November 27, 2014

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An Interview with M. K.

1) What brought you to Zen?

Suffering and its natural consequence: looking for solace. 

Six years ago I had been experiencing a serious mental crisis. When it happened I was 55 years old and I already knew by that time that normal pain-killers – like food, drink, drug, sex, shopping, traveling, idling, TV, movies, news, money… etc. – would not bring relief for the long term, but would deepen the existing suffering: partly because the cause of the original suffering has not been eliminated, partly because those normal pain-killers would create even more suffering at the end. And the miracle happened then: books with Buddha’s Teaching had started to come to me.  

2) How has Zen shaped your views about yourself and the world around you?

It has brought me from bottom-upwards up to top-upwards.

How does Zen attained it actually?  Simply it has taught me causality – being a result of karmic causes, and being the causes of karmic consequences; the impermanence – being adrift of births, old age, sickness and death; and emptiness – not being that what we think that we are, and being that which we think we are not. It has given me the inspiration to turn towards others rather then towards myself. In this way it has purified my mind – liberating it from greed, anger and ignorance, and consequently it has brought me inner peace which has given birth to peacefulness around me.

3) How do you see Zen in relation to Buddhism?

Zen is Buddhism. Buddhism is Zen. While both are the Refuge. So they are One (and the same).

4) What would you say to someone who was interested in practicing Zen?

I would ask him/her why he/she is interested in practicing Zen.

If it turns out from the answer that he/she is looking for something new, something interesting, something exciting… well, then I would suggest to him or her to look in another direction.

If it comes out that his or her interest is serious, deep, and committed then I would suggest to him or her to join a Zen community to start the practice immediately.  If I thought my story might inspire someone, I would share it.  

(M.K. 2011-06-02)