3 Feb 2010

Zen in Advertising

I just realised that there may be three possible commonalities between Zen Buddhism and Advertising!

1. There is no absolute answer
An old Zen Buddhist saying goes: “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”

And a relatively newer one (about 240 years old) goes: "Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?"

These are called koans. How they are interpreted is really up to the reader/listener and the circumstance. As you probably guessed, they were meant to be provocative - but nowhere near rational.

At times, we think we've got it absolutely right; and we probably have. Then again, so does everyone else!

2. The means is the end
In Kendo and Kyudo, the Japanese martial arts of swordsmanship and archery, the ultimate aspiration is to become 'one with the weapon'. One master expressed it thus: "There is no sword outside the mind."

The emphasis on mastery is not over the weapon or the target. It is mastery over oneself. To attain a state of awareness wherein the answer presents itself.

There are no processes or formulae for doing it right. A rank amateur may hit the target. But only the expert has the benefit of intuition.

3. In the mundane, there is the sublime
Two monks stood watching a flag fluttering in the wind. One said to the other, "The flag is moving." The other replied, "The wind is moving."

A Zen master overheard them, and said, "Not the flag, not the wind; the mind is moving."

Hidden in the most routine, mind-numbing activity is something quite profound. The trick is to look for it.

Update: Wisdom in HTML

No comments: