The More We Know

Zen is very generous: it does not require us to know or believe much. Just how to sit on our pillow in a proper and healthy posture, breath deeply and be not disturbed by thoughts and ideas coming and going, is enough. The rest is daily practice, cooking, eating, working, a social life …

A friend of mine, who became a Buddhist Monk in Thailand, recently wrote to me that I don’t understand anything about Buddhism … that Zen people anyway don’t understand enough, and how important it is to study and strictly follow all the rules defined by the historic Buddha, established over two millennia ago for monastic life in ancient India.

hesseThere are always so many people around us, who willingly share their specific view of the world: re-birth, God’s all-mighty power, Buddhas of the past, present and future, scientific and non-scientific systems of ideas and understanding, UFOs and angles, why it is important to join the fire-fighters … so much, so detailed information, down to the temperature of the hell fire and the exact amount of years until the world’s end! Catalogues of rules for conducting each detail of our daily life, telling right from wrong in any thought or action we might have or do.

Zen is also: not being disturbed too much by all these ideas (and their advocates). They are like the birds singing, my neighbour’s dog barking, the sound of wind in the trees outside my house: part of our world. Enchanting at times, annoying at others, but no need to spend too much thoughts on it!

I get up each morning, practice Zazen, Hitsuzendo, Iaido … prepare breakfast, go to office … doing all this, day by day, until the end of my life, is likely the horizon of my understanding.

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