Zen is ordinary, dead ordinary. Don't expect 'bells and whistles' enlightenment. To find clarity or freedom get to know your self and see what you make of the world.On these pages you see my offer to help you in this process, and a bit about me and my experience.
The focus of my work is on how to incorporate Zen practice into daily life.
What about mindfulness? Everywhere you hear about it now, how good it's supposed to be. Is it that you focus on your food when eating, making sure you chew properly? Is that it, and what has that got to do with Zen?
But the purpose is to observe your mental activity. For example, you are focussing on doing the washing up. Likely you start thinking (may be that you are always the one doing the washing up, or that you hate it, or some daydream). The intention is to notice these thoughts. Just notice and leave them be, come back to your activity. (Or your breathing when meditating)
You will notice that this is the difficult bit, leaving the distractions be, not being carried off by them. That's the practice, it needs practice, you can never do enough of it. (and that itch on the nose, just scratch it)
If you are interested in any of the above, email me.
Every so often I have to remind myself to let people know at least of my existence as a Zen teacher and that I can possibly help.
So what can you expect if you work with me?
No "higher Truth" or anything like that.
What works best is to respond to the problems at hand. We will always be looking at the nature of the self, of identity, how it is made, what it is good for. We can work on understanding on how the mind functions, how and why we form attachments and why we always look for meaning.
Lets face it, you are interested in this because you wonder if you can achieve a higher state, enlightenment or something like that, some fundamental, existential relief. May be you are desparate to find a solution to the human condition. You might be driven to desparation by a black hole in your guts like I used to be.
Answers? I don't have answers for you. I point where you could look. I suggest what you can do to find out for yourself. I will tell you when you make an identity of your search and suggest how you can overcome this obstacle.
So, is it possible to attain to a state of peace, clarity, higher consciousness, Buddhahood or whatever you might be after?
But it is not possible for the self. "I" can't have it. Whatever "I" have, will be a particular state, an altered state of consciousness for example or a trip - like refuge from 'ordinary' life.
There is only one way to find out, you'll have to go and look. - Look at your self, observe your mind, learn to find stillness there, and see where that takes you.
Contemporary Zen is Zen Buddhism for modern people living in western culture. Getting to know yourself, exploring your mind, seeing your true nature (Kensho), finding an answer to existential questions like 'who am I', 'what is our purpose here on earth', can be approached through meditation and mindfulness. Contemporary Zen is not a religion, it is an inquiry into fundamental, existential questions, and about integrating them into ordinary life.
Whilst we work with old, ancient even, insights and methods, from Buddhist and Zen Buddhist tradition, we acknowledge fully that we live in the western world with its culture and peculiarities. Our minds are conditioned by us growing up in this culture and to our minds we have to turn to observe and get to know our selves.
This is Zen for our times, enabling you to bring meditation and stillness into your life, without the need to renounce anything. This teaching is based on acknowledging and accepting what is, including your self, your ego, your mind. Just like Zen helped the Samurai warriers hundreds of years ago, it can help you now to come to terms with the demands of life and questions you might have about existence, life and death, and why we need to find meaning in our lives.
On this page I will try to keep up with current events, provide information about groups and retreats, and post the occasional text about an interesting discussion or a theme that came up in a group.
The other pages on this site are historic, the oldest texts are the poems on "falling off the cliff" followed by "What happened", which is an e-mail I wrote to someone who wanted to know exactly that. I decided to leave those pages, since I can't find anything wrong with them, and they might provide an insight into the subject matter.