Zen: The religion of no religion. There is no personal savior. The universe is one substance, a whole of which man is one part. The discovery of the part within the enveloping whole is the goal.
Zen has no answers for the questions of:
- Life’s meaning
- The reality of self
- Origins of the universe
- The nature of nirvana/heaven/afterlife
The final barrier to God is your concept of God.The Zen answer to knowing the divine can be expressed in the following wisdom: When hungry eat, when weary sleep. This apparently simplicity of Zen is the weakness from which the strength of the Zen experience flows. Zen removes the ego, and in doing so, removes the barriers to happiness. The Zen practitioner seeks the total potential of what the practitioner IS. They seek to join the human race. The Zen mind does not train in analysis. Instead it pushes to personal experience, toward the realization of all life.
The highest knowledge of God is to know he is
The qualities of Zen (and Japan) are those of simplicity, naturalness, stillness, tranquility, asymmetry and emptiness. These qualities are practiced and lived in Japan through Judo, “tea”, flower arranging, archery and drama. In fully realizing the human experience, Zen embraces the attributes of earthiness and rough humor.
Zen is self-reliance. Teachings are road-signs and not foundations. They are the path and not he destination. The destination of Zen is a state of non-dualistic awareness called satori. Mundane acts are seen as gateways to satori.
The self-reliance and self-experience of Zen is the key to understanding Zen. Daily work is a main precept of Zen life – “A day without work is a day without eating”. Zen is an not an excuse to drop-out. Things, people, and ideas outside of the self are not part of the Zen experience until they are made part of the personal experience. Zen says to not mistake the description/word for the actual thing. Statues and sayings (also known as sutras) are seen as reminders of attaining satori, not things to worship. This personal approach to Zen is very easy, but yet hard. There is a saying that the way is near – but men seek it afar.