Zen and daily life
The richness of Buddhist spirituality is not limited to the practice of sitting meditation. Although zazen is the source of zen mind, you can experience that state of mind in various aspects of daily life.
THE ART OF CONCENTRATION
Concentration is the ability to stay mentally focused on an activity for a long period of time, without being distracted. In modern society, the pervasiveness of screens (ipads, smartphones, etc.) is a distraction: we move quickly and mostly unconsciously from one activity to the next. In zen, the practice of concentration encourages us to pay attention to what we do, whether we are using our computer or cutting vegetables. Being fully aware of the moment, learning to appreciate the present moment, become the treasures of our everyday life.
The aesthetics of zen is characterized by its purity: a flower in a vase, and a lot of space around it. Beyond that refined style, the point is to feel the joy of simplicity, to aspire to a life where we are not attached to material goods: a «happy sobriety», to quote Pierre Rabhi. A life cente- red around respect for the environment. A life where, at peace with our emotions, we don’t resort to consumption to fill a void.
THE MEANING OF RITUALS
In zen monasteries, dojos and groups of practice, rituals give another dimension to the practice of meditation. Ceremonies help us har- monize with the others, and are often dedicated «to the good of all beings». At meal times, especially during retreats, Buddhist chants invite us to feel gratitude for everything that contributed to the simple fact that there is food on the table, and to think of those who are not so lucky. Indeed, meditation goes way beyond personal development.
Un texte d'enseignement du maître Roland Yuno Rech
" 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."