What is Zen?

When the mind does not dwell on any one thing,
True mind appears,’ – Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

Zen is not a philosophy or religion, but rather a practice or perhaps, an attitude to life. The word Zen comes originally from the Sanskrit ‘Dhyana’, which can be translated as concentration, observation, meditation.

Central to Zen Practice is the practice of zazen – simply sitting, not grasping at the thoughts and emotions that arise within us, nor rejecting them, but allowing them to pass by. Through this, naturally, unconsciously and automatically, we become aware that many of our everyday preoccupations are not so important, and that clinging tightly to them brings suffering to us and to others.

We become more aware of something – you may call this ‘something’ the inner source, big mind, holy spirit, buddha-nature, the cosmic order – something unnameable and indefinable, but which can be a quiet and calm source of inspiration and support in our lives.