What is Zen?

When I came back from my solo trip to Japan, I had a growing interest in Zen Buddhism. One of the books I picked up was Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. I found it difficult to follow as an introductory book. “What is Zen?” gives a more direct introduction to Zen Buddhism in question and answer format. Some of the thought-provoking parts for me were:

Most Western people who come to Buddhism are looking for something. That’s good. Yet looking for something stands in the way of getting what you are looking for…And what you get may not be exactly what you thought you were looking for in the beginning…

When you desperately press for some goal or aspiration, your very pressing becomes an obstacle. You are tense, you try too hard, you are impatient, you get discouraged easily, and this hampers you.

This excerpt about practicing for “no gain” reminded me my pursuit for love or a life partner. Love strikes us when we’re not looking, perhaps the act of looking is destructive because it makes us appear needy and unattractive …

Most of what makes us unhappy in our human lifetime can be avoided. I really don’t need to suffer so much over my reputation, my possessions, over whether or not somebody loves me or validates me, or whether or not I get my way and get to enjoy my preferences all the time. If I know how to appreciate what comes no matter what, I can save myself a lot of suffering.

This reminded me to appreciate everything that comes along our way in life, even hardship. Perhaps my frustration during search for love is necessary, otherwise I won’t appreciate it when I finally find it.

November 29, 2018



sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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