The Soto Zen tradition is based on the simple practise of “just sitting”, learning how to rest in the stillness that exists deep in us, within the chaos of our lives.
Through being still and observing the patterns of our thoughts and emotions, then letting go of our clinging to them, we can learn how to deeply keep the Buddhist precepts. We can stop doing harm, we can do what is good to do, and thereby do good for all beings.
To help us live from the heart of compassion, love and wisdom we undertake when we live by the precepts, to learn how to stop killing, stealing, coveting, and saying what isn’t true.
We see how our infatuation with emotional idealism is a form of intoxication and that indulging in alcohol and recreational drugs fogs our mind and our ability to act with clarity in a wise and compassionate manner.
We learn how to respect ourselves and others instead of being caught in comparisons that lead to the constant judging of ourselves and others .
We can see how to let go of our fear and foster a generous attitude, spiritually and materially. Being open and accepting of ourselves, we can learn how clinging to anger hurts us and other beings as we learn to respect and acknowledge the Buddha within ourselves, and in all beings.
Through meditation we learn what true wisdom is, being an expression of a compassionate and loving heart.
We can develop the humility of checking our understanding with those who have trained longer than us, and with Buddhist teaching, enabling us to have advice on how to deepen that understanding. Everyone makes mistakes and when the precepts are taken seriously they provide a way of checking that our actions are expressing the truth.
As we engage with these principles we are led to the question of who and what we are.
Zen Buddhist training teaches that we can find the answer to these questions in our engagement with meditation, from our own experience.