WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

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With So Many “Spiritual Options and Paths”
Why Zen?
by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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Social media, Internet, bookstores and large numbers of coaches, trainers and teachers offer countless recipes for the “right” path to happiness and different formulas for “reaching” the Kingdom of God. In this seemingly endless universe of “spiritual options”, the question sometimes posed by seekers, or people aiming to lead happier and more fulfilling lives, is; “Why Zen?”

Let it be mentioned right up front that Zen does not claim exclusivity, nor does it thrive on missionizing people to “convert” them, making fun of or criticizing other practices. In fact, throughout the ages,  Zen Masters have respected and revered great teachers and enlightened ones who pursued other spiritual practices.

Zen is not an institution one “belongs” to. It has evolved to become inclusive, and as such has room for those preferring to worship or practice the rituals they choose.

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This text will not overly focus on emphasizing all the ways in which Zen is “different” from other spiritual paths, as this goes way beyond the length of a short blog. Suffice it to say that there is hardly a spiritual path which is comparable to Zen. In itself, Zen is only a concept or word and cannot be easily described.

It goes beyond conventions, ceremonies, and confessions, even if Buddhists may claim it as its own because it goes back to Buddha. Zen transcends fundamentalist beliefs, scriptures, specific steps and rituals, and focuses on the spiritual dimension underlying all Existence.

The Underlying Basis of Zen

Zen sees no duality, no selfhood apart from that which is unspeakable, indescribable, and boundless in us, the One Self, God, One Mind. The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. You already are and embody what you seek, have always been and will always be this way. Divine awareness or God-consciousness is the ever-presence that will never leave us. God-awareness is Self-awareness. Nothing can take away from your inherent nature of Oneness, the Buddha Nature in all of us.

This is what Zen says in a nutshell. However, let me say that Zen is also down to earth and practical. It gives us one of the most natural and simple approaches that exist to accompany us along the boundless and pathless path as these ultimate truths are revealed.

It enables us, with grace – and not because of what we “do” – to unfold our own inner teacher, master, and guru. There is nothing to “grasp” or understand. The Kingdom of God within us, though not describable in words, can be directly “experienced” – and can lead to what is referred to as salvation, enlightenment or clarity.

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Self-reliance

The age-old Zen parable, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him”, admonishes us not to depend on anything or anyone outside of our-Selves. As such, Zen is definitely empowering and makes us Self-reliant and self-less instead of self-important.

But do not make the mistake of thinking that Zen is a “customized” spirituality adapted to the individual ego and reflecting our modern-day desire to “go our own way”.  This is because you are not the doer. Instead, grace leads us. Progress can be made when the “seeker” gives up the fallacy of being a separate individual, that his or her actions are the basis for enlightenment.

We may search, diligently practice spiritual techniques such as meditation and be guided by others, but the decisive moment is when we can put all pre-defined commandments, tools, seeking and procedures behind us and stand in truth – as if struck like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.

Enlightened Beingness

There are many examples of individuals who “stand in the light” or are in “enlightened Beingness” or awareness – representing their awakening to a seemingly new state of Beingness which is inconceivable yet has always existed. In realizing what you have are, there is nothing to do except to be humble and thankful, abide and BE in the Oneness, Suchness, Isness, which naturally encompasses truth and wisdom and all that you need.  I AM – that in itself is sufficient – because it IS.

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However, as long as people are imprisoned in their egos, they will suffer, create suffering for themselves and others and also destroy our planet, and have to continue living with this suffering.

Zen has the potential to enable us to penetrate to the Last Things, and possibly – when the right time has come and one enjoys the grace of something higher which is intangible and incomprehensible – to awaken us out of a kind of slumber to our natural state of bliss that we are and have always been. This is not an empty promise. Nothing is promised or held out as a possible which is not experienceable.

The “Challenge” of Zen

In essence, Zen may seem challenging and daunting, because it throws you back upon yourself, calls upon you to let go of your thinking and past, asks you to unlearn what you were brought up to believe in, says you ultimately do not need any teacher or texts, steps and goals, and that there is nothing to achieve.

I am aware that this is not easy for many people to swallow. There may be a long list of reasons you have to reject what has been written here, and the dualistically-minded among you may consider all this to be humbug.

However, you are free to take the pathless path of Zen and consider it on its merits.

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Truly hope my Special Recovery Guest, Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi’s wisdom and words have been of help to all my recovery friends and visitors as it has been to my recovery!

You may learn more within his amazing book on sale on AMAZON and titled Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness” Now 99.cents on Amazon as a Kindle and Paperback on Sale!

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You are invited to visit Master Genro and Co-Author Clifford Stevens on their Official Website of “Find The Seeker – Meet Master Genro.”

 

A Living Master Shares Recovery Wisdom. The Road to Recovery From Addiction ~ The Zen Approach.

The Zen Approach To Recovery ~ By Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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From the point of view of Eastern Asian medicine, the problem of addiction is the game played by water and fire. In a state of health, these two elements (of the five phases of transformation i.e. wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) ensure that people are deeply grounded and can grow spiritually when in harmony with one another.

