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Three Zens - Which "Zen" Are You?

This started as a brief journal entry, then I decided to send it to a friend. Then I remembered I have a blog.

What follows is an excerpt from Joshua A. Irizarry's excellent article "Putting a Price on Zen: The Business of Redefining Religion for Global Consumption" and my thoughts about the right way--for me--to be a Zen Buddhist.

These voices [D.T. Suzuki and charismatic clergy in the mid-20th century] introduced Zen to three key demographics in the United States: first, the set of wealthy and stylish conspicuous consumers; second, avant-garde creative types—artists, musicians, and writers, most famously the Beat Poets—who would deeply influence the American counter-culture movement of the 1960s; and third, earnest spiritual seekers looking for alternatives or supplements to institutionalized religion. To each of these groups, Zen was a mirror which reflected that which was most desired. To the group of fashionable conspicuous consumers, integrating Japanese and “Zen” ae…

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