Oakville Zen Meditation

#62.POT POURRI : short Zen statements in alphabetic order.

We are adding words once a while as we feel like it.


Ven. Ji Gong Sunim.

Awakening: To be awake = To focus = To concentrate. See meditation

Brain vs. mind: Think about a computer. Brain = Hardware & Mind = Software.

Consciousness:  To be aware of = To focus = To pay attention = To meditate. See meditation. To be conscious / aware is the first step to act on something. Without this step it is impossible.

Enlightenment or awakening:

  • Before enlightenment (awakening) we eat, drink, sleep, work, shop, learn, have fun, have sex, procreate, and die.
  • After enlightenment we sleep, have fun, learn, procreate, work, drink, shop, learn, have sex, eat and die.
  • This is the Zen mind. Reflecting – like mirror- things as they are moment to moment without illusion or delusion ... and not as we want them to be and without asking Why? When? Where? What?  Whom? How? Nothing mysterious or divine, no bliss, no ecstasy, no miracle or out of the extraordinary.
  • This is the Zen say: just being.

Ignorance: When Zen talks about “Ignorance” it does not mean stupidity but rather that we do not differentiate the real from our illusions. We do not realize that:

  •  Nothing is permanent.
  • Nothing can be controlled...almost nothing.
  • Now (present) is the only reality of time since past is dead and future unborn.
  • No living being has a permanent, independent, unique, separate self-entity. We are all transient and interrelated. We are "inter-beings" not just beings.
  • Things are what they are and not what we want when to be.
  • Our ego mind is the main source of our dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
  • We do not know yet our “inner self” also called True Nature is perfect by definition. This ego-centered ignorance is trapping us in a cage.

 Illusion: What screw us the most in our mind are the pictures of things and people as they should be according to our ideas and expectations.

Impermanence: Nothing lasts, everything is transient.

Without change a cocoon would remain a cocoon and the butterfly will not exist. Life & evolution would be impossible without ongoing changes. If the sperm of your father & the egg of your mother did not die you would not exist and a new birth (life/you) would not be possible. One birth followed by one death is just 2 transient successive steps of an infinite numbers of births and deaths. Our body is just a transient materialization of a global entity that some calls God and others Consciousness or Energy. This endless process of birth and death characterizes life and evolution.


Our mind is a chief justice judge. We judge all the time and endlessly. Sometimes we have to make judgments for specific decisions to be made and that's OK but most of the time it is just a useless ego trip. Always be mindful to your ideas, opinions and judgments and let them go unless they are specifically needed.


The key to listening to people’s pain and negative feelings, paradoxically, is to be clear that we are not responsible for trying to take them away.

The entire study and practice of Zen is designed to address the problem of human suffering and dissatisfaction. With time, we come to understand that simply being present to each other is our most basic moral and ethical obligation.

There may be occasions when we can lend a helping hand. There may be instances when we are obligated to interfere, but more often than not, simple presence provides a context for others to listen to themselves, and that is the real service.

Letting go of responsibility for other people’s states of mind is fundamentally liberating. When we feel free of pressure, we are happy to listen, so we listen well. In the context of practice, releasing ourselves from this responsibility is to learn—again and yet again—what it feels like to let go.

​Edited From: Everything Is Workable,
by Diane Musho Hamilton, pages 88–89



The purpose and practice of meditation is to focus / to be conscious  / to concentrate / to pay attention / to aware of the following:

  • Our posture,
  • Our mind anchor such as breathing (exhale)
  • Our incoming thoughts...in order to delete them.
  • Return to our breathing.

 Practical application of meditation in our daily life:

Think about this: The first step to control x, or y, or z is to be aware of x, y, z. It can be breathing, thoughts but also negative negative such as emotions, desires, fear, anxiety, etc. By learning how to be aware of our posture, breathing and incoming thoughts during meditation we can apply this skill "awareness = control" to any activities and feelings that we go thru during the day.

Quite mind: A quiet mind is not a state of mind to be achieved such as a silent mind but a state of mind where there is almost nothing to achieve.

Reading: Reading is OK as long as it does not confuse you further and does not boost your ego-based knowledge.


Learning to listen to silence is to learn to listen to our thoughts.  (~ 678 CE Chinese Zen saying.)

When we travel in a country speaking a different ​ language we often communicated with gestures at least initially. Sometimes I think it is better not to know a language. Rather than talking, it is better to reserve energy through silence. But most Westerners try to look intelligent through talking and talking and talking. They think that silence is uncomfortable if not somewhat rude, so it is better to be talkative.

Of course, since human beings have dualistic tongue, everything that is said is an impetuous expression of incurable, contagious blurting. Most of us with ordinary limited qualities incessantly chatter, while a minority with limitless wisdom qualities remain most of the time silent preferring learning from listening.
It is like the difference between the movement of shallow but agitated and restless water and the stillness of the deepest sea. 
As Westerners we have many fine qualities, like the rapid waters of mountain rivers, but we have extreme difficulties to put out the blazing showing off fire of our mouth. To be silent dos not mean to be stupid or not having any opinion or that we do not care. 
By the way few are questioning the value and purpose of silent Zen retreat since none can talk. The purpose of silent retreat is simply  to share an unique experience. We are planning one soon.
Be well and serene.

Ven. Ji Gong Sunim.

Thoughts: Our mind is producing well over 50,000 thoughts every day! It is a non-stop full time job even during the night and we cannot stop it like we cannot stop the sun from producing energy. Our mind is pouring thoughts even without our full awareness. Zen talks about us as "thinking zombies" or "day sleep walking". We cannot control this outflow but we can learn to be aware of it and meditation is the toll to achieve it. Being aware of our thoughts is the only way to manage and control them. That is to let them go.

 Understanding: If you use your mind to study reality you won't understand neither your mind nor reality. If you study reality without your mind that is reflecting things moment to moment like a mirror w/o preconceived idea and judgment you will understand both.

Worries: If you want to worry all the time think about yourself. If you want to be more relaxed think about others.

Zen mind


JG ZENmirror1











Zen mind = mirror mind.

Obviously our thoughts & judgments are needed every day to make decision but don't be controlled by all of them all the time like a thinking zombie. By reflecting things we are telling our mind what to do and not the reverse. We become the subject rather than the object.

"A Zen mind is like a mirror reflecting things as they are and not as we want them to be"
Our surrounding realities as oppose to our illusions are:
Nothing lasts forever.
Nothing can be controlled ....almost nothing.
Now is the only real component of time since past is dead and future not born.
Nothing has a permanent, independent, unique ,separate self entity.
Our ego mind is the main source of our dissatisfaction, unhappiness ans suffering.
A Zen mind is also mindful moment to moment and without judgment to our:
Body: what we are doing,  our 5 senses.
Mind: thoughts, feelings, current moment.
Surrounding such as people, events and nature.
A Zen mind is trying to free itself from:
Delusion, illusion, attachment, negative feelings concept, idea, judgment.
A Zen mind does not ask....
....Why, when, who, where, how unless absolute necessity. Things are what they are.