "not thinking of either good or evil" or "life-death arrives," we can ask ourselves a single question which will lead us directly to Awakening. What kind of question is it? One that any person may ask concerning his very being here and now, asked in such a manner that we cut off every fetter and attain the true, free life, that after dying a Great Death we revive anew. We must have every fetter cut off. We must die a Great Death and come to life anew. Our actual way of being, no matter what it may be, is a particular one, that is, it is something. So long as it is anything, it is a self that is under some kind of definition and bondage. Above all, we must be awakened to the Self that is not restricted by anything. Supposing that standing will not do nor sitting will do, feeling will not do nor thinking will do, dying will not do nor living will do, then, what shall I do?
Here is the final, Single Barrier against which one is pressed and transformed, and through which, in being transformed, one penetrates. Chan has hitherto had countless numbers of ancient cases of koan, not only the traditional "1700 cases." All of them can be reduced to this Single Barrier. It is such that penetration through one point is penetration through all points, that the single Great Death brings about renewed life, that, being Formless, it manifests every form, and that, body and mind falling off, it has the fallen-off body and mind.
Here alone can we have every binding fetter cut off and become the ultimately (p. 62) Self-abiding Self that goes beyond every kind of attachment. The Self that is capable of using the twelve periods of the day is such Self.
We have been speaking of this as the Formless Self (referred to as "F"), that is, the Self that is without any form, beyond all characteristics, unhindered, and Self-abiding. It is this Self that is the ultimately emancipated Self, the Self that is saved in the true sense. When the saved is under the support and redemption of some "other" Buddha or God, it cannot be called true redemption. The truly independent and autonomous Self alone is truly saved. In Chan this is regarded as the true way of redemption. Because it is freedom from every binding fetter, it is called emancipation as well. Such Self is the true Buddha. No "other" Buddha is really the Buddha. It is said that, "It is the Self-Buddha that is the True Buddha." 18 If there were any Buddha except the Self, it would not be the true Self or true Buddha. The Buddha is never of an "other" nature. He is the completely independent and autonomous Self, the Self that is beyond self and other. Linji's "Solitarily emancipated," "Non-reliant" Self, or his "True Man of No Rank" indicates none other than this. That is why in Chan people speak of practice as inquiry into and clarification of the matter of Self.
In Chan there are numerous questions such as: "What is the Buddha?" "What was the purpose of the Patriarch [Bodhidharma]'s coming from the west?" "How is the Buddha's pure and clean dharma-body?" 19 The Buddha [or Patriarch] thus referred to is the Self, the true man. The Buddha that exists apart from the Self is not the true Buddha, and must be negated. The patriarch that exists externally must also be negated. That is why Chan speaks of "Killing the Buddha, killing the patriarch." 20 This is where Chan differs from religions which regard God or Buddha as possessing the nature of an "other." Ordinarily the self is regarded as completely separated from Buddha or God. When related at all, it is dependent on them. On the contrary, in Chan there is no true Buddha apart from the Self; apart from the Buddha there is no True Self. Rather, it is more appropriate to say, apart from the true Self there is no true Buddha.
(p. 63) In Chan, the Self that has rid itself of the external "other" God or Buddha is the true Buddha. It is completely unrestricted and in everything acts Self-abidingly, the Self that acts in all things as the master. Here "act" means the wondrous activity of forming the world and creating history. The Self of Chan makes such wondrous activity, creating history Self-abidingly, unbound by anything. Hence the Self of Chan creates history Supra-historically (referred to as "S"). Further, the formation of the world is conducted according to the standpoint of the True Self universal to every person. This means the True Self forms the world according to the standpoint it takes of All mankind (referred to as "A"). Therefore, the true Self is the basic subject that truly creates history, the fundamental subject that forms the world according to the standpoint of all mankind. Besides, this is the Self that, while being engaged in creating, is not bound by what is created, that keeps on creating, always freed from creation. The "formless Self" that we speak of is such Self-abiding, creative, formative, Formless Self.
