has been called "the
religion before religion..." This
phrase evokes the natural
religion of our early
childhood, when heaven
and the splendorous earth
were one. For the new
child in the light of
spring, there is no self
to forget ... Not until
years later does an instinct
come that a vital sense
of mystery has withdrawn.
The sun glints through
the pines, and the heart
is pierced in a moment
of beauty and strange
pain, like a memory of
that day, there is no
beauty without pain,
and at the bottom of
each breath, there is
a hollow place that is
filled with longing.
That day we become seekers
without knowing what
we seek, and at first,
we long for something
"greater" than ourselves,
something far away...
To seek one's true nature
is, as one Zen master
has said, "A way
to lead you to your long-lost
Reflect on the seeker in you that comes
to this course.
To practice Zen is to realize one’s
existence in the beauty and clarity of this present
moment, rather than letting life unravel in
daydreaming of the past and future. To rest
in the present is
a state of utter simplicity, although attainment
of this state is not as simple as it sounds: most of
us need training.
Many of us cast about for years for a
vague outline of a path. Often in our search we come
across accounts of Zen that tend to emphasize puzzling
dialogs or portray the practice as inhumanly difficult.
Something is missing, some organic link that can bring
us ordinary people into this important and very
we sense that in those encounters between Zen teachers
and their students and in those images of
quiet sitting there may be a clue to help us resolve
the questions that waken us in the night — What
am I doing here? Where am I going? What is my life?
... But what a gulf seems to separate us from those
enlightened masters and hard-bitten ascetics!
If you come to this course with notions
states of mind and body, I hope this instruction will
bring Zen practice home to you — Zen practice
as a way to, at a minimum, clearer, less confused living.
In zazen, ideas dissolve, the mind becomes transparent,
and in the great stillness there comes an
intuitive understanding that what we seek lies nowhere
else but in the present moment, right here, now, where
we have always been.
travel this path, one need not be a “Zen
Buddhist” — call
yourself a zazen Buddhist if you like! “Zen
Buddhist” is only another idea
to be discarded, like “enlightenment” or “Buddha” or “god. Peter
is based on John Daishin Buksbazen's
teachings and his book Zen Meditation
in Plain English (Wisdom Publications,