Real Progress

Real Progress

There is a Zen tale about a person that sits a very long time (Kalpas) but does not achieve Buddhahood.  When we look into this story we understand that the reason for this lack of attainment is that one cannot attain what one already is.  Another way we might put this is that we cannot “go”somewhere if we are already there.  At that point we “understand” the Zen tale, but do we really?
Often there is a great deal of emphasis on progress in our practice, progress in the “Way.” But where are we going? What are we attaining?  The old masters tell us we are already wearing Buddha’s clothes. We are eating his food. This implies that we are already living Buddha’s (the enlightened one’s)  life.
So there is a gap in our understanding. On one hand we have an inkling of the fact that we are leading the life of enlightenment and on the other hand we want to make progress in this understanding.
In reality this gap in our understanding is not so difficult to close. It does take time. We call closing this gap between what we understand intellectually and what we experience – practice. Simple as that.
What a wonderful practice it is to learn to appraeciate each moment as enlightement. Putting ourself into our life totally and not making progress.
It is exactly this appreciation of this very life and this very moment and wonderful lack of progress that is progress in “the Way”.

Photo by Dennis Jarvis
Zen Arts – Zen Ways

Zen Arts – Zen Ways



This is an excerpt of a video we made on Zen Arts as a “Way”.

 “A Way” is a path to realizing our true nature and our innate capacity using an external activity which can be anything from writing to tea ceremony.

Western arts can be used as well as the traditional Japanese practices. Zen “ways” can  include things we don’t usually even consider art. Being an entrepreneur or a cook would be an example of that. You can think of it as using external activity to appreciate the reality of our internal state.

“The Way” can then be used to see our internal state and to cultivate its growth.

Creative Commons License photo credit: monsieur-g