Title: Preliminary Conception of Zen Social Ethics (Continued)
Subtitle: Problem of "Anjin" (安 心, Peace of Mind)
Date: 1965
Source: Retrieved on 07/10/2024 from https://noselvesnomasters.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/hakugen_ethics_2.pdf

By "Anjin" is meant here spiritual calmness created by Prajna. Prajna is a unique intuition that sees the true nature of things as they are (Yathabhutam). "Zazen-shin" (坐 禅 箴, Instruction in Zazen) by Dogen (1200 -1253) reads: "A bird flies as a bird does; a fish swims likes a fish!" The essence of things seen by Prajna or Yathatathyadarsana (如 実 見, seeing into the truth as it is) is named "Suchness" (tathata) or "Emptiness" (sunyata), because it is beyond our daily expression which is the result of discriminative consciousness (vijnana). So it is simply termed "suchness" or, negatively, "emptiness", Prajna sees "emptiness" in "suchness", and in "suchness" "emptiness". This is to see "coincidentia oppositorum", or rather, to see "non-duality" (不 二, Advaita) in things. Attaining non-duality is going beyond dualism of thought, for instance, pleasure and pain, good and evil, life and death, ignorance and enlightenment, and so on. Through this dual attitude of life comes nervous irritation. Seeing non-duality, we attain calmness of mind. A Zen poet says:

In fine weather 晴 れ て 好 し

In cloudy weather 曇 り て も好 し

Beautiful indeed 不 二 の 山

And never changing 元 の 姿 は

This peak of Fuji! 変 ら ざ り け り[1]

“Peak of Fuji" is a symbol of our Self. Our true self is unchangeable in any circumstances; in prosperity or in, adversity, in war as well as in peace. The Logic of "Anjin" is that of non-duality; in the logic of nonduality, being is being, non-being is non-being, and at the same time being is non-being, and vice versa. This logic is termed by Dr. Suzuki, deriving from the phrase in the Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedika), "logic of Sokuhi [2](即 非)", which, may-be formulized as follows:

A is non-A, therefore A is A.

For instance, "suffering is not suffering, so it is suffering."[3] In Prajna, as we stated, we see into the nature of things as they are, become one with "suchness" of them, and in this absolute unity we lose sight of, or are free from, their aspects objectively grasped, -here suchness becomes, or rather, is emptiness: non-duality- , or "sokuhi" -experience reveals itself. The logic of "sokuhi" is nothing but that of peace of mind ("Anjin") in Buddhism. However, it must be distinguished from that of the so-called "Akirame" (あ き ら め, resignation in the usual sense), the latter still remaining on a plane of discriminative mind. "Akirame" is to adapt ourselves to our circumstances by changing their meanings for us through a sort of philosophical reflection, while "Anjin" is above such reflection, and also isn't the same as what is called "self-possession" or "presence of mind" based on a dual mode of life.

Our consideration suggests now "Anjin" in itself is not a kind of "ideology," a form of intellectual adjustment or adaptation to surroundings, historically as well as socially conditioned. So a well-known verse:

The believing mind is not dual, 信 心 不 二

What is dual is not the believing mind. 不 二 信 心

Beyond all languages, 言 語 道 断

For it there is no past, no present, no future. 非 古 来 今[4]

The believing mind, "Anjin" as such, is beyond all forms. This formless self or mind, however, isn't some-thing distinguished from forms, then it is also a sort of form. To be free from all forms is at the same time to be free to take any form, if necessary. "Let your mind (or thought)", says a sutra, "take its rise without fixing it anywhere(応 無 所 住 而 生 其 心)." To be "beyond all language" is no other than being "all language". Peace of mind creates itself anywhere in any condition, not only in democratic states but in fascist ones, and it takes whatever forms of ideologies it dikes. There is no intrinsic connection between Anjin and ideology so far as they are in different dimensions. The relation between them might be considered as only casual. It follows that a man of Anjin may be, and may become a democrat, a fascist or a socialist according to circumstances. It may be no wonder that the followers of Prajna-Buddhism, under the same situation, should hold their respective ideologies opposing with one another. The central subject of Zen is "how to be" instead of "what to do (or to think)", How about, then, the question of "what to do?" the matter of morals in Zen Buddhism? Morals or ideology are not an affair of taste for which there is no accounting.

