THE ZEN BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE

It is trully hard to take account of all distinctions abiding at the boundaries of East and West. To encompass their essentials, the differences constantly pulsing and stirring new astonishments in difficulties in comprehension and accepting the whole range of values to which we got accustomed and continually anticipate while encountering Far-East traditions of thinking and living, perhaps the best way to get insight into them is to penetrate the essence that keeps taking us by surprise relentlessly, challenging us with its novelty and undermining the roots of its own attitudes and views itself. With Zen-Buddhism we are almost immediately combining two key notions, two elementary words that have become self-explanatory in terms of their usage although they cannot be easily explained or presented in any form of discourse.
Satori, as enlightenment and state of awareness, and the koans as a methodical way leading to enlightenment in principle oppose such form of thinking and distinguishing, and therefore should be avoided from the start.
The best way to reach satori and unravel the koan enigma is certainly abandoning any kind of conceptual thinking and distinguishing within rigid logical shemes where the entire deliberation is based on strictly demarcated notions and distinctively restricted concepts. Thereby the irreducible existential quality of occurences is defined, demarcated and classified into categories, glossaries and vocabularies, a whole bunch of ossified presentations frequently reducing particular occurrence to more general and abstract notions. That way the entire existential experience is being ossified into certain formulas and predictable constructions.
But how to abandon all our so far experience of deliberation and acting in the world, how to relinquish the world of equations itself in which the subject is nothing more than a mere observer or a person familiar with an object that always remains recognized as an object, rather than within equation where one's own I equals the one who knows, the known, and the knowledge at the same time, drawn in the object of one's own knowledge, forming oneness with the familiar object.
How to abandon a world of well-established concepts and perception of a world entagled in the net of predictable conduct and handling objects, and immerse into new experience? How to conduct onself with the self and the whole world surrounding us - the world of nature, created objects and a non-created, but nevertheless always creative being pulsing the mighty universe with its rhythm?
How to abandon the schematized subject-object relation, the observer and the observed that, instead of reaching the state of permeating oneness, always remain divided, separated, demarcated and schematized, without ever being able to cross and overpower the boundary of seeing and resolving? How to abandon a world of common thinking and percepting experience and immerse into the other side, into the absolute, all-permeating, unique and undemarcated, into the state prior to any setting apart and dividing the relations concerning the I and Non I, being and non-being, the existence and non-existence?
How to, then, pass beyond boundaries constantly detaching us from the outer world, leaving us confronted with a barrier hard to surmount, with the observed world for itself on one side, in all its other-worldliness and uncognizance, while, on the other, unbridgeable and uncrossable side of the barrier, there is a world of consideration and perception, a world for us? How to overcome this barrier and perceive and become cognizant of the outer world to the fullest, at the same time getting to know and perceiving ourselves as well as forming oneness with the world surrounding us?
While referring to sources of "eastern wisdom" there are rather a lot of (un)conscious inspirations and interests on part of the readers or the ones easily induced (and "in practicing" misled by various mentors whose competency can be discussed on a mere basis of good command of the theory) to some "mastering" a peculiar and often undecipherable "code" according to which lessons in wisdom are formed and are available in most commonly non-discourse reading or intuitive insight impossible to verify together with mastering those "lessons", being impossible to affirm, that cannot be definitely articulated in terms of their belonging to philosophy of living or, speaking of discipline, vaguely defined ontological ethics.
However, this leads to uncertainties and difficulties even while starting to clear out "the reading clues" or any valid "guideline for comprehension" on some comparative basis. Therefore the ambiguity in status or aspects of reading, without being directly linear while going through glossaries, especially in the formation of inferences in which the notions break up in at first undefined meanings and derailment by the end of derived thesis or instruction, apparently the reason for "lessons in wisdom" to remain at the same level of literary parabolic deviation from the reality. Thereby "the end doesn't crown the work", but shifts into the domain of some kind of silent distinguishing or recognizing the paradox or twist whose guideline of its own status couldn't be primary established. Therefore the utter outcome is a certain astonishment or us being taken by surprise after not being able to recognize it on time, as well after completely not being able to interpret it, explain it and re-establish the entire process of reading so as to correspond the discourse "interpreting reading" as much as possible.
"Introducing to eastern wisdom" is therefore often unburdened or, paradoxically enough, deloaded, by means of, as it seems, unavoidable interference of auto-referential attitude concerning the one who introduces in relation to what is being introduced. Personal experiences are, no matter in which domain they got articulated, the inevitable "witnesses", additional testimonies at first hand at the occurrences of superficial shading, derailment from a habitual tradition and cultural background as a starting point of the one introducing us in the "eastern wisdom".
Namely, if, to put it directly, "the thing" with eastern wisdom in its complete inseparability of the contemplative from the living, whereby the accent in the shift from the first to the another one gives way to deliverance, means deliverance from the illusion of "actual" existence that is only yet to be reached by a proper insight or enlightenment, in that case it becomes quite obvious that without any kind of "getting-to-know" or "interfering" in the enforcement of the lessons with aim of reaching by delusions enlightened here-essence-for-being, it's basically no use in tackling introducing to eastern wisdom.
