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Big Mind Learning Proces

Part 1 The Dysfunctional Company

Imagine your being, this very body-mind-spirit, as a company, like General Motors, Ford or I.B.M. Youre
a company with many employees and not one single employee knows their job title, job description,
what the product is, who the CEO is, and what is their function. To make matters worse each employee
thinks that hes the boss, the one in charge, and all the other employees are working for him.

To make matters even worse, the company is constantly changing. Employees are being let go; new
employees are being brought in. Nobody seems to have a handle on why. The product is constantly
changing. One moment it might be automobiles, the next trucks, then ships, then planes, then maybe
back to cars, and it goes on and on like this. And they keep changing the companys name. In this
particular company, the name has changed many times. First it was called Dennis, then it was called
Sebastian, then it was called Genpo, then it was called Sensei, then it was called Roshi, and now its
Genpo again.

The whole company is in flux, its all impermanent. So what kind of company do we have? Its pretty
dysfunctional.

Twenty-six hundred years ago the Buddha called this dysfunction dukkha. He didnt use the metaphor
of a company, but he used similar analogies to make the same point. He said dukkha means that theres
something stuck. Dukkha is often translated as suffering, but actually the root of the word refers to a
stuck wheel whose axle isnt rotating. In his day they had carts with two wheels, and when one wheel or
maybe the whole axle wasnt rotating, the cart would be stuck or just spin around in circles. Basically he
said that the cart is dysfunctional.

So, like one of these carts, we are dysfunctional. The worst part about it is that since weve never been
completely functional, we dont realize how dysfunctional we really are. If we were once completely
functional, completely integrated, completely liberated and free, then we would think, oh my god, I
used to be free, now Im stuck, I used to be completely functional, now Im dysfunctional. Although
most of us have never had that experience, many people have had a spontaneous awakening experience
some moment when they reach what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the power of now, an experience
when they go beyond time and space and find themselves liberated. These people then realize, my god,
Im operating in a dysfunctional way 99.9% of the time. But if we dont have that experience, we never
realize that theres a better, a more optimal way to function.

What the Buddha discovered is that we are dysfunctional when our understanding gets stuck in one
perspective, when the wheel, or the mind, does not revolve. If we can learn to shift perspectives so that
our mind is not fixed, so that no understanding is considered the right and only understanding, then we
can be unstuck, free. By simply shifting perspectives we can realize that there is an infinite number of
perspectives, even in a single room. If you slightly change the angle of your gaze down or up, or if you
move around, youll see that there are infinite perspectives of this one room. Similarly, there are infinite
perspectives of reality. Where we get stuck is in thinking there is only one right view. In the Buddhas
teaching Right View is the first of the Noble Eightfold Path. In our Zen understanding Right View is mu-
view, which means no view, holding on to no particular or fixed view.

Part 2 Disowned Voices

What we can do with what I call the Big Mind process is learn how easy it is to shift perspectives. Each
one of us has an infinite number of views. I like to say we have 10,000 states of mind. Now if a state of
mind is out there in the worldlike that of Christ or Buddha or Mother Teresa or Hitler or bin Ladenit
is also in me. Every emotion thats out there is also within me. As I first learned from Drs. Hal and Sidra
Stone and their Voice Dialogue work back in 1983-84, each of these aspects has its own voice, and, in
fact, can be viewed as a separate voice which has its own distinctive perspective and function, a voice
that wants to be heard, can speak up, and can grow and mature to align itself with wisdom and
compassion. However, some of these aspects of ourselves have been fired. We call those disowned
voices. Now, sometimes theyve been fired for very good reasons. None of us wants to take food out of
a starving babys mouth, so we disown the possibility that were even capable of being driven to such
desperation. We disown the possibility that we would step on infants to get that last breath of air in a
gas chamber. But I remember hearing the Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kbler-Ross say that survivors of
the Nazi concentration camps told her they had witnessed such acts by good, loving people, and she
realized that she herself had that same potential.

Knowing that we have the potential for the best and the worst is absolutely essential for doing this work
because we are going to run into aspects of ourselves that are disowned. There is nothing wrong with
you if youve disowned aspects of yourself. Youre just not functioning fully. Often, when we discover a
disowned aspect, well say, I dont have that that quality. I never get angry. Or, I never get jealous, I
just never get jealous. Or, better, I have no ego, Im egoless. Ive been meditating for a long time, Ive
had great enlightenment, and Im now egoless. Yeah, right. Those aspects are just disowned or in
denial.

