The Practice of Zen

Zen can offer something very simple, very direct and readily accessible to anyone seeking inner peace, seeking healing in some form, or seeking answers to questions such as ‘Who am I?’ ‘How can I find meaning in my life?’ ‘How can I live in a most authentic way?’

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New Year’s Greetings, 2014

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate the New Year 2014, we echo an aspiration shared by all people of good will throughout the world, conveyed in a short prayer found in the early Buddhist Scripture on Lovingkindness—“May all beings be happy!”

Three checkpoints come to the fore, as a measure of where we are in realizing this aspiration toward the happiness of all beings. Are we more prosperous and content? Are our lives safer and more secure? Are our lives more wholesome and sustainable?

We ask: can we regard ourselves “prosperous” when greater and greater numbers of our fellow human beings are consigned to live in destitution and poverty, and the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” continues to grow? Can we be safe and secure when our human community is beleaguered by conflicts on so many levels, with violence threatening us from all sides, with distrust growing among fellow members of our human family, with walls of separation dividing us on many levels? Can our lives be truly wholesome when our entire Earth community is faced with ongoing ecological devastation that eats into the fabric of our daily lives? With the above in mind, I offer some “New Year’s Resolutions” for our life and practice, for those so disposed.

1. I resolve to live in a way that would diminish, and not contribute to the poverty of multitudes of my fellow human beings, by sharing the wealth I am already blessed with, and by learning to be content in consuming less.

2. I resolve to live in a way that would diminish, and not aggravate the conflict among my fellow human beings, by tearing down the walls of separation that exist between myself and others, and by dedicating myself to tearing down the different kinds of walls that divide my fellow human beings from one another.

3. I resolve to walk more gently upon the Earth, mindful of the well-being of all, in whatever I think, say or do, as I commit to further deepening my own ecological awareness and co-responsibility for the well-being of all in our Earth community.

May we all walk the path to true well-being for everyone on Earth. May we live in love and peace and harmony with one another and with all the Earth. May our lives be rich and wholesome, blessed by the gifts of Earth and by the gifts we give to one another through our lives and very being.

Deep bows, with palms joined, and with gratitude to all,

Ruben L.F. Habito, Guiding Teacher