All these and them alike questions emerge as a consequence of comprehending the nature of satori and their obstacles encountered by the ones who are being instructed in the path to enlightenment the koans or unsolvable riddles, occasionally called "the impassable passage", as zen-instructor Mumon (1183), the composer of the most well-known collection of zen-koans, put it:
"It is a long way without a passage,
Although there are thousands of paths leading to it
Once you pass the impassable passage,
You will find yourself freely pacing between the Earth and the Heaven"
Questions, when properly posed, already provide an answer to certain extent. Satori or reaching and obtaining state of enlightenment is crossing beyond the boundaries of a subject and an object, the one who realizes and what is being realized, abandoning all conventional ways of thinking and reasoning and getting in immediate touch with reality and the self.
Satire is a state of overcoming all possible schematized relationships with object as their starting point, and subject as their notional construct or vice versa, it has to do with relinquishing any kind of schematization, any form of bringing contemplation down to brought-to-an-end formulas whereby the subject is in a somewhat "control" over its object or adapts it according to itself - it would be even more appropriate to say that the subject has no other choice but to be constantly adapting to itself and the world surrounding it, ever-changing and in motion all the time, in which it itself exists as a living reality. Satori is crossing all the boundaries, coming back to the authentic essence and the absolute, perfect unity and the unimpaired interconnection of all things with no demarcations and rigid boundaries among them. Satori means returning to the original unity, the original state of mind, abandoning all learned so far together with one's own ossified personality. Satori means abandoning and returning, overcoming and reliving in the new way of perceiving things with those things having been the same as they were before reaching the enlightenment. Satori is a new seeing of the same things, coming back to the state prior to our birth or, according to a well-known zen-story, "If you have reached the enlightenment, tell me what was your face like before you were born?" It, however, isn't enough only to understand satori and expose it in some comparable manner: contemplative zen does not correspond nor equals the experienced one.
Moreover, abandoning any kind of abstract and discourse-like contemplation is the condition of reaching the state of enlightenment.
It is at this point where we find ourselves before the "impassable passage" into satori: it is experience that brings to englightenment, and not some mere knowledge or command of theory about the nature of what is only yet to be reached, carried out and, finally, realized. It is perhaps at this point where all key differentiations between the western and the Japanese sensibility of thinking and perceiving the world, and dwelling in it, reside: without immediate experience, without palpable trying out the reality, there is no credible form of knowledge, no verifiable and appliable, real and concrete knowledge, but instead a mere vague net of thinking and frivolous talks. In brief: no experience, no actual knowledge, no experience, no satori.
If satori is proclaimed a mystical experience of enlightenment or unio mystica, in that case it shouldn't be regarded the way western Christian mystique suggests by the same term, nor should there be any religious connotations as common in the wastern cultural domain. Satori really is an experience of its kind, a kind that is fully entitled to be regarded as mystical, and only transcedental or mataphisical
It is, however, not the symbolic death of a being and its rebirth in divine spirit that makes the mystique of zen, but it lies in the return to the things themselves, their concrete essence of existing, their peculiarity and irreducibility in the state of a pure and undisturbed trying out the essence of a being and the self in indistinguishable unity of "both worlds" that can be distinguished in contemplation only, and definetely not in reality too. Besides, mystical experience of enlightenment is not left on one's own: in Japanese meditative tradition there is a rigid, ruthless and steady medodical way of preparations paved, which is in its techique brought to such perfection that it has turned not only into only a skill, but into a true art of meditation as well, including its own mystique of meditation.
Meditation was initially certainly a form of getting insight into itself without neither any methodological preparation nor certain philosophical hypothesis, view of life or guiding principle, a guideline of directing thoughts towards the ecstatic end. Even the Mumonkan collection with its disposition of riddles, unsolvable enigmas and comments testifies to the fact that the zen-koans were being developed according to various occasions as expressions of different way of reaching the "passage through impassable gateway" into satori. As time passed by, which is characteristic for the peculiarity and variety of Zen-Buddhism, these zen-expressions and riddles have assumed a rigid and sacrosanct form, creating the cannon of the path, impossible to skirt, inevitable and direct in reaching the state of enlightenment. Unio mystique is not a random privilege of the chosen priests endowed with divine inspiration in ecstatic state in which the chosen one symbolically ceased to live its up-to-then life, and is being reborn, diminishing and vanishing, again finding themselves in undesecrated unity of spirit and divine insight. Mystcal unity is therefore the place re-found after the symbolic death and birth in Christianity where an individual is sacrificed so as to be reborn in oneness with God. In zen-Buddhism, however, the personality is the same all the time, being the center and the margin of its own being and the world: the return to the central place may denote intentional de-centralization of a being that is no longer only a connoisseur of its own centralization, but also a connoisseur of its own being in all its entireness and organic connection with all-encompassing insight, and not into its own centralization or ecstaticness only.
