Something I think about often while in Korea, and in general in life. Many days are not going to be grand Asian adventures. Many are just going to be about cleaning my small apartment. And that is enough. Dr. Ben Howard was one of my English professors at Alfred University, where I graduated in 2003, and continues to be one of my biggest inspirations in Buddhist practice.
If your waking hours are anything like mine, many if not most are spent in attending to ordinary things. Although you might wish to be contemplating the meaning of life or encountering something out of the ordinary, groceries need to be bought and e-mails answered. Bills need to be paid. Whatever your spiritual aspirations, ordinary life assumes the foreground.
At first glance, Zen practice might seem a welcome escape from the daily round. At its deeper levels, Zen is indeed concerned with the alleviation of suffering, the cultivation of compassionate wisdom, and the “Great Matter” of life and death. Cloistered in their mountain monasteries or secluded in their urban centers, Zen masters and their disciples may appear to have risen above the quotidian fray and to have transcended the concerns of everyday life.
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