Q: What is the purpose of the Modern American Zen Experience; is this an attempt to teach people about Buddhism?
A: The purpose of MAZE is to teach people about Zen and how to find it while living within modern American society; Buddhism is a religion, and though many find Zen through it, one should not be confused, Zen is a state of being, not a religion or philosophy.
Q: Do you worship Buddha?
A: Sadly, this is a question I’ve been asked on multiple occasions; I say sadly because this question exposes a great deal of ignorance of what it was Buddha had taught; Buddha wasn’t a God, he was a human being that came to discover the path to finding Zen through the process of enlightenment.
Q: Enlightenment, isn’t that like omniscience, that seems like something Godly.
A: Many people have the wrong idea about what it means to be enlightened; enlightenment is a process of conscious recognition; it means coming to a sudden understanding, an instantaneous awareness that you’re going about something entirely the wrong way which leads you to the discovery of universal truth.
Q: What is universal truth?
A: Universal truth is that which is true, not from your perspective or mine, but from all perspectives; it’s what’s true beyond simply our perceptions.
Q: Okay, so then what exactly is Zen?
A: Zen is a state of being, a quieting of the mind which brings about heightened awareness and understanding; it’s sometimes referred to as “being in a zone”, it’s an awakening Â which can be found as a result of meditation.
Q: Meditation, you mean like yoga?
A: Not entirely, Yoga teaches a specific type of meditation, but meditation literally means silencing the mind, stopping the chaos of thought and contemplation in such a way that it allows you to tap directly into a stream of consciousness; it’s any technique used to discipline the mind in order to unlock the full potential of your being; but there are many different ways to meditate, in fact many people do it without even knowing that they are.
Q: What do you mean by “many people do it without knowing that they are”?
A: Driving a car, exercising, listening to music, dancing; there are all types of momentsÂ where suddenly your mind just goes quiet and you’re there fully within the experience, totally aware, but without the buzzing of the mind; this is what’s known as active meditation, it’s a core principle of the Modern American Zen Experience.
Q: Okay, so then how does one find Zen while living within American society?
A: That’s a question with a lot of complexity; in a society as diverse as America’sÂ there are many different paths one can take to find Zen; that’s what I create the Modern American Zen Experience to do, to help people discover the steps that need to be taken in order for them to discover their own path; sometimes it’s simply am awakening to the perspective of another or even the recognition that multiple perspectives exist that can be enough for someone to find their direction.Â MAZE teaches how to find Zen by teaching people how to create moments of meditation within their experience.