The peculiarity of zen-Buddhism in relation to the original Buddha's teaching and, especially, mahayan "completion" or taking to utter consequences of metaphysical questions passed over in silence, and, on the other hand, Chinese Buddhism whose shaping goes through "the prism" of contemplatively unseizable and inexpressible Da, zen-Buddhism is constructed at the sites of "subsidence" and "deviation" in lining the zen method and the technique of koan-paradox. Reaching the procedure of abandoning all ossified ways of thinking and feeling at the point when a mind is trying to overcome its own life, a procedure leading to the utter level in zen - the intuitive insight as reaching, as Alan Watts put it, "inexpressible domains of reality - non-verbal, non-symbolic and completely undefinable realities of the concrete as opposed to mere abstractions, detached from the experience by means of thinking and name-giving". Thereby a paradoxical "casting out from one's own thoughts" is going on, where simultaneously purification of thinking is being experienced and, eventually a pure mind above all formal forms and thinking that ossify the reality and everything that finds itself in it.
Thereby, when the subject is being "taken by surprise" in the world, that is by no means only linear-contemplative, but lies in the fullness of life experience on the level that allows its existence - the level of not-ossified and not-in-advance-modeled world of "thinkness" according to its own forms of thinking. As for the peak of all efforts and attempts to cease t exist in the world of illusions or at least imperfect world whose flaws are equally sensed by the connoisseur and for them (painfully) separated domain of "the known" or, in other words, the one who realizes and the realized, in zen-Buddhism there are only "rough" indications, instructions and expressions slipping off into the "inexpressible".
The final message in zen, namely, isn't quite supple to articulating into a rigid instruction as a state which has surpassed any kind of appropriateness to be expressed in the continuity of the contemplative, and therefore "skips over" to the level for which each denotation is insufficiently defined, while each expression becomes inadequately expressible. Satori should be therefore described as an intuitive, inner understanding achieved by experiencing life and by the life itself, and therefore presents the state of momentary realizing the life in all its fullness and comprehensivness, as the self is comprehended in oneness with what is being realized.
From philosophical point of view, more explicit instruction on the domain of reaching the state of enlightenment is read as a seeing of one's own essential nature and the revelation of something completely new, that is realized with a crystal clarity, illuminating the entire life, but that cannot be expressed by any means. A word is, as Ernst Wood in his "Dictionary of zen" put it, sometimes used for denoting some great mental and emotional soaring and deluge of the intuitive nature, but at the same time it is important to emphasize that some intuition can indicate to the experience of satori which has, at a given moment, shed its light into conscious, but got lost from sight while being experienced.
By avoiding any kind of superfluous ballast of mysticism or mystification of the state of enlightenment, terms most commonly associated with familiar denotations to which a western reader got accustomed and eagerly anticipates when it comes to "crown completions" of all philosophical allegations or rational-psychological analysis, some gaps in terms of the domain of reaching satori remain. It is exactly those gaps where derailments from all completed definitions occur. They are literary left unfilled in the horizon of "revealing something completely different" that is impossible to express and, finally, as being an experience that has shed the whole mind, but got lost out of sight once it tried to be seized. Apparently each attempt to flee from rigid denotations and to find alternative in definitions turns out to be unpromising when it comes to inexpressiveness of an intuitive experience. Being a "crown peak", it is impossible to express or testify to the level of experienced satori by any description, explanation, interpretation or by any other means of available discourse apparatus. Descriptions of such an experience come down to metaphors only, without being adequate enough.
In Zen, as Alan Watts put it, we are talking about "solution to all sorts of theorizing, instructions and inanimate formalizations; they are treated as mere symbols of wisdom, and Zen is firmly based on experience and an intimate, personal perception of reality, whereas the majority of religious and philosophical attitudes approach this reality as much as their intellectual or emotional description allows them…"
In Zen there are no verifiable or beforehand established schemes of relations, learned modes of existence, established direction signs of approach and encounter in the relation between the one who realizes - the realized or the one who tries out - the tried out or the one who perceives and the perceived. We are, on the contrary, talking about overcoming the obstacles that are disabling a schematized subject, overpowering the gap of oppositions directly subverting categorically schematized mind, anathematizing uncognizable "fact-for-itself".
In Zen it is more about such kind of a mind focusing which occurs through deliberate settling in which a mind of a subject is recovered. However, a mind must first stop consider itself a ruler over the reality - it is yet to be recognized in the same reality through direct experiencing the essence of the existence. The point of Zen lies in being able to be intent upon reality itself, overpowering nothing more than mere intellectual and emotional reaction to reality. Reality is something ever-changing, ever-revolving and impossible to determine that makes the existence; it never stops, not even for a moment, not even for the sake of our rigid systems of classifications and ossified ideas.
Japanese reception of original Buddha's teaching opposes the reticence when it comes to final metaphysical questions, including the reticence in terms of descriptions that might befall on the state of enlightenment. Where noble reticence occurs, there is a possibility left open, allowing searching and thinking out the reaching of the final aim, to which the notion of the deepening of the meditative consciousness doesn't correspond, but it can be rather compared with the notion of opening the horizon of what is in yogistic psychology called dhyan as a supreme state of mind where a process of becoming oneness with the supreme reality of cosmos occurs. It is exactly this dimension that is never "completely" discussed and that is not "obstructed" in certain explicit instruction or doctrinally performed crown theorem of Buddhist teaching. On the contrary, a variety of receptions, a horizon of involving one's own sensibility-for-achieving-aim is enabled, together with, quite certainly, finding the place within the actual surrounding, tradition and culture-habitues.
