I am practicing Zen since 2002 and received the Spiritual Transmission from my teacher Yangil Sunim 5 years ago. It means I became “awakened” or enlightened and may teach.
To be awake in a spiritual way means to mindfully experience the existing reality of the moment inside and around self. Nothing to boast about, nothing to do with bliss, miracle or special divine power.
To find it is an inside job thru practice and not thru reading, Master or PhD degrees. (more…)
The following Serenity Prayer addresses our needs and the frustrations that arise when we don’t like, don’t want or cannot control how people, events and things are. It goes like this:
“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time”.
Very Zen but it was written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), an American theologian.
When we talk about self-care, we usually referring to proper diet, exercise and sleep. This is only part of global self-care.
In Zen, however, self-care is an oxymoron. Why?
A fundamental teaching of Zen Buddhism is the concept of “no-self”. No-self does not mean that we don’t exist as living being. This is absurd. It means simply that the self is not a unique, permanent, independent, separate self-entity with a self-intrinsic life. We are all interconnected and interdependent with our environment, which is providing life to us.
Our ego or self has 2 faces. The constructive/positive and the destructive/negative one.
The good self is critical to grow, to survive, to have pleasure, and to function and interact properly.
No brainer here.
The bad self: Ego is our main source of “pain”, affliction we all have in common. Because of our restlessness quest to get this and that, to be better, smarter, stronger, richer, we are stuck by nagging feeling of frustration, weariness and self-doubt.
Too many desires, hatred, irrational expectations and illusions are all coming from our ego-driven mind. (more…)
Most of us start to practice Zen mindfulness-based meditation because of problems such as dissatisfaction, unhappiness, physical/emotional pain and disillusion or for any other specific reasons happening in life. These reasons are called “suffering”.
“Maybe Zen meditation is going to fix my problems and make me happy”.
Internet and books are full of this statement and I am hearing these words very often.
Unfortunately, it never works because we are mistaken about the true cause of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction. External causes inducing “suffering” do occur but they are minority and are transient.
Everything we do in life is driven by only one thing and that is to seek happiness and avoid suffering. But what is happiness? Happiness is not one thing but a continuum and evolves as the person evolves. For simplicity, we can consider this evolution to be made up of four stages of the emotional mind state and it moves from the gross to the more subtle. These four stages can be classified as Pleasure, Happiness Joy and Bliss or Serenity.
At the Pleasure level, the mind operates at the lowest level of the five senses of the human body. Even animals operate at this level of the five senses. However, pleasure is transient and needs constant inputs from external sources. For example, if one likes alcohol then regular inputs of alcohol are required. This is how our reward brain circuits work. (more…)