Zen is the Japanese word for meditation.
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”.
How to overcome our ego-centered mind?
Some 2500 years ago a wise man son of a local king in North East of India and named Siddhartha Gautama (aka the Buddha, the Awakened one) discovered after many years of research the tool to tame our ego-centered mind by simply practicing daily meditation. He lived from 563 to 483 BCE. His verbal teaching lasted 50 years.
Using our analytic thinking to function in our daily life is obviously critical but controlling our little ego-centered mind is even more important as far searching serenity and happiness.
Too much reading about Zen in order to achieve the same result produced by meditation is doomed to fail all the time. Zen is not an intellectual exercise but a practical experience. You can read 10 pages describing the taste of an orange but unless you eat one you have no idea about its taste.
- Brings clear & peaceful mind also called no-mind in Zen or open mind by Westerners. An open mind reflects things as they are with a non-judgmental and non-decisional attitude.
- Teaches us how to control and delete our ego-centered thoughts popping out all the time.
- Helps us how to become mindful to the present, to what we are doing, to our senses and to our environment moment to moment.
By minimizing our ego self, meditation will help us discover the wonders of our inner self also called True Self. True Self is free from its ego parts and free from concept, idea and opinion.
Once this step is achieved it becomes easer to reach out in practicing and promoting help, love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding with others.
- Because there is no dogma, no concept, no belief and no thinking, Zen is simple.
- Because there is no dogma, no concept, no belief and no thinking, Zen is complicated.
- Because Zen is mostly meditation practice, Zen is easy.
- Because Zen is mostly meditation practice, Zen is difficult.
A Zen student said: “I went to my Zen Teacher who told me I have no knowledge about Zen and came away from his teaching with no more knowledge “
Another student said: “ Why bother going to the teacher then?”
The first one replied: “How would I know otherwise that I went with nothing and came away with nothing?”
A Zen student asked the teacher: “ How do I know that my ego is gone?” The teacher said: “When there is no one to ask”.
A Zen student asked the teacher: “ I do not want to have any desires, what should I do?” The teacher said: “You have just added one more desire to deal with”.
Teacher to student: “ Can you see your own eyes without a mirror?”
“A snow flake never falls on the wrong place”.
Ven. Ji Gong Sunim.