To that extent renunciation and withdrawal from the world on part of an Asian Buddhist can be understood, a solitary meditative effort and a complete merging with the world relevant for a Chinese chuan follower or, an effort for abolishing the linear logical scheme system of subject and establishing de-centralized subject in the center of an active principle of living as relevant for a zen-Buddhist.
Incompleteness, inexpressibility and noble reticence thereby become a source, an urge for exertion, an inspiration for searching. Thus mahayan "doctrine completion" or an attempt to revoke noble reticence while elaborating on its metaphysical questions reveals its tendency to all the subjugation to ad infinitum elaborations.
Those elaborations are less likely to resolve dilemmas on the denial of a being that contradicts living or as a denial of a life for itself, which all over again requires the confirmation of annatt or non-being. Hinayana finds it in denying the being-for-the-self as some kind of a possessive privacy, while for mahayan it rather has to do with merging of nirvana and samsara in seeing through the genuine being that occurs at the moment of abandoning the false or apparent "self". The true being is by no means an idea, but an experience emerging at the point of the body abandoning all metaphysical premises on which it used to rely and any idea by which it has tended to grasp the nature of the world. It is at that moment when Japanese inspiration for reception of Buddhism begins, as long as nirvana is within samsara, and therefore there exists no question on its being as a state of unity as opposed to the state of variety. It all depends on the inner achievement only.
Special attention should be then paid to the method of the Zen-koan or logical paradoxes that is the most valid in the context of "shattering" a schematized logical subject. As Alan Watts put it, "satori is a 'measure of Zen' for there would be no Zen at all if there weren't for satori. However, due to absurdity, the koan is a measure of satori, in that each satori draws a subject into some kind of a dilemma. Although there is basically a choice between two options, both of them are actually impossible. That way each koan reflects a giant koan of existence, since for Zen the central problem of the existence is going beyond the two alternatives of accepting and rejecting, with both of them obscuring the truth in the same way at the same time."

When shades, reticence or unsolvableness of "absurdities" begin to occur, a western reader will again be challanged by numerous questions about "crown peak", including a doubt of whether he/she is once again dealing with some kind of "autohypnosis trick" leading to a state that isn't quite adequate for transcendence of a pure mind. Moreover, it presents (the illusion of) fact-for-itself. It is, however, certain that even these kind of questions, no matter how inappropriate they may seem, present one of the horizons of introduction into the philosophy of Zen.

II. THE HISTORY OF ZEN

Divided original Buddhism of hinayan and mahan direction has spread throughout the Asian world. While doing so, transformations that have interwoven in it depending on different areas it reached couldn't be avoided. From the first century of our era onwards mahayan Buddhism has been spreading across China, from there reaching Japan and Korea, being present in cultural, religious and philosophical tenets it had adopted in its way. Truly religious features of the Indian system of contemplation and abstract metaphysics in that sense haven't found fertile soil in Chinese pragmatism, not being able to take root in its original form. Instead, different tonalities gradually tinged them while encountering differently intoned traditions.
While spreading to China, Buddhism came across Daoism, based on the conception of wu-wei, which literary means "non-activity" or "compromise-less". Such an attitude in reality referred to a victory won over an ego by a Chinese thinker, over constricted views of a limited "I", thus winning the victory based on humbleness regarding things according to and in balance with their regularities and patterns, without conducting oneself by one's personal aspirations. "Each and every thing is what it is, thus being Dao", said Lao Tse.
Unlike it, Confucianism presented another aspect of Chinese temperament - its practical side for it has preached the principle of jen, based on preoccupation of what is spontaneous, direct and practical. "The path of duty brings us what is the nearest, but some seek what is far. While fullfilling the duty one encounters what is easy, though some seek what is hard."
Like Buddha, Confucius too didn't show any affection towards otherworldly metaphysics: "Be eager to serve Gods! First start serving people!" For Confucius, it is only what is immediately practical that makes a value, compliance with the duty that brings concrete and immediate fruits. "Unless you understand life, how are you to understand death", said Confucius. Both Buddhism and Confucianism are essentially confident about human innate emotions, feelings allowing them to comprehend their intuitive knowledge leading to enlightenment, to acquire and master the knowledge. Such Asian practicality and focusing on what is given immediately, especially the Chinese one contributed to transforming Buddhism into chan in China and Zen in Japan.
Dhyana, Indian meditation leading to a higher level of getting insight, has on Chinese soil developed into ch'an - unification with the reality, as in Japan called zen. Buddhist philosophy of life therefore merged with Chinese pragmatism and humanism, thus creating a path of knowledge, being distinguished from all other paths not by its aim, but the methods involved.
This brings us to considerate zen as a Japanese interpretation of a path leading us to enlightenment in mahayan Buddhism. If the Buddhists have in "four noble truths" and "noble eightfold path" seen the center of their teacher's teaching, zen has seen its enlightenment as essential center in its philosophical development.
