Inevitability

The smell of rain permeates the air as I kick at the dust on the side of an old country road. I see where the early drops have already fallen, leaving specks of slightly darkened soil. A man sits on the curb across from where I’m standing, looking at the rusted heap of metal that was previously a bike. I can see his age in the wrinkles of his hands and the riddled liver spots adorning his lined face. I can feel the age of his soul in the bright understanding and gentle humor of the situation in his eyes. The raindrops fall with increasing intensity as I stand and observe. The dust on my shoes is wiped away and I feel the matted hair sticking to my brow. I have an umbrella in my hands, and I raise it up to shield myself. The mechanism sticks and I struggle to pull it open as a gust overtakes me.  The old man looks to the heavens pensively as if thanking the clouds for their life-giving gift.

Without even a glance to the ruined bike, he stands to his feet with more balance than I would expect. Embracing the inevitability of the situation, he raises his arms to better feel the rain. He remains there, enjoying the forces that which he cannot control and finds peace in the moment. I look to him curiously and cease my struggles with the ill-fated umbrella. I let it fall to the ground and look up, feeling each drop caress my cheeks and run down my arms in gentle rivulets. I give in to the unchangeable tidal forces of all that is, and effectively, to the forces in my life that are better accepted than opposed. And in that moment, I am the world.

In life, we will confront obstacles. They will be seemingly unmovable, impermeable obtrusions that bring about stress and dissatisfaction. A perfect situation is all we can hope for, yet perfection is a level that will never be achieved. Circumstances will always be riddled with inadequacies and tidbits that are less than desirable. It is the inherent nature of mankind to oppose the forces in life that we cannot control. It is the nature of humanity to fear that which does not fall into our dominion. In other words, shit happens. It’s going to hurt, and possibly alter your life, but it’s going to happen nevertheless. Life is multi-faceted, meaning that nothing we encounter is ever simple, black, or white. This is the nature of suffering, the immutable strife we incur internally.

Amidst this conscious strife, there is a beauty and bliss in simply accepting the shit life throws in our direction. This does not mean we couldn’t or shouldn’t alter our circumstances for the better, but sometimes the option doesn’t exist. Sometimes the best we can do is realize that suffering is an integral part of the journey. Suffering is an inherent aspect of our spiritual growing up, you could say. Like the old man who embraced the rain because he was unable to escape it, so should we embrace the hard times that persist outside our control. Within this acceptance, we will find an unexpected bliss. I guess what I’m trying to impart is that sometimes it’s foolish to resist the winds of life.

Sometimes it’s best to fly alongside.

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Special thanks to my friend Topher Otake for inspiring me.

Treason

We found each other with a smile

that stirred the primal and divine.

Because your insipid—

choice was in me, I’m on cloud nine.

The breath of love is a fog

that shrouds all rhyme and reason.

I know not yet the origin

of this love that committed treason.

I left my mind cowed and betrayed

and kindled my fire within.

My heart is the drum that I beat

To the sound of our love herein.

Farewell to Writer’s Workshop

A farewell is constructed for a dual purpose: reminiscing on what’s behind and painting an image of what lies ahead. It signifies more than closure—It breathes life into a new beginning. My fellow writers, comrades, and life-wanderers, I come before you today in spirit, in joy, and in gratitude for your contribution to my future. From the beginning of our journey, I’ve seen you all as more than classmates. I’ve seen you as brothers and sisters. Something curious about writing is the honesty it demands; the authenticity it sucks from our faculties. I’ve seen this from all of you: that sheer truth between the letters on the page. It creates a bond that can only be called spiritual. It’s understanding. It’s compassion. But more than anything, it’s acceptance for each other’s individual experiences and emotions. Thank you for being my friends.

To honor the beginning after the end, I come before you today as a reminder for what life is really all about. We are not merely humans having a spiritual experience. We are spirits, living a human experience. There is more to life than the pursuit of a superficial lifestyle. This class, with my friends, is proof of that. Ambition is not a vice, but it should be forged with our spiritual future in mind, not only materialistic goals. Experiences like this class build the foundation of inspiration and motivation that allows us to pursue life creatively and passionately. It allows us to commune with the muses, and feel for ourselves the undiscovered country within life. As I say my adieu, I leave intending to inspire you, my friends, to pursue the future that matters most.

Embark.

