What spirit is so empty and blind,
That it cannot grasp the fact that a human foot is more noble than the shoe
And human skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed.
A direct understanding beyond scriptures and traditions,
Not dependent upon words and symbols.
Pointing directly to the mind,
Seeing its nature and awakening.
Zen practice involves both mental and physical disciplines that promote a healthy holistic worldview and an understanding of the universal laws of cause and effect (karma). Zen involves letting go of preconceptions, dualistic thinking, religious abstractions, and symbolic delusions. Practices include meditation (in both stillness and movement), mindfulness (fully responsive awareness) and personal development in both mental and physical disciplines that help incorporate spirituality into everyday life.
Mountain Way Zen
“Many paths lead up the mountain, but at the top we all look at the same bright moon.”
The Mountain has long been a metaphor for spiritual practice. The walk to the summit is symbolic of our search for understanding and meaning. As in Zen, which teaches us that everyone has Buddha-nature, the Mountain is egalitarian – all who set out on the spiritual quest are peers, regardless of background and belief. Many paths lead to the top, and there are many ways to walk those paths. Some will journey alone, while others seek kindred spirits with whom to travel. Some will intently make their way to the summit, while others will spend more time on the journey, perhaps not reaching the summit at all. And some, who would be teachers, will walk back down the path to help others farther along.
At Mountain Way Zen, we use the Mountain metaphor as a tool to help guide others in their Zen practice. Thus, in addition to more traditional Zen forms, we often extend our walking meditations to hikes along mountain trails and other wilderness paths. Combining the metaphorical trek up the mountain with this physical activity adds a more holistic dimension to our practice, allowing us to re-connect with nature and the very origins of our Zen heritage. By venturing back into the earth and opening our hearts to the silent wisdom it offers, we become as the hermit sages of old, wandering amongst the wooded hills and white clouds.