Essential belief of Zen is a search for one's own nature of human being, the inner nature that cannot be interpreted by intellectual knowledge or practical psychology. Seeing one's own nature brings to realizing our deepest inner truth. Houei-neng, the sixth patriarch put it like this: "There are no directions nor instructions, it is up to us to say what is our by nature; there is no other way, but to seek liberation by practicing dhyana. It is important to stress that only the ones who don't possess the propriety of such an inner insight are able to read canonical texts, to meditate, to think about Buddha, to study for a long period of time and be strongly convinced that it makes them true Buddhists". Somewhat later, in direct contact of the Zen philosophy with art in its many aspects, we encounter a picture depicting a teacher angrily tearing pages of a holy book. Such an obvious sharpness of an individual experience is a stamp of zen-Buddhist philosophy of life. If someone desires to find Buddha himself, they must first look closely at their own nature for their nature is the nature of Buddha. "That nature is a spirit and spirit is Buddha and Buddha is a Path and Path is Zen." Those words, emphasized from the teaching of Bodhidharm, the first patriarch of Zen, can be found in the work named The Six Essays by Shoshitsu, in which the final meaning of Zen is summarized: it is intended for those who are not willing to waste their whole life doing practice, but wish to see in their life their own essence as well as the essence of the entire reality, so as to set themselves free as a consequence of their own immediate experience.
According to Daisetz T. Suzuki, the essence of Zen is contained in "obtaining new point of view at life and things". As in our every day life, when our deep freedom is disturbed by some unpleasant thing, we must encourage the facilitation of that inner "unnaturalness" by reshaping our pint of view at things, that way our existence takes one new direction that is reviving, more self-satisfactory and profound. It is about certain tension, more high-minded than "awakening", as "satori" is usually translated and is actually Buddhist enlightenment. That word indicates discovering a new world, a world emerging for the first time, that is new for it hadn't been imbued by spirit up to that moment, but was confined in mists of dualism of our declared nature.
Once it gets affirmed that Japanese Zen-Buddhism belongs to one of the Buddhist schools of mahayan direction of philosophy of life, then it becomes obvious that it has to do with a particular reception of this philosophic school to which we are forced in terms of distinguishing and making judgements, for it is imposed on us from our own tradition of philosophizing. This doesn't imply philosophic contemplative point of view only, but also more superficial, historiographical approach by which we are obliged to classify, name, designate into particular drawers. That way we make a certain philosophical body as comparable and discernible as possible to the way of thinking that is self-comprehendible from the perspective of a western thinker or simply an interested reader getting to know Fareast view of life. When a person starts reading or studying surviving original works and comments by Buddhist thought from philosophical point of view, at the beginning a fundamental question is raised: does it have to do with systematic analysis of ethic issues based on position of a ontological ethics deprived of any kind of metaphysical stratification or is it connected with philosophy of life containing messages and instructions on how to live wise designed for lay persons and followers in a monastic community? Is it, so, about ontology of a dynamic reality in which each reality, continuity and self-identity are a mere illusion and the focus of contemplation thus completely shifts to the domain of ethics as a true theorizing or ethical rules are constituted as connective tissue for reaching further and otherworldly aim of liberation that can by no means be set apart from religious kind of thinking? Does it have to do, then, with philosophy or religion, ontological ethics or cultivating Buddhist-affiliated community?
By asking such questions on the essence and belonging of Buddhist doctrines there is a hidden dilemma caused by the same difficulties that western reader encounters while attempting to read a certain text in linear sequence of tracking inferences of some given thesis. This thesis is then expected to be further developing in a successive sequence until it finally becomes elaborated into a complete system of thinking. Thereby a person involved expects to take a clear position of an intellectual who becomes cognizant of a logical sequence of thoughts whereby their aspect of reading must be perfectly defined. Such reading is, however, in Zen-Buddhism impossible, not to mention inappropriate or unachievable. The structure of Zen-Buddhist texts, if we rely on literature of Zen-koans and Zen-stories, as well as fundamental Zen-Buddhist philosophical dissertations, indicates its crucial intention towards formation of the textual message as a whole based on such notions that might be called polyvalent, ambiguous and vaguely defined. They are furthermore characterized by contextually extremely broad semantic field whose range of meaning must be, for each particular case, designated all over again, and not the immediately communicated meaning on the level of the textual setting itself. The plot itself is based on parabolic and hyperbolic deviation from the reality whereby a hidden paradox becomes a means of omitting explicitly lectured message, leaving nothing more that astonishment and being caught off-guard at the end, the attitude of a reticent recognition of paradoxical twist whose guiding line wasn't clearly emphasized during the linear tracking the plot or the logic of philosophical discussion. Therefore it is impossible for the paradox to be solved, interpreted or displayed in any discourse way, in some glossary capacious enough to include all possible meanings on which the paradox is based.
Such dilemmas regarding proper reading and understanding Zen-Buddhist texts can be explained by the fact that we are dealing with mutually interwoven glossaries of various disciplines that could be called under a single name the conglomerate of thinking about the reality of living which cannot be comprehended without immediate intuitive insight into its entirety, fullness and universality. It is about the logic of paradox, psychology of intuitive insight and philosophy that may be called the attitude of ontological ethics that by the insight into ephemeral nature and inconstancy directly obliges itself to self-discipline of the spirit and nurturing attentiveness as basic preconditions for achieving the utter aim - enlightenment and purification of mind or satori. From those three moments in which each notion can be differently understood, depending on the sphere of interest, each of which is characterized by its own semantic field, without belonging to one exclusively, but accomplishing its goal not before overcoming all possible reducible sense, the logic of paradox, expressed in Zen-koans presents what is called the technique of reaching satori.
