Zen Buddhism in everyday life
Zen is often characterized as the religion of everyday life.
For many people, everyday life is perceived as a succession of restrictive and boring activities that makes us think that real life exists somewhere else. The spiritual Way is sometimes sought as something beyond everyday life. Yet, in light of Zen experience, the root of our life, we realize that it is in the simplest of life’s acts that ultimate reality is actualized as a presence. Life is then lived with the body and mind in unity. It reminds us of the importance of here and now.
Awakening to impermanence invites us to not be attached to what is perishable. But what is not perishable? How can we not waste the precious time of this human life by not letting the essential pass us by? Awakening to our unity with other people invites us to be benevolent and compassionate, and awakening to the unity of all existences reminds us of our connectedness with nature and pushes us to love and protect it.
The awakening experience is the heart of the Zen Way and transforms everyday life into a place of expression of what this awakening implies: living each act fully and for itself without reducing it to simply a means to attain something else. Living like this reconciles us to lack, to what is missing, to make the causes of suffering less alarming, and to help us find harmony with the true nature of our existence.