When a voice is disowned it also becomes a shadow. When its a shadow, we dont see it in our self;
however, we do see it in others. We see that aspect in others and we dislike it. It actually makes us
irritated or, even worse, enraged. When we see somebody acting ignorantly or with prejudice and that
voice is disowned in us, we will be outraged. In fact we can hate those people that hate other people so
much we will want to kill them. This happens because that aspect of prejudice is disowned in us.

When a voice is disowned, it goes covert. It goes underground, and the only person that doesnt get it
when I say that I dont get angry is me. Everybody else is aware of how angry I am all the time, but I
dont see it. Thats a disowned voice. Or everybody else sees that Im instantly jealous, but I dont see it.
I never get jealous. Im never envious. I wish everybody the best. Right. The same goes for narcissism.
Im not a narcissist, but there sure are a lot of them out there. And wherever I look I seem to see these
narcissistic people, and its all about them. They get into these spiritual practices, like Zen, where they
contemplate their navels and they are so narcissistic, and Im not narcissistic because Im out in the
world and Im working and Im doing great things.
However, when we begin to give a voice to a disowned aspect of ourselves we bring it back into the
system. Its like its been laid off and its out there picketing, out working against the company. We bring
it back in; we give it a job description, and now hes a happy fellow. He wants to do his job really well,
wants to function at an optimal level. When hes out there unemployed hes pissed off and working
against the system. And we wonder why we suffer, why our life is not full of happiness and joy?

You might think that uncovering these disowned voices would be unpleasant, embarrassing, or worse.
On the contrary, the process of owning them is actually really exciting. In fact its one of the most
exciting things you can possibly do. Id guess its even better than jumping out of a plane, though I
havent done that myself. Now, it doesnt happen immediately, but once we begin to speak from a
disowned voice, we begin the process of reintegrating it, and that process can take time. Its like planting
a seed that has to be watered and nurtured until it germinates. Still, the reason its so exciting is that we
begin to experience ourselves more completely, and theres no greater joy than experiencing yourself as
a fully-functioning human being.

Part 3 Owning Voices

So we need to find a way to own our disowned voices. Sometimes the way we find out how to voice a
disowned aspect of ourselves is by listening to others who have not disowned it. I had a voice that was
so completely disowned for so many decades that even when I knew it was disowned I couldnt voice it.
It was the voice of pleasure. I had disowned it when I had my first Zen opening in 1971. What I didnt
realize then is that when I had my first awakening I disowned a whole slew of voices. Its like I fired half
the company.

A year later this idea I had about pleasure was reinforced when I heard my teacher, Maezumi Roshi, say
Zen practice is not about pleasure or being happy. Ill tell you some other voices I disowned:
competition, jealousy, envy, the whole marketplace mentalityseeking, striving, improving
economically, materially (but not spiritually, of course). So everything I disowned went underground and
came up in a covert way in my life. Wherever I looked I saw competitive people, I saw ambitious people,
I saw people seeking money and fame and fortune, and I was above all that. The only thing that seemed
to make any sense whatsoever was knowing oneself better and helping others. Now, is that a bad thing?
No. Did it cripple me? Yes. Did it have a negative effect? Yes.

About five years ago I realized it was time to get back in touch with my own voice of pleasure, but by
then I had heard so many teachersincluding my own teacher, Maezumi Roshisay that Zen practice is
not about pleasure or happiness that the voice was thoroughly disowned in me. So I turned for help to a
longtime student for whom pleasure is definitely not disowned. What I did was very sly and cunning. I
asked him if he would mind if I facilitated him. Sure, he said, you can facilitate me. So I said, Would
you allow me to facilitate the voice of pleasure? Oh, sure! He can take pleasure in any situation, so I
asked him to speak as the voice of pleasure at a good meal. I take a bite of my delicious filet mignon.
Oh my, thats good! he sighs. Whew, oh my god, this is so tender, its so flavorful, its the best piece of
steak Ive ever. Then he takes a drink of wine. Oh, what great wine! What is this, a two hundred
dollar bottle of wine?! No, its twenty dollars. Oh my god, this is so good! Then he takes a puff on
his cigar. Oh my God, this is better than any Cuban cigar Ive ever smoked! He just went on and on and
on, and I listened really attentively.
Then I said, Now, would you facilitate my voice of pleasure? So he did, and I went dead. Then I started
to remember what he said, and I started to imitate him. I just started to say the same words and pretty
soon I got into the groove and I was able to find the voice of pleasure. Ive been a lot happier since.