Thereby the intention of solving the logical paradox by means of intellectual resolving has nothing to do with it; what is relevant is letting go everything learned so far in form of conceptual, notional way of thinking for it directly prevents us from spontaneous, intuitive, without being caused through any kind of mediation, insight into the essence of reality and life of one's own. The Zen-koans are composed as an apparent possibility of choosing between two alternatives that at first glance seem to be equally possible and justified, and equally impossible and unjustified. Each koan contains certain amount of absurdity by which a subject is faced with a dilemma about what choice to make, accepting one and rejecting another alternative. However, by making such a choice we are actually confirming the absurdity, i.e. certain attitude that is inherently unjustifiable and senseless. Only by breaking the vicious circle of confirming and denying, accepting and rejecting, affirming and negating, can we reach the state of a purified mind. A mind that, like a Buddhist mirror that always has to stay clean and unsullied from any kind of reflection is directly connected with the concrete and irreducible reality and its true nature.

The most well-known Zen-koan from the Mumonkan collection is called "Joshua's Dog" in which, where logically one would expect affirmative or negative answer to a posed question, there is an answer with no meaning, deprived of any kind of semantic and logical meaningfulness. Zen-koan, namely, brings a defined concrete question by a certain monk addressing his teacher of Zen about dilemma about Boddhisatvical nature of all living beings. "Does this dog possess the qualities of Buddha?" According to mahayan reception of the original Buddha's teaching, all beings are by their nature bestowed by the features distinguished by enlightenment and awakening, which also goes for dialectical unity of samsaric course of constant ephemeral nature and rebirth and nirvana as a final liberation from a whirling empirical existence that generates only suffering, unpleasantness and pain. The monk's question is, therefore, meaningful and reasonable as an expression of suspicion and anticipated confirmation in favor or against this elementary thesis. In such predictable sense the monk certainly with right expects the thesis to be disproved provided by some additional arguments or, alternatively, to be confirmed in accordance with everything known in advance in form of notional reasoning and intellectual attitude towards the essence of learning. The monk's expectations have, however, not been fulfilled, but he instead gets a monosyllabic exclamation "Mu!" as an answer. This word is supposed to literary denote negation, but actually it has a status of a meaningless word that is semantically empty, without any meaningful qualities. In comments given by Mumon, the composer of a collection of Zen-koans, adds the following explanation:

"Qualities of Buddha in a dog?
It is a presentation of the whole, an irrefutable command!
If you find yourself thinking on "yes" - "no" basis,
You are a dead man."

We are talking about liberating a direct insight from all accumulated tools of logical resolving, notions, conceptual thinking and learned schemes in which the whole intellectual contemplative effort is performed, and whose true nature is nothing more than obscuring directly given facts that in some contemplative attitude begin to lose all of their concreteness and obviousness. When all those ways of thinking are closed, even than "unpassable passage" to direct insight into the truth, reality and existence can be opened. Its obstacle lies in the senseless word "Mu" as an answer to questions already anticipating affirmation or negation. Once we get out of the tight circle of confirmation and denial, as well as all other subsequently added nets of resolving in this or that direction, we will be able to realize that the logical form of the Zen-koan paradox is in fact an expression referring to all paradoxality of existence in its non-stopping circulation and dynamic irreducibility. However, this may, like so popular stroke with magic wand in Zen-stories, lead to a shock shifting us to another level of insight, a new plan of getting insight incomparable with all so far way of resolving. Such state of a sudden, unexpected and momentary liberation of mind from all manacles of conceptual thinking is satori or momentary enlightenment.
Satori seems to be philosophical, as well as psychological notion, in case we would like to define it more closely according to standards of the western disciplinary classifications. In terms of philosophy satori is liberation and leaping over to a new domain of enlightened existence, while in terms of psychology it refers to feeling of balance, tranquility and intuitive harmony with universal harmony as comparable with spontaneous activity, and not dulling the spirit. Satori is, despite all these and them alike attempts to be defined, the key moment of Zen-Buddhist philosophy of life that defies any description, any attempt of detailed interpretation, either philosophical or psychological, which is at the same time its main feature. Satori is, namely, by no means some specific idea that should be pursued, with tendency to obtain all its frames of reference, but rather an experience, special sensibility towards a moment when one becomes cognizant of one's own self-being, with crystal clarity and serenity, without withdrawing from the world but immersing into it in a way of a complete identification, expressible only by a Zen-Buddhist short saying: "Understanding a tree means becoming one."
In the glossary of Zen-Buddhist terms by Ernest Wood satori is described as "seeing of one's own essential nature and discovery of something completely new that is realized with perfect clarity and that illuminated the entire life, but cannot be expressed by any means. The word is occasionally used for denoting a great mental and emotional uplift and overflow of intuitive nature, though it is at the same time important to say that some intuition can indicate an experience of satori, which has at a particular moment shed its light into conscious, but got lost out of sight during the process of being perceived."
