Majo(馬祖)’s Idea of Tao(道) and its Ecological Structure

Lee Bub-san / Professor of Dept of Seon studies
Dongguk University

This paper is what analyzed the passage of “平常心 is just Tao”(平常心是道) appearing in Majo’s thought of Zen(禪) from ecological point of view, which Tao is recognized as the most important value in Oriental cultural area, this analysis was done in terms of that “Tao is following the nature(道法自然)”. Not to mention, to discriminate between Tao in Majo’s thought of Zen and the one in Chinese traditional thought, this paper gives an outline about Tao in the philosophy of Lao-tse and Chung-tze(老莊思想) as the preliminary stages for analyzing Majo’s Zhen thought.

Materials for cultivation of Zen to realize actual circumstances of life is all around the natural ecology. Practicing Zen without having roots of the natural ecology is just as looking for a horn of rabbit, there is every no probability of that. Zen master’s question for Buddhist meditation(話頭) of “平常心 is just Tao” means that daily life is just the existing condition of the truth. Both the doctrine that we can gain ‘Awakening the Enlightenment’ in every life or a natural phenomenon and understanding all existences as appearance of Buddha nature are attracting public attention in terms of that they are establishing ecological ontology. Therefore, the ecological realization of Buddhism forms the basis of awakening the enlightenment through Zen cultivation. Because this society couldn’t be peaceful, unless we recognize the actual circumstances of life and realize all lives exist equally.

In spite of a materially affluent society, nowadays, it can be said human beings and an ecosystem is passing through a very serious crisis due to destroy of nature and poverty of spiritual culture. We should become aware that humankind can bring to a crisis leading to self-destruction, since it can cause polarize extremely if individual inequality and distributive discrimination will more deepen. Ecology is really a good science because it lets human beings come close to nature´s true face and expect the green future of the globe. Consequently, if we lay out a schemes which have the public practice the cultivation can enlighten their conscience in their nature through Zen cultivation, it would more revitalize ecosystem by operating on Zen thought and ecology each other. We can find that model in Majo’s thought of Zen.

* Key Words

Tao, Nature, Ordinary mind(평상심), Ecology, Buddha nature