10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits
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10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits

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10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits

10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits

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10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits 10 Zen Lessons To Grow Zen Habits Presentation Transcript

  • 10
    ZenLessons
    Grow Zen Habits
    Lessons that will help us to live our lives simply and happily
  • What is Zen?
    Zen and its culture are unique to the East. The interest stems possibly from Zen ability to communicate new life awareness. Western culture is oriented primarily toward Being; Eastern culture, toward non-being. Being can be studied by objective logic. Non-Being must be existentially understood; it is the principle of absolute negation that enables one to loosen bonds and turn toward limitlessness.
  • Lesson 1 : Start from Scratch 
    In Zen, beginner's mind is the ideal state. It is a mind that has no preconceptions about the world, one that is open and eager to learn. Even someone who has studied Zen for many years tries to retain this attitude of receptivity. A beginner doesn't have to unlearn anything. With no preconceptions, he can approach the world with the freshness of a child.
  • "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few,”
    - ShunryuSuzuki.
  • Lesson 2 : Follow the Breath 
    Zen has been described as the art of living in attunement with the breath, for the heart of Zen practice is breathing meditation. A classic zazen (sitting meditation) technique is simply to count four breaths, over and over again. When a thought intrudes, attention is gently returned to the breath, which becomes a vehicle for concentration and an opening to peace.
  • As in Zen, the repetition of a word or phrase can quiet the tumult in our minds and open us to insight and spiritual growth. We should also remember that in Genesis, it is the divine Breath (ruah) that gives life to the world. By connecting with our own breath, in holy silence, we link ourselves to the One who gives us each breath.
  • Lesson 3 : Practice Simplicity 
    The Zen esthetic is spare and minimal, a single flower rather than a bouquet, understatement rather than ostentation, homemade rather than mass-produced. Outward simplicity is meant to mirror inner calm. Just as we need to empty our minds of distractions, the spaces in which we live also should be pared down. Appreciate those things that have a patina of age and use.
  • Remember that simplicity can be applied to our busy schedules as well. Think of what brings you meaning and benefits the world, and what you do simply because it's what you've always done. Saying "no" to some commitments means you can say "yes" to what is truly important. 
  • Lesson 4 : Empty Yourself 
    Emptiness is seen as the state of being receptive, of giving up resistance and struggle. An ancient 
    teaching uses the metaphor of a wagon wheel to explain the importance of emptiness. The spokes of a wheel all converge at the hub, but it is the emptiness at its center that permits the wheel to turn.
  • Think of all the ways in which our daily lives are full of commitments, duties, thoughts, desires, and activities.Zen 
    counsels us that the wise person is one who has emptied himself of these distractions so that he can rest in perfect tranquility.
  • Lesson 5 :  When You Drink Tea, Drink Tea 
    Too often when we engage in an activity, our minds are thinking of something else. That's why the 
    Zen principle of mindfulness is so powerful. It calls us to be fully present in each moment, living it fully because it will not pass this way again. The ritual of the tea ceremony is an enactment of the principle of mindfulness.
  • Eating mindfully can be a good way to start. When you eat an orange, for example, be fully present as you peel the skin, break apart the sections, and
    eat each bite. Savor the smell and the sense of sweetness on your tongue.
  • Lesson 6 : Appreciate Silence
    Zen reminds us that often what is most powerful cannot be spoken. Spending time in silence can lower our blood pressure, slow our heart rate, and reduce our level of stress hormones. Silence can work wonders as well, allowing us to open our hearts to God and quiet the noise within. In that silent landscape, the divine voice can be heard most clearly.
  • We don't need to journey far away to experience such peace. Simply turn
    off the external noise of your daily life and close your eyes. 
  • Lesson 7 : Find a Teacher
    Because Zen emphasizes spoken communication over the written word, the role of a good teacher becomes especially important. In this tradition, a teacher serves as a guide, a prod, and a confidant, someone who has walked the path before and who can point out the pitfalls along the way.
  • Many denominations are 
    rediscovering the value of this ancient practice. Like a Zen master, they can point a new direction when a seeker has lost his way.
  • Lesson 8 : Ask Questions
    Zen is famous for its koans, which are stories or questions meant to trigger enlightenment, or awakening to the true nature of the universe. Often paradoxical and puzzling, they are meant to jolt the learner out of his usual patterns of thinking so that a new understanding breaks through.
  • Zen teaches that questions are an essential part of spiritual growth. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? What do I value most? Wrestling with these koanscan trigger insight.
  • Lesson 9 : Accept That Change Is Inevitable 
    A great Zen teacher described the fundamental Buddhist perspective this way: "Not always so.”
    Zen teaches that existence is always in flux, ever-changing and fluid. All things, from stars and humans to mountains, are part of a cycle of birth and decay. A wise person recognizes this immutable fact and faces it with equanimity.
  • If we do not cling to it, but simply note it, we can ease its pain. Accepting that life is ever-changing can make us value it all the more. We need to honor each moment and let it go.
  • Lesson 10 : Chop Wood, Carry Water 
    "Before Enlightenment, chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." This famous saying indicates the value Zen places on the ordinary, day-to-day activities of life. Any activity can be a vehicle for spiritual growth: raising children, baking bread, driving a school bus, and balancing a checkbook. 
  • Remember that the majority of our lives are spent in these seemingly ordinary activities. Learning to live these moments mindfully and with a sense of gratitude puts us in kinship with our Buddhist brothers and sisters and deepens our own Christian practice.
  • “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”
    - ShunryuSuzuki
  • “ We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” - Buddha
    Thank You Very Much
    Sompong Yusoontorn