Defining Zen is not so easy. It is a practice that includes concentration, mindfulness, compassion, ethics, and inquiry into the deepest self. Zen practice is different for every person and is entered into for many reasons. It is rarely what people expect it to be at first.
A student asked Zen Master Yunmen,“What is Buddha?”
Yunmen said, “Dried shit stick.”
Zazen (sitting meditation) is central to zen practice, yet Zen is not limited to meditation on a cushion—or stool, or chair. Zen is a practice for every day life.
“it always has a personal frame. For some the barrier is ‘Who am I really?’ … For others it is ‘What is death?’ … For me it was ‘What am I doing here?’ … For many students it is Sakyamuni’s question, ‘Why should there be suffering in the world?’ ”
Robert Aitken Roshi
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