Everything Zen: Achieve Inner Calm and Peace of Mind Through Meditation, Simple Living, and Harmony

Overview

Do you find yourself restless and distracted by the hustle and bustle of the modern world? Have you sought comfort in possessions and acclaim only to be disappointed by their emptiness? If so, you are not alone. The Everything Zen Book introduces you to thousands of years of ancient teachings that can help you achieve inner peace and unity with the world around you. Whether you are at home or in the office, this easy-to-follow guide shows you how to apply ancient Zen principles to every area of your daily life --...
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The Everything Zen Book: Achieve Inner Calm and Peace of Mind Through Meditation, Simple Living, and Harmony

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Overview

Do you find yourself restless and distracted by the hustle and bustle of the modern world? Have you sought comfort in possessions and acclaim only to be disappointed by their emptiness? If so, you are not alone. The Everything Zen Book introduces you to thousands of years of ancient teachings that can help you achieve inner peace and unity with the world around you. Whether you are at home or in the office, this easy-to-follow guide shows you how to apply ancient Zen principles to every area of your daily life -- from relationships and careers to art and exercise. Brimming with helpful information and inspiring perspectives, The Everything Zen Book is the perfect map for your journey toward achieving inner peace.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580629737
  • Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Series: Everything Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Zen
Zen is everywhere these days. We go to the bookstore and see books such as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Zen Golf, and hordes of others. Reading is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to any subject, but Zen is something that must be experienced to be understood. Read about it and familiarize yourself with the concepts of Zen practice, but then start to practice Zen yourself. This book is about applying your Zen practice to your life. No matter what you are doing, Zen can change the way you do it, and change the way you view what you are doing. In fact, Zen practice will change your entire life.

What Is Zen?

Zen traces its way back to the Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago on the border of northern India and southern Nepal. In order to fully understand the beginnings of Zen, we will start by taking a look at the Buddha's life and his teachings in the next two chapters. Buddhism started with the enlightenment of the Buddha as he sat under the bodhi tree so many years ago. Zen is a branch of Buddhism. When Buddha became enlightened he decided to spend his life teaching others what he had realized-he had discovered the true nature of reality and he spent the next 40 years sharing his understanding with all who would listen.

Another word for enlightenment is nirvana.

The purpose of Zen practice is to realize enlightenment as the Buddha realized it. Zen practice is an effort to awaken to the absolute truth of reality-to achieve self-realization. In other words, it is an effort to understand the way things really are, not the way we interpret things through the filters of our egos, our fears, and our notions. In Zen practice we strive to awaken to our true self-our buddhanature. Zen is the present moment, the here and now. This moment. This moment just as it happens, just as it is. Zen is something you experience intuitively. It is not about engaging your rational, thinking mind; it is not about your thoughts at all. In fact, any intellectualizing-any thinking you do-will be obstructive to your Zen practice. Now that you've spent your life trying to hone your logical, rational mind you will try to still that mind through your Zen practice. So when your friends told you that you think too much, they were actually right!

Nirvana is not a place. Nirvana is not outside or us; it is not separate from us-it lies within each of us. It is the very still center at the core of our being. Zen is actually a Japanese word that derives from the Chinese word Ch'an, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means meditation. So, in essence, Zen means meditation. Meditation is an important aspect of all forms of Buddhism as it is considered a path to enlightenment, and it is highly emphasized in Zen practice. In fact, Dogen, founder of the Soto lineage of Zen Buddhism in Japan, taught a way of meditating called shikantaza, which we will discuss in more detail later on.Shikantaza means that sitting (meditating) is enlightened mind. So, contrary to popular belief, the purpose of meditating isn't to become enlightened, you meditate to enjoy your enlightened mind.