Therefore, the fundamental subject is the "F," and the wondrous activity may be indicated in terms of the "A.S." A mere "A.S" without the fundamental subject "F" would not be the true way of being of "A.S." Likewise, an "F" without the wondrous activity "A.S" would not be the true "F." The "F" ought to be joined with the wondrous activity "A.S," yet not bound by the latter. The man that has the dynamic structure of "F.A.S" is the true man.
This "F" is likely to be forgotten. Usually, in ordinary political movements this "F" is forgotten completely. Even if it is not forgotten, those who undertake these movements are not likely to have overcome man's basic crisis, that is, to have awakened to the "F." Meanwhile, in religion -- and this has been true of Buddhism and the historical Chan -- so much emphasis has been laid on the "F" that it has been confined to itself and this has shrunken the wondrous activity, "A.S." This is a point which should be carefully reconsidered in Chan as well as in Buddhism.
In Chan it is emphasized that the "F" should not become like "silent illumination," or fall into the "ghosts' cave." 21 They speak of an activity which will not become mere silent illumination. But how should it work? What should be the object of this Self-abiding activity? These are extremely important problems.
(p. 64) Only bringing an individual to the "F," as has usually been the case with Chan, cannot be said to be the full, wondrous activity of the "F." Leading an individual to the "F" to have him awake alone would leave him in the end with an "F" beyond which he could not go. The great activity of the "F" ought to work three-dimensionally so that it will not only lead the individual to the "F" but truly form the world and create history. Only then will its wondrous activity become full and its great activity become world-forming and history-creating. That is to say, its activity will have the three dimensions, Self, World, and History, which constitute the basic structure of man, closely united within itself.
If, as has been the case with the historical Chan, activity starts and ends only with the so-called practice of compassion involved in helping others to awaken, such activity will remain unrelated to the formation of the world or creation of history, isolated from the world and history, and in the end turn Chan into a forest Buddhism, a temple Buddhism, at best, a Chan monastery Buddhism. Ultimately, this becomes "Chan within a ghosts' cave."
The kind of belief held by Buddhists or Christians that after death man is to be reborn in a Buddha-land or a Heaven must be regarded as a heartless, seclusive, and narrow view which deserts the world and history and sets them apart as being beyond the pale of the wonderful activity of compassion or agape. The Sixth Patriarch Huineng said: 22
@ gOrdinary, ignorant people are not aware of the Pure Land within themselves
and seek for it in the east or west because they do not awake to the Self-nature.
To the awakened, however, there is no difference between east and west; every
place is equally the Pure Land. That is why Shakyamuni said, "Wherever I am,
I am in ease and comfort."
Linji also said, "Being master wherever I am, wherever I am is all true." 23 For this reason, in Chan the all-out compassionate practice ought to be to have man awake to his original true Self, that is, to the solitarily emancipated, non-reliant, Formless Self, who will form the true world and create true history (p. 65) Self-abidingly, without being bound or fettered by anything. Without the Self-Awakening of the Formless Self, world-formation and history-creation will miss their fundamental subject. Without true formation of the world and creation of history, the Formless Self cannot help ending in an imperfect practice of compassion.
Consequently, we may conclude that we should get rid of the imperfect, narrow character of the former so-called "Self-awakened, others-awakening" activity, which disregards the world and history, and which satisfies itself at best by "hammering out only a piece or half a piece." We should awake to the Formless Self ("F"), form the world on the standpoint of All mankind ("A), and, without being fettered by created history, Supra-historically create history at all times ("S"). Only such an F.A.S Chan can be really called the ultimate Great Vehicle.
Notes by the Translator :
1 Translated from the original Japanese article included in Zen no Honshitsu to Ningen no Shinri ("The Essence of Zen and the Truth of Man"), Tokyo, Sobunsha, 1969, and in Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosaku-shu (Collected Writings of Hisamatsu Shin'ichi) Volume 2, Tokyo, Risosha, 1972; Kyoto, Hozokan 1994. In the translation the italicized parts except for foreign words and the headings show the words the author himself marked for emphasis in the original text. The page numbers in parentheses above show those of the Eastern Buddhist : (Part I) vol. VIII no. 1, May 1975, pp. 12-29, and (Part II) vol. VIII no. 2, October 1975, pp. 37-65.
