Zen & MBSR
Below is part of the introduction to an interesting book about one man's early experience in a Zen monastery. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), depending on the teacher's & student's interest in & tolerance for depth, can provide a much, much more gradual immersion, in the same wisdom tradition.
“A Zen Buddhist monastery is a laboratory where you are discovering the natural properties of your true self. You are both the subject and the observer of an experiment that often gets ugly. There are explosions, nasty messes, volatile interactions, strange smells, more explosions, and finally, fascinating, unpredictable results. Something new is born – or rather, uncovered – from all of this experimenting. That something is you: your fundamental nature as a human being.
Training at a monastery is simply the organic process whereby you learn to get out of your own way so that the life you were meant to live can fully emerge. I can truthfully say that this approach to spiritual work has utterly transformed me. It has also nearly driven me batshit with frustration and despair. Although I’ve been doing this work full-time for close to a decade now, I am no ‘religious expert.’ I am simply someone who has had his resistance to reality thoroughly worn down by spiritual techniques.”
Shozan Jack Haubner. “Zen Confidential. Confessions of a Wayward Monk.” Shambhala, Boston, 2013.