A person’s Zen practice begins right now. And it continues right now. Zen practice has one purpose: to penetrate all the conditioning blocking you from living the present moment completely.
This present moment when experienced without any conditioning is known as the “Buddha Way”, or our “True Nature” or “our original face before our parents were born”.
The names, like these, we give the present moment do not matter. The living experience does matter. Our lives become transformed when we shatter illusions of who we are and face ourselves authentically without judgment, or opinion of who we are, or who we should be.
One of the Zen sutra says “Reading words you should grasp the Great Reality, do not judge by any standards”.
This sounds impossible. It’s not impossible, but it is very hard. This is why Zen teachers, and Zen students gather together in communities to work and play to create a culture of awakening. Awakening to the truth of who we are and bringing that truth to be manifest in our daily lives from the most mundane moments to the most exalted. If we are not judging by any standards, mundane and exalted fall by the wayside and we just live our lives completely and authentically. A life lived in this way is fulfilling and joyous and is to shared harmoniously with all other beings regardless of status or stature.