»TO STUDY ZEN means to study the self.
To study the self means to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things.
When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind, as well as the bodies and minds of others, drop away.
No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly”.«
Zen is the Japanese way of reading the Chinese word »Chan«, which is the transmission of the Sanskrit word »Dhyana« and means the collection of the mind and the absorption, in which all dual differences like I/you, subject/object, true/false are combined.
»Independent from the written word, transmission far away from the written; to see directly into the heart of the individual, to see their true characteristics, to become Buddha .«
Sitting upright without the need to reach or hold on to something, perceiving without judging or analysing the perceived, to direct our attention to everything that is in this moment.
That is all. The practice of awakening. Sounds easy but it’s actually quite hard. Sitting in silence offers us the opportunity to discover the numerous illusions, which we are entangled in, and discover our true nature. That is how life becomes easier, more conscious and more powerful – or as Unmon wrote: »It lets us stroll cheerfully through life.«
] ACCORDING TO DOGEN ZENJI the path of practice of a Zen student is a spiral development in four phases. The first is the awakening of the Bodhi spirit; the wish of enlightenment is woken up. In other words, we promise ourselves to perfect ourselves and the way, to gain true knowledge of what we are, together with all other feeling beings.
The second phase is the education. We use all our power to realise what we have promised ourselves, fill our vows with life in striving to perfect what cannot be perfected.
The third phase is the realisation; due to the force of our vow and our determination to perfect the path leads to persistent in the progress of our education and finally to realisation, insight and understanding.
The fourth phase is Nirvana; we free ourselves of everything we’ve learned, renew our vows to perfect the path again, to practise, to realise and to let go.
This spiral development doesn’t come to an end; the depth and width increase continuously, it covers everything. Bernie Glassman: »Instructions for the cook«
Every day offers us in every moment a new beginning for our practise. The classical form of practise for Zen students is the actual practise of Buddha Shakyamuni, which is sitting.
However, apart from sitting in silence, other ways were formed (道 Sino-Japanese „dô“ or pure Japanese „michi“).
The broad spectrum of »Ways« reaches from the Way of Tea (茶道 Sadô), the Way of Calligraphy (書道 Shodô), the Way of Fragrance (香道 Kôdô) to the Way of Flowers (華道 Kadô) and the different forms of martial arts (武道 Budô) like i.e. archery (弓道 Kyûdô) or sword fighting (剣道 Kendô).
My personal Ways are Zazen and archery. Apart from sitting in silence and moving meditation with the bow, there are two more Ways for me to meditate actively … carving my own bow had always been my heart’s desire that finally came true, I still haven’t turned into a real bow maker, though. Good food is my other passion and I cook with a great deal of joy but in this area, I’m equally nothing but a layperson. That is why when making bows and cooking I get supported in courses by my two friends Gerhard and Roland.
THE WAY OF THE BOW The Way of the bow is the Way of joy and excitement, of serenity and of erring, of technique and intuition. Concrete and unerring shooting is something completely different from a shot that is made with peace on our minds because that’s when bow, archer and target turn into reality.
This kind of reality is the lived now, free from adhesion, without clouding the mind. In the present moment, the unity of body and mind, we’ll enter the gate to life in its full beauty and power at any moment.