The Secret Truth

Amidst the facade and fictional overlay of the world, there is an underlying truth. This is not a reference to the validity of factual knowledge, but more so to the truth in perception. What is the true nature of all that is? We ask these questions in every waking moment of our lives, but normally not through conscious methods. We question subconsciously. We are unaware seekers, eternally blinded by the fog of ignorance, yet still questioning what we perceive in some deeper facet of our minds. There is an aspect of humanity’s primal nature rooted in the bliss of ignorance: the conditioning of our minds on the basis of prior bias and prejudice. Environmental factors, over a period of time, result in a developing pattern of thought that tends to stick with us for life. This pattern is the epitome of ego. It leads us into an existence founded in ignorance.

The struggle between the security of ignorance and the piercing clarity of truth is well documented. Humanity is not entirely oblivious to it’s superficial perception of reality, even though most do not choose to acknowledge it. In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” a few subjects are chained where all they can see are shadows of real objects on the wall in front of them. Their backs are to the entrance of the cave, and so the subjects did not know of anything more ingrained in truth than the faux images. They were ignorant of the honest reality of the world.

This struggle is again expressed in a modern film, “The Truman Show.” The lead character, Truman, is the star of a television show that he believes is the real world. His family, friends, and any other humans he interacts with are merely actors. His hometown, Seahaven, is only a giant set. Truman believes everything is real while his actions are unknowingly being broadcasted to the entire nation. The movie introduces Truman at a time when he is only beginning to realize there is something not right or authentic about his life. The film documents Truman’s ascension into the real world and into knowledge similar to that of Plato’s cave dwellers.

“We accept the reality of the world in which we are presented.” This quote emanated from the directer of “The Truman Show.” Truman Burbank lived his life in a television show since birth, knowing no other reality. Acceptance of the world as he saw it was ingrained in his mentality. He firmly believed that the lifestyle he was living was normal. In Plato”s “Allegory of the Cave” the subjects in the cave watched the shadows believing they were completely founded in truth. The actors Truman grew to love and trust are metaphors for the shadows the subjects in the cave accepted as real. There were times when Truman was informed he was living a life of lies in a television show, but he was unable to understand them in his ignorance. Similarly, when a subject in the cave was told that more to life existed than the cave itself, he could not believe it, proving that ignorance is blinding. It was not until he witnessed the true reality or world for himself that his eyes were opened. This struggle and eventual realization is synonymous with that of Truman’s.

In the film, the viewers of “The Truman Show” religiously watch the events in Truman’s life, basing their own lives around his decisions and actions. Like Truman, they are controlled by the puppeteers, or directors, of the show. Once Truman escaped into the true world, the viewers found other shows to watch. It can be said that people in a media-driven society are prisoners like those in Plato’s cave. We watch television as they watch the shadows of the puppets, and base our lives around such. For example, commercials espouse certain products, advertising them profusely. We give in to this pressure and purchase them accordingly, only reinforcing the metaphorical prison we all are enchained in.

Plato would agree that both his “Allegory of the Cave” and “The Truman Show” are merely paradigms of an overall human condition. We all are slaves to ignorance and a limited perception of “what is.” Each of us believes in a monochrome reality, one in which our vision of the world is truth, and anything else is in opposition to that viewpoint. Like the prisoners in the cave, we cannot see the truth, and therefore we cannot fathom the existence of it. This inhibition can be transcended, but only through courage and introspection. The truth is paramount, but unless the ignorance of accumulated conditioning and a superficial perception are overcome, we will forever be blind to the beauty of what truly “is.”

Wake up. The truth is within you.

Satirizing Fat America

Throughout the entirety of the western world, corporations and entrepreneurs are heralding the mass adoption of a single moral philosophy: self-indulgence. The lynchpin of these ethically hedonistic nations is none other than the United States of America, where morbid obesity is on the rise. In response to this unfortunate and reprehensible trend, I propose to form a coalition of socially aware and morally concerned individuals to combat self-indulgence in our fair land.

We shall be called the NFFDPA or Network of Fat Fighting Diet Promoters of America. Our obligation to the health of US Citizens is a unifying philosophy our members can rally around. Petitioning Congress and proposing health-conscious policies to the leaders of our great nation is the primary objective of the Network.

