One critic (Arthur Lloyd, “Wheat Among the Tares”, p.53) regards Zen as “the Buddhist counterpart of ‘Spiritual Exercises’ of St. Ignatius Loyola”. The critic shows a great inclination to find Christian analogies for things Buddhist, and this is one of such instances. Those who have at all a clear understanding of Zen will at once see how wide of the mark this comparison is. Even superficially speaking, there is not a shadow of similitude between the exercises of Zen and those proposed by the founder of the Society of Jesus. The contemplations and prayers of St. Ignatius are, from the Zen point of view, merely so many fabrications of the imagination elaborately woven for the benefit of the piously minded; and in reality this is like piling tiles upon tiles on one’s head, and there is no true gain in the life of the spirit. We can say this, however, that those “Spiritual Exercises” in some way resemble certain meditations of Hinayana Buddhism, such as the Five Mind-quieting Methods, or the Nine Thoughts on Impurity, or the Six or Ten Subjects of Memory.
Zen is sometimes made to mean “mind-murder and the curse of idle reverie”. This is the statement of Griffis, the well-known a