Every-Minute Zen

Zen students need to stay with their masters at least until two years before they can teach anyone.

Tenno was a frequent visitor to Nan-in, who having passed his apprenticeship had become a teacher. Once, on a rainy day, Tenno, with his wooden clogs and umbrella visited Nan-in.

After greeting Tenno, Nan-in remarked, “I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.”

A confused Tenno had no answer. He realized he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

Be alert and aware of each moment in your life. Your thoughts—related to past or future—will not allow you to focus. Zen is about living every moment. When you see a butterfly fluttering, a petal falling, a beautiful smile, a lovely sunrise, a well written article, a simple software—anything and everything can produce a ‘Zen moment’.

As a technical writer, carry your Zen every moment, so each moment of your life becomes a Zen moment. It is extremely difficult to practice, although it sounds very simple to achieve. Realize the impermanence of everything around you, so the only thing you have with you is ‘now’. Enjoy the bliss and pure joy of the moment but do not attach yourself to it.

When you carry your Zen, you will always remain focused on what you are doing ‘now’ instead of something else. Practising every-moment Zen is a beautiful experience. You have to be mindful of each step—hand movement, posture, words you speak, and so on—with total awareness.

Zen teaches us to do everything with a total presence of mind, that is, we need to concentrate on what we are doing now. The document, the online-help, the release note in front of you is what you have ‘now’.