Three roots of evil nestled in every person: ignorance, greed and anger. As soon as one of these roots touched the human mind, the gaze of that person became foggy and bleary, leaving him open to believing everything that nourished this evil.
Tradition, the primary religion of the world of ‘Takuan from Koto,’ is a syncretic blend of Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucian philosophy. According to the Tradition, within every individual from birth, there exist three vices:
- ignorance, which succumbs to delusions;
- greed, which creates an insatiable thirst for possession;
- anger, which gives rise to disgust and hatred.
The Abbot of Brocade Mountain, a temple monk named Soliang, spoke of these vices in his teachings: ‘Man lives in suffering. His desires are born from the roots of evil and tear him apart from within. Those who nourish their roots suffer more than others. They cannot be satisfied. Feeding them once only increases the hunger within.’
The first mention of the roots of evil occurs in the first book when the Marten Ta-Guan reaches Heavens. There, she sneaks into a storage room and discovers demons locked in Yanwang’s magical bulbs. These demons are coloured according to the roots of evil.
The reader then learns that weredemons can possess people who have succumbed to their passions. This subsequently happens to many of the characters.
The science of the roots of evil is taught in monasteries, where our protagonist Takuan learns about his calling. He then sets off on a journey, and wherever he relies on his knowledge, success accompanies him. But when he becomes angry, arrogant, or greedy, retribution awaits him.
Finally, at the very end, the reader learns how humanity was given a chance at true salvation. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
If you want to know more of each of the root of evil and of how they are connected with Buddhism philosophy, you must read the Makipedia.