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The Religion of the Samurai, by Kaiten Nukariya, [1913], at



ACCORDING to Confucianism[2] and Taoism all sorts of beings, such as men and beasts, were born out of and brought up by the (so-called) Great Path of Emptiness.[3] That is to say, the Path by the operation of its own law gave rise naturally to the primordial Gas, and that Gas produced Heaven and Earth, which (in their turn) brought forth thousands of things. Accordingly the wise and the unwise, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the happy and the miserable, are predestined to be so by the heavenly flat, and are at the mercy of Time and Providence. Therefore they (must) come back after death to Heaven and Earth, from which (in turn) they return to the (Path) of Emptiness. The main purpose of these [4] (two) outside teachings is simply to establish morals with regard to bodily actions, but not to trace life to its First Cause. They tell of

[1. A. 'Those of Confucianists and Taoists.'

2. Confucianists are not of exactly the same opinion as Taoists respecting the creation. The Great Path here mentioned refers exclusively to Taoism.

3. The Great Path of Emptiness, Hü Wu Ta Tao, is the technical name for the Taoist conception of the Absolute. It is something existent in an undeveloped state before the creation of the phenomenal universe. According to Tao Teh King, it is 'self-existent, unchangeable, all-pervading, and the mother of all things. It is unnamable, but it is sometimes called the Path or the Great.' It is also called the Emptiness, as it is entirely devoid of relative activities.

4. Confucianism mainly treats of ethical problems, but Taoism is noted for its metaphysical speculation.]

nothing beyond the phenomenal universe in their explanation of thousands of things. Though they point out the Great Path as the origin, yet they never explain in detail (what is) the direct, and (what) the indirect cause of the phenomenal universe, or how it was created, or how it will be destroyed, how life came forth, whither it will go, (what is) good, (what) evil. Therefore the followers of these doctrines adhere to them as the perfect teachings without knowing that they are merely temporary.

Now I (shall) raise, in brief, a few questions to point out their weaknesses. If everything in the universe, as they say, came out of the Great Path of Emptiness, that Great Path itself should be the cause of (not only) of wisdom, (but) of folly, (not only) of life, (but) of death. It ought to be the source of prosperity (as well as) of adversity, of fortune (as well as) of misfortune. If this origin exist (as it is supposed) to all eternity, it must be possible neither to remove follies, villainies, calamities, and wars, nor to promote wisdom, good, happiness, and welfare. Of what use (then) are the teachings of Lao Tsz and Chwang Tsz?[1] The Path, besides, should have reared the tiger and the wolf, given birth to Kieh[2] and Cheu,[3] caused the premature deaths of Yen[4] and Jan,[5] and placed I[6] and Tsi[7]

[1. One of the greatest Taoist philosophers, and the author of the book entitled after his name. He flourished 339-327 B.C.

2. The last Emperor of the Hia dynasty, notorious for his vices. His reign was 1818-1767 B.C.

3. The last Emperor of the Yin dynasty, one of the worst despots. His reign was 1154-1122 B.C.

4. Yen Hwui (Gan-kai, 541-483 B.C.), a most beloved disciple of Confucius, known as a wise and virtuous scholar.

5. Jan Poh Niu (Zen-pak-giu, 521- . . . B.C.), a prominent disciple, of Confucius, distinguished for his virtues.

6. Poh I (Haku-i), the elder brother of Tsi, who distinguished himself by his faith and wisdom at the downfall of the Yin dynasty.

7. Shuh Tsi (Shiku Sei), the brother of I, with whom he shared the same fate.]

in their most lamentable condition. How could it be called a noble (path)?

Again, if, as they say, thousands of things could come naturally into existence without direct or indirect causes, they should come forth in all places where there are neither direct nor indirect causes. For instance, a stone would bring forth grass, while grass would give birth to man, and man would beget beasts, etc. In addition to this they would come out all at the same time, nothing being produced before or after the others. They would come into existence all at the same moment, nothing being produced sooner or later than the others. Peace and welfare might be secured without the help of the wise and the good. Humanity and righteousness might be acquired without instruction and study. One might even become an immortal genius[1] without taking the miraculous medicine. Why did Lao Tsz, Chwang Tsz, Cheu Kung[2] and Confucius do such a useless task as to found their doctrines and lay down the precepts for men?

Again, if all things, as they say, were made of the primordial Gas (which has no feeling nor will), how could an infant, just born of the Gas, who had never learned to think, or love, or hate, or to be naughty, or wilful (even begin to think or feel)? If, as they may answer, the infant as soon as it was born could quite naturally love or hate, etc., as it wished, it could (as well) gain the Five Virtues[3] and the Six Acquirements,[4] as it wished. Why

[1. Degenerated Taoists maintained that they could prepare a certain miraculous draught, by the taking of which one could become immortal.

2. Cheu Kung (Shu-ko), a most noted statesman and scholar, the younger brother of the Emperor Wu (1122-1116 B.C.), the founder of the Chen dynasty.

3. (1) Humanity, (2) Uprightness, (3) Propriety, (4) Wisdom, (5) Sincerity.

