Sokei-An

‘You must understand one thing in Buddhism: there is no mystery in authentic Dharma. Some people misunderstand Buddhism. They think anyone who studies Buddhism will acquire supernatural power, not knowing the real meaning of “supernatural.” Especially in America today, everyone wishes to have some form of power. They have enough power materially, therefore they wish to have some mental power. Their idea is to see through the wall, or to hear some voice the ordinary ear cannot hear. They are not trying to find repose of mind; their endless desire is some grasp something supernatural. I do not know what they would do with it if they had it. They are like children who wish to go to the circus – it is the childish element in their minds. Others think they will find in Buddhism the power to cure illness. They think Buddhism is a kind of hospital. But you must know that Buddhism is to bring repose to your mind. When you come to religion, you must relinquish your desire to possess power, material or spiritual. You must cultivate your immobile mind. Religion is simply for your soul. That is all.’ (The Zen Eye)

These words, from the earliest days of zen in America almost a hundred years ago, are perhaps more true now than when they were spoken. I often read blurbs for corporate meditation that seem to offer this kind of power, and, when I have to write similar material for myself, try to avoid this kind of language as best I can. People need enticements and encouragement for sure, but I don’t like to promise any outcome from meditation.

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