Q. Is Zen supposed to be very difficult?
A. Zen is neither difficult nor easy in itself, but neutral like all other things. Whether it is difficult or easy depends on the view of each of us. What matters is whether you can enjoy it or not.
I’d like to tell you to enjoy Zen in your everyday life like playing chess. All chess players want to win all their games. None of us, however, like to play chess with a 5-year-old child who has just barely managed to learn the basic rules about how to move chess pieces, even though we can win every game easily. The reason that we do not enjoy it is that we are not challenged by difficulties that are thrilling and, at the same time, we think playing with him is not helpful in improving our ability. We like to play with similar or higher-grade players because then we can enjoy more challenges. The reason that we are willing to accept such difficulties is that we can enjoy a sense of thrill and we think that the challenge we face with higher-grade players can elevate our ability.
Likewise, when you feel that you are facing a difficult time in your Zen practice, that is, when you seem to be stagnant without any progress, you should think that you are having such a hard time because you are making a lot of progress. Then, you can enjoy even such difficulty.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/vMDYI