The Way of The Warrior ~XVI~

9/20/22

Please read aloud with me,
mindfully and prayerfully.

The Five Ranks of Merit

Thus far
we have stated
how to train
our body
and mind
according to
the general rules
and customs
established by
Zenists.

And here
we shall describe
the different stages
of mental uplifting
through which
the student of Zen
has to go.

They are technically called,
“The Five Ranks of Merit”


The first stage
is called
The Rank of Turning,
in which the student
‘turns’ his mind
from the external
objects of sense
towards the inner
Enlightened Consciousness.

He gives up
all mean desires
and aspires
to spiritual elevation.

He becomes aware
that he is not doomed
to be the slave
of material things,
and strives
to conquer over them.

Enlightened Consciousness
is likened
to the King,
and it is called
The Mind-King,
while the student
who now turns
towards the King
is likened to
common people.

Therefore,
in this first stage,
the student
is in the rank
of common people.



The second stage
is called
The Rank of Service,
in which the student
distinguishes himself
by his loyalty
to the Mind-King,
and becomes
a courtier
to ‘serve’ Him.

He is in
constant ‘service’
to the King,
attending him
with obedience
and love,
and always
fearing to offend him.

Thus
the student
in this stage
is ever careful
not to neglect
rules and precepts
laid down by the sages,
and endeavours
to uplift himself
in spirituality
by his
fidelity.


The third stage
is called
The Rank of Merit,
in which the student
distinguishes himself
by his
‘meritorious’ acts
of conquering over
the rebel army of passion
which rises
against The Mind-King.

Now,
his rank
is not the rank
of a courtier,
but the rank
of a general.

In other words,
his duty
is not only
to keep rules
and instructions
of the sages,
but to subjugate
his own passion
and establish
moral order
in the mental kingdom.


The fourth stage
is called
The Rank of Co-operative Merit,
in which the student
‘co-operates’
with other persons
in order to complete
his merit.

Now,
he is not
compared
with a general
who conquers
his foe,
but with
the prime-minister
who co-operates
with other officials
to the benefit
of the people.

Thus
the student
in this stage
is not satisfied
with his own
conquest
of passion,
but seeks after
spiritual uplifting
by means of
extending
his kindness
and sympathy
to his fellow men.


The fifth stage
is called
The Rank of Merit-over-Merit,
which means
the rank of
meritless-merit.

This
is the rank
of the King
Himself.

The King
does nothing
meritorious,
because
all the governmental works
are done
by His ministers
and His subjects.

All
that He
has to do
is to keep
His inborn
dignity
and sit high
on His throne.

Therefore
His conduct
is meritless,
but
all
the meritorious
acts
of His
subjects
are done
through His
authority.

Doing
nothing,
he does
everything.

Without
any merit,
he gets
all merits.

Thus,
the student
in this stage
no more strives
to keep precepts,
but
his doings
are naturally
in accord with them.

No more
he aspires
for spiritual
elevation,
but
his heart
is naturally pure
from material desires.

No more
he makes
an effort
to vanquish
his passion,
but
no passion
disturbs him.

No more
he feels
it his duty
to do good
to others,
but
he is naturally
good and merciful.

No more
he sits
in Dhyana,
but
he naturally
lives
in Dhyana
at all times.

It is in
this fifth stage
that the student
is enabled
to identify
his Self
with
The Mind-King
or
Enlightened Consciousness,
and
to abide
in perfect
bliss.


~ Kaiten Nukariya



%d bloggers like this: