Be a Seed... Question #2: What is the difference between ZA-ZEN & Patenjali's DHYAN?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZA-ZEN AND PATANJALI'S DHYAN?
Patanjali's dhyan is a step; in his eight steps, dhyan is a step. In za-zen, dhyan is the only step; there are no other steps. Patanjali believes in gradual growth. Zen, in sudden enlightenment. So what is only a step in Patanjali is all-in-all in Zen -- just dhyan is enough, meditation is enough. Nothing else is needed. All else can be discarded. All else may be helpful but is not essential -- in za-zen, only meditation.
Patanjali gives you a complete system of all that is needed, of all requirements, from the very preliminary to the end. He gives you the whole teaching. It is not a sudden phenomenon; one has to grow into it by and by, slowly. As you go on growing and absorbing your growth, you become capable of further steps. Zen is for rare exceptions, for those few courageous souls who can risk all for nothing, who can risk everything without any expectations.
This is not possible for all. You move cautiously -- and nothing is wrong in moving cautiously. If it comes natural to you to move cautiously, you have to move cautiously. Then don't be a fool and don't try to jump. Listen to your nature. If you feel to be cautious is your nature, then move cautiously. If you feel that to risk, to gamble, is your nature, then don't be bothered with cautiousness, then don't be bothered with gradual steps. You can either come down by the staircase or you can jump from the terrace. It depends on you. Listen to your nature.
There are a few persons who will not bother to come by the staircase, who are not ready to wait even for that. Once they hear the call, they jump. Once the call has been heard, they cannot wait for a single moment. But these are rare people.
When I am saying "rare." I don't mean in any evaluatory way. I am not evaluating. I am not saying "higher." When I say "rare," it is just a statement of fact these people are not many. I am not saying -- don't miss my point -- I am not saying that they are higher than ordinary people. Nobody is higher and nobody is lower -- but people are different. There are people who would like to jump. They should choose Zen. There are people who would like to get to the goal with ease, with cautiousness, with gradual steps. Perfectly good. Go gracefully if that is your way.
Always remember, it is you, your type, your nature, which has to be the deciding factor. Don't follow Patanjali or Zen. Always listen to your being. Patanjalis and Zen exist for you, you don't exist for them. The sabbath is for man -- not vice versa. All religions exist for you, not vice versa. Ultimately, you are the goal.