Showing posts from June, 2015

Zen Outside the Box

Where there is carrion lying, meat-eating birds circle and descend. Life and death are two. The living attack the dead, to their own profit. The dead lose nothing by it. They gain too, by being disposed of. Or they seem to, if you must think in terms of gain and loss. Do you then approach the study of Zen with the idea that there is something to be gained by it? This question is not intended as an implicit accusation. But it is, nevertheless, a serious question. Where there is a lot of fuss about “spirituality,” “enlightenment” or just “turning on,” it is often because there are buzzards hovering around a corpse. This hovering, this circling, this descending, this celebration of victory, are not what is meant by the Study of Zen—even though they may be a highly useful exercise in other contexts. And they enrich the birds of appetite. Zen enriches no one. There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while in the place where it is thought to be. But they soon go else…

This Moment is Sublime... Wish I Were Here

It’s a postcard cliché: The beach is gorgeous! Wish you were here… The weather is magnificent! Wish you were here… The skiing is fabulous! Wish you were here… Isn’t everything gorgeous, magnificent and fabulous when we’re off in some exotic locale without any responsibility other than to enjoy ourselves each and every moment of every single day?
It’s easy to “live in the moment” when we’re off on vacation. It’s easy to “live in the now” when everything is new and interesting, carefree and pleasurable. It’s easy to “be present” when where we’re at is just so very enjoyable! Yes, a really good vacation takes our mind far away from the concerns and drudgery of our workaday world. It gives us time and permission to watch the sunset, to walk in the woods, to relax on the beach, to dine in fine restaurants, to take in new sights, or simply to cease our endless doing. But even as our mind is far, far away from our ordinary life, our body is right there with it! We are totally present for ou…