We come into being in society, and become aware of ourselves in contact with other men. It isn't possible for us to live in society ignoring the rules of human relations. Even an outlaw has a sense of duty towards his circle. We cannot find, with the exception of the insane, any man without moral sentiment, whereas we meet today in our country a number of people without religion. This suggests that a Buddhist too has necessarily morals in some form or other. It proves that he virtually enters the domain of ideology. Needless to say, this region is that of discussion and choice, that of duality instead of nonduality. In the field of social ethics, it isn't possible for us to support and resist militarism at the same time. Sometimes a Buddhist comes across the totalitarianism forced upon by the state authority, which implicitly threatens the people to accept it with a menace of death, as we experienced under the militarism of recent Japan. Erich Fromm says:

The "yes" to God is the "no" to Caessar; the "yes" to man is, the "no" to all those who want to enslave, exploit, and stultify him.[5]

In the face of political power, arises the question of choosing our attitude of escape, compromise, or criticism. To remain non-choosing is impossible for us: even non-choosing is a form of choosing. Choice is a matter of "either-or" and not one of non-duality-a matter of pure subjectivity, "Anjin" in itself. The firmness of one's "Anjin" alone cannot assure the truth of one's ideology, and the deepness of one's pure subjectivity cannot make up for the scantiness of one's social thought. It isn't rare that the decisiveness of Anjin goes together with the conventionalism of moral thoughts. Profundity of one's Anjin isn't always the evidence of the validity of one's view on the social questions.

There are two types of Peace of mind (Anjin):

Type A. Being undisturbed in adversity.

Ryokan (1757-1831), a Zen monk in the Tokugawa era, once wrote to one of his friends, "Meet a disaster willingly when you meet with it, die willingly when you die, -this is the secret of escaping a disaster." This type of Anjin attaches little weight to the social thoughts, it is solely concerned with the mental attitude of life and is secured within its subjectivity: its primary aim is to have one adapt oneself to surroundings instead of changing them. This attitude held true especially in the middle ages when the people didn't find any difference between the laws of nature and those established by man. This kind of amor fati is an ideology helpful in maintaining the status quo of society. It comes under the "philosophy of interpretation" in a broad sense. However, I don't think that “Being master in every situation (随 処 作 主)" is the same as mere adaptation to one's environment. Brotherly love of the Buddhist would be compared to the parental one wishing their children to be happy both in a spiritual and in a physical sense.

The question of bread for myself is a material question, but the question of bread for my neighbours, for everybody, is a spiritual and religious question...... Society should be, so organized that there is bread for all, and then it is that the spiritual question will present itself before men in all its depth. (Berdyaev)[6]

Type B. Peace of mind creating and verifying itself in the practice of realizing peace and happiness of the world, not only by the spiritual but also by material and social means.

An objection may be raised here: the essential problem of Buddhism is nothing but the problem of life-and-death, the other questions, e. g., the social, the economical and the political should be left to the respective sciences. However we must pay attention to the fact that the early Buddhism attached much importance to the social problems as well as to the life-and-death question, as a natural consequence of egoless love (karuna) of Buddhism. Taday, scientific analysis of such problems may well be entrusted to social sciences. Yet we find so many a different explanation and answer to settle the matter on the part of sciences. So we have to choose the better one without prejudice and out of the Buddhist love. Then we find ourselves in the intermediate region where Buddhism and social sciences closely relate to each other. Without this vital relation, religious ethics is liable to fall into conventional opportunism.[7] This relation does not bury religion in the various "-isms" of this world, so far as it maintains a critical attitude towards history from its suprahistorical standpoint. Here is, so to speak, disconnected connection between the "Dharma-dhatu, 法 界" (supra-historical world)and the "Loka-dhatu 世 間 界"(the historical world).[8] The Dharma-dhatu is a world vision created by the Prana-intuition, through its contemplation of this world miserable and unreasonable. This world vision is by no means the Buddhists' "ideal world" in the usual sense: the Dharma-dhatu will never be realized in this mundane world, while the "ideal world" in a secular sense is expected to be realized on earth in the distant future: the former views the world from the absolute and super-historical standpoint, the latter from the relative and historical one.

