In my estimation there really is no way to assert what Zen is, whether you
are restricting it to zazen; or opening it to a wider religious and
cultural discussion. The best we can do is just admit we fall short and
point to our own experience, to presence. Of course we could ask ourselves
who is being present?
So repeating zazen zazen zazen with platitudes to support it, or explaining
big Zen and little zen, does do much but tell us something about who is
doing the talking and perhaps who is doing the listening here.
I think it is safe to say that Zen is a path that addresses the
experiential with zazen as its central methodology -- a sort of undoing of
the conditioned cultural and experiential part of your personality that
continuously reacts and feeds your ego.
Think of it this way, while you are reading this you are already reacting
inside in an automatic way. Zen seeks to loosen the bounds of your false
self and return you to your natural state. Part of the reason why Zen
honors spontaneity, clarity, nature and a sense of the primordial untouched
mother that feeds us all.
In this respect Zen shares a great deal in common with Sufism, although the
methods might be a great deal different.
It shares a great deal of common
In a message dated 9/9/2010 10:55:19 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
In my direct experience there is nothing at all mystical about zen - nor is
there anything mystical about it as the old Chinese masters taught it. And
I do think this is why many people have such a hard time with zen - they
are looking for something mystical, they cannot believe it really is that
simple: "Everyday mind is zen mind" or "Marvelous spiritual power; chopping
wood and carrying water!" or "If you want to understand zen directly, the
normal mind is zen mind." And my favorite: "Someone asked Xuedou, 'What is
the living meaning of zen?' Xuedou said, 'The mountains are high, the oceans
are wide.' "
Until you "get it" these things don't seem to make sense and people think
there must be some deep mystical thing they are missing. After you "get it"
you realize it was there all along! ;-)