In this book the author has tried to trace the relationship which exists between Zen and the two chief Mahayana Sutras the Gandavyuha and Prajnaparamita, and then the transformation, through which Indian Buddhism had to go while adapting itself to Chinese psychology. The Chinese are a practical people quite different from the Indian, who are highly endowed with the power of abstraction as well as an inexhaustible mine of imagination. It was natural that the Mahayana teachings had to be transformed as to make them appreciated by the Chinese. This meant that the Gandavyuha and Prajnaparamita were to be converted into Zen dialogues.
(Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki was Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at the Otani University, Kyoto)
In this Third Series of Zen Essays I have tried to trace the relationship which exists between Zen and the two chief Mahayana sutras, the Gandavyuha and the Prajnaparamita, and then the transformation through which Indian Buddhism had to go while adapting itself to Chinese psychology. The Chinese are a practical people quite different from the Indian, who are highly endowed with the power of abstraction as well as an inexhaustible mine of imagination. It was natural that the Mahayana teachings had to be so transformed as to make them appreciated by the Chinese. This meant that the Prajnaparamita and the Gandavyuha were to be converted into Zen dialogues.
As regards Zen contributions to Japanese culture, a special volume has been written.1 Apart from Buddhism, apart from Zen after the Kamakura era, Japanese cultural history has no significance, so deeply has Buddhism entered into the lifeblood of the people. My attempt here is merely tentative. The section on 'The Zen Life in Pictures' is also a suggestion; a fuller and more systematic treatment awaits another opportunity.
A few facts are to be mentioned concerning the matter treated in this Series, which have come up while it was in the press. (I) The Tun-huang MS. of the Sayings of Shen-hui mentioned in p. 2 I fn. and p. 37 fn. has already been re-produced in facsimile, while its printed and fully revised edition will be published before long. (2) Dr. Keiki Yabuki has published a book giving detailed explanations of the Tun-huang MSS. collected in his Echoes of the Desert. He supplies us with a wealth of useful information regarding them. (3) All page references to the Gandavyuha are either to the Idzumi MS. or to the R.A.S. one. (4) The Tun-huang MS. of Hui-neng's Tim-ching (p. 15 fn.) will be printed and made accessible to the general public. It will be accompanied by the Koshoji copy of the same. The latter is an old Japanese reprint of the fifteenth or sixteenth century, the Chinese original of which was probably printed some time in the tenth or the eleventh century. Quite likely it is the 'older edition' referred to in a preface to the current edition of the Tan-ching, Its historical importance is beyond dispute.
The author's thanks are, as usual, due to his wife, Beatrice Lane Suzuki, for reviewing the whole MSS. and reading the proofs, and to Mrs. Ruth Fuller Everett, of Chicago, who also kindly read the proofs.
Reference to the generous encouragement of the author's friend, Yakichi Ataka, is not to be omitted just because he is always ready to respond unhesitatingly to all the requests of the author and to make the teachings of Zen Buddhism universally approachable within the limits of literary interpretation.
Preface. 1. From Zen to the Gandavyuha. 2. The Gandavyuha, the Bodhisattva-ideal and the Buddha. 3. The Bodhisattva's abode. 4. The desire for enlightenment. 5. The significance of the Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra in Zen Buddhism. 6. The philosophy and religion of the Prajnaparamita. 7. Buddhist, especially Zen, contributions to Japanese culture. 8. The Zen life in pictures. Index.
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