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Lions Roar : September 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 40 When You Greet Me, I Bow MOST PEOPLE COME TO ZEN PRACTICE not quite knowing what to expect. Popular images of tough Zen masters, rigorous retreats, and hard- won enlightenment experiences may obscure the fact that, when you come down to it, Zen is as much about relation- ship and interaction as anything else. Think of the koan literature for which Zen is famous. On the surface, these stories flash with enigma and a wonderful patina of the exotic (to Westerners anyway). But scratch the surface and you realize that the stories are basically about encounters between people. Zen koan literature is essentially dialogic. The typical Zen story involves two or more people, who seem to be on intimate terms with one another, bringing up the teaching in dynamic, even amusing, ways. Because the protagonists know each other so well and share a serious and longstand- ing commitment to the dharma, they don’t need to stand on ceremony. Their discussions (which are sometimes wordless) PHOTOBYMARVINMOORE