The first mandate on our agenda will be to convert all sidewalks between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to treadmills. Sidewalks are normally considered a form of public transit for pedestrians and are typically used to get from one place to another. However, our mandate will change everything. Instead of moving from place to another, pedestrians will remain in a single spot, walking onwards in vain. We believe this plan will work based a recent study unearthing the low IQ scores of American pedestrians.

Our second mandate will be to ban food entirely. Despite the logical errors in our reasoning, the NFFDPA acknowledges that this will successfully solve the problem of obesity within a few months. The rate of obesity has climbed dramatically in the past 20 years, but we believe this trend can be curbed with debatably extreme measures such as a nationwide food ban. Failure to comply with this policy will be classified as a criminal action, and will thus be punishable by law. Criminals may face life-long imprisonment and disembowelment.

The NFFDPA implores Congress to take action and fight self-indulgence in America, one fat cell at a time. With our fairly reasonable plan, the US will be purged of bad eating habits and hedonism. Both mandates should be passed by any and all legal means necessary. Some population decline may occur.

Shades of Gray

You are the captain of a ship that has sunk. There are thirty people trying to stay afloat on a lifeboat, which is only meant to hold twenty. It will sink momentarily, unless something is done. There are two distinct choices: Since the boat will need rowed to shore, you could throw the ten weakest people overboard, thereby ensuring the safety of at least some lives. Or, you could allow everyone to stay, sinking the boat, and most likely dooming everyone aboard. What do you do?

…..

Morality and ethics are far from absolute. For each individual, the bridge between right and wrong is different. In some cases, the contrasts are only marginally at odds, although others can be more drastic in their differences. There is an aspect of the human psyche that is prone to viewing reality in black and white. This dualistic world view separates life into two distinct categories: right and wrong, moral and immoral, or good and bad.  

Not every dilemma has an answer. There may never be a perfect solution for each intricate equation we face in life. The assumption that there can only be two choices is inherently flawed. For the sake of delving into the philosophical realm of ethics, legalism and rigid boxes are fine and dandy. Nevertheless, I must disagree that this is a realistic or practical outlook. In many circumstances, it is never easy to analyze or pinpoint the “right” path to take. Of course, there are still times when a moral choice is clearly black or white, but one must realize that this outlook doesn’t apply to every situation.

In the end, it must be understood that moral dilemmas in life cannot always be answered by adhering to a civic code. We must follow our conscience, and judge dilemmas based on circumstances rather than how they apply to a strict ideology. Our intuition should be a great asset in these situations. Sometimes, all we see is the black or white, when truly, the matter is only painted in shades of gray.

Surgery

Our suckled wants
lay exposed on metal,
where surgeons’ tools
reveal their bleeding truth
 
Synthetic light
glares upon open breasts
Her ersatz smile,
pierced by love’s incision
 
Through stagnant days
I see you watching and
waiting for my fear
to end this surgery.
 
Your skin I cut through while
I search for proof.
Will I dig deep
enough to find your heart?
 

Friendship

I believe that one never truly appreciates something they hold dear until it is gone. This is the most troubling form of ignorance, and we all suffer from it. In turn, one of the great aspirations of life must be to learn to incorporate gratitude in our actions and appreciate the blessings we take for granted. Such blessings include our friends, the people in our lives that we could say anything to without fear or inhibition.

I’ve begun to realize the inherent nature of friendship. Making friends is not merely a search for another individual you can relate to, but the spontaneous ‘coming together’ of two souls, each walking the path of existence. I don’t think we can control who befriends us. It merely happens. Increasingly, I find myself drawn to the metaphor of leaves dancing in the wind to describe life. A leaf has no navigational capabilities, and so it is propelled into the great oblivion, careening throughout space and time and bumping into its brethren along the way. Many friends are made, and some are even lost.

Unfortunately, the fact that our friends influence the course of our future to an astounding degree is often overlooked. It is nearly impossible for one to live without being positively or adversely affected by our comrades. As we fly along, bumping into each other, our course is permanently affected. Those moments with the people we hold some degree of affection for shape our character and the path we are destined to traverse. If this realization was universal and acknowledged to a greater degree, we would look upon the people in our lives with a newly discovered value and respect.

The ultimate lesson comes from our friends, for they are the very pinnacle of teachers. They gift us with love and kindness; they nurture our hearts and cultivate our spirits. They shed light when darkness falls and the path before us becomes murky. These are our true friends, the one’s we never lose, the shapers of ‘who we are,’ and  the ones who manage to leave a permanent imprint on our hearts, for better or worse.

