By Christmas Humphreys
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Additional resources for A Western Approach to Zen
If it is possible to lift the Buddhist teaching nearer still to the Hindu original, look at 'The Self in thee (I claim a capital here) knows what is true and what is false'. Every mystic since the world began would agree. Let us look again at the doctrine of An-atta as lhe Buddha taught il. It is that there is no unchanging entity or principle in any lIT all of lhe skandhas. As so slared there is here no conflict with the doctrine of I 'Things he will not have taught', From A Studies presented to Sir E.
But the monks would not leave this statement alone. Attack ing the concept of the Atman as degraded in the Buddha's day to a thing, the size of a thumb, in the human hean, they swung too fBI. 'No self, no self' they cried, and in time produced the joyless, cramping doctrine as drearily proclaimed today. I prefer to agree with Mrs Rbys Davids that the Buddha was concerned with a Way and a Wayfarer, who is urged to train himself, to be ever 'mindful and self-possessed', to 'strive mightily'-as were the Buddha's dying words.
If so, we can allow ourselves to be utterly occupied with the job in hand. If this be our habit we may see the truth in the curious teaching in the Tao Te Ching, 'the Sage never attempts great things, and thus he can achieve what is great'. Whatever the size of the enterprise, we can only take the next step on the way to its fulfilment. The result of our action will not be perfect but then, as R. H. Blyth says somewhere, 'Perfection means, not perfect actions in a perfect world, but appropriate action in an imperfect one'.
A Western Approach to Zen by Christmas Humphreys