Friday, August 7, 2015

starting a Zen Buddhist practice

On a Buddhist bulletin board, there was a question about how to enter into Zen Buddhism. Naturally, I couldn't resist sticking my oar in ... to wit ...
If you are interested in Zen Buddhism I would suggest:
  1. Do your very, very best not to teach anyone. In that way, your teaching may turn out to be worth something.
  2. Be patient. Study, read, and most of all, practice: It is hard to imagine when starting out, but practice will always outstrip anything you "know." Build the practice experience with a firm, persistent kindness.
  3. When it comes to kids, I guess everyone comes up with his or her own program. Mine, with three children, may have been summed up in the thought, "I am not interested in creating 'good Buddhists;' I would prefer to help create 'good people.'" I may not have done a very good job, but that doesn't mean I was wrong.
  4. Don't trouble yourself too much with the environmental elements that brought you this far in your life. Whether you grew up with or were indoctrinated by Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, baseball or banking ... it's all OK. Hold on to what you need to hold on to ... but do your practice ... and see what happens.
Best wishes.
I guess I'm posting this as much as anything so that others can know how far off-base I am.


  1. I got started by a friend who taught me vipassana which is exactly the same as zen except you watch/feel the air at the tip of your nose instead of the hara. I did that for a year or so before i decided it was time for a teacher and found Grace and soto zen.

    Somewhere along the way i got involved with e-sangha, mostly in the meditation forum until zen became "my" school. I didn't get out much then and even less now. I tried to keep my posts on the web encouraging and experiential. It had become my sangha before i got one in real life.

    I haven't been to the zendo in forever now, but i still sit, try to pay attention and keep my grouch to myself. I don't talk about zen with anyone these days as i imagine my example would tarnish it. I'm slowly circling the drain here, and i sit for me alone. My boddhisattva vow is either meagerly engaged or on hold. Dunno.

  2. I am positive that Adam never taught me a single shit over the past decade of his noodlings.