The struggle to be good is not what Zen practice is. That type of training is a subtle form of athleticism...We begin to comprehend that our frantic desire to get better, to "get somewhere," is illusion itself, and the source of suffering. - Charlotte Joko Beck
This has been an interesting read thus far. Nothing too terribly surprising, but I have realized that you have to suspend your own pre-conceived notions to really try to "get into it." But that is good practice.
I sat in on a Zen practice last Thursday night. Kind of an Intro to Zen Meditation at the SF Buddhist Center. It was challenging and peaceful for me. Don't know where that'll go. But next week, I am taking a personal retreat north to Marin to the Green Gulch Zen Center for a couple nights...silence, deep breaths, moist air, my own demons to become aware (or more aware) of.
The first person to turn me onto Zen was Thomas Merton in his book Mystics and Zen Masters. Some beautiful stuff. Then I studied Buddhism a bit at community college and have had some beautiful conversations with those who practice it. I find it a compelling way to follow Jesus into our maddening world.
I could see why so many folks burned out on status-quo religion could find it a good spiritual option. That isn't a moral judgment on the value of Zen or Buddhism, but just an observation that people could adopt Zen and not have to adopt some new deity or anything like that.
Anyway, now back into the insanity that is life...