Zen might be called the inner art and design of the Orient. Rooted in China by Bodhidarma who came from India in the sixth century, and carried eastward into Japan by the twelfth century, it has been described as :

A special teaching without scriptures,
Beyond words and letters,
Pointing to the mind-essence of man,
Seeing directly into one’s nature, attaining enlightenment.

Zen used to be known as Ch’an in China. The Ch’an masters, instead of being followers of the Buddha, aspire to be his friends and to place themselves in the responsive relationship with the universe that Buddha and Jesus did. Zen is not a sect but an experience.

The Zen habit of self-searching through meditation to realize one's true nature, with disregard of formalisms, insistence upon self-discipline and simplicity of living, ultimately won the support of the nobility and Military castes, and the profound respect of all levels of philosophical thoughts in the Orient.

The Noh dramas are Zen stories. Zen spirit has come to mean not only peace and understanding, but devotion to art and to work, the rich unfoldment of contentment, opening the door to insight, the expression of innate beauty, the intangible charm of incompleteness. Zen carries many meanings, none of them entirely definable. If they are defined they are not Zen.

It has been said that if you have Zen in your life you have no fear, no doubt, no unnecessary craving, no extreme emotion. Neither illiberal attitudes nor egotistical actions trouble you. You serve humanity humbly, fulfilling your presence in this world with loving kindness, and observing your passing as a petal falling from a flower. Serene, you enjoy life in blissful tranquility. Such is the spirit of Zen whose vester is thousands of temples in China and Japan, priests, monks, wealth, prestige, and often the very formalism it would itself transcend.

To study Zen, the following of one's nature, is no easy task in any age or civilization. Many teachers, true and false, have purposed to assist others in this accomplishment. It is from these innumerable and actual adventures in Zen that the stories have evolved May the reader in turn realize them and living experience to-day.

Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps