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You can not understand Zen!

The first important information about Zen is it is impossible to know or understand the Zen through intellect or through reading, asking questions and listening to lectures.

Zen is primarily an experience and a discipline which does not depend on any explanation. Zen is 100% practical, so you have to do it and feel it. It appeals directly to life. Your everyday life. You have to catch life as it flows in the moment after moment. If you are past 60, then take care, you will find it very difficult to absorb because by this age the brain starts shrinking. The best age to enter Zen is 30 to 50.


Joshu was one of the most famous Zen masters in China, during the Tang dynasty. Once a new monk came to him and asked him to teach the Zen lessons. Joshu, said “Have you not had your breakfast yet?” The monk replied “Yes, Sir, I have had it already”. “If so, wash your dishes” - Joshu said. This remark of the master opened the new monk’s eyes to the truth of Zen.


Look at this dialogue between. You Yisan and kyozam. At the end of summer, Kyozam came to meet Yisan and then Yisan asked him “what were you doing all this summer?” Kyozam replied “I have a little piece of land and finished owing millet seads”

Yisan said “oh, then you have not wasted your summer” And then Kyozam asked Yisan, “how did you pass your summer?” Yisan said “one meal a day and a good sleep at night”. Kyozam said. “Then you have not wasted your summer”.

So don’t look for Zen in verbal abstractions. The truth of Zen is really lies in the concrete things of your daily life. The truth of Zen lies in its directness, simplicity, and utmost practicableness. “Good morning. How are you today?” “Thank you. I’m well”. “Please have a cup of tea”. This is full of Zen.

But then should not be mistaken for the so-called libertine naturalism, when they are mostly careless and irresponsible.

A teacher was once asked, do you ever make any effort to get yourself disciplined in the Zen?

“Yes, I do”, he said.

“How do you do it?”

“When I’m hungry? I eat when I’m tired, I sleep”.

“But this is what everybody does. And can they be said they are disciplined in Zen?”

“ No”, the teacher said.

“Why not?”

“Because when they eat, they do not eat. They’ll be thinking of 100 things and disturbing themselves. When they sleep, they do not sleep, they will be dreaming of 1000 things, that is why they are not in Zen.”

So, Zen is a form of naturalism, but with a rigorous discipline. Some monks wanted their master Hayek Cujo to give a lecture on Zen. The master said you attend to the farming and the later I will tell you all about Zen. After finishing the farm work, the monk asked the master to fulfill his promise. Now the master opened out both his arms but said nothing. Not a word. This was his greatest sermon.

A Zen poet sings.

“How wonderful, how miraculous it is. I drew water. I carry fuel.”


Here in lies the Zen.







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