Part 4 Awakening Voices

Not only do we have voices within us that have been disowned, but we also have voices that have never
been owned. In other words, we have aspects within ourselves that have never been awakened. Weve
never opened the door and allowed them out, but theyre there. Theyre as much there as anger or fear
or jealousy or hatred or joy or pleasure are there. They are just as real. You have within you aspects in
your self that go beyond the self, that transcend the self, such as the awakened mindwhat I call Big
Mind, or Big Heart.

In June of 1999 I wondered, since Id been working with speaking to a particular voice or particular
aspect of the self that is disowned, if it was possible to speak to aspects that have never been
awakened? And what I discovered, really to my amazement, was that we can. By asking to speak to the
awakened mind, or Big Mind, or the awakened heart or Big Heart, or pure awareness, by asking to speak
to it, we are actually able to come from that place and experience what its like to be that mind. Or we
could ask to speak to the non-seeking, non-grasping mind (in Japanese this would be translated as
musho toku, having no goal or aim in your zazen). This allows the student to truly sit shikantaza, just
sitting. Or when working on a koan, ask to speak to the koan, such as mu: Who are you? I am mu.
Now just sit as mu, walk as mu, eat as mu.

You could say that the Big Mind process creates the opportunity for a facilitated view of the
transcendent. In Zen, the term for this view is kensho, a Japanese word which literally means seeing
ones own true nature, an experience of enlightenment. But even the most profound kensho
experiences prior to daikensho (great enlightenment) are still momentary. Its like the momentary
opening of the shutter of a camera lens. The Big Mind practice trains us to hold the shutter of the lens
open as long as we want to. Instead of a faint momentary glimpse, like a match lit and extinguished in a
large room, the Big Mind process allows us to actually hold Big Mind open long enough to look around
the room, to really get to know the territory.

The moment I acknowledge and confirm that I am thatI am Big Mind or Big Heart or the True SelfIm
no longer identified with the self. Now all of a sudden Im identified with something new and fresh, and I
can look in and see, well what does it mean that I am Big Mind? What is that? Is there a boundary, is
there a limit; is there some kind of edge to me, some kind of beginning? And all of a sudden, once I have
identified as, say, Big Mind what I realize is that I include and embrace all things, that there is nothing
thats not me.

Now, this is exactly what Buddha said 2,600 years ago, and what many very wise people in many
spiritual traditions have been saying ever since. But it was also almost universally believed that it is only
possible to see and realize this after many years of study and practice. What the Big Mind process
brought to the world is that it offers what the Zen school has always offered: a way to suddenly and
immediate awakening. However, even in the Zen tradition, which calls itself the sudden and immediate
school, there have always been non-believers, people who think that its got to take many years, which
was the old Buddhist understanding back for a very long time. For centuries, the Zen school has been
making the revolutionary claim that any wisdom that is there within any of us, including the wisdom of
the Buddha, is all there in all of us, the wisdom of the ages is there in all of us. It can be realized at any
moment or any time, in a flash.

Part 5 The Point

By exploring Big Mind we learn to be fully functioning human beings capable of acting from places of
true insight and love. And this is what its all about. All the Buddhist practicessitting, Big Mind, and so
onare skillful means, all for the purpose of building character, consciousness, and awareness so that
our functioning is coming from wisdom and compassion. This is really the point. Its the point of Zen, its
the point of Buddhism, its the point of all the great religious and wisdom traditions I know. If more and
more of us are not functioning with wisdom and compassion toward all beings, if were not seeing that
everything is really oneself or an extension or manifestation of Big Mind, then we fall into fear, jealousy,
greed, and hatred, all based on this illusion of separateness. Seeing ourselves as separate and apart from
the great earth, from the mountains, rivers and oceans, we tend to abuse one another and the planet
itself. So I think its critical at this point in time that we wake up and we function with wisdom,
compassion, and awareness.

Part 6 Guided Meditation

You can try the Big Mind process on your own. Begin by speaking from the series of voices in the
manner described below. After youve completed the series once, you can use the much simpler
technique described at the end.

Ask to speak to the voice of the Controller within you. Then identify as the Controller.

Now I am speaking as the Controller. I am no longer the self. As my name implies, my function is to
control. If I could, I would control everything and everyone. Id control my thoughts, my actions, my
emotions, my feelings, my behavior, as well as others. I would control the whole world if I could. This is
my job, and Im just trying to do my job as best I can.

