Zazen is a 'reset' button on the human brain and our thinking, allowing a balance and clarity free of assembled opinions, memories, dreams, categorizations, judgments, likes and dislikes. The world is thereby perceived as free and simple. Dropping our sense of a separate 'self', we drop the many ways in which that 'self' resists or rejects a 'not-self' world, pushing back against some 'other' moving in ways that the 'self' would not wish. 'Self' and 'other' are not two.
How many problems in our lives and in the world would be eliminated by peoples' simply stopping to think of the problem as 'real', stopping to 'think the problem into existence'? Examples would include tensions based on religious, racial or nationalistic differences, each dependent on various peoples who feel themselves different. On a more personal level, it could include many marriage problems, dissatisfactions of all kinds with the circumstances of our lives and the people in them .
Likewise, how many problems in our lives and in the world would be eliminated if we were less bound by the wants and desires of our separate 'self'? How would we fear growing ill, old or even dying if we dropped a sense of separate 'self' to possess such fears? Would we be less clutching of treasure and attainment if our 'self' did not require self-affirmations and confirmations of 'self worth'?
Of course, Buddhist Practice will not eliminate all the problems of our lives or this world, and action in our lives and in this world is required (just ask these monks on the march today):
Nearly 1,000 Buddhist monks, joined by thousands of their countrymen, marched in Myanmar's largest city Thursday in the biggest challenge in at least a decade to the iron-fisted junta, a show of strength rare under military rule ... Processions of monks converged from various monasteries around Yangon in the early afternoon at the golden hilltop Shwedagon pagoda, the country's most revered shrine. ... Monks at the head of the procession carried religious flags and an upside-down alms bowl, a symbol of protest. http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=51,4912,0,0,1,0
We see in the past that those who transcended the ordinary and transcended the sacred and those who died while sitting or died while standing, relied totally on this power. Moreover, changing of the moment through the action of a finger, a [flag]pole, a needle, or a wooden clapper; and exact experience of the state through the manifestation of a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout, can never be understood by thinking and discrimination. How could they be known through mystical powers or practice and experience? They may be dignified behavior beyond sound and form. How could they be anything other than criteria that precede knowing and seeing? [Nishijima]
In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred and dying while either sitting or standing have all depended entirely on the power of zazen. In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout-these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views? [SZTP]
Press on arrow for 'play'