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Z   E   N

"WHATS ZEN"


Zen is a philosophy of will power. There are no special doctrines or teachings. There is no deity to depend on or to assure one's conscience. You are saddled with the responsibility for yourself.
Zen is based on a spirit of self-reliance. You must learn to depend on yourself. But this is no simple statement.

GOAL

There is no result in Zen practice. that is not the point. It is the effort you make to improve yourself that is measured.
Zen is a practical discipline. In Zen enlightenment can be achieved in this lifetime. Zen wants you to act now, to experience this moment right now, directly.
The effect of such action is to give you the power to cope. That is important in today's world. Furthermore, the resiliency that is developed in one's practice allows for appropriate responses. Coping appropriately is a key concept.

ZENS VIEW POINT

Zen is a social philosophy as well.A goal of Zen is to realize your potenci al as a human being. The "self" is understood not only as an individual, but as a member of the community of individuals (society).
Zen stresses self-perfection, and in so practicing, one tends to be more aware of one's place in the world, not in the sense of "better" but more in the sense of "sufficient."

EXAMPLE 1

In a famous Zen story, Nan-in, a Zen master, was visited by a university professor who wished to know all about Zen.
Nan-in served the professor some tea. He poured the cup full, and then continued to pour. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. "Stop it! No more will go in!".
"Like this cup", said the master, "you are full of your own ideas and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?".

EXAMPLE 2

It is understood by the Zen mind that senses cannot grasp reality from one viewpoint. For example, the Rock garden at RYOANJI, a Zen temple near Kyoto appears a few rocks and some sand.
The garden begins to make sense when you realize that from your vantagepoint you cannot quite see all the rocks...You might also notice that you are picking out only the rocks to look at.
Is not all that sands just as important?
What if it was all rocks? Would you be trying as hard to see all the rocks?

EXAMPLE 3

When the light goes on, one says, "The light is on." But are you aware of the absence or darkness? Have you considered all side of the situation, in your obserevation of it?
A Zen Master, quoted "If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to think, you miss the point."
In Zen first comes the technique. practiced so many times that it is forgotten. Then you begin to use it. It is when you do not think about it anymore, that you do it well. Zen is no more than that.
The professional dancer who makes it look easy has trained constantly, and endured great pain.
The tennis pro who flies around the court, making impossible shots, does so not because of any superhuman qualities, but because he has practiced and practiced,as the dancer has,until the movements are internalized. There is no longer any consciencious direction in the movement.

When you marvel at the way someone whips up a dinner for ten on short notice, or the way someone makes an impronpt speech, you are marveling at the same thing, the appproch, the confidence, the naturalness of the behavior. There was no time to prepare, no time to think, no time to resitate. There you are, Z E N.

EXAMPLE 4

A Zen story illustrates this: Two monks were travelling in the rain, the mud sloshing under their feet.
As they passed a river crossing, they saw a beatiful woman, finely dressed, unable to cross because of the mud.
Without a word, the older monk simply picked up the woman and carried her to the other side.
The younger monk, seemingly agitated for the rest of the journey, could not contain himself once they reached their destination. He exploded at the older monk.
"How could you, a monk, even consider holding a woman in your arms, much less a young and beatiful one.It is against our teachings. It is dangerous."
"I put her down at the roadside," said the older monk.
"Are you still carrying her?"
This story, brings onto focus a resolution of the seeming contradiction between a master of Zen and a master of war being one and the same person.
Our friend the old monk picked the woman up and put her down. That's all. No meditation by the intellect. He just did it. His mind, other than to work his muscles, was not a part of the experience. Yet the rules of his order prohibited his behavious. Did he do the right thing? Was it appropriate?

EXAMPLE 5

Morality is judged by intention, that is, subjective intention. It is clear that to take a life is inmoral. But in the context of a volcano erupting and killing hundreads of people and destroing livestock and so on, it is hardly appropriate to judge this as inmoral. Why? Because we do not think of the volcano as intending to do the damage.
On the grander scale, it is not appropiate to make any moral judgement of any act of nature for the same reason.To question wheather any act of nature is appropiate or "right" is equally inapropiate.
Nature (its manifestation) just happen. It just does. The old monk just did it.
And so we come to a resolution of the problem. Our master of Zen acts with his Zen mind when he lifts his sword. When he strikes, he is doing only what his body knows how to do. He see it, does it, and drops it. No morality involved. No intention. It is not act of cutting that is inmoral. A kitchen knife can cut apples or can be used for more sinister thing. It depends on the intention of the user.
This is the source of the often misunderstood concept of the Martial Arts. The Martial Arts have been described as "self-defense", and are thought of in term of peace, benevolence, humanity, restraint. But the question arises as to how one can style these activities as "self-defense" when, in fact , the techniques are mostly offensive.
There is a difference between one who provokes a fight, and the one who is provoked. Zen trainded Martial Artist truly acts only in response to aggression. He does not seek it out. When made, his response are non-resistant and non-violent. He is a man of peace. When he is pushed, he does not push back . He lets whatever it is, go right past him. His response is purely defensive. It is also DESICIVE.


The Zen taught me that a person is free to do whatsover, that are LEGAL, DEMOCRATIC & SCIENTIFIC.
That We should not judge a person based on morality, but whether his/her actions are Legally, Democraticaly and Scientificaly sound right.

Vancouver BC.