Zen Buddhism has an interesting way to describe the various components of a human being and in fact of all living beings. It calls them: the 5 aggregates.
The classification is very practical and includes:
1) Form.= Matter Form is our body from head to toes including 5 senses
2) Perception= Our sensorial recognition of our surrounding .
3) Feelings = Sensations Our emotional brain/mind* which always reacts 10 times faster than our mental one. This is why we usually react emotionally before reacting rationally.
4) Mental formations =Volition= Our mind storage and actions: thoughts, ideas, opinions,prejudices,
5) Consciousness: our individual consciousness is part of a global one shared by all living beings called Collective or Global or Streaming consciousness.
* Brain and mind are viewed as a single unit a bit similar to a computer where the hardware is the brain and the software is the mind.
Our death includes the death of the first four aggregates (Form, Perception, Mental, Feelings). Only our consciousness leaves us to reintegrate the global one. Details of birth and death are not discussed here.
2000 years of recorded Zen dialogues between Zen students and their teachers are often bizarre, cranky, weird, paradoxical and very often without any sense. They are in fact somewhat similar to Koans in their content and purpose that is “the awakening”. Zen literature is full of them. Here are some of them. They will be added periodically.
ALSO GO TO THIS POST : The 7 pillars of a Zen Mind march 10th 2015
What is a Zen mind ? Quick sum-up: Having a Zen Mind is being mindful moment to moment to what is REAL and being indifferent to what is not. What is REAL is what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste …with no though, no judgment, no concept, no idea, no opinion attached since most of them are either an illusion or a deceptive trap created by our ego-centered mind.
“The stillness of the lake reflects perfectly well the beauty of the moon”. Old Zen saying.
Zen mind is also called “beginner mind”, “don’t know mind”, “no mind “, “empty mind”. But what is exactly the meaning of these 2 words: “Zen mind”? Probably the best way to describe Zen mind is to compare it to a mirror (see above quote). With diligent Zen meditation practice our mind becomes like a mirror reflecting mindfully moment to moment and without any preconceived idea, concept, opinion and judgment (that is the “don’t know mind” or “empty mind” or “no mind”).
The following 8 very important points defines the mirror mind.
We think and communicate through words. Words carry our thoughts, concepts, ideas and opinions. However, the basic building blocks to proper communication are our concepts, ideas and opinions. We have here a perfect catch 22 dilemma: words are the basic tools of communication but also they are the impediments to efficient communication. Words facilitate our daily life but there is a significant cost. The use of words to express concepts, idea and opinions may distort our reality, making us unable to see and perceive things as they really are.
The French painter Monet said, “To see is to forget the name of what one is seeing”.
The sound made by a Korean cat is “nyaong”, by an American cat it is “meow”, by a French cat it is “mi-a-ou”. So what is the sound of a cat? Based on these different words its seem that cats speak different languages like humans….crazy…maybe.
One of the most important goal of Zen is to teach us how to overcome and get rid off our detrimental and deceptive ego-self or ” I, my and myself “ also called “little self” in Zen.
Why Zen talks about detrimental & deceptive self?
Our ego-self which controlling and manipulating so well our monkey mind and thoughts 24/7 is the main source of:
Our dissatisfactions, craving, negative emotions (desire, anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety, resentment, illusions, etc). Others dissatisfactions and suffering come from the outside such as lost of a love one, accident, being fired, natural disaster, etc…
Misunderstanding from ideas, opinions and concepts.
Our mind produces around 30,000 thoughts/day! Most of them are self-centered and useless, that is without any specific purpose. We are thinking all the time even without been aware of it. It is like talking to ourselves without listening. Zen talks about “sleep walking mind”.
I am receiving many questions such as “What does Zen practice mean”? This is a very good, practical down to earth question different from the usual “What is Zen”? which is somewhat more cerebral.
Here are the 6 pillars that define our daily Zen practice. To apply all of them every day is difficult. Hope this reading will help you. For any question please contact me at email@example.com.
The core of Zen. Meditation is a physical & mental focusing practice aiming at relaxing & controlling body & mind.
Schedule: solo daily (20 to 30minutes) + at least weekly group practice as “rebooting”.
Dialogue between a little dog named Zap and myself or Zen Buddhism in a nutshell.
Zap is our adorable 8 years old sixteen pounds male Shih Tzu dog. Zap is a very smart and very happy little dog wagging his tail almost all the time even during the night (probably having nice dog dreams).
One may wonder why this little animal is always so happy despite the fact that Zap does not have money, a 10,000 sq ft house and 2 luxuries SUV’s. He does not have a lovely spouse, kids, family, friends, girlfriend, powerful job and a lot of control, fame and material wealth. Zap does not have a Rolex watch, a health club, a golf club, four platinum credit cards, two computers, one Smartphone, $3,000 suits, thirty two ties, two 110 in flat TV’s with 1,200 channels, a condo in Florida and a cottage somewhere. Zap never goes to a five stars restaurant; he always eats the same thing at the same place. He never travels first class around the world three times a year to get excited about new surroundings and to avoid boredom.