The whole translation was checked for revision by the original translator in the spring of 2005. For Chinese spellings pinyin was used. Diacritical marks as well as Chinese characters in the footnotes were removed. Page 28 in Part I of the E. B. text suffered one correction and an insertion. In Part II several pages toward the end (E.B. text pp. 59-65) suffered corrections and new notes.
2 From the Sixth Patriarch [Huineng] the Great Master's Dharma Treasure the Platform Sutra, Taisho Tripitaka vol. 48, p. 349 b (T 48, 349b).
3 As recorded in the Essentials for Transmitting the Mind as the Awakened Truth Expounded by Chan Master Duanji of Mt. Huangbo, T 48, 384a.
4 A collection of forty-eight cases of koan, first printed in 1228, it was compiled by Wumen Huikai, 1183-1260. The first case goes as follows (T 48, 292c-3a):
Once a monk asked Master Zhaozho (Congshen, 778-897, dharma-heir to Nanquan Puyuan), "Do dogs have the Buddha-nature?" Zhou said, "No, nothing."
Let me Wumen remark upon this. For the Chan practice one must necessarily go through the Patriarch's Barrier. For attaining the wondrous Awakening one needs to exhaust one's reasoning mind to have it extinguished. Insofar as the Patriarch's Barrier is not penetrated, insofar as the reasoning mind is not extinguished, all will remain no other than ghosts abiding on blades of grass or attached to trees.
Now let me ask: What is the Patriarch's Barrier? Simply put, it is this single "Nothing," the single barrier of our school. Therefore, we call it the gateless barrier of the Chan school. The one who has been able to penetrate it will not only personally see Zhaozhou, but will walk hand in hand with the successive patriarchs, one's eyebrows tied together with theirs, seeing through the same eyes and hearing through the same ears. How isn't it a matter of celebration and joy? Why isn't it necessary to go through the barrier? With your three hundred and sixty joints, with the eighty-four thousand pores, with your whole being, give rise to the doubting-mass, and practice on this word "Nothing." Take it up by day, by night. But don't mistake it for voidness; don't take it for negation as against affirmation. Practice on it as if you had swalllowed a hot iron ball but could not vomit it up no matter how hard you tried. Exhaust all the wrong knowledges and remembrances you have had. Thus will you achieve final purity and maturity. Self-effectedly the 'in' and the 'out' will become one single piece. Just like a dumb person who is aware of his own dream, you will be aware of all this for yourself. Flashingly Self-awakening will open up; it will surprise heaven and shake the earth. It will be as if you had snatched the big sword from the hand of General Kuan Yu: if confronted by a Buddha, you will kill the Buddha; if confronted by a patriarch, you will kill the patriarch. On this life-death side you will acquire great freedom; in all the six ways of life and four kinds of birth you will enjoy yourself the sportive samadhi.
Now, how would you take up this case? Summoning up all your energy and vitality, take up this word "Nothing." If you go on without a break, you will see it is very much like the dharma lamp which, upon being lit, will immediately light. Here is a verse:
"Dogs' Buddha-nature!" The total presentation of the right command!
Slightly involved in Have or Have-not, you will lose your whole being.
5 From the Record of Chan Master Linji Yixuan (Linjilu), T 47, 498a. Linji Yixuan, -866.
6 The Encyclopaedia Britannica (ed. 1966) Vol. 4, under the heading BRUNNER, (HEINRICH) EMIL, has this: The close link between Brunner's theology and that of Barth was broken early in their theological careers when in 1943 Brunner wrote a monograph entitled Natur und Gnade; Zum Gesprach mit Karl Barth ("Nature and Grace: In A Conversation With Karl Barth"). Brunner held that while God's saving revelation is known only in Jesus Christ, there is a revelation in the creation; this revelation is reflected in the "image of God," which man bears and which is never wholly lost. This provoked a vigorous reply from Barth, who attacked Brunner's view that the image of God remains formally but not materially in man after sin has entered. Brunner replied, insisting upon the sense of responsibility as the "point of contact" between sinful human nature and the divine.
