Eastern Spirituality in America: Selected Writings

By Robert S. Ellwood | Go to book overview

III

BUDDHISM

ZEN

Buddhism is above all the religion of enlightenment. It seeks to aid those who study and practice at its feet to break through all that can fetter or delude in the realm of conditioned reality, and become free in Nirvana, Unconditioned Reality. Buddhism does this by leading one to recognize the Four Noble Truths the Buddha himself discovered some twenty-five hundred years ago on the eve of his enlightenment. Beneath the numerous sectarian forms and rich accretions the faith of the Enlightened One has acquired in its journeys through many cultures and many centuries, Buddhism ultimately depends on these principles.

First, life as it is ordinarily lived is unsatisfactory, shot through with anxiety, suffering, and meaninglessness. Second, this state is the result of attachments or desires, for in a universe of continual flux and change, seeking to cling to anything—from the grossest passion to the subtlest idol of the mind to the notion of being a permanent separate self—can never bring anything but sorrow in the end. Third, the syndrome of suffering and desire can be struck at its point of origin ; there can be an end to desire. Fourth, that can be achieved by following the Eightfold Path, which culminates in Right Concentration or Meditation. For meditation is the condition of mind that reverses the mind's ordinary outflow toward entangling objects of sensory or mental attachment.

The Zen school of Buddhism originated in China out of the commingling of Buddhism with the naturalism of Taoism, spreading

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Eastern Spirituality in America: Selected Writings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Eastern Spirituality in America - Selected Writings *
  • Contents v
  • Preface 1
  • General Introduction 4
  • I - Introduction 5
  • II - Hinduism 45
  • Hindu Selections *
  • III - Buddhism 114
  • Buddhist Selections *
  • IV - Taoism 195
  • Taoist Selection *
  • V - Theosophy 215
  • Theosophy Selection *
  • Bibliography of General Works on Eastern Spirituality in America 235
  • Index to Introduction 237
  • Index to Texts 240
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