Playing with words —
The Japanese word satori, “enlightenment,” can actually be read, according to context, as a translation of either of three Chinese characters, which have these nuances of meaning:
kaku (覺) “awakening”
go (悟) “realization”
sho (証) “verification”
The Japanese word shu (修), meaning “practice,” when combined with sho (証) is an abbreviation of the fourfold Zen precept: mon shi shu sho (聞思修証).
Mon (聞) is “to hear,” shi (思) is “to think,” shu (修) is “practice,” and sho (証) is “verification.”
Consider how often we use this fourfold precept:
We hear a lecture, for example, think about it and turn the ideas over in our minds, try the ideas out by putting them into practice, and then verify, or come to know whether or not they are true, by direct experience. This, by the way, is also a good description of the Scientific Method.
Now, we’re almost to the punch line . . .
The central practice of Zen is zazen (坐禪) or “seated meditation” whereby the practitioner enters into a state of consciousness that verifies the true or ultimate nature of reality.
Zazen is thus —
The Sho-Me State!
* * *
I come from a state
that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats,
and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me.
I am from Missouri.
You have got to show me.
Willard D. Vandiver (1854-1932)