How do you keep a positive outlook in life according to Zen Buddhism?

From what I understood from my own personal reading, you’re just suppose to accept all that is and in doing so, you become happier. Um, how in the hell is that? lol If someone is trying to kill me i’m going to run or call the police. If a tornado is approaching, i’m not going to just sit there and accept it, i’m going to take shelter. I’d like to know from someone who personally has studied/practiced Zen Buddhism if my research on this matter is accurate.

4 thoughts on “How do you keep a positive outlook in life according to Zen Buddhism?

  1. “If someone is trying to kill me I’m going to run or call the police.” and in THIS CONTEXT, you should probably do this! 🙂

    You are going in the right direction, intellectually, by asking these questions but are stopping short. Continue to question even your answers to the last question. There is a Zen koan about two monks who were standing at a flag pole arguing. One continued to insist that the flag was moving. The other monk insisted without further thought that the wind was moving. After several minutes of this, the Roshi (zen teacher) walked by hearing this argument and stopped, looked up at the flag and the trees and then to each monk. He then said, softly, “mind is moving” and walked slowly away. In this, the two monks were enlightened.

    Don’t know if you have or have not, but look into Zen koans, many books with these short stories. Do not forget to practice mindfulness and compassion too! These things are very important and help complement the intellect and other factors. It is like folding the intellect on itself! There are unfortunately no words to describe it, only characteristics of relative duality. Which is emphasized greatly in the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

    If you are a rational minded person, which I think you might be, mix all this up with “What the bleep do we know?” [a DVD] and/or “Quantum Psychology” by Robert Anton Wilson or “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” by Gary Zukav…in no particular order.

    Hope this was remotely helpful 🙂 May compassion guide you on your journey!

  2. ‘No mind’, ‘With-out Thinking’ are meant to encourage us to adopt a basic tenant of Zen, the Beginner’s Mind. A beginner’s mind protects us from over-conceptualizing, over-thinking and over-analyzing a situation. Zen is about mindfulness, Just be here and experience. The process of mindfulness is really quite different from what we usually do. We usually do not look into what is really there in front of us. We see life through a screen of thoughts and concepts, and we mistake those mental objects for reality. We get so caught up in this endless thought-stream that reality flows by unnoticed. We spend our time engrossed in activity, caught up in an eternal flight from pain and unpleasantness. We spend our energies trying to make ourselves feel better, trying to bury our fears. We are endlessly seeking security.

    Simply be aware of what actually is without giving it names and without judging it, for you are now feeling out reality itself instead of ideas and opinions about it. Just being here and experiencing produces an effect. When things are nice, it enhances the moment like a little salt on food — it brings out the savor. And when things are bad, it can prevent you from reacting and that’s a good thing, because when we get upset and react, the actions we take in that state of mind will probably be counterproductive or self-defeating in some way.
    Example: When you’re upset, you’re at your worst. You can’t think straight, and your point of view is one-sided and heavily biased. Your reactions tend to miss the mark and tend to be regretted later. When you pay close attention to your experience, you begin to freshly notice the difference between those actions that are truly worth doing, and those that aren’t. When you pay attention, you just know. It’s not a mystery. And when you know what experiences are really worth having, you can have more of them, and fewer of the less satisfying experiences, and your life will be richer for it.

    So, back to your situation: if you are aware in the present moment that someone is gonna kill you, what is right reaction? of course run! Don’t caught up in your perception that he is hate you and you feel sad because of that or some other thoughts that are counterproductive. Or, if you happened to be not “be here in the present moment” you may be death in a few second / you will regret soon that you haven’t run for your life.

    Chong An Sunim, a zen monk ones said: “If people get hungry, give them food…”
    Please find this expression in one of his videos on introductory about zen in :

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