Friday, May 05, 2017

It's A Zen Thing

Enlightenment is the result of the daily practice of mindfulness”.
-Shinjo Ito
The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand ; I take a book from the other side of the desk ; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighboring wood: — in all these I am practicing Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why — and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.”
D.T. Suzuki, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
Perhaps there is after all nothing mysterious in Zen. Everything is open to your full view. If you eat your food and keep yourself cleanly dressed and work on the farm to raise your rice or vegetables, you are doing all that is required of you on this earth, and the infinite is realized in you.”
D.T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism
I am not a real Zen Master although I play one in the office where I work.  I first heard of Zen from the writings of the Christian monk, Thomas Merton.  I was immediately drawn to it.  I’ve read a fair amount of books about it but I think it basically boils down to being where you are and doing what you are doing.  Zen is about presence.  Whatever you are doing, just do it.  When I go outside for a walk, I walk.  When the wind blows, I feel the wind.  When I walk by the food trucks lined up on the curb every day, I smell the aromas of the food being cooked.  This is all the stuff of life.  The more I practice Zen the more I catch life as it flows.  Sometimes our lives may feel small as we go about our daily routines but there is a big world out there.  Zen opens our eyes.  It helps me to appreciate the wonders of life.   When I am fully part of the flow of life I am being mindful.  When I am present I am enlightened.  As you go through your day use your eyes and ears and nostrils.  Feel the wind on your face and the warmth of the sun on your neck.  When you eat, taste your food.  Use all of your senses and become more aware. 

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