I started the Zen lectures in 2004. I was invited to speak at an STC Learning Session in Mumbai. Since then, I have given these lectures for the local STC chapter in different Indian cities. Several technical writing teams and departments have benefited from these lectures, and, I am sure you would too.
In this blog, I try to bring out the essence of my Zen lectures—for those who couldn’t attend, and for those who would like to learn and apply this unique concept to their lives.
In a way, Zen and Technical Writing represent one of life’s greatest paradoxes. Zen is a wordless ‘experience’ whereas technical writing is an experience of ‘words’. The challenge is to live the paradox and discover the truth in it.
Living a life dipped in Zen is similar to a bowl filled with still water and stones. Still water represents tranquillity, peace and composure. It also represents lucidity and simplicity, since through the transparent water you are able to see the stones.
As a technical writer, you are continually facing challenges at the workplace. Zen does not attempt to teach you how to meet or overcome those challenges; it’s just a method of awakening or a way of living.
Zen stories have always been a source of inspiration with their layered meanings and nuggets of wisdom revealed on deeper probing. Here, I have tried to introduce some Zen elements through different stories, which can be easily correlated in a technical writing scenario.
– K. Narssimhan