Zen Anarchy by Max Cafard. What is the Sound of One hand making a Clenched Fist? Zen is the strictest and most super-orthodox form of Buddhism — and at the same time the most iconoclastic, revolutionary and anarchistic one. The roots of Zen go back to the beginnings of the Buddhist tradition — not to any founding sacred documents or to any succession of infallible authorities, but to the experience that started the tradition: the anarchic mind! Forget the “ism” of Buddhism. It’s not ultimately about doctrines and beliefs. The “Buddha” that it’s named after means simply the awakened mind or somebody, anybody, who happens to “have” that kind of mind. And Zen (or Ch’an, in Chinese) means simply meditation, which is just allowing the mind to be free, wild, awake, and aware. It’s not about the occasional or even regular practice of certain standardized forms of activity (sitting and walking meditation, koan practice, being inscrutable, trying to look enlightened, etc.). Equating meditation with silent sitting is something that Zen simply will not stand for! Zen is also intimately linked to the absurd, but it can’t be reduced to doing and saying absurd things, as in the popular caricature of Zen. Zen is not nihilism but is (like all Buddhism) the Middle Way between hopeless nihilism and rigid dogmatism.
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