Monday, January 10, 2011


The Zen Buddhist at the Kotel

What’s the Main Difference???

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths 


Someone just asked me, “What’s the main difference between Judaism and the Eastern religions?” Pictured here is a perfect example. I am talking to a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk. He was wearing a formal Buddhist monk robe while he meditated in front of the Kotel. He has spent his entire life strictly following the Zen principles and life style. He has never participated in sports. He never married, nor has he ever had a job outside of a monastery.

He sat at the back wall in front of the Kotel meditating for several hours today. He did not move, not even the slightest bit. On the bench next to him were a small begging bowl and a sign in Japanese and in English that explained that he was meditating for peace. To many people, this might seem to be a wonderful thing to do. After all, what is better than peace?

I answered the fellow’s question by saying that the main difference between the Torah and Eastern (and many Western) religions is that when they become spiritually advanced, they withdraw from the world. They live in ashrams, monasteries, or in huts alone on the side of a mountain.

image006Their objective is to completely detach from the world….”Do not make waves. Whatever action you take makes a wave, and you will have to ride on that wave,” they teach. “It is better that you do not move.” They insist that “all creation is merely a dream, an illusion. It is zero… absolutely nothing!”

The Torah teaches that G-d created a real world. Creation is not zero, it is One.

“It is all One.”

While their books teach them to forsake the world, the Torah teaches us to engage it. We are to elevate the things around us by using them for holy purposes.

When this “spiritual” monk wanted to bring peace to this part of the world he came to the Kotel, sat alone. and meditated on “nothing.” When a spiritual Jew wants to bring peace to this part of the world, he comes to the Kotel, he prays, and looks for someone to help.


  1. For lack of a better way of saying this.... If we all came to realize that our seeming individuality and plurality is really all just part of HaShem's Oneness, then there'd be peace.

    If you are chelek Elokim mima'al (part of HaShem above) and I am chelek Elokim mima'al, then our seeming individuality and plurality is swallowed up in HaShem's Oneness.

    So, where do I get off coveting your things, bearing false witness against you, stealing from you, committing adultery with your spouse, murdering you, and, in short, doing to you what is hateful to me?

    If I respect you, then I'm respecting myself and by extention HaShem, because in the final analysis ... we're all part of His Oneness and nothing else truly exists. Seems simple enough, no?

    When the individual grasps this Oneness, then the Yoke of the Mitzvot becomes as light as a feather and a breeze to carry out.

    Only problem is that we've got this silly Yetzer HaRa that keeps wanting us to focus on our seemingly "real" plurality and individuality, rather than The Oneness. So, the tikkun (restoration) keeps getting put on the back burner and the body of humanity remains divided and dysfunctional. :(

    Doing and sayings nothing accomplishes nothing, while doing a good deed or saying a kind word might just accomplish something great, no?

  2. What was the monk doing at the Kotel? Does the Kotel have any signifance to him and his religion? If he believes in Hashem, what is he doing with his practice?

  3. leave the guy alone a lot of the world is maya the prophets and tehillim refer to this !

  4. excellent and concise. I like the aspect that youmention about when the other religions peoples become spiritually enlightened they detach from the world and when the jew becomes spiritually enlightened he prays and looks for someone to help....simply beautiful. Thank you.

  5. You are lucky he didn't karate your @#%.
    Next time be more careful who you talk to.

  6. to leah and other unenlightened souls of israel in especially the orthodox camp . OM is a cosmic sound and breath of cleansing like water . its very kosher being the 30th triad of 72 triad aleph vav mem om. 30 is the water molecule which cleanses one from the klipot the purpose of contemplating and saying this name . the first letters vruach elohim merachephet is om . 30 is water 8 protons neutrons and electrons of 0xygen =24 2each for hydrogen = 6 24 plus 6 ! 30 30th triad . YES ITS KOSHER aryah kaplan in sefer yetzirah even talks of the great mem sound of prophecy !

  7. There's only one god, ok, but who's god is the only one? Christian's, muslims' or jews' ? And here we have war. Wu wei, the art of doing everything by doing nothing is a deep understanding and an exit from this endless war.


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