Sunday, July 14, 2013

What is Zen Discussion?

Zen is famous for meditation. At the same time, Zen is not just meditation. Zen is a process and training for getting absolute status of mind, unchangeable and peaceful. One of the training methods, in addition to meditation, is "Discussion".

Here is one example. A Zen priest asked his teacher how many times and how long he should meditate to reach the ultimate-mind status of peacefulness. The teacher asked back to the priest why he meditated. The priest answered that he wanted to reach ultimate status of mind. Suddenly the teacher brought a roof tile and started to grind with a cloth. The student priest asked what teacher was doing. The teacher answered. "I am grinding the roof tile to make a mirror." The student priest frowned and said. "Teacher, you cannot make mirror out of roof tile." The teacher stood up and told the student. "What you are asking is same as asking how long you should grind a roof tile to make a mirror from it."

"A roof tile can never be a mirror however long or however many times you grind it." This is an intriguing statement. The teacher is saying that meditation does not help to achieve ultimate-mind status. Then why do they meditate? There are no right answers for Zen questions. My interpretation is that instead of thinking about how long or how many times of meditation, you should consider changing yourself to be mirror material from a roof tile. The meditation is just help, not a way to reach it. What is more significant is you find mirror material to grind to be the mirror. Do not we sometimes make a mistake on which is more substantial, find the mirror material or grinding a junk?

The story continued. "The teacher asked the student priest "When your ox carriage stopped which you whip, the cow or carriage?" Many would answer "ox." More important is to find why the carriage stopped. Carriage wheel might have stuck. Nothing might be wrong with ox. In this case, answer would be, "Check both before whip."

There are many more stories of Zen discussion on ultimate status of mind, here is the background to explain the world of Zen discussion to achieve ultimate state of mind.

First of all, what is "Ultimate Status of Mind" and why we need it? Watching TV News Programs, we usually come across some miraculous happening. Survived in a major earthquake, saved a life almost drown to death, and so on. When people ask how they survived, and what they thought, they say, "My mind was all blank and I do not remember anything I was just thinking to survive."

This status of mind is called "Beyond Oneself" or "Nothing Oneself". This is the moment people are capable of doing something, something extraordinary, beyond consideration. In martial arts, this status of mind is called "Unchangeable Status of Mind". If one can create this status of mind consciously, it will be powerful.

You know that, in sports games, the skilled, or trained does not necessarily win against less experienced. I think more trained mind can defeat more skillful and stronger. That is why mental training is more powerful than skill training, although skill training can increase confidence and improve mind status. Zen is extraordinarily suitable for this training.

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