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The well-known in the West term Zen was empty right from the start -- miss even one of its three letters and the whole notion goes wrong. Looking inward yourself or outward, all the same, you see there is no fixed Self -- the centripetal emotion turns into the centrifugal and conversely. So, break into the purgatory of your soul through the front gate if you want to take your proper place in Hell.
Today, more and more people want to know what Zen is. The problem is that it is not an easy task to describe it, as Zen is beyond wording. It is something that cannot be talked about nor expressed in written form. The moment language is used we are no longer dealing with the spirit of Zen. However, Zen cannot be left unexpressed. In order to introduce the reader to the world of Zen, there is no alternative but to resort to the use of language; and that language is poetry. That's why there are so many poems written by the numerous adepts of Zen.
On the other hand, if Zen could be presented to another, men would all present it to their superiors; if it could be served up to others, men would all serve it up to their parents; if it could be told to others, men would all tell it to their brothers; if it could be given to others, men would all give it to their sons and grandsons. The reason why it cannot be transmitted is no other but this: that 'if,' within, there be not the presiding principle, it will not remain there, and if, outwardly, there be not the correct obedience, it will not be carried out. When that which is given out from the mind in possession of it is not received by the mind without, the sagely minded man will not give it out; and when, entering in from without, there is no power in the receiving mind to entertain it, the sagely minded man will not permit it to lie hidden there. The point here is that the ordinary intellect is unable to function on this frequency of interpretation, and in its unenlightened or unevolved state, views the Buddha's logic as gibberish, or 'mystical' inspired nonsense, when in fact, the Buddha's logic has more in common with higher science (i.e. quantum theory), than it does with theistic religion or the imaginations of superstitious based thinking. Therefore, better known in the West as Zen, it is a Western art-based movement that serves as the antithesis to established norms and conventions. It is a vague sense of performing a function, skill or art in the secular form that is devoid of strenuous effort, or somehow new or unexpected. In fact, Zen is not the experience, nor the realm, less still any heretical forms of Buddhist practice that ignores Buddhist conventions. Zen is just Zen, and that's it.