The Greatest Realisation in Zen
We can define Zen as Meditation or having a glimpse of Ultimate Reality. The definition of Zen, in this case, is relative to mind realisation as it becomes more conscious and aware.
If something is overshadowing or clouding the mind as disruptive to your progress, we look to improve on dissipating that thought or force.
When learning the Cosmos Chi Kung (Qigong) Arts, we apply the meditative principles as part of our daily practice to find clarity and harmony in our everyday lives.
“Zen” refers to a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty (7th century) and later spread to Japan and other parts of the world. Zen is known for its emphasis on direct experience, meditation, and an intuitive understanding of reality. At its core, Zen is less concerned with intellectual understanding and more focused on direct insight into the nature of existence.
The concept of Zen is deeply rooted in mindfulness and meditation practices, with the ultimate goal of achieving enlightenment or awakening. Zen practitioners often engage in seated meditation (zazen) and mindfulness throughout daily activities. The practice of zazen involves sitting in a specific posture and focusing on the breath or a particular aspect of the present moment. Through disciplined practice, practitioners aim to transcend ordinary dualistic thinking and experience a direct and unmediated understanding of reality.
Key concepts within Zen include:
Satori or Kensho: This refers to a sudden and profound insight or enlightenment experience that goes beyond ordinary intellectual understanding. It’s often described as a direct apprehension of reality, free from conceptual thinking.
Mu (無): This is a famous Zen koan (a paradoxical question or statement used to provoke deep contemplation) that asks, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The purpose of koans is to challenge the intellect and encourage direct experience and insight.
Non-Dualism: Zen emphasizes the idea of non-dualism, where the distinction between subject and object, self and other, is dissolved. This leads to a holistic understanding of reality where all things are interconnected.
Emptiness (Sunyata): Zen philosophy explores the concept of emptiness, which does not imply literal nothingness but rather the absence of inherent, fixed identity in all phenomena. This concept challenges conventional notions of reality and self.
Everyday Mind: Zen practice encourages seeing the sacred in the mundane. Everyday activities are viewed as opportunities for mindfulness and awakening, blurring the line between formal meditation and daily life.
Transmission from Master to Student: Zen has a strong tradition of oral transmission from experienced practitioners, or masters, to their disciples. This direct transmission is considered crucial for the understanding of Zen, as it goes beyond words and concepts.
Emphasis on Direct Experience: Zen de-emphasizes reliance on scriptures and philosophy and places greater importance on personal experience and direct realization of truth.
Aesthetic and Artistic Expression: Zen has also influenced various art forms, including calligraphy, painting, tea ceremony, and gardening. These practices often reflect the Zen principles of simplicity, mindfulness, and spontaneity.
It’s important to note that Zen is often described as something that can’t be fully understood through intellectual analysis alone. The heart of Zen lies in the experiential dimension, and practitioners often engage in its practices for years to cultivate the insights it offers.
Qigong and Zen
“Zen” and “Cosmos Qigong” are two distinct practices that come from different cultural and philosophical traditions. Zen is rooted in Zen Buddhism and emphasizes meditation, mindfulness, and direct insight into reality, while Cosmos Qigong is a form of qigong, a Chinese practice that involves movement, breath, and meditation to cultivate energy (qi) and promote health and well-being.
While these practices have different origins and approaches, it’s possible that they might intersect or complement each other in certain ways. Individuals who engage in both Zen practice and Cosmos Qigong might find some parallels in terms of mindfulness, presence, and the cultivation of inner energy. However, it’s important to understand that each practice has its own unique methods, goals, and principles. Here’s how they might relate:
Mindfulness and Presence: Both Zen and Qigong emphasize being present in the moment. In Zen practice, mindfulness and awareness are key aspects of meditation and daily life. In Qigong, practitioners focus on their breath, movements, and sensations, cultivating a state of mindfulness as they perform the exercises.
Energy Cultivation: Qigong, including Cosmos Qigong, involves cultivating and harmonizing the body’s energy (qi). Zen, while not primarily focused on energy work, could potentially create a conducive mental and physiological state that supports energy flow.
Health and Well-being: Cosmos Qigong is often practiced for its potential health benefits, such as improved circulation, reduced stress, and enhanced vitality. Zen meditation has also been associated with physical and mental well-being, including stress reduction and improved focus.
Complementary Practice: For individuals who are drawn to both Zen and Cosmos Qigong, practicing both could provide a holistic approach to well-being. Zen meditation might support mental clarity and equanimity, while Qigong exercises could support physical health and energy flow.
Integration: Some individuals might integrate mindfulness practices from Zen into their Qigong practice or vice versa. For example, incorporating Zen principles like non-dual awareness into Qigong practice could deepen the experience.
It’s important to remember that while there might be potential benefits to integrating different practices, it’s advisable to approach them with respect for their individual traditions and principles. If you’re interested in combining Zen and Cosmos Qigong, consider seeking guidance from experienced teachers in each practice to ensure a respectful and balanced approach.
The term “Zen” has several layers of meaning, and its understanding can vary depending on the context and the philosophical or cultural perspective. In the context of Zen Buddhism, “Zen” refers to a school of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes direct experience and insight into the nature of reality, often through meditation and contemplative practices. It’s important to note that the term “Zen” itself is derived from the Chinese word “Chán” (禪), which in turn traces its roots to the Sanskrit word “dhyāna,” meaning meditation.
At its core, Zen represents a way of perceiving and engaging with the world that goes beyond intellectual understanding. It emphasizes direct experience, mindfulness, and non-dualistic awareness. Some key aspects of what “Zen” means within the context of Zen Buddhism include:
Direct Experience: Zen encourages practitioners to move beyond conceptual thinking and directly experience reality as it is, free from intellectual constructs and biases.
Mindfulness and Meditation: Zen places a strong emphasis on meditation, particularly seated meditation (zazen), as a means to quiet the mind, cultivate awareness, and attain a deeper understanding of existence.
Non-Dualism: Zen challenges the conventional dualistic way of thinking that separates self from other, subject from object. It aims to transcend these distinctions and perceive the interconnectedness of all things.
Insight and Awakening: Zen seeks to facilitate moments of profound insight or awakening (satori or kensho) where the practitioner gains a direct, intuitive understanding of reality beyond words and concepts.
Everyday Life: Zen extends beyond formal meditation, emphasizing that everyday activities can be opportunities for mindful awareness and spiritual growth.
Koans and Paradoxes: Zen uses koans—paradoxical statements or questions—to provoke deep contemplation and break down habitual thought patterns, leading to greater understanding.
Transmission: Zen often involves a direct transmission of teachings from master to disciple, highlighting the importance of personal experience and guidance in understanding its principles.
It’s worth noting that “Zen” has also influenced various aspects of art, culture, and lifestyle beyond its religious context. Concepts of simplicity, mindfulness, and spontaneity associated with Zen have found their way into various creative and philosophical domains.
In summary, “Zen” embodies a philosophy and practice that seeks to transcend ordinary thinking, leading to direct insight into the nature of reality and the interconnectedness of all things.