Even in such description all mentioned frames of references of clear cognition, intuitive insight, mental and emotional uplift can be comprehended and accepted only as rough descriptions or metaphors, and by no means as literary description where the subject of depicting always tends to retreat into untouchable domain of the subjective, a sphere of intimate experience and fragile sensitivity for which no comparable expressions exist. Such seeing the nature of the deepest inner self-being is in its essence inexpressible, and can be only immediately experienced, without being able to define and designate as a particular insight of certain essential qualities of cognized object.
What can be positively said about satori as a reaching of the state of enlightenment is that its qualities are determinable in several interrelated features that equally refer to the way of reaching enlightenment itself, as well as the nature of that state. First of all, satori is obtained abruptly, suddenly, at once, in a single moment as a momentary act in which the entire and complete truth is being cognized. Satori, thus, cannot be compared with gradualness of successive steps or arranging in row intuitions that would then be marked by a certain cognitive range of such way of distinguishing. Enlightenment isn't some distinctly arranged sequence of logical steps that increasingly illuminate separate peculiar features of some object of comprehending, but is rather comparable to a sudden leap out from all formal and substantial forms of thinking as a liberation of all forms of theorizing approach to reality, doctrinaire instructions on its proper direction and method, as well as all lifeless formulations by which existential quality and reality are merely placed in Prokrust's bed frame of narrow and inadequate notions and categories. The state of enlightenment is according to its contents directed to unmediated and synthesizing seeing of one's own inner nature for which the position of a schematized logical subject as a distinct, including from its own emotional and experiential attitudes in conscious and unconscious too, as well as being distinct from a certain object as an object of cognition, is no longer applicable. The aim of enlightenment lies in synthetic attitude of a mind that is pliable for identification not only with the world of inner experiencing in liberated activity from one's own essence, but also with the outer one in all its full and integral concreteness, this-worldliness and universality that is momentary and unrepeatable. It has to do with a certain jumping in the flow of life in its unrepeatable and irreducible proceeding, rather than some withdrawal from the reality that would imply keeping one's distance while abandoning and suspending all activities. It is exactly the opposite; a mind in its deepest inner activity can be comprehended only through immediate performance that is directed to identifying function of merging with the outer world of concrete realities.
While the here depicted southern school of reaching satori through mediation of unsolvable Zen-koans paradoxes is pragmatic and practical, teaching here described sudden enlightenment, the northern Zen-Buddhist school is far more intellectual and intuitive, and teaches enlightenment as a gradual meditative effort requiring nurturing the attention and consciousness of spirit. This school of meditative engagement too, however, admits that enlightenment can be achievable only providing the independence from notions and words, from each detachment from notional and ossified idea distinguishing, as well as fundamental pursuit of immediate indication to the inner nature of self-being and its actual existential reality. On the other hand, there are some schools of immediate reaching satori that nevertheless admit that momentary and sudden plunge into actual cognition also consists of previously experienced "phases" of insight in the form of several steps as a basis for getting insight into something that has already been known from before.
Regardless of such differences in techniques leading do satori, in all paths to insight and liberation the state of enlightenment certainly presents and remains the state of purified consciousness freed from all kinds of possessive privacy that in domain of logic can be expressed by attitudes of acceptances and denials and in intellectual domain by claiming and argumenting some thesis in form of an idea pervading the reality with its discriminating power of theory. In terms of psychological status of satori, Suzuki describes it as seeing the actual nature of one's own being, causing radical change in all mental structures, involving thorough "restoration" of personality, its metamorphosis into the figure of a wiseman who is as much transpersonal on the level of a common and empirical conscious, as he/she is endowed by concrete virtues that the same person displays them in all usual activities. Once more, it has nothing to do with suspending and dulling the mental activities and its whirling twists on the level of empirical consciousness, but it rather refers to some high-minded or expanded consciousness whose foothold is intuitive maturing of truth and the essence. This kind of consciousness can be approximately described on three levels, starting with physical activities and the way they are performed, up to already mentioned identification of ego-structure of personality with an object to which the act of intuitive cognition refers. In the domain of physical activities this form of satoric consciousness is characterized by a total calmness and tranquility, but at the same time with a considerable spontaneous activity that seems to be unfolding from itself, filtrating outer influences and bringing them into a perfect harmony in the state as occasionally called "perpetual future".
Intellectual and emotional functions of the spirit never lose track of vivid connection with the concrete reality, nor they withraw from it in some sort of reductive attitude towards reality, but , exactly the opposite, they tend to intensive performance that, unlike the usual and e,pirical consciouss, goes on without mediation of ideas, pictoral and vivid conceptions and their putting in chunks of words. And eventually, the ego-structure of personality abandons all kinds of possessive privacy in relation to its object, identifying with it, cancelling the borders of a subject-object relationship. Thereby the intellectual comprehension, free and unlimited, but at the same time uninterested in its performance, does not get attached to anything particular or partial, but instead encompasses the entirety of the object the ways it exists in reality. These are all qualities of a purified conscious about which Hui Neng testifies the following: "Our nature is primevally clean. One's own nature is always clean, as the Sun and the Moon always illuminate everything with their light. Only when they are obscured by clouds, the light is above and the darkness is below so that the Sun, the moon and the stars cannot be seen. Yet, when a breeze blows and dispels all the clouds, all events unfold before our eyes, occurring together."
