Zen and the Art of William Shakespeare Essay

Zen and the Art of William Shakespeare Essay

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Zen and the Art of Shakespeare

 
      Like all Buddhism, Zen is a means by which one can achieve Buddha-consciousness, or in effect "total-consciousness." "Total-consciousness" means being aware of the true self and its role in regard to the infinite cosmos of all existence. This awareness allows one insight into or perhaps understanding of the Tao, the essential singularity to which all things belong. Understanding the Tao, for Taoists and Zen Buddhists alike, is the equivalent of Nirvana, loosely described as the utmost fulfillment of one’s existence.

With all of it’s lofty, mystical terms and ideas, Zen Buddhism can seem very hard to talk about much less understand and follow. The beauty of Zen, though, is its practicality, its simplicity, its ingenious grasp of the obvious. There are few of the traditional Buddhist rituals or ceremonies in Zen. It is known as the "Way of Sudden Enlightenment." It is a way of life that brings one closer to the satori experience. Satori is the enlightenment itself and, thusly, the complete understanding of Zen’s truths.

A very important part of Zen is its avoidance of making distinctions. In a world filled with apparent opposites. Zen recognizes that opposites are indeed merely apparent. Good cannot exist in the absence of Bad. Light cannot exist apart from the darkness. This goes back to the nature of the Tao as the essential oneness, or the tie that binds all objects, thoughts, and beings. Therefore, the Zen thinker does not consider action to be moral or immoral because to make such a distinctions to delude reality with extraneous, unnecessary ideas. The Zen life is devoid of purpose; but therein is the beauty. What is more blissful than living just for the sake of living: be...


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Kampolsky, Philip. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. New York: Columbia UP. 1967

Leggatt, Alexander. “The Fourth and Fifth Acts”. The Merchant of Venice. William Shakespeare. New York: Signet (178-191)

Shakespeare, William. Cymbeline. Ed Richard Hosley. New York: Signet. 1987

Shakespeare, William. MacBeth. Ed Sylvan Barnett. New York: Signet. 1987

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed Kenneth Myrick. New York: Signet. 1987

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed Robert Langbaum. New York: Signet. 1987

Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. New York: Penguin Books. 1996

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works. Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra. New York: Portland House. 1997

Suzuki, Daisetz. Introduction to Zen Buddhism. New York: Grove Press. 1991

Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen. New York: Vintage. 1989

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