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Table of Contents

Top Ten Pearls of Wisdom Found in This Book x
Introduction xi
1 The World of Zen 1
What Is Zen? 2
The Face of Zen 6
Why Zen? 6
Practice Makes Practice 8
Enlightenment 9
Showing the Way 11
2 A Look at Zen History 13
Siddhartha Gautama 14
Search for the Truth 18
Enlightened Mind 19
Buddhism After the Buddha 21
From India to China 22
Zen's Arrival in Japan 25
3 Zen Comes to America 27
American Zen 28
D. T. Suzuki 29
Shunryu Suzuki 32
The Beat Culture 35
Zen Literature Today 36
Where and How to Practice? 37
4 Living the Zen Life 41
Zen Basics 42
Ethics of Zen Living 44
The Five Precepts 47
The Precepts versus the Ten Commandments 52
Zen's View on Death 52
Zen and Sexuality 53
Making Difficult Decisions 53
5 Sitting Around: Zazen 55
What Is Zazen? 56
Zazen versus Other Meditation Practices 56
Zazen Supplies 58
Important Zazen Tips 59
Sitting Postures 61
Breathing 63
Empty Mind 64
Making Mistakes 65
Confronting Fear 66
6 Koan Study 69
Koan Defined 70
Zen Stories from the Past 70
Working with Koans 73
What Is Mu? 76
Talking about Koans 77
Every Moment a Chance for Practice 81
7 Living Zen in Relationships 83
Respecting Others 84
Zen and Your Parents 85
Zen and Your Children 87
Friendly Zen 89
Committing to Another 90
Marriage and Zen 92
8 Using Your Teacher in Zen Practice 95
Who's the Guy in the Funny Robe? 96
Finding a Teacher 97
Interacting with Your Teacher 99
Learning Through Pain 101
The Student/Teacher Relationship 103
Trusting Your Teacher 105
9 Becoming Enlightened 107
Lighting the Way 108
The Great Mystery 111
Sitting as Enlightenment 114
I'm Awake: Now What? 115
The Bodhisattva Path 116
Engaging the World 118
10 Zen and Troubled Times 121
Suffering 122
Worrying 123
Stressed Out and Sick 125
Dealing with Sick Family and Friends 125
Facing Death 127
Impermanence 129
Living Through Zen 132
11 Me, Myself, and I 133
Who Am I? 134
Where Did I Go? 136
If There Is No Me, What about You? 138
Giving It Up: Acceptance 139
Where Do I Go After Death? 142
Reincarnation 142
12 Living Zen at Home 145
Setting Up a Peaceful Space 146
Cleaning, Organizing, Simplifying 147
Living Peacefully 150
House Chores Are Practice 153
The Stink of Enlightenment 155
Finding the Buddha Within 156
13 Welcome to the Zendo 157
Introduction to the Zendo 158
The Altar 158
Zendo's Headmaster 160
Zendo Attire 161
Zendo Behavior 163
Gassho and Bowing 165
Setting Up Your Zendo at Home 166
14 Working Zen: Practice in the Office 169
Wherever You Go, There You Are 170
Taking Zen to Work 171
Right Livelihood 173
Empty Mind 176
Stressing Out on the Job 177
It's All in the Attitude 178
Successful Relationships at Work 180
15 Creating with Zen 181
Art as Practice 182
Zen Gardening 183
Calligraphy 187
Flower-Arranging 189
Poetry 190
Unlimited Creativity 192
16 Zen and Your Body: The Zen Athlete 195
Respect Your Body 196
The Zen Athlete 197
The Zone 199
Zen and Competition 201
Zen and Martial Arts 202
Yoga 205
17 Going on Retreats: Sesshin 209
Retreats 210
Preparing for Sesshin 211
Exhaustion 214
Dokusan 215
Kinhin 217
Meal Practice 218
Work Practice 219
Sesshin Benefits 220
18 Zen Lives Today: Western Zen Masters 223
Philip Kapleau 224
Bernie Glassman 226
Robert Aitken 227
Richard Baker 229
Charlotte Joko Beck 230
Joan Halifax 232
John Daido Loori 233
Rev. Madeline Ko-i Bastis 235
19 Being Mindful 237
Mindfulness 238
Thich Nhat Hanh 240
Miracle of Mindfulness 241
Practicing Mindfulness Every Day 242
Staying in the Moment 244
Mindfulness and Peace 245
20 Zen Every Day 249
A Day in the Life of the Zen Practitioner 250
Waking Up 250
Breakfast and Other Meals 252
Leaving for Work 253
On the Job 254
Back Home Again 255
At the End of the Day 257
An Illness Called Separation 258
Appendix A Glossary 262
Appendix B American Zen Practice Centers 266
Appendix C Additional Resources 273
Index 281
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