Zen can be a philosophy, a spiritual tradition, or simply a “way.” Here are ten diverse thoughts (from teachers, writers and Zen masters) on what it means to walk the Zen path.
1. Zen is not about eliminating thoughts but illuminating them. (Gerald May)
2. Zen is not some kind of excitement but concentration on our usual everyday routine. (Shunryu Suzuki)
3. The ultimate standpoint of Zen is that… the peace we are seeking so eagerly has been there all the time. (D.T. Suzuki)
4. The beauty of Zen is found in simplicity and tranquility, in a sense of the all-embracing harmony of things. (Thich Thien-An)
5. The whole point of Zen is to suspend the rules we have superimposed on things and to see the world as it is. (Alan Watts)
6. Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. (Zen Buddhism)
7. Zen: If you try to aim for it, you are turning away from it. (Anonymous)
8. Zen is not thinking about God while peeling potatoes. Zen is just about peeling the potatoes. (Modern Saying)
9. The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there. (Robert M. Pirsig)
10. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. (Shunryu Suzuki)
Overall, Zen means creating a sense of awareness and intention in everything you do. To do this, you do not have to live on a mountaintop or temple – simply breathe and go slowly in order to find your unique path in everyday surroundings.