Saturday, August 11, 2012

Zen Garden School (cartoon)

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly
Zen rock gardening (
What is Zen? 
"Zen" is a way of saying "fully collected attention, fully absorbed mind," a natural state sometimes referred to beginner's mind.
Zen is a Buddhist school, Japan's version of the Chinese Ch'an (absorbed concentration) movement.
This Buddhist school came from ancient India, where the practice is known as dhyana, in Pali jhana, in Vietnamese thien, and so on. In America, in modern English, it seems to mean "cool, calm effortlessness."
What is the Zen in the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? 
It is confounding the Tao, "going with the flow," the way, the yin and yang of cyclical existence -- in Taoism as if it were Buddhism. Taoism so mixed with Buddhism, each influencing each other and mixing like water and milk, that it is not far from some aspects of the Dharma. But they are not actually the same at the core, just as cultural interpretations.
What does it mean to "meditate"? 
It means to cultivate something, to develop something, to bring something into being (bhavana). One brings virtue, concentration, and insight into being with balanced effort.

Like a revolving yin and yang circle, one balances effort and ease, strain and laxity, doing and being done. Many swear that when "it" (meditation) happens, they didn't do it. It did itself. It was done to them. It was effortless -- so long as one does not count all the "effort" of making time to sit and persisting in cultivating serenity and single-pointed attention.
This is "thoughtless" awareness, for although one is fully aware of one's surroundings and one's object of meditative attention, it is not "thinking about" or evaluating or judging or revolving in one's mind (its literal English definition, which is more appropriate in the preparatory cultivation of insight translated as contemplation).

What are those "Zen Garden" sandboxes about? 
It is part of Japan's artistic tradition turning the mundane and sparse into reflections of art and order.

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