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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Zen Beyond Buddhism: The Path of Being a Human Being

Mar 01, 2011 02:41PM ● By Linda Sechrist

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water” is a Buddhist quote that Zen Master Seijaku Roshi consistently uses to explain the life of the enlightened individual. The founder of the non-profit, The Zen Society and Abbot of Pine Wind Zen Community in Shamong, has the gentlest of a smile in his voice, as well as on his lips, when he explains to Zen students that in Japan, where the form of Buddhism has its origins, holy men are kicked off the mountain. “Alone on a mountaintop, it’s too easy to be holy,” says Seijaku Roshi. “It’s more challenging to be holy when you’re making dinner, holding your spouse’s hand or being patient with your children.” He speaks from his own experience as a husband, parent, and small business owner.

Often individuals exploring enlightenment through the spiritual path of loving-kindness and compassion gained from experience are surprised to hear that life is about being fully human every day. “Practicing Zen Beyond Buddhism, the path of being a human being, means living from our “humanbeingness,” which is already divine; not going somewhere to be religious,” says Seijaku Roshi, who emphasizes one of the aspects on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. This Buddhist way to the end of suffering and guide to ethical and mental development includes Right Livelihood, an aspect of ethical conduct regarding honorable work and conduct. “Your work should reflect your holiness and spiritual commitment,” says Seijaku Roshi, “so if you go to work and cheat your employer or exploit people, then going on retreat and meditating for a weekend isn’t going to cure you.”

Zen Beyond Buddhism combines eastern tradition and the insights of western visionaries to empower virtually anyone to reconnect with their original nature, reclaim their personal vision, and begin to redesign the rest of their lives.

A public speaker and pioneer in the field of human potential and spirituality, as well as the author of Kokoro-The Heart Within: Reflections on Zen Beyond Buddhism, Seijaku Roshi believes that for most of us the greatest mystery of all is who we truly are. “The single most important journey you will ever make in your lifetime, is the quest to recognize yourself and the single most important contribution you will ever have to make in your lifetime towards a better world is who you truly are.”

With a mastery born of more than 35 years of meditation practice in Zen-Buddhism and the western Christian contemplative practices and teaching, as well as his years of experience in industry and small businesses, Seijaku Roshi has dedicated his life since 1975 to empowering as many people as possible to gain profound insight into Who They Truly are, and the profound significance in living their lives authentically and on purpose.

Pine Wind Zen Center, 863 McKendimen Rd., Shamong 08088. Call 609-268-9151 or visit

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