The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed as one of these....Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."
Gasan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man."While Zen is associated with Buddhism, its practitioners do not necessarily consider themselves Buddhists. According to the foreword to the 101 Zen Stories, early Zen masters "instead of being followers of the Buddha, aspire[d] to be his friends and to place themselves in the same responsive relationship with the universe as did Buddha and Jesus." As Reps points out in the preface to the book, the origins of Zen may pre-date the Buddha's life. The book includes "Centering, a transcription of ancient Sanskrit manuscripts" that "presents an ancient teaching, still alive in Kashmir and parts of India after four thousand years, that may well be the roots of Zen." I can add that "centering prayer" is a discipline taught and practiced at my own Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights.