Monday, July 5, 2010

The Wheel of Life

In his book "The Wheel of Life", John Blofeld tells us about his life journey into Buddhism, his unusual attraction toward it during his British childhood, and his further discovery and practice of it in Asia, mostly in pre-red China and Tibet. His book, written in a beautiful style,describes the errances of an average human being on his way to something he is not quite sure about with all the tours and detours, the difficulties, the mistakes, the delays, as each one of us experience them at one time or another in our progressions in Zen or Budo.

In his quest, Mr Blofeld practiced various forms of Buddhism and finally realized that one particular Tibetan tradition fitted him the best.  Among the different traditions he practiced Zen (or Chan as it is named in China) for 9 full month in a Chinese Monastery.

Here is how he describes Zen in comparison to the other ways of Buddhism.

"In time I discovered that it had been a great error to suppose that Zen is a simple approach to Truth. Despite the absence of insuperable linguistic difficulties, it is in some ways the most difficult of all possible approaches, just a a short cut to the top of a steep mountain  is the most arduous route for the climber... "

Mountain climbing... It would come to nobody's mind to climb mount Everest without proper training; not only one needs to have developed a serious knowledge of the particulars of mountain climbing - through climbing smaller mountains, and practicing repelling, or other practices I am not aware of, because I dwas born on the ocean and don't know much about Mountain climbing; but it also requests serious physical conditioning such as endurance training, jogging, weight lifting, etc, etc... activities not directly related to the discipline of Mountain climbing, however important to practice properly. 

So, in order to successfully practice Mountain climbing, one has to master specific mountain climbing techniques. But also,  in order to enhance the efficiency of these specific techniques, one needs to know and practice other techniques, not directly related to the real goal. 

And I am wondering. Are they non specific techniques we could practice to enhance our Zazen practice ?

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