Taking your friends for granted is one way of suffering. I challenge you to transcend this oversight and bestow those people who make a difference in your life with the respect they deserve.

Forgotten

I’ve always found it intriguing how a single perspective can become the dominate way of viewing reality. No matter how flawed the outlook, we can become blinded. Eventually we become puppets to the vision, and we lose sight of any alternative. The possibility of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture becomes null.

Every kernel of time harbors an infinite amount of possibilities and events. Each second bears witness to the indefinite and the undefinable. We often forget here on Earth that our lives and experiences only comprise an infinitesimally small fraction of the totality.

Time is relative. The reality in which our consciousness resides is certainly not the bigger picture. It is an extremely limited viewpoint that forms the basis of all suffering. It is a rampant addiction to personalizing all of the pain we endure in life. If such a perspective becomes ingrained at an early age, is there any means of transcendence?

There are moments when something akin to an epiphany intrudes upon the cacophony of our flawed reality. There are moments when we are overcome by an intuition or inspiration that renders our critical conscience useless. We become vessels of the deepest creative powers. These moments constitute true beauty. The incessant drone of that voice in our heads is halted, even if it is only for a moment. Within that single second, the truth becomes apparent. The empty expanse of the page behind the text is revealed.

We perceive ourselves in these momentary glimpses, but is is inherently not our Self that we encounter. We are encountering the crystal depths below the surface of a turbulent sea. This epiphany opens our hearts and minds to the undefinable depths that constitute our true being.

In that single second we see the bigger picture. We understand the futility of maintaining our flawed perspective. In that single blink of an eye, the truth is apparent. And like the sun obscured on a cloudy day, it’s over. And then we forget.

Interview with Myosen Marcia Olsen

2940016540733_p0_v1_s260x420It has recently been my pleasure to make the acquaintance of Myosen Marcia Olsen, a Zen Buddhist Priest and author of Experiencing God Through Zen Insight. Through this intriguing book, Myosen endeavors to shed light on the often misunderstood practices of Zen Buddhism. Through her own personal experiences and realizations, the author appeals to readers on a personal level. I was compelled to take her thoughts into account with an unbiased perspective, as all should. I would also like to thank Myosen for this beautiful interview. She has worked diligently on answering my every question, for which I am sincerely grateful. I will be posting my official review of Experiencing God Through Zen Insight in due time, but for now, here is our dialogue:

Ty: Myosen Osho, you are a Zen Buddhist osho, which is nearly synonymous with a priest. Could you please elaborate on what this entails? How has your history and past experiences shaped you into the person you are today? Out of these experiences, which have most enabled you to become an Osho?

Myosen: Buddha invited people to come and experience for themselves.  He did not want anyone to believe blindly and expressly said so.  I wish to mirror that sentiment.

Perhaps if I talk about my experiences, people will be able to relate to my experiences at least to some degree.  I have not reached mastery, but I have had both experience at practice as well as enlightening experiences.  I know the value of practice and where it leads.

Regarding your question about becoming an osho, here is a list of some things a student does to further his practice and help others:  Practicing in intense, formal ways; meditating in moderate but consistent ways daily; practicing in everyday life; studying the master’s teaching and sutras; experiencing truth; and having a willingness to teach others are all a part of becoming osho.  I studied Zen twenty-one years with a very high-level master before I became an osho.  Practice involves both physical and mental efforts in tandem with the use of one’s will.  Some people have become oshos in a shorter period of time.  I became osho in 1989 after having supported and functioned within our own center, Joshu Zen Temple, for nineteen years along with my husband.  Each person’s situation is different.  Capacities, needs, and limitations vary from person to person.  There are different aspects and levels of practice.  Each person does what he can to practice.

Regarding what has shaped me in this life, in general I think it is partly experiences in one’s life that shape a person, but a big part of it is a person’s innate personality.  People are born with greatly varying personalities which include strengths, weakness, and tendencies.  I’ve had a very challenging life, but I also have a tenacious spirit.  I think my tenacious and somewhat optimistic spirit helped me continue with my Zen practice.

There were a lot of good things that happened in my early life, but the bad things that happened might have broken a weaker person.  Perhaps the good things helped keep me stronger, but there’s also an intangible element involved, something deeper.  I think kids need all the love, moral support, and guidance they can get without dominating or squelching their inherent personalities—especially in today’s world.  They also need some discipline, structure, and need to learn to handle disappointment.  However, one’s character usually shines through it all.

