Shozan Jack Haubner is the pen name of a Zen monk who has written two books and a number of essays for The Sun, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, Lion's Roar and the New York Times, and the Best Buddhist Writing series. He won the Pushcart Prize in 2012. Haubner's books, portions of...
You'd never walk into the forest with the radio blasting and expect wild animals to appear by your side. Yet it never occurs to you to unplug the inner jukebox and get quiet inside so that a natural, organic state of mind can reorganize you and your life from within.
Zen attacks that one last thing you hold dear: your precious self-conception. It unravels any notion of a freestanding, unconditional "I" and shows it to be a lie, a fabrication, a construction. True realization, the old masters tell us, takes bone-crushing effort. We pulverize the very skeleton of ego—upon which the meat and skin and organs of our illusions hang—and we do it through intense, hurtle-yourself-off-the-cliffs-and-into-the-chasm practice.
Buddhism is not a refuge from life. It is life stripped bare and known most intimately. Zen doesn't make you a "better person." It helps you become fully human. My mentor was no model for how to behave perfectly but for how to experience completely. He never told me how to live my life. He just helped me become alive.
…you are meant to grow into a true human being. Right now you are to a human being what an acorn is to an oak tree. A good start, that's all. You've got a long way to go, baby, and you're not going to grow into your full potential sitting in front of the laptop, bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in one hand, dick in the other, anime porn boring a hole in your corneas and consciousness. Just a thought.