When you do zazen, try “A” way. If “A” way doesn’t work, try “B” way. I bow to the wisdom of these words. I am not really your teacher. You must teach yourself. As far as practice goes, you are not your neighbor. What works for her might not work for you. What works for you now may not work for you next year. Keep it open. [Robert Aitken Roshi ~ Miniatures of a Zen Master]
Keep it open.
When asked by a friend to list some “Intro to Zen” podcasts, that statement resonated in my mind. Keep it open. As a good fledgling researcher, I dove into my cache of podcasts and subscriptions to find the perfect introduction to Zen. Not surprisingly, I found very little. There is plenty on Zen Buddhist practice (koans, shikantaza, precepts, chanting, sutras etc) but we paint Zen with a very broad stroke and to find an adequate introduction is like chasing a shadow. Zen is wider than just Buddhism – It is as wide as your life, your experience.
I refrained from saying that Zen is “greater” than Buddhism since that term tends to pander to the pejorative. There is no lesser or greater vehicle of practice. There is only your vehicle. Your practice. When a Christian prays with her whole being – that is Zen. When an atheist reacts with a compassionate heart without celestial reprocussions – that is Zen. When a Buddhist practitioner internalized the precepts and embodies a bodhisattva, that is Zen.
When an archer hits his mark, he will embody the essence of Zen. When he misses the mark, he also embodies the essence of Zen. The mark is not the important part. The goal is present and realization is possible but we open the path with our practice. To reach it or not is secondary to the active essence of practice.
Keep it open.
So, I listed some great podcasts that will help explain Zen practice and Buddhist thought but Zen itself is beyond words and writings. It is apparent in your practice and your daily life. When you can read your life then you will gain an understanding of what Zen is. Don’t bother explaining it to anyone though…that’s your Zen and not theirs.
- The world of impermanence
- Zen and Vipassana
- Zen Koans Pt. 1 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 2 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 3 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 4 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 5 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 6 Norman Fischer
- Zen Koans Pt. 7 Norman Fischer
San Fransisco Zen Center
- Devotion to Sitting (San Fransisco Zen Center)
- Zazen Getting up and sitting down
- The Two Approaches to Realizing the Dharma: Shikantaza and Shikankoan
- Bodhisattva Precepts
- Warm Heart Zazen of Dogen and Buddha
- Zen Basics
- The Life of Zazen
- Why Zen
- About Zazen
- The Perfection of Zazen
- The Heart of the Great Perfection Wisdom Sutra
- The Mind of the Great Sage of India
- Zazen and Waking Up
- Why Practice
- Zazen Essence and Function
- The Benefit of a Quiet Mind
- The Way of Zen with Commentary on Dogen’s Genjokoan
- the bright freedom of jizo
- lovingkindness and zen practice
Rochester Zen Center
upaya zen center
- going beyond buddhas Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
- wisdom of not knowing
- self and no-self
- zazen the single bright occasion
Hope they are of some use.