Zen: A Way of Life

Essay by morch76University, Master'sA+, March 2006

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Zen means understanding your true self, so we ask, "who am I?" An eminant teacher once held a cup of water to a student asking, "What is this?" The student replied,"that is a cup." "You are attached to name an form, sure a cup is a cup, but what is a cup?" This student was stumped and did not know how to reply so he answered, "I don't know." Wasting no more time this Zen Master tilted back this cup of water, and drank from it commenting, "that is a cup, OK?" The student bowed saying, "thank you for having showed me my way." This teaching is an interesting one, who am I has alot to do with that question, "what is this?" The student's reply was simply, "I don't know." That's great, but there is actually a very simple answer beyond all speech and words for any kind of questioning.

Can you find it? That drinking, this demonstrated the true nature of a cup. Of course a cup is a cup, and yes it certainly holds water or liquid. But that is mere intellectual understanding of a cup, if I want to understand the cup's correct function, I need to drink what is in it. So how does this teaching tie into that question, "Who am I?"-you must find it! What is a human beings direction? A human beings correct function? Everything a human being hears, smells, tastes, touches, and views is already the complete truth. There is no explanation needed at any of those points. Because in that hearing, that smelling, that tasting, that touching, that viewing-you already understand. All of those points are completely before all thinking. No actual thoughts are needed to carry out any one of those tasks. So whenever you are carrying any one...