Life or Death Zen

Posturing on the Internet, being an expert in Zen or in Buddhism or in any sort of "spiritual" discipline, will not even remotely help you when you are confronted directly with a life or death situation. It won't even help you observe falling yellow leaves or heat up the water for tea.

No -- the real test of something like "Zen" is whether it helps you engage  every natural situation of this life, or fails you exactly when you need it the most. Given that clear fact, what else can be said? "Intoxicated by the moonlight," maybe!

There are Zen practices and forms of training that were effective in equipping people with the equanimity to enter a life or death duel fought with real live ultra-sharp swords or even to cut their own bellies open, like the Shogun's tea master Sen no Rikyu, when there was no other way to face reality. Do you have that kind of ability? Do you even want it?
Charcoal, though placed exactly according to teaching, is dead charcoal if it does not boil the water. - Rikyu

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