"Have you heard the sound of your own laughter before you were concerned about what others thought about you?"

 

What is Zen?

 

noun
 "A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of mindfulness, meditation, and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures."​
 
not
Zen is not a "religion". Having no dogmas or belief systems ... 

is
Zen is "connection".  Zen practice or training is about "reconnecting" with one's original nature before you forgot , your original self, and your dream, and with what moves your heart.  It's abut "awakening" , stepping out of the bureaucracy of (ego) fear and uncertainty, and realizing your inherent capacity for love, compassion, peace, and joy, no matter the circumstances or situation. 

Zen is a "Way of Living" one's life mindfully, authentically, on purpose, and with all victorious mastery.  It is just allowing ourselves to enter into the heart of this moment, which is the heart of our lives.  It is simply paying attention to our actual experiences, to our lives as they are: a breeze passing your cheek, rain falling and soaking the earth and trees, a stomach ache, the laughter of children playing -- seeing what you see, feeling what you feel. Colors, forms, sights, sounds, touch, taste, smell, thoughts, all coming and all going. 
 
Zen is entering into things as they are, beyond concept and cosmology, beyond separation and duality, beyond personality, and into the intimacy and richness of this whole moment. It is a radical questioning into whatever arises as our experiences and true entry into the nature of experiencing. Zen is the day to day and moment to moment practice of this moment.
 
Sakyamuni Buddha said to his students one day in a talk that has been recorded as the Satipatthana sutta, the Discourse on Mindfulness, that "There is but one way to liberation and that is mindfulness." Mindfulness is paying attention with the whole bodymind to the whole of experiencing. It is going past hesitation and reference points, past confusion and fabrication and into our actual lives. Liberation means freedom from the need to hide from ourselves and our world; it means finding out who and what this really is, what this world really is. 
 
You don't have to be a Buddhist .  In fact it doesn't matter what religion you are because they all point to that and, you already have the knowledge "how to" within you - you brought that with you when you first showed up. 
 
Neither do you have to become a "Buddha", you are already a Buddha - you just may not know it in your heart.

Living a Zen-Inspired Life is about engaging your life fully, authetically, with purpose and without fear or any of our perceived limitations.  When we do, the imagined barriers between self and other drop away, we begin to find joy in living our life without pretense, benefitting those around us, and in taking care of ourselves, those we care about, and the world around us.

 

 

© 1975 The Zen Society 863 McKendimen Road Shamong, NJ  08088  609.268.9151

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