14 November 2007
If Zen reflects an amalgam of Taoism and many Buddhist elements, NeoZen is defined as Zen with minimal Buddhism and a psychological approach to Zen, based on constructionist underpinnings. The essence of NeoZen is a synthesis of ‘EastWest’ mentalities for a new spirit in the art of living. NeoZen is a combination of Zen and western ways of living and the merits of hardwired science. The inclination to seek refuge in a guru seems to have increased now that adherence to religious creeds is on the decline. NeoZen’s message is to look inwardly and to be ‘a light unto your self’, an effort to close the gap in the millennia-lasting competing quest between ‘rational knowledge’ and ‘intuitive wisdom’. A seminal effort to have ‘the twain’ meet, was Austin’s ‘Zen and the Brain’ (1998) that took up where D.T. Suzuki’s Zen (absolute realism) left off. This perennial psychophysiology is supplemented by clinical meditation that discerns the functions of psychotherapy versus personal growth. Students may need psychotherapy to secure psychological balance enabling one to grow with NeoZen. Zen stems from Chan, which can best be categorized as a non-theistic, non-esoteric, no-nonsense, and down-to-earth Taoist way of living. Chan does not fit easily into the container ‘Buddhism’. A capsule history is presented of the heyday of Chan and Zen that started in the 6 th century and allegedly began with the legendary Bodhidharma and brought forth pioneers like Hui-neng, Ma-tsu, Huang-po, Lin-chi, and Wu-men. One major aspect of Zen is the koan, a technical device of paradox to help awaken suddenly and engender enduring satori. Another one is wuwei (going with the flow, while nothing remains undone). NeoZen also provides a postmodern constructionistic psychology of ‘rational-science-intuitive-wisdom’, a transcultural and social approach that strives for emotional happiness through the awareness of consciousness as total emptiness and meditation amidst all daily activities.