Historically, the practice of Zen, occurred in a monastic setting.  Monastic practice was a powerful vehicle but today most of us do not have the time or the inclination to practice that way.

We certainly do not want our contemporary practice, the one we are establishing in the West,  to be a watered down version of the old one.  I don’t think that will happen because we understand things about practice that were previously overlooked. Two important aspects that were overlooked were the true state of our emotions and the matrix of our daily lives.  We now have tools the ancients did not.  With the aid of psychology and science we can, in fact, look forward to a renaissance. This is what Lost Coin is about.

It is easy to focus on our understanding and avoid looking at our emotions while they run rampant and have negative effects on those around us and the practice itself.

Personally I have seen far too much of that as a student, as a teacher and as a psychotherapist.

We can end the division of our life into the practice  and the personal.

The Lost Coin Study Center  which has just been established is a step toward this future.   Though we sit (do Zazan) and meet in study groups, we need reminders and the equivalent of food (impressions,inspiration) to continue our practice.  The Center allows us to get further nourishment when we need it , and does not require physical proximity as the monastery did.  This is also true when I do “skype-san” (daisan/interview) on the internet with students who are across the nation or even across the ocean. As commerce now is able to transcend the “brick and mortar”, Lost Coin is in the process of transcending monastic walls and flesh and bones.

We need to evolve. It is not enough to chant about atoning for greed, anger and ignorance .  We need a living practice to  develop and let go of  destructive emotions including fear, which makes us sometimes timid but often predatory and narcissistic.

We can develop an intelligent, loving and pragmatic practice.We can, as they say in video games, level up. There have been holes in our practice.  We are going to change that.

Creative Commons License photo credit: telmo32