With So Many “Spiritual Options and Paths”
by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi
Social media, Internet, bookstores and large numbers of coaches, trainers and teachers offer countless recipes for the “right” path to happiness and different formulas for “reaching” the Kingdom of God. In this seemingly endless universe of “spiritual options”, the question sometimes posed by seekers, or people aiming to lead happier and more fulfilling lives, is; “Why Zen?”
Let it be mentioned right up front that Zen does not claim exclusivity, nor does it thrive on missionizing people to “convert” them, making fun of or criticizing other practices. In fact, throughout the ages, Zen Masters have respected and revered great teachers and enlightened ones who pursued other spiritual practices.
Zen is not an institution one “belongs” to. It has evolved to become inclusive, and as such has room for those preferring to worship or practice the rituals they choose.
This text will not overly focus on emphasizing all the ways in which Zen is “different” from other spiritual paths, as this goes way beyond the length of a short blog. Suffice it to say that there is hardly a spiritual path which is comparable to Zen. In itself, Zen is only a concept or word and cannot be easily described.
It goes beyond conventions, ceremonies, and confessions, even if Buddhists may claim it as its own because it goes back to Buddha. Zen transcends fundamentalist beliefs, scriptures, specific steps and rituals, and focuses on the spiritual dimension underlying all Existence.
The Underlying Basis of Zen
Zen sees no duality, no selfhood apart from that which is unspeakable, indescribable, and boundless in us, the One Self, God, One Mind. The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. You already are and embody what you seek, have always been and will always be this way. Divine awareness or God-consciousness is the ever-presence that will never leave us. God-awareness is Self-awareness. Nothing can take away from your inherent nature of Oneness, the Buddha Nature in all of us.
This is what Zen says in a nutshell. However, let me say that Zen is also down to earth and practical. It gives us one of the most natural and simple approaches that exist to accompany us along the boundless and pathless path as these ultimate truths are revealed.
It enables us, with grace – and not because of what we “do” – to unfold our own inner teacher, master, and guru. There is nothing to “grasp” or understand. The Kingdom of God within us, though not describable in words, can be directly “experienced” – and can lead to what is referred to as salvation, enlightenment or clarity.
The age-old Zen parable, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him”, admonishes us not to depend on anything or anyone outside of our-Selves. As such, Zen is definitely empowering and makes us Self-reliant and self-less instead of self-important.
But do not make the mistake of thinking that Zen is a “customized” spirituality adapted to the individual ego and reflecting our modern-day desire to “go our own way”. This is because you are not the doer. Instead, grace leads us. Progress can be made when the “seeker” gives up the fallacy of being a separate individual, that his or her actions are the basis for enlightenment.
We may search, diligently practice spiritual techniques such as meditation and be guided by others, but the decisive moment is when we can put all pre-defined commandments, tools, seeking and procedures behind us and stand in truth – as if struck like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.
There are many examples of individuals who “stand in the light” or are in “enlightened Beingness” or awareness – representing their awakening to a seemingly new state of Beingness which is inconceivable yet has always existed. In realizing what you have are, there is nothing to do except to be humble and thankful, abide and BE in the Oneness, Suchness, Isness, which naturally encompasses truth and wisdom and all that you need. I AM – that in itself is sufficient – because it IS.
However, as long as people are imprisoned in their egos, they will suffer, create suffering for themselves and others and also destroy our planet, and have to continue living with this suffering.
Zen has the potential to enable us to penetrate to the Last Things, and possibly – when the right time has come and one enjoys the grace of something higher which is intangible and incomprehensible – to awaken us out of a kind of slumber to our natural state of bliss that we are and have always been. This is not an empty promise. Nothing is promised or held out as a possible which is not experienceable.
The “Challenge” of Zen
In essence, Zen may seem challenging and daunting, because it throws you back upon yourself, calls upon you to let go of your thinking and past, asks you to unlearn what you were brought up to believe in, says you ultimately do not need any teacher or texts, steps and goals, and that there is nothing to achieve.
I am aware that this is not easy for many people to swallow. There may be a long list of reasons you have to reject what has been written here, and the dualistically-minded among you may consider all this to be humbug.
However, you are free to take the pathless path of Zen and consider it on its merits.
Truly hope my Special Recovery Guest, Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi’s wisdom and words have been of help to all my recovery friends and visitors as it has been to my recovery!
You may learn more within his amazing book on sale on AMAZON and titled “Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness” Now 99.cents on Amazon as a Kindle and Paperback on Sale!
You are invited to visit Master Genro and Co-Author Clifford Stevens on their Official Website of “Find The Seeker – Meet Master Genro.”