In Zen. What is Absolute Truth? Is it Truth That We Lie?

I have just involved myself in an on-line discussion on why people lie. It will be interesting to see what reponses I get, but being a very Zen answer. What I have written can be quite challenging to some, so there may not be any responses at all.

As a Zen practitioner and therapist, I have studied the tendency to lie.  In Zen I aim to deal in absolutes, that is, we are either lying or telling the truth. Lying is usually done  out of some sort of fear. The fear could be great or small.  For instance if you see someone who is wearing what you believe to be an awful outfit, but they seem very proud of it, it may difficult to tell absolute truth because there is a fear. Not a big-deal fear, but a fear of offending them. It is easier to say that it's nice, than to say it is hideous and doesn't suite them at all.  So, it is not easy to tell the absolute truth all of the time.

Another part of this equation is that the mind exists on a lie, meaning that what we may totally believe is a lie.

For instance, in Zen, the truth is that whenever we judge another person, we are judging our self.  But we totally believe that we are judging and perhaps blaming another person for something that upsets us. This is not so.

We can only perceive the other person as part of our own awareness, which we consider to be our self and then we create our ideas of what they are like, but thos ideas still isn't truth. It is only our ideas about what may be truth.

So judging others is judging our own awareness which we believe to be our self!  It's a neat trap, if you can understand what I'm saying here.  Most of life, we are strongly identified with our self as being separate from others in the world, This is another lie. But no-one will believe you if you were to realize this, because believing is not truth either, only realization and experiencing is! Only now is true as the past or future which we may think of as being real, is not truth.

As a Zen practitioner, I am as honest as living in this world permits me to be, and to tell absolute truth is a great challenge whilst the mind keeps interfering!

Nothing wrong or right about that, so it's best not to worry about it.

Can we really say that there is truth in the world everywhere we look? I think there may be more untruth than truth in the world.  That's is a mystery that I love about Zen practice!

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Judgement: Memoirs of an Encounter Group: A Zen Challenge

My challenge as a Zen practitioner and group therapist was not to judge. And I found it to be a great challenge as  judgements came up, In fact judgement still arises - for its roots seem ancient - imbedded in my mind as in the society I belong to.

In my encounter groups, I used profanity a lot to "shock" people into awareness.  Bashing people with a Zen stick, wouldn't have made me very popular and would probably have got me arrested! 

Yes, the judging mind  raised its objection and considered such ways of communicating as bad, so I had to get past my judgemental considerations  because I wanted to cause a stir in my groups.  

Once past that first hurdle of my judgemental mind, the space in the group room became what I can best describe as light and free as the language amongst the participants got to be more expressive and although encounter groups are based more on spiritual development than therapy, such expression provided the space for some very rapid and therapeutic effects to take place.