...The discussion with Karl Barth was published under the title Natural Theology, with introduction by John Baillie (1946). A critical review of this discussion is given by Baillie in Our Knowledge of God (1939).
7 From the Mahayana Nirvana Sutra (Niepan-jing No. 374) 4-4, T 12, 405b; (No. 375) 648b, et al.
8 From the Zazen-Wasan ("Hymn in Japanese to the Sitting Chan Practice") by Hakuin Ekaku, 1686-1769, a Rinzai-zen priest in the Edo period.
9 In the Xiyilun (Shakugiron; "A Treatise Which Resolves Doubts") by Monk Shizi (Shishi-biku) from the Western Region abiding at the Great Cien Temple (Daijionji) (in Chang'an; Choan), fascicle one, Questions on the Buddha, III, the monk mentions and explains as follows; "The Buddha means jue (kaku). This latter has three meanings: zi-jue (jikaku; Self-awakened), jue-ta (kakuta; Awakening others), and juexing yuanman (kakugyo-enman; Awakening-practice being perfect and fulfilled)." T53, 798a.
10 From the Prajna-paramita-hridaya (Heart)-sutra, tr. Xuanzang, T8, 848c.
11 From the Fukan-zazengi and the Shobogenzo 12, Zazen-shin, respectively, by Dogen, 1200-53.
12 From the Vimalakirti-nirdesa sutra, tr. Kumarajiva, T14, 547c.
Division supplied by the translator.
13 Dahui Zonggao, 1089-1163, dharma-heir to Yuanwu Keqin, said (Yulu fascicle 17, T47, 886a): "Nowadays Way-practitioners mostly don't doubt themselves; instead, they doubt others. That is why it has been said, 'At great doubt is certainly great Awakening (dayi zhi xia biyou dawu).' Now tell me what one awakes to." After a silence he said, "I dare not make little of you; you will all be attaining Awakening."
15 From the Zhaozhou-lu (no. 28, in the Akizuki Ryomin edition, Chikumashobo, Tokyo 1972). A questioner: "Throughout the twelve periods of the day how should I apply myself to practice?" The Master said, "You suffer use by the twelve periods, whereas I can use the twelve periods. Which periods do you ask about?"
16 Cf. Note 2.
17@Dasui Fazhen,834-919, dharma-heir to Xiyuan Daan: Jingde Record of Transmssion of the Lamp, XI, T51, 286a; Guzunsu-yuyao, Chubun-shuppansha, Kyoto 1973, 176ab: A monk said, "How is it when life-death arrives?" The master said, "Coming to tea, take tea; coming to a meal, take a meal." The questioner stepped forward and said, "Who should receive offerings?" The master said, "Put away the alms bowl."
18 By the Sixth Patriarch Huineng. From the Platform Sutra, T48, 352a.
19 Yunmen-guanglu, T47, 552c. A question which a monk asked of Yunmen Kuangzhen, 864-949.
20 From the Linji-lu, T47, 500b
21 Both terms "mozhao; mokusho" and "guikuli; kikutsuri" derive from critical remarks by Dahui Zonggao, in his letter addressed to one of his disciples, Yulu XX, T47, 895b:
"Present-day Way-seekers, either monks or lay, all suffer from two kinds of serious disease. One is that they learn plenty of words and sentences with a thought of wonder in them. The other is that, unable to see the moon and forget the finger to indicate it, they gain awakening in words and sentences, and that, on hearing that neither the Buddha-dharma nor the Chan-dao lies in them, they discard words and sentences as useless, knit their brows and close the eyes all along, assuming the appearances of the dead, and consider this to be the calm sitting practice, mind-contemplation, and silent illumination. More than that, they induce ignorant, mediocre people to this wrong view of theirs, with a comment: 'One day's calm sitting is one day's Chan practice.' How sad! They don't know this is all an attempt to make a livelihood in a ghosts' cave. Only when one can remove these two kinds of serious disease, can one take part in the Chan practice."
22 From the Platform Sutra, T48, 352a
23 From the Linji-lu, T47, 498a