I’ve always been drawn to the religious and spiritual.  Christianity gave me some satisfaction when I was growing up, but I reached a point where it no longer served my needs.  Our family life began falling apart when I was thirteen or fourteen.  The family relationships became more corrosive and toxic.  I found that without a happy, supportive, and cohesive family life and without happiness in life in general, my religion did nothing to soothe or bring me happiness.

I did not realize it then, but I was searching for happiness that was not dependent upon things like family happiness or worldly happiness.

When I found Joshu Roshi, I was impressed with the form of practice and the teaching of Rinzai Zen as done by him.  The Roshi helped me progress.  He was very refined and skilled.  He was and is powerfully spiritual.  The experiences I’ve had in Zen practice have been remarkable.  The master also helped my husband and many others.  Thanks to my practice and my master, I experienced things I could have never anticipated.  I always doubted that I could do it, but I did eventually have some profound breakthoughs.

Perhaps a person must feel drawn to practice.  I would say it is pretty rare that anyone could be pushed into developing an interest.  On the other hand, our master was put into Zen practice by his family as part of the Japanese custom.  The custom was that older sons would inherit the family property, and the younger sons would often go into a temple or monastery as a Zen monk.  I believe something similar happened with the famous master, Ikkyu, who entered a Zen temple at five years of age.  The Japanese culture supported and encouraged this.  So you can see that masters have come forth from such a culture.

In our organization, a person who has studied Zen sincerely and long enough with our master and has put forth the effort to help others through establishing a Zen center and thereby teaching others will usually be ordained an osho.  When one becomes osho, he is given formal authority to speak and expound about Zen practice.  However, an osho who has not been ordained a master is not a master.  We have about twenty-five oshos in our overall organization, none of whom has become a master.  There have been thousands of Zen students who have come and gone.

Ty: Throughout your book, it was mentioned several times that words are not the way, but merely guide posts along the way. If the ultimate goal is to experience Dharmakaya, do you believe that Experiencing God Through Zen Insight could be a helpful source for students of Zen?

Myosen: Some of my friends who are experienced Zen students and oshos liked my book very much.  The book may inspire people who are seekers or who are open in general or who are inclined to go in this direction.  Some who find their lives are unsatisfactory may be interested.  There is the possibility that the book could motivate someone to practice Zen.  It may help an interested person to get an idea of what to expect.  It might also provide an interested person who reads the book a little bit of background from which to begin asking questions.  I never knew what questions to ask; I just delved into practice.  I began reading books on Zen when I was around fifteen or sixteen, but I did not begin Zen practice until age nineteen.  There was a famous master who did not start until age sixty.

Ty: You experienced a Christian Upbringing. Do you feel that this has allowed you to approach others of varying religions with Zen concepts, keeping in mind that all spiritual paths share core values?

Myosen: I believe the book gives people educated in the Western culture and Western way of looking at religion something about Zen to get their teeth into and maybe provides a starting place to be able to relate, just a tad, to the Zen mind.  I firmly believe that the teachings of Buddha and Christ are much closer than people realize.  The book provides some fairly strong correlations from a very different perspective.  Human beings tend to pigeon-hole and categorize everything into neat little boxes, all of which are rigidly separate from one another.

Ty: There is a point in your book where you discuss two forces of the universe: expansion and contraction, or masculine and feminine. What have you deduced about homosexuality? It is quite possible that humans are inherently attached to being male or female. Although, perhaps love can transcend gender. What is the difference between spiritual love and attachment?

Myosen: Spiritual love occurs spontaneously when one has dissolved self.  A whole new world opens up.  Spiritual love does not move from one object to another.  One experiences infinite love.  Human love is more attached love coming from the particular mind and heart of an individual.  Both kinds of love are good, but when we practice Zen sincerely, human love becomes more balanced, less conditional, and less selfishly attached—happier and freer.

I have known many homosexuals, most of whom have been wonderful people—industrious, very intelligent, congenial, energetic, and productive.  I like them just fine.  Homosexuals have the same spiritual capability as everyone does.  We human beings should not expect the world to change for us.  It is more spiritually productive to look at oneself and work to find happiness that goes beyond the human world.  Everyone experiences some kind of rejection or prejudice.  I’ve had plenty of that in my life.  I’ve worked around it and have meditated through it.  It is actually conducive to one’s spiritual growth.

