The real fruits are in the long training in how we live…and express its infinite love in the way we act and live in the world.
Zen is probably more in the second category. Its basic meditation method is breath counting, or breath watching, or just sitting, or having a koan as an object. But it’s a little more explicit about what the fruits can be. And, more than that, how we might then embody those fruits in life.
So you could look at the modern meditation world and think it’s fine — let’s let Zen be Zen, let Vipassana be vipassana, and let mindfulness be mindfulness. But what’s been happening is a massive explosion in mindfulness, which is great, but may run the risk of eclipsing the greater possibilities inherent in meditation practice. There is a tendency to diminish the emphasis on awakening, as it’s understood in most awakening traditions – as nondual experience, as liberation from self-identity. That’s something that has been rather missing from modern mainstream meditation, which has tended to become basically enhanced forms of mindfulness practice.
So it seems there’s a legitimate project of re-configuring the world of meditation so that there’s a modern, contemporary, secular understanding of practice that includes nondual awakening, and actually what’s special about Zen – we might claim – is that it has an actual method for both discovering that and for going beyond it. It doesn’t regard opening to the nondual as a final result – not at all. The real fruits are in the long training in how we live from that, and express its infinite love in the way we act and live in the world. That is what we want to be working on beyond awakening.
To infinity! — and beyond! – as Ruben Habito Roshi sometimes said, quoting Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story…