4. (1) Reading, (2) Arithmetic, (3) Etiquette, (4) Archery, (5) Horsemanship, (6) Music.]

does it wait for some direct or indirect causes (to gain its knowledge), and to acquire them through study and instruction?

Again, they might say life suddenly came into existence, it being formed of the Gas, and suddenly goes to naught (at death), the Gas being dispersed. What, then, are the spirits of the dead (which they believe in)? Besides, there are in history some instances of persons[1] who could see through previous existences, or of persons[2] who recollected the events in their past lives. Therefore we know that the present is the continuation of the past life, and that it did not come into existence on a sudden by the formation of a Gas. Again, there are some historical facts[3] proving that the supernatural powers of spirits will not be lost. Thus we know that life is not to be suddenly reduced to naught after death by the dispersion of the Gas. Therefore (matters concerning) sacrifices, services, and supplications (to the spirits) are mentioned in the sacred books.[4] Even more than that! Are there not some instances, ancient and modern , of persons who revived after death to tell the matters concerning the unseen world, or who' appeared to move the hearts of their wives and children

[1. According to Tsin Shu, a man, Pao Tsing by name, told his parents, when he was five years, that he had been in the previous life a son to Li, an inhabitant of Küh Yang, and that he had fallen into the well and died. Thereupon the parents called on Li, and found, to their astonishment, that the boy's statement was actually coincident with the fact.

2. Yan Hu, a native of Tsin Chen, recollected, at the age of five, that he had been a son to the next-door neighbour, and that he had left his ring under a mulberry-tree close by the fence of the house. Thereupon he went with his nurse and successfully restored it, to the astonishment of the whole family.

3. All the ancient sages of China believed in spirits, and propitiated them by sacrifices.

4. The sacred books of Confucianism, Shu King and Li Ki.

5 Pang Shang, the Prince of Tsi, is said to have appeared after his death.]

a while after death, or who[1] took vengeance (on the enemy), or who[2] returned favours (to their friends)?

The outside scholars might ask, by way of objection, if one live as a spirit after death, the spirits of the past would fill up streets and roads, and be seen by men; and why are there no eye-witnesses? I say in reply that (as) there are the Six Worlds[3] for the dead, they do not necessarily live in the world of spirits. (Even as spirits) they must die and be born again among men or other beings. How can the spirits of the past always live in a crowd? Moreover, if (as you say) man was born of (primordial) Gas which gave rise to Heaven and Earth, and which was unconscious from the very beginning, how could he be conscious all on a sudden after his birth? Why are trees and grass which were also formed of the same Gas unconscious? Again, if, (as you say), the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the wise and the unwise, the good and the bad, the happy and the unhappy, the lucky and the unlucky, are predestinated alike by heavenly decree, why are so many destined by heaven to be poor and so few to be rich? Why so many to be low and so few to be high? In short, why are so many destined to be unlucky and so few to be lucky?

If it be the will of Heaven to bless so limited a number of persons at all, and to curse so many, why is Heaven so partial? Even more than that! Are there not many who hold a high position without any meritorious conduct, while some are placed in a low one in spite of their keeping

[1. Poh Yiu, of Ching, is said to have become an epidemic spirit to take vengeance on his enemies.

2. According to Tso Chwen (Sa-den), when Wei Wu, a General of Tsin, fought with Tu Hwui, the dead father of his concubine appeared, and prevented the march of the enemy in order to return favours done to him.

3. (1) The heaven, or the world for Devas; (2) the earth, or the world for men; (3) the world for Asuras; (4) the world for Petras; (5) the world for beasts; (6) hell.]

to (the rules of) conduct? Are there not many who are rich without any virtues, while some are poor in spite of their virtues? Are there not the unjust who are fortunate, while the just are unfortunate? Are there not the humane, who die young, while the inhuman enjoy long lives? In short, the righteous (are doomed) to perish, while the unrighteous prosper! Thus (we must infer) that all this depends on the heavenly will, which causes the unrighteous to prosper and the righteous to perish. How can there be reward for the good (as it is taught in your sacred books),[1] that Heaven blesses the good and shows grace to the humble? How can there be punishment for the bad (as it is taught in your holy books),[2] that Heaven curses the evil and inflicts punishment on the proud?

Again, if even all such evils as wars, treacheries, and rebellions depend on the heavenly will, those Sages would be in the wrong who, in the statement of their teaching, censure or chastise men, but not Heaven or the heavenly will. Therefore, even if Shi[3] is full of reproofs against maladministration, while Shu[4] of eulogies for the reigns of the wisest monarchs-even if Propriety[5] is recommended as a most effectual means of creating peace between the governors and the governed, while Music[6] (is recommended as a means of) ameliorating the customs and manners of the people--still, they can hardly be said to realize the Will on High or to conform to the wishes of the Creator. Hence you must acknowledge that those who devote themselves to the study of these doctrines are not able to trace man to his origin.

[1. Shu King and I King.

2. Ibid.

3. Shu King, a famous book of odes.

4. Shu King, the records of the administrations of the wisest monarchs of old.

5. Li Ki, the book on proprieties and etiquette.

6. It is said in Hiao King that music is the best means to improve customs and manners.]

Next: Chapter II: Refutation of Incomplete and Superficial (Doctrine)