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What is Zen? Freedom from Attribution Errors


“What is the Way of Awareness that's the very heart of Zen? Let us first consider what it means to be unaware, or oblivious to what is going on around us.


All human beings are deluded by our brains and become absentminded because of our discriminating minds. One of the many varieties of absentmindedness is falling asleep. This is not so serious, because to awaken from sleep we need do nothing more than be full of vigor.


We also get caught up in desire, anger, and group stupidity. These are more difficult to deal with, because they are fabrications conjured up in our heads. We create various illusions in our minds and then jump in, becoming immersed in them.


There used to be a dense growth of bamboo at a place in Japan called Yawata, in Chiba Prefecture. Once you lost your way in it, you could never find your way out, so there’s an expression, Yawata no yabushirazu—“Being totally lost in the bamboo thicket of Yawata.” We human beings experience illusions and then become lost and confused in the jungle of thought, created by aspects of mind that is distorted by its own imagining of itself and relationship with reality. How can we awaken from these illusions? The only way is to open the hand of thought.”


一Zen Master Kōshō Uchiyama


Calligraphy note:


誤 | Gō | to error or make a mistake that causes harm to oneself or others.


The nature of zen training and practice... opening the hand of thought... frees us from the mend less array of attribution errors when we use self-centeredness and self-obsession as our compass.

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