Tuesday, 27 October 2015


8. Guidance in the practice of Zen is ideally found in the master/disciple relationship, and this in the context of a community of practitioners. Down through the centuries this has been the pattern. Examples abound in the literature of Zen. We read, for instance, of a monk in ninth century China going to the pre-eminent master Zhaozhou and saying, 'I have just entered this monastery. Please teach me'. The practice of individual instruction is evident in the case of the thirteenth century master Wumen Huikai. He tells us that when he was in charge of a certain temple he worked with the monks and attempted to lead them along the Way of the Buddha according to their respective needs and capacities. Recognition and respect for the individual's particular needs and capacities is a feature of Zen training. Here it is never a matter of supposing that one size fits all. Anyone serious about practising Zen will seek out the personal guidance of an authentic master.

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