You may have heard this word several times already, and this is a very good thing, I promise you.
Maybe you heard it in a context which was not necessarily related to the spiritual path, maybe you’ve heard it in a Mall, or for commercial purposes, for a SPA or for a Dentist Clinic or Furniture, or highlighted in a banner, for a fancy Zen Club and Pool…
I heard it… Many many many many many times…
I was simply amazed how a completely different meaning emerged from an old Japanese word which was meant to translate the original, hence much older, indian term, dhyana.
To these days I never heard it outside its traditional context – my first meeting with Zen was in the guise of a book, The Ten Oxherding, and my first ”Encounter of the third kind” with the Zen teaching happened in 1998, and started with a conference followed by a closed weekend sesshin. It was a hard-core one. Not the worst, but one of them…
So, I never thought ”easy” about Zen. I never thought ”peaceful” about Zen. Or ”relaxed”, ”chill”, ”cool” state of being. Or everything of sorts…
How is this possible? Why people find that Zen is the most desirable state, the complete, ultimate and absolute notgivingashit state of consciousness? How it is possible that the highest state of counsciousness equals the dontgiveashitaboutanything’cosIamchillcoolandrelaxeddespiteeverything?
In the beginning I got frustrated every time I was hearing around me ”Today I was completely Zen…” ”You have to be Zen man..” I was surrounded by ”Zen” human beings (or willing to be Zen).. and it was a big challenge – and teaching – for me, not to be involved in it and to be attached to a single point of view. Everybody can have an opinion, no matter if is about politics, football or Zen.
Of course, Zen has to do with attachments. And has to do with other things. But I never heard my master saying that ”Today I will be Zen and I will watch the complete series of ”24”. Never. Honestly, I never heard him saying ”Today I will be Zen or yesterday I was not Zen”…. Or ”Let’s be Zen for the next couple of hours sitting in the dojo, crossed legs, facing the wall!” He rarely pronounce the word Zen. And he is a Zen Master. He is a Roshi.
In order to say something about something is better to know something about it. Is common sense if not else. So we will try to give the best we can, to say what we know, to walk what we preach. We try to give you Zen. A practiced one. A seated one. A painful one. A drowsy one. A blissful one. The Zen Zen.
So what is Zen? So what is not Zen? Is Zen the Middle Way, is Zen the extremes? Is it popular or is it for the few elected ones? What is it? Is it something or is it nothing?
Why should Zen be something?
The teaching is that Zen is Zazen. The teaching is that you sit zazen just sitting letting go of thoughts like clouds in the blue sky paying attention at the 5 important points of the right zazen posture without purpose mushotoku just sitting letting zazen do zazen. Nothing less, nothing more.
And then comes the Dharma.
And Dharma will follow.