Buddhism is one of the oldest religions and the concept of Zen as a part of it is interesting and significant. What is fascinating about it is the fact that it can be incorporated into everyday modern living. The crucial part of Zen is meditation and it has to be practiced on a daily basis. It involves deep concentration and the control of breath. Zen Buddhism is a philosophy which can be applied at any time in any place and if it is mastered it can bring great peace and joy into the life of the person who practices it.
It could take several months to achieve the level of concentration necessary for meditation and this is practices usually in a group with a teacher. “The whole point of Zen practice is to live with more awareness, appreciation, wisdom, and compassion” (Burk 250). This philosophy involves self-dedication and it is very rewarding because it changes the perspective on life. The whole point is to live in the present, be grateful and to become selfless. Zen helps people become mentally stronger and to cope with difficult situations in their lives in a better and more productive way. People should learn how to be self-sufficient and not attach to anything that is transient in life. They should not be dependent on anything especially not materialistic. “Practicing Zen in a culture where most people do not gives you a chance to closely examine your own motivations for practice and learn how to be authentic without being defensive” (Burk 265). It is all about individualism and being intimate with oneself. People receive a deep understanding through experience which is not connected to intellect.
It can be challenging to live according to Zen in a modern world where people have daily jobs, earn salaries and have to pay the bills. “Trying to live authentically and peacefully in a culture that encourages materialism, intoxication, and distraction presents you with important spiritual questions” (Burk 278). The point is to detach oneself from the world and to find answers within the spiritual realm. Zen is also a way of accepting life and finding motivation to improve it and follow one’s dreams. If people are at peace with themselves, they are more likely to achieve happiness and progress in all areas of life.
Zen practice is about concentration, breath control, and group practice. “Intimacy is the way of all the Buddhas. There is no Zen without intimacy; intimacy with what? Both the self and the thrush” (Aitken 90). People need to be truly honest with themselves and have full control over their feelings. Nobody can control their own life because it is full of uncertainty, but everybody can control how they react to situations in life, good or bad. Nothing should be taken for granted and inner peace has to be maintained at all costs.
Zen Buddhism is an attractive lifestyle because it can bring extreme joy into one’s life and a person can find inner peace through this practice. “In Zen you will find an insistence that realization is a matter of shifting your viewpoint to include a vast universe of immediate and personal interrelationships” (Aitken 90). Although this practice originates from Asia, Western people are also welcome to try and incorporate Zen into their lives because people need it in order to find peace in a world full of temptation.
Burk, Domyo S. Zen living. New York: Alpha Books, 2014. Print.
Aitken, Robert. "Who Hears?: A Zen Buddhist Perspective." Buddhist-Christian Studies 29 (2009): 89-93. Print.