Book Of The Week: The Buddha Eye

Buddhist psychology is very complex and can be interpreted from many different perspectives, even though its underlying principles remain consistent.

With Buddhism, as well as other thought processes, I have always found it most intriguing and educational to learn from different points of view. 

In “The Buddha Eye,” Frederick Franck presents and examines essays from nine Japanese philosophers and speakers of Zen. 

Dr. Franck has divided the essays into three parts: The Self, The Structure Of Reality, and Shin Buddhism. 

The Awakening Of Self 

Nishitani Keiji was a philosophy professor and the most trusted representative of the Kyoto School in Japan. He studied philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, as well as Western mystics. 

Nishitani wrote “The Awakening of Self in Buddhism” to examine how the Buddhist realization of humankind can provide value to such dilemmas as advocating social revolution without supporting the transformation of humanity at the same time. He says that blindness prevails when we don’t advocate the transformation of humans. 

Many people may believe that transforming society is separate from transforming one’s self and that transforming society is more important. Nishitani states that the two aspects cannot be separated. This is where Buddhism could have a positive influence.

Buddhism has the ability to transform a person’s inner mind fairly radically.

For example, critics of the crisis of warfare may place blame on modern capitalism and may believe that a social revolution is the only way to overcome such a crisis.

Nishitani explains that a social revolution should not take precedence over one’s inner transformation as a way of overcoming such a crisis. 

Conceiving Of Reality

Suzuki Teitaro Daisetz was a well-known scholar who drew attention to Zen Buddhism. 

Yet, he wrote more from his own experience and thinking and insisted that he was not a scholar. 

As the author of “The Buddhist Conception Of Reality,” Suzuki goes beyond the limits of the intellectual realm and examines the question of the meaning of life in a search for ultimate reality.

Questioning reality is as important as questioning the meaning of life. 

Suzuki says that our intellect may not be the key to opening the door of reality. He says that the intellect is not capable of looking inward and looks outward to try to achieve a view of the world with an objective method.

We should start with the realization that we are God, and there is no separateness. When we realize that God made us in his own image, we can discover why God decided to divide himself and create this world.

I love the line that says in order to get inside of things, we have to realize that we are not outsiders. And to continue to feel like we are outsiders will only perpetuate disharmony with life and the world.

When we understand that there is no separateness and there is a union between subject and object, we can understand “pure experience.“

The ultimate conception of reality, according to Buddhism philosophy, is “pure experience.“

What Is Shin Buddhism?

T. D. Suzuki studied Shin Buddhism for most of his life. He taught at a Shin institution called Otani University and was commissioned to translate Shinran’s doctrine, “Kygyoshinsho,” to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Shinran’s birth.

T. D. Suzuki stressed the fundamental connection between Zen and Shin in their basic thought patterns and ultimate goal.

Dr. Suzuki explains consciousness, what it means to be moral, and the idea of self. 

In the Buddhist doctrine of non-ego, all things are impermanent and in a state of constant flux. Therefore, the self cannot be an object of thought and cannot be brought out to the ordinary field of consciousness.

The ordinary self is not real; it is a divided self, a concept presented to the relative field of consciousness.

The term “ho” is used for the externally serenely shining moon, Amida, and he casts his shadow/likeness in every one of us.  We take hold of this real one through the shadow one in us (human reasoning). Amida is a mystery beyond human reasoning, and we can never analyze it. The mystery of Amida can only be experienced.

Final Thoughts 

Through “The Buddha Eye,” I have gained a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy. I can see why studying Buddhism is a lifelong journey. There are layers of information to learn and then make a way of life. I’m so glad my good friend sent me this book.

I would love to hear others’ thoughts on Buddhist philosophy/psychology. Drop a comment below. And thank you for reading!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases of books through this site. 

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