From earliest times thinkers must have perceived that on the one hand they could not think without words; on the other hand, words expressed only half the whole truth.
– Frederick Franck (Zen and Zen Classics)
I'm excited to see what becomes of our shared experiences with Zen on this forum. I've maintained a varied connection with Zen over a fairly long time through experiences with meditation beginning in childhood and exposure to different philosophical principles from both pop-culture references and more authoritative sources, particularly as an undergrad. About 5 years ago I found Zen had become more pronounced again in the context of aesthetics with photography and poetry and it has cascaded from there with ever increasing momentum.
I gravitate to the approach of Rinzai through the contemplative exhaustion of koans but have found that many forms of practice foster greater levels of realization. I look forward to participating in the discussions here as part of the journey. - AC
I've always had an interest in Zen as part of Japanese history and culture, but more from an academic perspective; I approached it as I've always approached most of my hobbies or interests, as being primarily a matter of learning more facts
Over the past 3 years or so (perhaps not coincidentally when I turned 40), I started to realize that after a certain point just learning more facts is not that useful- So, since then I've been trying to be more present in the moment, for example by trying to write more haiku and tanka and to meditate for at least 20 minutes a day (although I've still been intermittently doing a lot of reading up on the academic side of things).