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If I were asked who my favourite Western Zen philosopher was without any hesitation I would declare it to be Henry David Thoreau Although he knew in translation the religious writings of the Hindus it may be unlikely that Henry David Thoreau ever studied the teachings of the Zen Masters Even then the insight within his own personal writings would irrefutably make him master of his own temple The wisdom found within Thoreaus Walden can be clarified through Zen Buddhist beliefs and ideas as the two seem to typically compliment each other Where you might ask does religion fit into the travelling adventures of Henry David Thoreau Religion has been a part of the literary tradition from the very start Some of the first books ever produced were handwritten copies of the Bible Pamphlets poems odes and epics throughout the centuries have continued to reflect religious content I have also read insightful essays about the hidden Christian Symbolism in A A Milnes Winnie-the-Pooh Well why not the presence of Zen Buddhism within the teachings of Thoreaus Walden In accordance with the history of literature one might say Why not in accordance with Waldens content I would say I couldnt see it being any other way What is Zen Buddhism anyway In the book Zen Buddhism DT Suzuki says that Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of ones own being and it points the way from bondage into freedom 3 In the theory of Zen our bodies contain a spiritual form of energy When this energy is consciously tapped we will be aware of all the underlying impulses and desires of our heart This freedom will cause us to experience Kensho seeing into ones own nature thus becoming happier and more loving to those around us To reach the Buddhist goal of becoming one with everything a person has to embrace nothing What is meant in the embracing of nothing
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