Our confusion and inability to see our true selves
do not result solely from our rational discursive
What are the advantages of an analytical
mind? A discursive mind? What are
the disadvantages? Do you experience “mind” that is not discursive
and logical, that is beyond rational thought?
If we are designing a bridge or balancing
a checkbook, logical and analytical thinking are
advantageous. But when we look carefully, we see
that discursive, linear thinking is only useful
for certain kinds of tasks; for others it is quite
useless. Like the hammer or the toothbrush, discursive
thought is a tool intended for certain kinds of
jobs: If you use a hammer to brush your teeth,
or a toothbrush to drive nails, you are not likely
to meet with great success.
When attempting to approach ultimate
reality, we have already created aa gap into which
we fall, dualistically separating "it" from "us."
Reflect on how you identify
with your intellect.
Not entrusting ourselves, relying
entirely on our intellect, we disown and lose
contact with an extremely important aspect of ourselves,
our intuitive and direct knowledge.
And what do we do with our intellect?
We look for the sources of our dis-ease outside
ourselves - in social, political, economic, or
We lead lives that feel like a whirlwind of events,
an endless round of conditioned actions and reactions.
Or we simply turn away from this disheartening
view and try to lose ourselves in the surface of
Are you finding this approachto
understanding life ultimately unsatisfying
inadequate in dealing with life's
truly fundamental questions?
Notice the contrast between wanting
to get away from it all and being
one with it all.
Sooner or later in most of our lives,
there comes a time when we sense, more or less
painfully, that something is fundamentally not
quite right. Perhaps it’s an inkling that
we have overlooked something in the midst of so
much busyness. Perhaps we don't quite know exactly
what is missing, but we know we miss it.
Zazen – a radical approach
Sitting Zen is a “way” — a
path for getting in touch with the true Self. Not
just with the narrow self or personality; that
much can be accomplished through psychotherapy
or a number of other disciplines. But sitting deals
with the "big-S"-Self,
that most basic level of reality that has nothing
to do with culture, social status, intellect, or
Zazen — Zen practice — deals with
who you really are beyond all the specifics of
time and place. And who you really are, ultimately,
is the universe itself.
Beyond experiencing the Self in this
way, zazen is also a direct expression of
what Shakyamuni Buddha found — of
what you, yourself a Buddha, find out.
why you’ll discover that sitting is not just
a tool — a means toward an end — but
also a way of life that is a model of living itself.
is not a destination — and zazen
is not a bus.
I said Zen addresses two questions: “huh” and “so…” The
second question asks: Given what what you’ve
found asking “Huh?” — looking
at your life and at the meaning of your existence,
of reality — what are the implications for
how to live? And since this discovery process is
endless, the asking "so..." is endless.
Before learning how to do zazen,
you will explore what we mean by zazen or sitting
Zen. Keep in mind, however,
that zazen and Zen are not concepts to be understood
by reading. In the end you will know zazen by doing