August 31, 2009

What is Zen? 3 Takes by Robert Aitken Roshi

robert aitken, tricycle, zen

What is Zen?

Many Zen Students and even a few teachers think Zen is a kind of psychology. This is a little like thinking that persimmons are a type of banana.

Read what Zen is and what Zen isn't here.

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Bas Wisselink's picture

It's good to point out that if you are in need of psychological help, you should not look for it in a meditation hall.
While meditation can have beneficial side effects, eventually helping the process of dealing with psychological problems, it can just as well make the situation worse. Also, meditation teachers are not counselors.
That is basically not the resonsibility they have taken on. Just as you don't go to a building contractor when a brick has fallen on your foot and it is broken, you don't go to a meditation teacher to get psychological help.

Martin Davis's picture

I think Zen can have the same results as Psychological examination - as after a deep meditation it is fairly common to experience a level of self-awareness of deep-seated problems or mental blocks that do not come to the surface of consciousness during day to day consciousness. As Zen brings present-state awareness, I think it can also reveal blocks and barriers to our subconscious that we have never dealt with from earlier stages of life.