|Q: Isn’t what you are teaching just “meditation?”
A: Yes and no. There are many definitions and ideas about meditation. Zen meditation is one specific type. “Meditation,” by itself, is a word I try to avoid using, because it’s one of those words that has so many different meanings to different people. If you ask ten people for their definition of “meditation,” you usually get at least nine different answers. Sometimes eleven or twelve.
Q: What is the actual definition of Zen meditation?
A: Very simply, it is quieting the conscious mind. In other words, it is allowing all of the conscious thought processes to wind down and come to a complete stop. It is the state of non-thought. It is the state of being wide awake and having no thoughts. It is called the Zen state and the “pure meditative state” by many teachers and practitioners.
Q: Is Zen a part of or associated with any religious practice?
A: Absolutely not. There is no connection between Zen and any kind of religious belief. Practitioners of Zen may be of almost any religious persuasion or none at all. However, Zen flowed down from Zen Buddhism, carrying along some of the principles and practices, chiefly those associated with meditation and seeking Enlightenment.
One simplistic way of describing Zen is that it is Buddhism without the religion.
Q: What is the actual purpose and benefit of Zen meditation?
A: The most important purpose of this practice is to still the conscious thought machine, a small but very noisy part of the human mind. There are many benefits, both short-term as well as long-term. Chiefly, Zen gives the thinking part of the mind a rest which allows it to have greater focus and strength when it is started up again. Additionally, when the conscious mind is quieted, other deeper parts of the mind may manifest themselves, an event that usually imparts new insights and wisdom.
Q: What percentage of people can actually learn this practice?
A: That depends on how many actually try. As we know, most people typically have busy lives. Many don’t have the time and energy for self-development. Zen requires consistent practice. Ten or fifteen minutes a day for 4 or 5 days per week is a good starting point. Consider the potential payoff in these times of greater pressure and stress. More and more people are discovering the potential advantages of inner development.
|Please feel free to send your questions or suggestions to me. Thank you for your time and interest.–Eduardo