Excerpted from the introduction to Zen 24/7: All
Zen/All the Time, a HarperSanFrancisco publication,
by Philip Toshio Sudo. Order
your copy of the book here.
Any and every action can be a source of insight--even enlightenment--whether it's tooth brushing, going to the bathroom,
or opening a can of beer. That's the promise of zen.
No matter what we do or where we go, zen is available
to us 24/7: twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It never goes
away, no matter how routine the day may seem. The most mundane details
of life contain zen's profound truths, if we're of the mind to look
It's easy to find significance in those days that rise
above the ordinary--a graduation, perhaps, some great athletic or career
triumph, a wedding, the birth of a child. But what about all the days
in between? The aim of Zen 24/7 is to look at the everyday,
ordinary parts of our lives and see the meaning in them, too; to become
so absorbed in the commonplace that we come to know a deeper reality.
In so doing, we make today--plain old today--a truly special day.
Zen teaches that our approach to today determines our
whole approach to life. The Japanese call this attitude ichi-nichi
issho: "Each day is a lifetime." We arise in the morning
newly born. As we pass through the day, we age and gain experience.
When we tire at day's end, we "die" and take our rest. That
one arc serves as a miniature of our entire life. In that sense, what
we do during a single day--and how we do it--becomes the foundation
of our whole lifetime. For what is life but the sum of our days?
This very day can be a life's turning point. In a single
moment, we can decide to walk the path that has no end.
Let the day begin.
Zen 24/7: Table of Contents
I. Zen Sun
zen rise and shine
cup of coffee
zen getting dressed
zen out the door
II. Zen Noon
zen walk in the park
III. Zen Moon