There is a break between the Dharma-dhatu and the Loka-dhatu, and yet they have a vital relation to each other. J. M. Murry wrote when he concluded one of his essays:

The Church is the Church only when it is in a condition of vital tension between the two realization: that the Kingdom of God cannot be established in the world in time, and that the Kingdom of God must be established in the world in time.[9]

Also the Dharma-dhatu must be established in the world in time efforts to remove the social evils are required here in time. But the logic of the Dharma-dhatu will never be allowed to be connected straight to that of the Loka-dhatu. If the logic of harmony of the former is directly applied to the social problems, the righteousness of protest and resistance against the social evils will be denied. Mere preaching of "peace and harmony" can never remove, as our history proves, the objective existence of those evils, which are cleared only by reforming practices.[10] Here is the field of Buddhist social ethics that intermediates the Dharma-dhatu and the Loka-dhatu. Therefore social ethics of religion need to have a special perspective, different from the mundane ethics. It must contain angles both relative and absolute towards history. In human history we often see the struggles between, the suppressor and the suppressed. Both sides try to protect their own interests. Apparently here is a problem of group egoism, which is found not only on the part of the suppressor as we see it easily but also on the part of the suppressed. Simone Weil[11] noticed egoism and cruelties of the revolutionary groups when she took part in the resistance movements in Spain, and she called the revolution "opium of the people".[12] But we must distinguish the group egoism of the suppressed from that of the suppressor. The protest and resistance of the suppressed claiming the fundamental rights of man are focused on the freedom and happiness of all mankind. Nevertheless it is the undeniable fact that the reforming movement within them is still imbued with egoism. The Dharma-dhatu is the world of love and harmony, created by the egoless Prajna. As such it has the two functions, namely, to affirm the reforming activities for the welfare of all mankind, and to criticise the ego-centeredness hidden even in those activities of good intentions. So in the Dharma-dhatu, not only the logic of peace and that of harmony but also peace of mind and that of the world are completely unified. The egoless self in Prajna is founded, as we stated before, upon the logic and wisdom of non-duality, which is nothing but the logic of "Anjin" in Buddhism. Now, the two types of Anjin, in my view, do not necessarily contradict each other: the former may possibly be included in the latter as the attitude to hold oneself in adversity, in the practice of devoting oneself to creating the world of peace and happiness. Thus we find our lives worth living in the vital tension between the reformation of the world and the contemplation and realization of the Dharma-dhatu. In other words, peace of mind reveals and confirms itself in the act of constructing a new world through the dialogic tension of the Loka-dhatu in time and the Dharma-dhatu in eternity.[13] Here we are confronted, as we mentioned above, with some important problems, for instance, a question of truth or validity of applying the law of harmony and interpenetration (無 擬) of Dharma-dhatu straight to Loka-dhatu (our society of class antagonism), and a problem of non-violence as the only way of cutting off a vicious circle of violence and that of violence in pressing situations, for example, the "legitimate self-defense" against burglary and murder.

[1] by Tesshu Yamaoka, 山 岡 鉄 舟 (1836-1888). tr. by. Dr. Suzuki. My interpretation is slightly different from that of Dr. Suzuki: Cf., "Zen Buddhism and its Influence on Japanese Culture, 1938, p, 202.

[2] Prajnaparamita is not prajnaparamita and therefore it is prajnaparamita. 般若波羅蜜。即非般若波羅蜜。是名般若波羅蜜。

