Buddhism is a non-theistic religion because it does not uphold the belief of a supernatural being, God, as the one who brought all things in to existence. Buddha was a person who had great power of meditation, which he used to bring spiritual knowledge and beliefs to his followers. This acts as the foundation for Buddhism. According to Buddhism, salvation is the state of ‘being’ of a person obtained through the cleansing of one’s being by meditation. Its characteristics are freedom from all forms of defilements and delusion.
In Kapleau reading, feelings, thoughts, and sensations change over time. The writer points out that everyone experiences pain, unfulfilled desires, mental anguish, as well as moments of happiness and unhappiness. These changes occur depending on the experiences that one is undergoing. The narrator likens this to the way one candle lights another one; one moment’s characteristics heralds another moment’s identity and the chain continues. The writer also points out that nothing is permanent because things are constantly changing. Satori is the goal of Zen practice; that is, enlightenment. It aims to preserve Buddha’s teachings.
In the beginning of the diaries, Kapleau initially experienced his desire for satori through his recognition of his desire to end some natural phenomenon as sorrow, pain, misery, grief, old age, and death. Through embracing of Zen Buddhism, his understanding about these natural phenomenons changed. In the reading, he accepts that he should not fight to bring such forms of suffering to extinction. His meditating experience helped to alter the way he understood it. Meditation involves opening one’s mind to the truth. He asserts that when one opens his mind to the truth there is nothing to fear. Roshi is a term that refers to the person who passes spiritual knowledge to Buddhists. He has good mastery of Zen Buddhism practices hence acts as a teacher to the rest.
Kapleau’s relationship with the various roshis with whom they have student- teacher relationship. He is also an admirer of the lives of the roshis. Koan is a set of aspects that one cannot understand using normal human understanding but needs a form of spiritualism to understand it. It can be a question, statement or even a dialogue. The function of a koan is to make one to concentrate in Zen’s practices in order to get certain meanings to situations that do not have natural explanation. The narrator’s development as a Zen practitioner changed the way he perceives things within himself and the world around him through embracing the four noble truths. The narrator changed his ways of viewing things and started observing one thing at a time.
Through the practice of Zen Buddhism, the narrator gains the ability to reduce attachment to his body, mind, and his desires. The writer notes that everything that comes to being passes away or dies; nevertheless, self dies not. This helped the narrator to be fearless.
He also began sharing things with others than being selfish. He says that as people continue to unravel it, and eliminate some emotional blocks, egoism fades away and ushers clear and open thoughts leading to satisfying life. The role of the body in this reading is to show its utilization to enhance the understanding of different phenomenon in human life. The reading has shown that, the body and the mind are two different entities and for the mind to work appropriately the body must be in a position to allow this.
This is very important for Zen Practitioners who are in absolute need to meditate to achieve enlightenment. According to the narrator, during meditation the body must have a given upright posture and should not have any movements.