The practice of zazen that we do today has developed out of the teaching and experience of Buddha. It leads to an experiential understanding of our true self. Many people begin to practice because they want to find peace of mind or a way out of suffering, and these are sufficient and legitimate motives for beginning. Although zazen demands discipline, if you persevere, you will find that it will, indeed, help bring more simplicity and peace in your life.
Zen practice is not about getting away from our life as it is; it is about getting into our life as it is, with all of its vividness, beauty, hardship, joy and sorrow. Zen is a path of awakening: awakening to who we really are, and awakening the aspiration to serve others and take responsibility for all of life.
Pursue it long enough, though, and you may be surprised to find that ultimately the practice of zazen totally transforms your familiar worldview and idea of yourself. It does not simply offer a bit of solace to help make life easier. When faithfully pursued, it radically cuts through our present understanding of ourselves and of life. It leads to the experience of what is Real and to deep joy and peace. Zen practice clarifies the jewel of our existence.
Zen can offer something very simple, very direct and readily accessible to anyone seeking inner peace, seeking healing in some form, or seeking answers to questions such as ‘Who am I?’ ‘How can I find meaning in my life?’ ‘How can I live in a most authentic way?’
Zen practice offers very concrete guidelines toward a realization of our connectedness with mountains and rivers, with every sentient being, with all that there is. This realization of our connectedness with one another is the key to healing ourselves, and to healing our Earth.~Ruben Habito
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