Introduction to Zen - Living with Less
Table of Contents Introduction History of Zen Zazen Koans Zen Arts Conclusory Remarks Author Bio Publisher Introduction The contemporary man is often at unease. Despite the significant advances in technology, rises in material standards of living, and the license to do almost whatever one pleases he is never at peace with himself and his surroundings. He rarely has the time to pursue peace. His schedule is hectic, he is constantly pestered by the demands of an incessant and all-enveloping communication network, and his work is rote and routine. His existence is functionary, tasteless, and uncreative. If this reminiscent of your experience of life, you need not feel ashamed. It is the plague of the contemporary and secular world. Our ancestors, despite unimaginable hardships, lived in a world populated by gods, spirits, ritual, and poetry. Their often agricultural lives revolved around the seasons, their sailors looked to the stars for directions, and their holidays (holy-days etymologically) were days of worship and celebration of the mysteries and glory of life. Everything in their world was rife with ultimate and hierarchic significance- everyone from the peasant to the king knew their place in the world, their relation to their fellow man, and their duties to their gods or God (anno domini). Unfortunately, the industrial and scientific revolutions have removed the superficial air of mystery that permeated nature and the core of experience. Capitalism's re-evaluation of values and objects according to their utility and quantifiability made things like comfort, entertainment, and usefulness more "valuable" than non-quantifiable values like beauty, courage, and valor. Our technology has estranged us from nature and our jobs lack the color and beauty of the ancient craftsmen and farmers. It seems as though we have become slaves to a technical bureaucratic system that should be serving us! I have written this short text in the hope that it will bring peace, creativity, and serenity to your life. I do not expect that it will be the answer to all of your questions or problems in this life. I merely hope that it lead you to deepen your experience of reality, focus your attention, and cultivate your person. The pursuit of peace and serenity is one that, happily, is up to each of us individually to uncover through trial and error, or less painfully, through wisdom and insight. May you use this text to your advantage. Deo gratias.