Thursday, March 16, 2006

Look within

I'm bringing you some brief quotes from a classic today. The classic is An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki with a foreword by Carl Jung. Here's one passage:
Look into your own being and seek it not through others. Your own mind is above all forms; it is free and quiet and sufficient...
The word "zen", by the way, simply means "meditation". It comes from the Sanskrit word for meditation which is "dhyana". That was transliterated by the Chinese as "ch'an", which then became the Japanese word, "zen".

Another passage Suzuki's book goes like this:
The basic idea of Zen is to come in touch with the inner workings of our being, and to do this in the most direct way possible, without resorting to anything external or superadded.
And here's still another:
Personal experience, therefore, is everything in Zen. No ideas are intelligible to those who have no backing of experience.
So this is where we remind ourselves to practice, practice, practice! Experience comes through experiencing - not through analyzing concepts. So, just sit. Let your mind be what it is without judgment. Let it be okay that you experience what you experience and then give yourself permission to let go.

Now here's the great paradox: It's important not to be attached to benefits of meditation and yet, if we meditate, the benefits will come. Don't try to solve this paradox. Just appreciate it and then practice! Through the sitting itself (and by accepting what happens when you sit) you will gain the insight that you need.


  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    The ramifications behind the sentence, "No ideas are intelligible to those who have no backing of experience" is a good eye opener. Unless we have been through the exact experience another is going through, we cannot know how they are thinking, feeling, or making decisions. We can only imagine at best. If we cannot truly know what another is going through, then how can we possibly judge them? Maybe our job is to just be with them as we have learned to just be with ouselves in meditation.
    Carolyn L.

  2. "Maybe our job is to just be with them as we have learned to just be with ouselves in meditation."

    I think this is very wise, Carolyn. I agree

  3. Carolyn is right. Maybe the exact same experience is not required, but something very close to it.

    My daughter was killed in a car crash in 1989 when she was a senior in high school. She was just 6 days short of her 18th birthday. Losing a child is very tough, not quite like anything else. Friends came to lend support and comfort and did what they could. Most were helpful. A few felt moved to remind us that it was God's will, or that they knew how we must feel. It was not, and they did not. No one really knows what it is like to lose a child unless thay have been there.

    The corollary of this is that those individuals who have had the misfortune of losing a child DO know how it feels and are in a unique position to minister to someone who has recently found themselves in the same boat. It is a gift that we would rather not have received, but can be used to comfort and support another who is in terrible distress.

    Out of Christ's suffering came this terrible strength. Suffering comes to us all. Pray that we will use it as constructively. If we do not, then our suffering is for no purpose.

  4. I'm so sorry about your daughter, Bill. That is simply beyond horrible. And you're right. Nobody can understand it who has not been through it. I'm so sorry some people said such stupid things to you.

    I agree we need to pray to use our suffering constructively. And that the most constructive use of all is to help someone else who has to go through what we've gone through.


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