Essay as a reaction to the documentary film about ZEN in Japan
The word « Zen » is today really in fashion in the West. It took a common sense to refer to whatis quiet, relaxing and also to pass on the idea of a certain aesthetics made of simplicity, and of purity of the line. Thanks to this documentary film, I now believe that only few peoplerealize, by using the word « Zen », that they are referring to a religion, a Japanese religion : today the western sense is rather connected to a state of mind, an aesthetics … But the realmeaning of « Zen » goes much deeper than that : the magnificent Zen gardens are a perfect example ; these are real works of art.
Indeed in Japan, Zen is the fact of practicing themeditation, daily , and for hours. It is very hard for the body and requires a lot of time. So even in Japan, only few people is practicing Zen regularly. Thanks to this documentary film, Iunderstand better why samurais used this practice of Zen meditation. For them, this practice was very useful in their basic activity: the art of weapons. Controlling the spirit, exercising theconcentration, forgetting the life, the death, the fear… I can imagine that these exercises are very useful during a fight.
I also believe that for the common run of people, « Zen » canbe adapted to a practice, a lifestyle, which imposes no faith, no sectarianism, and allows the opening the universal dimension of our existence, by harmonizing naturally the spiritual andmaterial aspects of our life, especially in a world which is becoming more and more globalized and governed by electronics. I think that the Zen is so necessary for the Man, and that is why,even if this is quite far from the real practices of the ancestral Zen, we still can see so many small Zen spaces in the big cities of Japan, and more and more Zen courses in the West.