Now the Meditator asks the Controller, May I ask your permission as the Controller to allow me to
speak with some other voices within the self? Since you are the best at controlling all the other voices,
would you also give me clear, direct access to each voice that I ask to speak to? And I would appreciate it
if you would keep all the other voices silent, so they will not block my clear channel to the voice that I
ask to speak to. May I now speak to another voice? Id like to speak to the Seeking Mind.

I am the Seeking Mind. I am very valuable to the self. I am the one who brings the self to meditation, I
am the one who is always seeking to become quieter, happier, and more peaceful. I am the one seeking
to find bliss and liberation. I am never content. There is always further to seek.

Meditator: May I now speak to the Non-seeking Mind?

I am the Non-seeking Mind. I dont seek. I am absolutely content and happy with what is. I have no
desires or cravings to be other than how I am right here right now. I am pure awareness, emptiness,
spaciousness. I witness and observe things just as they are. I have no judgments or problems. I am the
mind of nirvana, the mind of complete liberation. When I am sitting in meditation, I have no goals and
no aims. I have nowhere to go, nothing to do. I am total peace.

Meditator: May I now speak to Big Mind, please?

I am Big Mind. I have no borders, no boundaries, no limits. I am unborn and undying, without
beginning or end. I am all things, and all things are manifestations of me. I make no distinctions
between self and other, you and me. I am the mind of nirvana, absolute peace and freedom.

Meditator: I can easily see Big Mind as the antithesis of the self. I can see Big Mind as one end of a line,
and the self at the opposite end. If that line becomes the base of a triangle, I would now like to speak to
the Apex of that triangle, which includes and yet transcends the self and Big Mind, or the Seeking and
the Non-seeking Mind.

I am the Apex. I am Big Heart, I am compassionate action. I am that which is beyond seeking and non-
seeking, beyond the limited self and limitless Big Mind. As the Apex I have complete freedom to seek or
not to seek, I have choice; I have flexibility. I can move freely between these two states of mind. From
here I do not seek enlightenment nor do I try to get rid of delusion. I do not try to put an end to thinking
and I do not favor not-thinking. I have no preference for one over the other. I am total freedom, and
complete peace of mind, functioning perfectly and harmoniously in every moment. I act from wisdom
functioning as compassion. I am the True and Unique Self.

After you have done this for the first time, you can use a simpler practice. If you already have a regular
meditation routine, begin by assuming your usual posture. If you re new to meditation, find a
comfortable upright position (sitting in a chair is sufficient), take a few deep breaths, and relax. From
your relaxed meditation position, ask the Controller, May I please speak to the Non-seeking Non-
grasping Mind? Then identify as the Controller by saying, Yes, I am the Controller, and you may now
speak to the Non-seeking Non-grasping Mind. OK, now, sit as the Non-seeking Non-grasping Mind.

The historical Buddha clearly saw that everything changes and that our ignorance, which is a
fundamental cause of our dissatisfaction, suffering and unhappiness, arises from our unwillingness to
accept the fact that everything including the self is impermanent. He also foresaw that by about twenty-
five hundred years after his passing the time we are in right now people would no longer have the
capacity to receive his teachings. Many Buddhists naturally resist accepting this change as well.

Facing the contradiction between the inevitability of change and our resistance to it has always been at
the heart of Zen practice. So many of our distinctive stories focus on this same point: freeing ourselves
from attachment to form, beliefs, concepts and ideas. Bodhidharmas vast emptiness, no holiness, that
all is empty of substance and transient in nature and nothing is exempt from this truth; Dogen Zenjis
dropped off body-mind, letting go of attachment to body-mind such teachings aimed at freeing us
from the bonds we create for ourselves are the lifeblood of our tradition.

The tradition of Zen is to go beyond the tradition of Zen. Nevertheless, we still cling to our notions and
ideas of what Zen is, or was, or should be. I spent years identifying myself with the tradition I inherited
from my great master Maezumi Roshi, swallowing the whole fish, and then many more years working on
spitting out the bones while retaining the essence in a form that is vital and relevant for our generation
and culture. Recently I have begun to see my practice in a new way, which of course is also subject to
change. I call it NonZen.

triangle 2Why NonZen? This non is part of the DNA of Zen, as in Joshus Mu (no, not, non), and
Dogen Zenjis non-thinking, beyond thinking and not-thinking. It is not meant to be seen in a negative
way, but rather as the Apex of a triangle, embracing and at the same time free from two perspectives
that seem to our dualistic mind to be irreconcilably opposed: Zen and not-Zen, being Zen through and
through and simultaneously completely free of Zen.