Ty: We both know that theorizing and idealizing will not provide results in the ultimate attainment of Dharmakaya. However, you discussed something called Mahayana Democracy. Could you elaborate on this? What is the usefulness in conceptualizing if we know that the world is inherently imperfect and always will be?

Myosen: Even though Zen practice focuses on the individual, it is possible for mankind to evolve as a whole, with many beings making efforts to evolve spiritually and intellectually, thereby uplifting the culture.  Some countries have been examples of this, even though they never reached “perfection”, there is an intangible perfection.

I think it is instructive to examine ourselves and our ideals and longings as human beings.  I think it also illustrates what is possible, even though highly improbable.  I think there is value in expressing our ideals about a perfect world, even if it is futile.  Then we must throw it away completely and not attach to it.  That is important.

This painful world is our spiritual growing ground—just as it is.  Even though the world is imperfect and we are imperfect, we can realize and experience perfection—right in this imperfect world.  I personally would love to see all the people of the world work toward a higher level of spiritual attainment and stop enslaving and hurting one another in so many ways.  But then, it would be immature of me to expect the world to change to suit my personal desires.  I can change myself.  I can attain happiness that goes beyond the world and is not dependent upon any particular worldly conditions or manifestations, not dependent upon people smiling at me and affirming me.

Ty: Suffering is an intrinsic aspect of life. Everybody carries the burden of an overflowing chalice. Our minds are ridden with worry, anxiety, fear, and attachment. Many are skeptical that Zen practice can make a difference, and many believe that there is no time for such “idleness” in their lives. How can we incorporate mindfulness in our every day actions? How can simple endeavors such as washing dishes become spiritual practices? 

Myosen: It is up to the individual, of course.  Everyone is different.  There are different avenues for different people.  Some may consider Zen practice as “idleness”, but many appreciate the dimension it has added to their lives.  I have found it indispensable.

Yes, the human mind is full of worry, anxiety, fear, and attachment.  When we are feeling those things, that means we are experiencing just that—the human mind.  We naturally want to experience something greater, the Absolute Mind, to rise above suffering.  After experiencing the Absolute, we come back to the human experience feeling revived, invigorated, and more balanced, more at peace.  The cycle continues, going deeper and deeper with practice, depending upon the individual.  It is a struggle, a worthwhile struggle.  It is a struggle that leads in an upward spiral, not a downward struggle to despair, even though it may get difficult.

In Zen practice it is important to unify with our everyday activities such as washing dishes, sweeping the floor or cooking dinner.  We utterly dissolve into those activities.  That is all that exists for that moment.  Then we go on to the next activity.

Zen practice has helped to keep me grounded.  It helps me to cope with life.  Zen practice has helped me counter stress.  My practice has helped me in many ways, from dealing with stress and emotional problems—all the way to having wonderful, spiritual experiences at times.  It depends upon each individual, how his particular situation unfolds, and how much consistency, patience, and energy he can put into his practice.

I am an ordinary person.  I have used it in my life and have proven it for myself.  There is no magic bullet that will wipe away all suffering in one fell swoop.  There are some things in our lives that must unfold and with which we must deal.  The question is:  How does one deal with the good times and the bad times and stay in balance—not attaching to the good and only seeking the good or exciting things in life?  One can thoroughly enjoy the most mundane things in life.  This is the way to maturity.

Ty: For those who are curious about Zen, what knowledge would you impart before they embark upon this journey?

Myosen: One cannot be dependent upon society, the group, or “group think”.  One cannot attach to that way of thinking in Zen practice.  One must free himself from society, culture, and his upbringing in order to discover his True Nature or True Self.  One can function more happily in society and culture—just as it is—when he has freed himself from it.

Zen practice is an individual endeavor.  Progress takes place within the individual.  We do help students via the structured discipline and the teaching, but the Zen student must make his own efforts.  The student gets help from the “outside”, but he must apply himself to change himself on the “inside”.  That’s why it is said that the practice is an individual endeavor.

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If you enjoyed this interview, you can learn more about Myosen Marcia Olsen here, and purchase Experiencing God Through Zen Insight at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Crisp, Ty (2013) Interview with Myosen Marcia Olsen