An Introduction to Zen Buddhism -D.T.Suzuki Edited by Christmas Humphreys Foreword by C. G. Jung

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Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki’s works on Zen Buddhism are among the best contributions to the knowledge of living Buddhism that recent decades have produced, and Zen itself is the
most important fruit that has sprung from that tree whose roots are the collections of the Pali-Canon. We cannot be sufficiently grateful to the author, first for the fact of his having brought Zen closer to Western understanding, and secondly for the manner in which he has achieved this task. Oriental religious conceptions are usually so very different from our Western ones that even the very translation of the words brings
one up against the greatest difficulties, quite apart from the meaning of the ideas exposed, which under certain circumstances are better left untranslated. I have only to mention the Chinese”Tao”, which no European translation has yet achieved. The
original Buddhist writings themselves contain views and ideas which are more or less unassimilable by the average Western understanding. I do not know, for example, just what spiritual(or perhaps climatic?) background or preparation is necessary before one can deduce any completely clear idea from the Buddhist Kamma. In spite of all that we know about the essence of Zen, here too there is the question of a central perception
of unsurpassed singularity. This strange perception is called Satori, and may be translated as “Enlightenment”. Suzuki
says (see page 95), “Satori is the raison d’être of Zen, and without it there is no Zen.” It should not be too difficult for the Western mind to grasp what a mystic understands by “enlightenment”,or what is known as “enlightenment” in religious parlance.When one examines the Zen text attentively, one cannot escape the impression that, with all that is bizarre in it, satori is, in fact, a matter of natural occurrence, of something so very
simple that one fails to see the wood for the trees, and in attempting to explain it, invariably says the very thing that drives
others into the greatest confusion. Nukariya therefore is right when he says that any attempt to explain or analyse the contents of Zen with regard to enlightenment would be in vain. Never-
theless, this author does venture to say of enlightenment that it embraces an insight into the nature of self, and that it is an emancipation of the conscious from an illusionary conception of self. The illusion regarding the nature of self is the common confusion of the ego with self. Nukariya understands by “self”the All-Buddha, i.e. simply a total consciousness (Bewusstsein-stotalität) of life. He quotes Pan Shan, who says, “The world of the mind encloses the whole universe in its light,” adding,”It is a cosmic life and a cosmic spirit, and at the same time an
individual life and an individual spirit.”

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