The unique practice of Zen has always been first to ascend and then to descend the mountain. However
many Zen koans and stories emphasize the first phase reaching the summit of enlightenment over
the second. So many of the iconic stories in the Zen tradition are about the challenge and drama of the
ascent. Not many are about the descent. We know rather little about how it was for our ancestors to
descend after reaching the summit.

Our training in NonZen is first to completely identify with our life being Zen from morning till night, then
to free ourselves from this identification, for if we remain identified with Zen we cannot be truly
liberated and happy. We must return to being ordinary, embrace being both ordinary and extraordinary,
and live as Bodhisattvas liberating all sentient beings, while not denying we too are mortal human
beings.

Being human means not only practicing to forget the self but continuously working with where we are
stuck. I have often said, and my own life as well as others demonstrates, that we can spend decades on
our cushions and still be sitting on our shit. Descending the mountain does not mean we automatically
transform into integrated free-functioning human beings. It means embodying not-Zen as well as Zen,
being vulnerable and human once again, accepting our powerlessness as well as our power. It means
continuously acknowledging and owning our shadows, fully embracing our humanity. How else can we
embrace the humanity of others?

Zen has no fixed creed or authority and is free from dogma. It is, according to the saying attributed to
Bodhidharma, the founder of Chinese Zen, A special transmission outside the scriptures, not depending
on words and letters; directly pointing to the mind. And yet it is so easy to fall into dogma. The true
spirit of Zen is lost when we get attached to forms and rituals, or to bricks and mortar. In NonZen we do
not ignore the importance of form, rituals, bricks and mortar; we embrace them but are free from
attachment to them.

So in NonZen we use such skillful means, upayas, as just sitting, shikantaza, and koans as well as the Big
Mind process. We work on experiencing both the transcendent and the disowned aspects of our self,
then go beyond both the dual and the non-dual, embracing both as ever-changing integrating free-
functioning human beings. The dual is our perspective as an ordinary self. The non-dual is what we refer
to as the transcendent or Big Mind, no-self. The Apex is Big Heart, or the Way of the Bodhisattva which
includes and yet transcends these seeming opposites.

Knowing that any disowned part of the self will act out in covert, negative and unhealthy ways, our
practice is to own, embody and empower each aspect of the self and then to go back and pick up its
opposite as well. Then, embracing both sides of the triangle, we can make the leap to the Apex.
However, I want to emphasize that to own and embody does not mean we need to act out these
negative extremes. This is a very costly lesson I had to learn the hard way. Many aspects of our
humanity are difficult to accept within our selves. We all have very negative, frightening and unhealthy
thoughts that if acted on would be dangerous, even violent. When they are disowned they never have
the opportunity to be transformed into positive forces within. They fester and become frightening
because we are afraid they will get the best of us. Once we are able to investigate them without fear,
they can become positive contributors to our health and well-being, empowered to serve rather than
sabotage our success and happiness.

The Big Mind process supports our study of the Buddha Way by allowing us to explore any and all
aspects of the self, and ultimately to forget or go beyond it. When we free ourselves from our
attachments to these aspects of the self and get some distance from them, we realize that what we call
self is merely a concept composed of thousands of these aspects, which we sometimes refer to as
voices. Each voice plays an important role in enabling the self to function in the world, but from this
perspective we see that what we thought was the self is no-self; it is, as the Buddha said, not solid,
substantial or permanent and is therefore easier to let go of.

The moment we cease clinging to anything and are unconditionally open and vulnerable, without
boundaries, we forget our self. Forgetting, or letting go of the self, all phenomena are seen as One Mind.
There is nothing outside this Mind. When we truly realize this, there is nothing apart from us to be
feared or ignored. There is no division between self and others, inside and outside, no division between
oneself and externals. There is also no one to blame for our life or the circumstances we find ourselves
in. We take full responsibility for action and reaction, for cause and effect. Neither is there anything to
cling or attach to. All is realized and actualized as me.

In NonZen when we sit in meditation we are relaxed and natural, not holding tension anywhere in the
body. We sit comfortably upright, not stiff, back relaxed against the back of a chair, feet placed squarely
on the floor shoulder-width apart. Since we are all different and unique some prefer to meditate alone,
some with others, some in lotus posture, cross legged on a cushion, others on a chair. Of course sitting
on the floor is easier when we are young and flexible and more difficult as we age or if we begin sitting
on the floor when we are older. Some may prefer to not lean back but remain upright with no support.
Any of these preferences can change with time. Neither one is right or wrong, good or bad. Whats best
is just what works best for us and we enjoy.

