Zen and the Eastern Spirit

To Live a Joyful Life

In the East, a tradition of studying the teachings of saints and sages, and practicing to live a joyful life, was carried down through the ages. But it seems as if this honorable tradition has faded away from the consciousness of modern Japan.
So let us revive this tradition once again and learn to live a joyful life.

1, Introduction

"It is amazing, amazing!
All of the Buddha's wisdom and virtue are offered to each and every living thing.
But because of their illusions and attachments, it is hard to convince them of this."
(Words of the Buddha Gotama)

"Confucius' teachings did not spring from a selfish heart.
He was free from attachments, and did not insist on having things his way.
His character was modest, quiet, gentle, and respectful."
(From the Analects of Confucius)

"A man of virtue views his circumstances as Heaven's decree.
He wouldn't wish for more and his life is fulfilled.
Even if he were rich he would not be proud of it.
He would merely follow the ways of the rich man.
Even if he were poor he would not think of himself as a failure.
Even if he were in an uncivilized savage tribe, he would keep to the right way.
Even if he encountered difficulties he wouldn't be frightened or worried.
He would do the right thing naturally.
Thus, no matter what situation a man of virtue finds himself in,
he would be comfortable without complaining or being dissatisfied."
(From the Doctrine of the Mean)

2, The Purpose of This Website

The above sayings were picked out at random from among those of Eastern Saints and Sages. Just by reading them, we can catch a glimpse of how deep and meaningful the wisdom of East is.

However, the Japanese today have stopped looking back to such a rich spiritual heritage. People outside of Japan have shown more enthusiasm towards the Eastern way of living--people like you. The purpose of this Website is to help people live a joyful, fulfilled life by realizing the spirit of the East, especially that of Zen.

3, Western "Self" and Eastern "Selflessness"

Everyone wants to live a fulfilling life. But the reality is that we usually encounter many difficulties which disturb our peaceful state of mind and which cause us to suffer. As a result, most people give up on believing that they are able to lead a joyful life.

Learning from eminent predecessors how to live a fulfilled life as a human being is the true goal of traditional Eastern education. The root of the Eastern mind is selflessness. On the other hand, the modern Western way of life is based on a subject-object thinking, and making dichotomizing distinctions. These are the causes of suffering.

Unless we achieve selflessness, it is impossible to attain peace in this life. This is the conclusion reached by the Eastern saints and sages. The Eastern "ways" of living, such as Confucianism, Buddhism and Shinto, are all founded on selflessness.

Because they have realized that the only way to resolve the problem of their subject-object dualistic thinking is selflessness, more and more people in the West are showing an interest in the Eastern spirit, especially Zen.

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