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:: Thursday, August 15, 2002 ::

Nothing Special
Zen practice is "nothing special". So says one of the most famous of Zen masters ever to teach in the U.S.--Shunryu Suzuki. But what does that mean? Actually, he doesn't say zen is "nothing special". Instead he says most of life is "nothing special". More precisely he says:

If you continue this simple practice [zazen, or zen meditation] everyday you will obtain a wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is
something wonderful, but after you obtain it it is nothing special. It is just you yourself, nothing special. As a chinese poem says,
"I went and I returned. It was nothing special. Rozan famous for its misty mountains; Sekko for its water." People think it must be
wonderful to see the famous range of mountains covered by mists, and the water said to cover all the earth. But if you go there you
will just see water and mountains. Nothing special. (Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginers Mind. p. 47)

Now I have to wonder about this statement. In one way it is true. Mountains are mountains. Water is water. No big deal. But hey, wait a minute! I have traveled to many places, and the experience of staying in a village near an active volcanoe isn't really all that blah. Furthermore, no matter how dull I expected spending a day going around Ireland's "Ring of Kerry" to be, it was really impressive. Isn't this attitude a bit off center? Furthermore, one of the reasons that I am studying Zen Buddhism is because of the attitudes and mental states that I see in others. I certainly don't want to teach myself to think life is dull, drab, and boaring---or "nothing special". I would like to see everything as special. All of life as one giant special experience. Reading Suzuki Roshi makes me wonder if what some critics of Buddhism say is true--that Buddhism says life is meaningless.

:: Mike 10:59 PM [+] ::
I feel like Pinnochio. I have a real blog now. "No Strings on me". Well, no html needed for me anyway!
:: Mike 2:05 PM [+] ::

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