The Mission

cropped-full-moon-rising-555e2f45v1_site_iconIn short, total existence is the Buddha-nature, and the perfect totality of total existence is called ‘living beings.’
Zen Master Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)1

Zen now stands at a crossroads.
Professor of Religious Studies Hee-Jin Kim2

Mission Statement

Our mission is to advance universal liberation and fulfillment by making the wisdom of Zen more accessible to all. We hope to fulfill this mission through:

  • Elucidating the doctrine and methodology of Zen as presented by the classic Zen/Buddhist literature
  • Observing Zen’s vision in light of the accumulated insights of humankind’s ‘grand discussion’
  • Highlighting Zen attributes relevant to the present need for a more reliable worldview
  • Encouraging creative dialogue between Zen and other forms of contemporary thought
  • Supporting efforts to end pseudo-Zen authoritarianism and sectarianism and healing their injurious effects
  • Furnishing effective, reliable means for distinguishing authentic Zen from pseudo-Zen
  • Disseminating new discoveries and advances in knowledge and scholarship relating to Zen
  • Promoting opportunities for the transmission of wisdom (person-to-person or mind-to-mind) through venues fostering cooperation among individuals
  • Actively seeking, exploring, and implementing creative ideas provided by the online community to advance the cultivation of Zen practice-enlightenment

This website is inspired by our conviction that Zen possesses certain attributes, some of which have been largely neglected, that are uniquely effective for meeting specific challenges presently hindering the civilized world from realizing a more reliable cosmology. In particular I am referring to the elements that form the basis of Zen’s hallmark characteristic – the ability to awaken human beings to their own true nature.

According to the classic teachings of Zen, awakening to one’s own true nature – often called ‘kensho’ (seeing [one’s own] true nature) or ‘kenbutsu’ (seeing Buddha) – is equivalent with awakening to the true nature of reality itself. Such an awakening, according to Zen, is not an esoteric, mystical, or supernormal experience, but rather the activation of a normal human capacity accessible to all people. The effective nature of this capacity can be understood in light of the reason that informs Zen’s fundamental insight: seeing reality and creating reality are not two different things. In the words of Hee-Jin Kim:

The vision of ‘things as they are’ is never of a fixed reality/truth; the power for self-subversion and self-renewal is inherent in the vision itself. Thus ‘things’ seen as they are are transformable. Every practitioner’s task is to change them by seeing through them. From Dogen’s perspective, this is the fundamental difference between contemplation (dhyana) and zazen-only. To him, seeing was changing and making.
Hee-Jin Kim3

Notes:

1 Shobogenzo, Bussho, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross

2 Dogen on Meditation and Thinking, p.ix

3 Dogen on Meditation and Thinking, p.38

Comments, questions, and suggestions appreciated!