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  • Patrick

Zen and Dissatisfaction

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

People usually come to Zen because they are dissatisfied; they often have a sense that there is more to this world, and to themselves and their lives, than meets the eye, even if they don't know exactly what that means. So they take up the practice. And after a time Zen practitioners come to realize that their intuition is right -- things are not what they seem to be.

We are not who we think we are. And what we think of as a solid, enduring world made up of many things, all of them interacting, is not actually an accurate picture of reality at all. In fact, this "certainty," which we build our lives around, is only an idea, an opinion, or, in Zen language, a delusion.

Through sitting we work to set aside this usually unquestioned point of view; and through the Zen work of simply letting go we can experience for ourselves that the firm boundaries that seem to separate the things of this world are not really firm at all. And that beginning can take us to where, as Dogen says, “The treasure chamber will open by itself for you to use as you wish."

In Shakespeare's play Hamlet says to his friend, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy..." Hamlet's observation is the premise that underlies the ancient roots of Halloween, and that same premise is shared by our practice, too.

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