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This is a book about Zen.
I’m not talking about Zen Buddhism, a teaching which hopefully leads to achieving enlightenment (satori) through meditation in a seated posture (zazen), usually under the guidance of a teacher, or Zen Master.
I am not a Buddhist, or that sort of Zen master.
My Zen is more organic. Like ancient Chinese Taoism. The Tao reminds the student to experience “life" as it truly is. Life cannot be understood as a concept, or experienced while sequestered away in a monastery, or in front of a TV.
I contend that by living life through the actual conscious awareness of moment to moment everyday “being,” a person will organically become enlightened.
My Zen is about engaging in life to the fullest; diving head first into Your actual living experience; embracing whatever cards you were dealt. Removing the dirt covering the diamond.
I wrote this Zen book to remind myself, and you, that we are already enlightened, and we need only remember "it."
Zen has no meaning.
If zen has no meaning, what in the hell was I doing trying to give it some?
I could have titled it “How to live your life in peace and harmony without getting totally sucked into the bullshit of the world out there.” That would take some explaining. Anyway, the point is, Zen is all about living in peace, harmony and happiness, in this Here and Now moment. A “normal life” is all about dealing with the crazy distractions which upset us.
21st Century Zen is a reminder on how to live your life in the most positive and healthy way possible.
Imagine floating down a peaceful river on a lovely sunny day, wanting to mind your own business, wanting to be away from all your problems. Suddenly an obstacle pops up, forcing you to jump up to avoid the crash. You settle back down, and then another obstacle pops up, then another, one after another, ruining your peaceful day.
The obstacles are everywhere; the everyday endless drama, which controls your life. Problems at work and at home. Problems with the wife and kids and neighbors and in-laws. Your peace of mind is distracted with politics, religion, sports, disturbing movies, unfulfilled desires, illness, and the damn cat, or the rats in at attic. It all adds up. Dealing with these obstacles takes a tremendous amount of your time and energy. You feel stuck, drained, and don’t know what to do about all these damn frustrating obstacles, which over-shadows the happiness you seek.
A “normal life” is a constant reaction to distraction. Eventually we get fed up with the bullshit, and die.
A “normal life” is filled with the constant invasion of armies of distractions, attempting to get us to submit to their force. Most men don’t realize how often we accept the raping and pillaging of our sense of happiness and well-being. We don’t have a clue on how to float around the obstacles in the river, and/or how to stand tall while facing the angry general of confusing and unpleasant distractions, without blinking an eye. If you were to read this book from cover to cover, its quite possible for you to move from dis-harmony and submission, to real personal power.; to be the Zen Master of your life.
1. What is Zen? Ask any true Zen Master and he will answer, “I don’t know.”
In Zen there is a famous riddle, called a koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Your mind will think this is a question which deserves an answer. Most students are baffled by this simple koan. The answer is too simple.
That’s because there is no answer. It’s a no thing. It’s a question about you wanting a no thing to be a some thing it’s not. A nothing being something is impossible.
A better question, and the reason for this book, would be, “How can I live what I refer to as a Zen life; a life of peace and harmony? How can I be happy?”
As I said in the Preface, Zen is a process where “by living life through the actual conscious awareness of moment to moment everyday ‘being,’ a person will organically become happy; possibly enlightened.”
In order to do this, you will need to get out of your mind. You’ll need to stop constantly trying to solve the puzzle; to stop trying to figure everything out; to stop trying to make it all make sense.
You think your mind is the savior, when in truth, its the assassin. While the mind strives to make sense out of everything, Zen is mindless, irrational and non-sensical.
Zen is simply the acceptance and enjoyment of the organic flow of life.
Zen, as defined in this book, is all about finding and then experiencing personal freedom. In order for that to happen, you will need to journey into a realm of consciousness beyond theology and organized religion, to a place void of dogma and "should be/do" philosophies.
This book is an invitation to enter into the consciousness of “Zen.” Into a paradox with no conclusion.
Of course the sound of one hand clapping is nonsense.
In all seriousness, you’ve forgotten to ask nonsense questions. Your mind may want to know ‘what is the sound?’ when there is no what to a sound, ‘of one hand clapping’ when one hand without the other can’t possibly clap.
Zen encourages you to stop making your life all too serious.
One hand clapping is a metaphor to how much effort we use in attempting to giving sense to everything, to figuring things out, when in fact it’s all nonsense.
To study Zen is to study simplicity . . .
Zen Humor: Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.