Zen 101

Friday, November 03, 2017


With respect, 

I haven't talked much about Zen of late. Too bad, talking about Zen is lots of fun. Its the practice that's the hard part. I believe the difference between talking and doing is like the distance between this galaxy and the next. They are incredibly far apart. Yet, we often convince ourselves that they really are the same. No, they are not.

To practice Zen is to not "practice," but to be "Zen." Which is to say, being selfless. How hard is that? How many times a day do we say "I"? Much like when Master Dogen Zenji says "Don't think" and we cut the thought, so too, we cut the "I" and just be...very ontological.

What is it to "just be"?

This is the place where there is no hot or cold, the place where there is no one hand to clap or tree to fall; this is the place of precise existence. Yellow is yellow, red is red. I am and I am not. The place where we take that step off the hundred foot pole with ease.

What does all this mean?

When we spill a cup of coffee we just clean it up and when the dog barks at the door, we let him out. What thought is required in this place? No thought, that's the thing.

Someone might say, "Well, then, how do we plan? How do we get through a day?" Again, Master Dogen would say, "When planning, plan." Its really that simple and that difficult. Its the "just" in "just this." We want to equivocate. We want a back door. In Zen there is neither, hence the difficulty.

None of us can "just be" all the time. In fact it is rare to "just be" at all. Our brain will not allow it. But we can get there more and more often as we practice letting go of thoughts and feelings. What's required are two things: mindfulness and a willingness to accept what mindful awareness brings to us.

And that brings us back to our practice, our being Zen.

As you read this, do not question. Just read. When you question, just question. How hard is that?

We'll see.


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