The key is not judging anything that arises, not thinking anything is particularly good or bad, right or
wrong, not judging by any standard. It is having no preference, not even a preference for no-preference
in other words, non-preference. We have no preference for awake over asleep, attentive over
inattentive, aware over unaware. We do not even judge our judging. In other words we sit in non-
judging, doing nothing, just being our breath coming in and going out, not trying to focus or to be
concentrated. When we are sitting comfortably, we begin by counting each complete breath from one to
ten, breathing in deeply through the nostrils and out in a very thin stream of air through the mouth, as if
we were breathing through a straw. After ten to even twenty breaths in this manner we continue
inhaling and exhaling quietly and naturally through the nose, allowing the breath to do the breathing
without interference.

All effort is effortless, we are relaxed and natural. We dont make thinking wrong and not-thinking right
or better. When we judge the thinking mind and tell it to shut up it will rebel and come out louder,
producing even more thoughts. It is like a child condemned to be quiet and stuck down in the basement.
It will scream even more. When we give the thinking mind the space and support to do its thing, it
quiets down by itself and remains calm and silent, ready to think when necessary. The mind is held
neither too taut nor too loose. We do not force it to be concentrated, but just allow it to be quiet and
relaxed.

Similarly with seeking, we honor both seeking and not-seeking and come from the place of non-seeking,
the Apex beyond seeking and not-seeking. There is a tendency in all of us to get stuck in identifying with
our seeking mind and feeling superior to those who are not yet seeking the Way. However we can also
become stuck in being identified with the freedom from seeking, in other words as one who has found
the answer or Truth. This can lead to arrogance and a sense of superiority over those still caught up in
seeking.

Our way is to embrace both seeking and not-seeking, identifying neither as a seeker nor a finder and yet
embodying both seeking and being one with the Way. It is what is referred to in the Buddha Way as neti
neti, neither this nor that and yet embodying both this and that. It is never-ending, beginningless reality,
which is eternally present as presence. It is depicted in NonZen as the triangle of the eternal knot, which
represents the endless loop of no-escape from the continuous flickering of light/dark, birth/death,
sane/insane, enlightened/deluded, yin/yang, etc.

Our practice is to drop all ideas and notions of being enlightened and to simply acknowledge that we are
deluded. We are just simply ourselves, without a trace of being spiritual or enlightened. This integrating
process goes on endlessly as we move forward as free-functioning human beings.

The Zen practice we inherited comes from an Eastern male monastic model where men and women,
monk and lay were separated. The training was designed for young men without family, occupation or
financial responsibilities, devoted to monastic practice, sitting hours and days in cross-legged lotus
posture. NonZen is a practice for all: men and women, monk and lay, young and old, professionals and
non-professionals. It embraces rather than excludes. For us men and women in the modern world, who
for the most part do not live in monasteries but in relationships, with jobs and a lay life, even some of us
who are priests and monks, it is essential that we embody vulnerability and the relational self. It is no
fun for the people in our lives to try to relate to someone who only embodies Zen and the non-
relational.

Zen has always recognized that the most difficult and final challenge is our attachment to the Buddha
Dharma. To be truly free and happy we must eventually leave behind the raft of Buddha Dharma which
brought us to the other shore. Our practice is to totally embody the Buddha Dharma and yet be
completely free from it at the same time.

For many of us who have been practicing Zen a long time, our identification with being Zen is so strong
that the very thought of being not-Zen is unthinkable and brings up a great deal of fear and resistance.
Identification with Zen is very empowering. However, we can easily become rigidly attached to particular
practices or views because that was the way we were taught. For some of us that includes the sentiment
we often heard expressed by our teachers, and I myself repeated many times, Zen is not about being
happy! NonZen is about cultivating the flexibility and creativity necessary to discover what we have
been searching for from the very beginning of our training: truth, freedom, peace and, yes, happiness.

NonZen is continuous and endless practice of Zen and beyond. Coming from the Apex, embodying as
many aspects of the self and their opposites as possible, is the Way of freedom and happiness. GATE
GATE PARA GATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA! Gone, gone, gone beyond, utterly gone beyond
awakening, YIPPEE!