Zen, like Tao, cannot be totally explained in words. Much of your grasp of Zen must necessarily depend on your own intuition. Bodhidharma (528 A.D.) had this to say about it:
Not dependent on the written word,
Transmission apart from the scriptures;
Directly pointing at one’s heart,
Seeing one’s nature, becoming Buddha.
Given that’s the case, the closest we can come to describing Zen in words may be as follows:
- Zen is more of an attitude than a belief.
- Zen is the peace that comes from being one with an entity other than yourself.
- Zen means being aware of your oneness with the world and everything in it.
- Zen means living in the present and experiencing reality fully.
- Zen means being free of the distractions and illusory conflicts of the material world.
- Zen means being in the flow of the universe.
- Zen means experiencing fully the present, and delighting in the basic miracle of life itself.
Paradox is a part of Zen and the teaching of Zen. A paradox nudges your mind into a direction other than the routine. It helps you disengage the rational mind and free up the intuition. It also points to a truth that cannot be rationally derived through the use of logic. Therefore:
- Zen is nothing and yet everything.
- Zen is both empty and full.
- Zen encompasses all and is encompassed by all.
- Zen is the beginning and the end.