John L Holmes

Zen Is A Brand

September 25, 2022 

John Holmes 

A short introduction to Zen:  

Originally known as chan, it began during the Tang Dynasty, which ran from 618 to 907 AD and is regarded as the golden age of Imperial China, especially culturally, including poetry with 2,200 poets of note whose work have been preserved in an 18th century anthology of 49,000 poems. Chan was a merger between Buddhism and Taoism. When Buddhists were persecuted towards the end of the Tang Dynasty it moved to Japan where it became known as Zen.

Unlike most religions there is no belief system in Zen, no doctrine or discipline, although there are principles and Zen Buddhists practise meditation. It is essentially concerned with direct experience of the present moment, in which the conditioning of the past and feelings about the future fall away, and the true compassionate self can emerge.

Zen Is A Brand

Zen is a brand.

It is a garden, a temple, a quiet place.

Zen is Japanese.

It is a spa.

It is a perfume, an arbour, a mountain retreat.

Zen is Chinese.

It is a tree.

It is a lifestyle, a fashion statement, a pair of shoes.

Zen is Vietnamese.

It is a restaurant.

It is a wine bar, a theatre, a smoothie bar.

Zen is Korean.

It is a guitar.

It is a phone, a poster, a computer. 

Zen is Thai.

It is a kayak.

It is a hospice, a shop, a recording studio.

Zen is Burmese.

It is a bike.

It is software, an alarm clock, a bird-feeder.

Zen is European.

It is a detective.

It is a backpacking stove, a small arms simulator, a car.

Zen is American.

It is green tea liquor.

It is a travel company, a home energy system, a video game.

Zen is universal. 

It is a porn star, a radio operator.

Zen is whatever you want. 

Or nothing. Or everything at once.

It is silence.

It is calm, focused, attentive.

A perpetual arrow in flight. 

It is now.

But not your mucked-up, as-you-live now,

for Zen is aspirational.

Zen is a brand.