FEAR: A Zen Perspective
FEAR: A Zen Perspective
Buddha soon after Enlightenment, stated some noble principles and the first one is that everything in this
world is impermanent. Unfortunately, we are attached to these impermanent changing things/people, which
leads to our suffering. Fear is another word for suffering and it results because we are afraid of losing what we
have, be it our life, our loved one’s life, or our material things.
So what is the shape of fear, how it affects us, and how to deal with it?
We are born with this. It is what might be termed a “Manufacturer’s Defect”. We must also understand that
it is an integral part of the human psyche.
Fear is a mentally created projection. We create these mental projections and are based on our external view of
the world which is the world of change and opposites exist i.e. pleasure and pain, profit and loss, and so forth.
Fear, anger, and anxiety are born on the grounds of the wrong perception that we are the body.
The voice of ego judges people runs them down and generates fear based on the regrets of the Past and
anxieties of the Future.
When we suffer from fear and anxiety, we cannot help ourselves or even others. Once we manage our
suffering, then we can share our compassion with others. Peace begins with ourselves. Understanding and
compassion also begin with us.
So how do we manage this fear?
The root cause of our fear is NOT living in the Present and our Attachments.
In general, Fear is reliving a bad experience of the Past or anxiety/worry about the Future. However, Past and
The future does NOT exist and only the Present exists. We must understand that fear is a function of the mind i.e.
our Emotions and not of the Intellect.
The other source of fear is “attachment” which is another word for mental bondage.
We are attached to our family, our power, our money, and so forth. Fear of losing our Attachments creates
stress and worry. This Attachment is like radio static which hinders our clear inner voice signal from being
heard. Our fear short circuits the whole signal.
However, by regular practice of meditation, being in the company of spiritual people/Sanga, and listening to the
spiritual talks make us more “inward” focused.
Mindful breathing reduces your mind projections and brings you to the Present.
In addition, Mindful breathing develops Awareness and wisdom, which makes us aware of the transient
impermanent nature of this world.
To summarize, regular practice of meditation, and doing selfless actions which reduce our Ego focus,
studying/hearing spiritual material brings detachment and inner peace ensues.
Great Indian saint Vivekananda who lived in the United States from 1893 thru 1898 stated the following:
Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Only selfless people are fearless. Selfish people are weak. Only selfless are courageous. If you are selfish, if
you are attached to anything, idea, person, place, or any object, you become weak.