However, if the two phases are out of harmony, one of them becomes overly dominant thanks to various ego processes. If water dominates, the person is pulled downwards, and the energy is channeled in the person’s lower chakras. The result is an addiction, an overemphasis on sex or the compulsive urge to fulfill seemingly essential “needs” (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling etc.), which are actually the needs of the ego.

The standpoint of Zen is completely different from the principles of the East, primarily Traditional Chinese Medicine, as described above. It also takes a different viewpoint from Western medicine, which sees addiction as a kind of illness, from the brain via various organs of the body.

In Zen, the crucial step is in line with the longstanding Zen teaching, “First free your mind, and then do what you want!” If you do not free your mind, you will remain imprisoned and enchained. You will sacrifice your happiness, health, and contentment to satisfy your ego’s needs and accept the burdens it imposes on you, the roller coaster ride of feelings, the arguments about your being victimized, lowly, unworthy, unfulfilled or whatever else it convincingly throws at you to justify or coerce you into addiction.

Healing only by focusing on the roots of the problem

You can try to gradually reduce the effects of the plant or weed (= addiction) in your inner garden using various methods or even attempt to eradicate the weed. Think of substitute drugs, psychotherapy and the broad spectrum of therapeutic approaches. However, it is only possible to eradicate this plant if one severs the roots, the causes of this “evil” instead of just pulling off the leaves of this shrub. Therapy may have a soothing or beneficial effect but does not penetrate to the heart of the matter.

In Zen, freeing your mind is based on the experience of realization and enlightenment, and is the pre-requisite for the healing or salvation of a human being. As long as the mind is blurred, blinded and afflicted by a deep depression or you believe you have to abide in other painful physical and mental states, an addiction such as alcohol abuse, smoking cigarettes or drugs may seem to be the most obvious and natural way out and way forward.

 

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Achieving a breakthrough

Suffering is a very human trait. Buddha said that “all life is suffering.” Awareness, realization, awakening – that is the Zen approach. With the mindful, watchful observing and centered inner eye, you will make moderate use of the resources and opportunities at your disposal. In Zen, there is absolutely no problem in enjoying a glass of wine to spark the imagination or an inspiring drink with a good dinner, but the key is to adhere to the “Middle Way”, the measure of all things, which rejects extremes and does not go overboard or strive to do, have or consume too much.

For this reason, the one-sided approaches to addiction on the part of Western or Eastern medicine ultimately do not provide the permanent solution which is needed. These approaches may provide some relief or alleviation of the problem. But the real breakthrough to a new life, healing, and salvation, to love and bliss, is through clearing the mind by means of meditation or trusting a Master or another person standing in the truth. Meditation unfolds in us what we really are and have always been, namely unconditional, Absolute Being, the One Self which is infinite, timeless and unchanging.

Empowerment to overcome addiction

On the pathless path which we share, as described in our book “Find the Seeker”, and which all of us are on whether we know it or not, awareness, the inner guru, will lovingly but effectively cut the supposed cord of addiction. It will empower us to be Self-reliant without our depending on anything and anyone and enable us to embody the fact that we are whole and complete fro the start. In this way, we are transformed and free ourselves from the suffering and can contribute to helping all sentient beings to free themselves from suffering and experience a life of bliss.

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About Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi (Laoshi = “Spiritual Master”)

Gert Beirer, one of the few living Zen Masters was born in Austria in 1945, studied Zen, meditation, Kung-Fu, Qi Gong, and acupuncture in Asia. He was given the name Genro (“Origin of Joy”) Xuan Lou, Laoshi (Laoshi = “Spiritual Master”) by Zen Master Tetsuo Kiichi Nagaya Roshi.

Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi was named Zen (Chan) Master by the Abbot and Grand Master Kun Kong at the Lingyin Temple (Shakyamuni Buddhism) in Hangzhou, with whom he studied 11 years, by Abbot and Zen Master Shi Chan Ming in Wuhan, Province Hubei, China, and was also named Shifu or “Spiritual Teacher” in 2009 by Shi Xue Feng, Abbot of the Ding Shan Temple in Germany.

After returning to Europe, Genro spent decades as a therapist and business consultant and has been heading the Qi Gong Master School in Austria for many years, practicing in accordance with the Wuhan-Yangsheng style. Genro Laoshi has lectured at universities, appeared on TV, held seminars on a variety of spiritual and self-help topics, taught Qi Gong courses and published articles and books on meditation, Zen, motivation and communication, storytelling, body-reading, sexual Kung-Fu, autohypnosis and many more topics.

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I thank Master Genro for this special recovery post written just for all of my recovery friends and visitors. Please visit his website and blog as he and co-author Clifford Stevens present “Weekly Wisdom” that is inspiring and informational here at Find The Seeker!
Genro is also co-author of the recently published highly-acclaimed spiritual self-help book Find the Seeker (Amazon link: http://bit.ly/find-seeker).