Zen Practice

Back to reality

Although, according to Zen Master Dae Quang, "... any person at least 470 times a day attains enlightenment ..." it is only a brief moment, which he promptly forgets.

The term "enlightenment" is not quite correct. It would be better to use the word "awakening", as all people are already fully enlightened, but so deeply asleep that does not know it. We always are in an illusory, fictional world, only surfacing for a moment in reality, when circumstances compel us to do so.

Our attention all the time is jumping between the past and future, almost without stopping in the present. But there is no past - it's already gone and exists only in our thoughts! There is no future - it has not come yet and exists only in our imagination. Moreover, the past never happened and there never will be the future. It always has been and will be "now". Only this moment is reality. All the rest - dream. The practice of Zen is to stay in reality. Zen Master Seung Sahn put it very succinctly and clearly: "What are you doing right now? Just do it! "

However, It is easy to say "do!" Difficult, very, very hard to be here and now, to do. Our obstacle is the inertia of thinking. Involuntarily we begin to think about something irrelevant, and find ourselves in thoughts which are already very far away from what we do.

In order to only "just do it", to perform some work, talk, or even to think about what we need, we must first to learn not to think. To get free from the inertia of thinking is possible only if we use certain practices. Therefore, the Zen (and not only Zen) has formal practices, which (if we are doing it) gradually weakens the momentum. Wider and wider are becoming the intervals when the mind is clear and awake, although the thinking has stopped.

If in the "backyard" of consciousness you hold the question "What am I?", then in one of those moments of inner stillness and clarity you comprehend your true self, your true nature. Once that happens, the house owner returns, who can order his servant to be silent, reason or think in a certain direction, without being distracted by extraneous.

The basis of practice (not only in Buddhism) is a meditation.