Reaching the state of a pure consciousness is almost as if the paradoxical path itself doesn't head towards some anticipated progress, advancing towards more significant stages of cognition as some special and peculiar kind, but, on the contrary, seems to be a reversible path of returning to the original pureness of the spirit that has become obscured by all learnt formal ways of perceiving one's own nature and the outer reality. It is exactly because of this why the path for reaching enlightenment in Japanese Zen-Buddhist schools has absolutely nothing in common with withdrawal from the world in Indian yogistic practices that stand for abandoning every-day and usual activities for the sake of the love for isolation and solitary meditative effort by which each connection with the world is literary suspended. S opposed to this, Zen-Buddhist pursuit of enlightenment is done in an attentive concentration on every-day activities that are accordingly carried out carefully and consciously, thus presenting a practice for nurturing attention and meditative consciousness as well. Zen-meditation is therefore a complete oneness with everything surrounding the subject, whereby at the same time and during the meditative absorption itself intellectual and spiritual practice is done in a perfect harmony, without any of them being superior. A pure conscious, freed from obscuring illusions, thus presents the return to the state of original pureness, harmony and balance, where only linear analytic relations of a schematized logical subject are suspended, being replaced by permeating and syntetising forms of consciousness and perceiving reality. As a witness to this return to the original state of pureness of the spirit stands a well-known legend of the fifth patriarch of Zen-Buddhism who, prior to his death, decided to select and empower his successor among all the disciples from his school. The potential successor had to prove his understanding of the essence of Zen-Buddhist disciplines and that way deserve the position of the one not only ruling the monastic community, but also sustaining the discipline from misunderstanding and misinterpreting, as well as directing the disciples' effort towards the path to enlightenment. For that purpose the patriarch composed a poem containing a specific comprehension of the Zen-Buddhist discipline, asking from his disciples to, as their answer, provide their own interpretation of was said in the poem. The poem was the following: "A body is a tree of enlightenment, a consciousness is a light mirror alike. Endeavor to keep it pure and never allow dust to pile on it." Apparently the song promoted a claim on purified conscious as a result and consequence of intensive meditative absorptions during which the attention mustn't stray or be allowed to stray freely; on the contrary, all conceivable effort should be directed to maintaining the state of pureness as something that is obtained, rather than being a natural state of mind. As an answer to in this way given thesis regarding the status of enlightenment, his successor, the sixth elected patriarch, a disciple at the time in question, replied by saying: "The enlightenment isn't tree alike, the light of a mirror shines nowhere. As there is non of these existing at all, where possibly could dust be piling up?"

A proper and profound comprehension of Zen-Buddhist teaching like this contains all crucial points of satori as a state of enlightenment that can yet be indicated, and by no means thoroughly described or defined. It has to do with mahayan assertion of the Buddhist nature of all living beings whose original nature is already unsullied and purified by itself, while everything else accumulating in its empirical existence as being unnecessary and redundant is basically the apparatus of logical-conceptual thinking and distinguishing that, while deciding upon thesis or antitheses, obscures the insight into the actual nature of things. Liberation leading towards the leap onto another domain of cognition in which the cancellation rigid distinction between a subject and object is achievable through gradual meditative absorption or a sudden shock, whereby both methods presuppose experiential background of cognition as well, along with immediate intuitive insight into the actual nature of a being. Satori is therefore an experience in the first place, rather that mental construction, it is the state of an enlightened and purified mind followed or expressed in a subjective and intimate experience of its deepest inner nature, as well as a complete oneness with the existential quality, the vividness and the actuality of one's own self and occurrences surrounding it, being in such state of mind irreducibly individual, perfectly unrepeatable and constantly revolving of its dynamic essentials that cannot be gripped nor defined by contemplating or distinguishing, but can only be experienced and comprehended. It is here where the basis of what is called Zen-Buddhism as a philosophy of life lies, being deprived of any metastasizing metaphysics and accumulation of abstract reasoning over irreducible peculiarity, individuality, free flow and originality. It serves as an expression for that concreteness to whose immediate experience, as well as its spontaneous activity in such a world Zen-Buddhism and its peak, the satoric state of enlightenment, pureness and liberation of mind and a concrete performance in terms of the intuitive rather than logical and distinguishing power of mind actually aspire. Zen-koan is thus a mere expression of that giant paradox as often called the living, the reality and the actuality where metaphysics only obscures, rather that clarifies the insight into one's self and the objects that, during thecognition of the real nature of things, seek to be completely identified, rather than attributed according to subject-object relations that are nothing more than expressions of classification of a living essence of an unschematized subject. It is to such dissipation of a dominant metaphysical and schematized logical subject that Zen-Buddhist philosophy of life and its intimate, intuitive experience of fullness and uniqueness of things and occurrences aspire.