[3] "Suffering is not suffering, therefore it is suffering".-This proposition is of course illogical and nonsense in the field of formal logic. But it doesn't belong to this field. The experience indicated by this proposition is one of the different dimension. The subject "A" in this case denotes "A" directly experienced in Prajna intuition, while on the other hand, "A" in the predicate is not "A" in itself, "A" as pure experience. For example, the subject "Fire" ("A") is, or more exactly, denotes, fire itself really burning and burns any hand that touches it, but "fire" in the predicate is mere idea (presentation, 表 象) of fire itself indicated by the subject "Fire"; it is a content, an object in that sense, of our consciousness. In the above proposition, "A" as the subject and "A" in the predicate suggest the stratum construction of experience. The subject "A" suggesting the Prajna intuition is not the same as "A" in the predicate. It becomes clear that the logic of "Sokuhi" or of Prajna is not in direct opposition to formal logic, because the dimension of the former is different from that of the latter, in other words, "Sokuhi" logic does not deny, in the above sense, formal logic. -Our daily experience where formal logic is accepted as a matter of course-suffering is suffering, delight is delight; suffering is not delight, and vice versa,-always holds a certain viewpoint from which a certain object is viewed: there are always certain things that are to be viewed from certain points of view, thus our experience consists of subject and object, or the inner and the outer world. In the Prajfia experience, however, there is no discrimination, no dualism of subject and object, mental and physical, viewpoints and things viewed. Suffering in Prajfia is not suffering objectively perceived from which (object) we (subject or ego) try to escape in our nervous tension of subject versus object. In Prajna, in this unio mystica, so to speak, suffering is suffering, and yet it is not suffering (object) as one to be escaped by the sufferer (subject), in this sense, it is non-suffering, or it is "as if" suffering. No nervous irritation is here pacification of the soul is performed. Now, the subject "A" (fire or suffering in the above cases) or more precisely, Prajfia experience (fire or suffering as such) indicated by the subject "A" is never annihilated by the "non-A", the negation in the predicate, so it is concluded, "therefore it is suffering: suffering as such, or sunya suffering."

[4] 僧 環, 信 心 銘, Sengtsan (died 606). The Hsinghingming. tr. by R. H. Blyth.

[5] E. Fromm, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, 1962, p. 180.

[6] Nicolas Berdyaev, The Origin of Russian Communism, 1960, p. 185.

[7] Dogen cites in his "Tenzo-kyo un" (典 座 教 訓, Instruction of Cooks in Zen Monastery) the question and answer between Tozan (洞 山) and his disciple Seppo (雪 峰) concerning the latter's sorting grains of rich from those of sand, and suggests the truths that (1) choosing is non-choosing, so it is choosing; and that (2) the choosing service should be performed with most sincere and careful mind. We are suggested by the second item that our thoughts and practices in society should serve the purposes by conforming to the law and principle of the respective situations. Kitaro Nishida, 西 田 幾 多 郎 (1870-1945), a notorious philosopher in recent Japan, difined, in his later years, his philosophy as "The absolute objectivism". To be above the "-ism" does not mean falling into an "opportun-ism"

[8] Mumonkan" (無 門 関) Chap. II. tells a story: Once a man was asked, "Does a man of Enlightenment too fall into the world of causality (be chained to the law of causality)?" He answered: "the enlightened one never falls into the world of causality (不 落 因 果)" On account of this answer, he was made a fox after he died. However, on hearing a great Zen master Hyakujo (百 丈, Po-chang) speak "The enlightened one does not ignore the law of causality and see it clearly (不 昧 因 果), he (the fox) opened his spiritual eye and restored his humanity. Putting aside the traditional interpretation and take "causality", as the laws of the mundane world in history. Then, "not falling into causality" suggests the break between religion and history. But it is not possible for us, as we saw above, to live in society ignoring morality. Living in society, we cannot but fall into the world dominated by the law of causation. Thus we have both the absolute and the relative perspective towards history. Now, on the converging point of the relative perspective (落 因 果), and the absolute one (不 落 因 果), the Buddhist attains the highly unique enlightenment which sees clearly the law of causality without being enslaved by it (不 昧 因 果). However, if this enlightenment is taken as something objective which we must seek and cling to, then we will lose this and fall again into the relative perspective.

[9] John Middleton Murry (1889-), Heaven and Earth, 1938.

[10] For example, democratic freedom is by no means the product of few saints and clergy, but that of the secular and organized people awakened to their rights of man.

[11] Simone Weil (1909-1943), a French philosopher who died young in England. She took part in the revolutionary movement in Spain for a while.

[12] S. Weil, La condition ouveriere, 1951

[13] Endless progress (or optimism towards history) and everlasting repetition (or pessimism towards history) of human history. We are in the structural construction of history, so to speak.