What Zen Isn’t. ~ Karen Maezen Miller

Via on Oct 26, 2011

Zen isn’t simplifying your life. Zen is simply life.

“Zen is a special transmission outside the scriptures with no reliance on words or letters.” – Zen scripture

There’s a lot of talk about Zen, but until you topple the tower of babble, it isn’t Zen.

Zen isn’t a habit. It is the absence of all habits and conditioning. There are no habits in Zen, because everything, everywhere, everytime is altogether new.

Zen isn’t simplifying your life. Zen is simply life. When we don’t fuss with it, life simplifies itself.

Zen isn’t cleaning up your house so you have a calm and orderly mind. Zen is cleaning up your mind so you have a calm and orderly house.

Zen isn’t waking up so you can get out of bed. Zen is getting out of bed so you can wake up.

Zen isn’t eating less, spending less, talking less or working less. It’s wanting less, fearing less, worrying less and striving less. The latter takes care of the former.

Zen isn’t extra time, extra effort or extra attention. Zen is nothing extra.

Zen isn’t running, golfing, archery, flower arranging, gardening, lying down, sitting up or motorcycle maintenance, although it doesn’t exclude any of that.

Zen isn’t a moment of Zen. It is eternal. It is now. Zen never ends.

Zen isn’t about making a change in your life. It is about living the change you already are.

Zen cannot be found, because Zen is never missing.

Now, how do you come to see and believe this for yourself? Certainly not by reading about it, although one or two good books every now and then won’t hurt. You know by what you practice, or it isn’t Zen.

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Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest and teacher at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She is the author of two books on spirituality in everyday life: Hand Wash Cold and Momma Zen. Karen also blogs regularly on KarenMaezenMiller.com Want to follow her on twitterClick here.

 

 

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3 Responses to “What Zen Isn’t. ~ Karen Maezen Miller”

  1. John Elia says:

    I appreciate the simplicity and clarity of your writings!

  2. Valerie Carruthers says:

    Nothing to add to life. Nothing to subtract either. Your article says it all.

  3. [...] the West, “Zen” is often thought to mean chill. Relaxed. It’s a word that, these days, is used in [...]

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