The Art and Meaning of Zen
What is Zen?
Zen is the spiritual and Mental side of Karate. To me the purpose of Zen (if used correctly) is to help a student realise that using your mind can be a 'stimulating' and 'helpful' tool that you can use in the Dojo and the outside world.
Why is Zen helpful to a student studying Karate?
In my opinion, the best way that Zen helps a student in Karate is that it teaches one that the mind is another option from physical stress or contact. This will be easier to explain using an example or hyperthetical situation.
Zen helps to relax the mind which would help one make a better judgement over any given situation.
'A student is walking down the street to admire the evening sky, three boys look over at him and start laughing because he has a deformed face, the student cried and walked home with a bowed head'
'Another Karate student walked down the same road and came across the same three boys and again the boys laughed at him because he was blind in one eye, the student became angry and stomped off to his house.
'A different student walks down the same road and encounters the same three boys and again the boys laugh at him because he walks with a walking stick, this time the student ignored the the boys comments, kept his head high and his eyes focused in front of him and walked past the three boys'
In the first story the student did not use his Mind or Zen powers to his advantage instead he allowed the three boys to see that what they were saying were having effects on him and showed this by crying and turning the other way.
The second student did the same as the first student but the only difference was that he showed his frustration at the boys with an out burst of anger and walking back to his house this is breaking point because when weilding anger poor judgement is highly likely.
'The third student when faced with the three boys used his knowledge and ignored what the boys were saying and whent about his own business'
The first two students were always teased in the same ways described above but the third student was ignored.
The moral of this story is to think before you react and think what your outcome will achieve,
If you cry, you are showing that you are being effected by the current situation.
If you become angry the situation can become dangerous and you would not have the wits at this time to see it.
But, if you do not show the effects, poeple like the three boys will realise that teasing you is not hurting you which in effect stops their enjoyment from the situation.
The reason the mind is such a powerful tool is that you can think about situations and make better judgements.
I am going to take you through what i visualise whilst performing Zen but the most important thing is that everyone has their own visualisations.
The way I perform my Zen is by closing my eyes and think about a tree it is located on a Cliff Top, on the tree there are white leaves which occasinally drop to the floor.The tree is over looking a great Mountain Fair and green and on the slopes of this Mountain a river flows glistening reflecting all thats around. All you can hear is the calm breeze and slow flowing river.
If you are having trouble creating your visualisation try to think of a place where you would be totally at rest in your inner self.
The main thing you have to remember as i said at the start is that you do not have to use physcal srength,Force or power to better yourself in a situation, always remember that one who uses his mind will always have an advantage over someone who uses Physical power.
'Mind always has an advantage over Matter'