Zen and the Art of Dating

The Zen of Online Dating

At first glance, “Zen” and “Internet Dating” are two things that have nothing in common. Zen is meditative: Internet Dating is interactive. Zen is personal: Internet Dating is social. Zen avoids written language: Internet Dating relationships are all about the written word.

So how do we propose to combine online dating and Zen principles?

By suggesting ways our readers might incorporate basic Zen principles into their interactive dating life. Let’s start with the most basic question, then.

What Is Zen?

“Zen” tranlates to “meditation”, “introspection” or even “concentration”. Zen avoids written theories and scholarly teachings, for truths are better learned through deep meditation that is taught through personal, oral instruction by a zen master.

But Zen teaches against veneration of buddhas and zen masters, as this ultimately leads to a focus on the “external”. That is, Zen is supposed to be an internal journey, and exploration using your mind and concentration. Venerating some other being naturally leads you away from zen.

Zen and Paradoxes

That being said, zen does call for interaction between people. Though zen doesn’t call for theories and prescriptions and philosophy in and of itself, Zen masters have written whole libraries about their philosophies.

And while the men who created Zen in the first place spoke against book learning, they were each of them quite well-versed and well-read in the Far Eastern philosophical movements of their days.

And while Zen calls for intense periods of meditation, it also calls for you to practice this with others.

Online Dating Zen

So one way to approach Internet dating from a zen perspective, to engage in “zen dating”, is to apply the three precepts of zen to your Internet dating experience. While this won’t be for everyone, it’s an option for you to try.

  1. Study Internet Dating Virtues – Read all you can about online dating, at least from the perspective of online dating fr0m a “virtuous” perspective. That is, learn the proper etiquette of Internet dating. Study the “do’s” and “don’t” of online dating, then apply those in your ongoing Internet dating life.
  2. Meditate About Internet Dating – Take time out of your day to be alone and to meditate on Internet dating. That is, concentrate on Internet dating and on nothing but internet dating. If another thought comes into your mind, banish the thought and return to online dating meditation. Consider online dating from every perspective available to your mind: personally, from the perspective of your dates, from the perspective of your friends, from a wider perspective. Break down the normal confines of your online dating thoughts and become an iconoclast. Don’t be afraid to meditate on a brand new idea. Challenge every theory and assumption. Repeat this often, even daily.
  3. Train Yourself in Discernment and Wisdom – Finally, learn to make judgments based on these meditations. Learn some wisdom from having challenged every previous notion you had about dating. Once you do these three things, you can be said to be “zen dating”.

Zen Dating

Okay, so it’s quite a process for people who have a job, a family and (presumably) a social life. If zen dating isn’t for you, continue in your standard dating community and maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for anyway.

At the very least, read dating advice and dating tips either here or somewhere else, so you can continue to be well-informed about the crazy world of online dating that we live in.

Meditation Is Perfectly Rational, In a Non-Rational Kind of Way

But you might find that the meditative aspects of zen dating are well worth the minutes you spend away from the rest of the world, concentrating on a particular aspect of your life. Heck, a little daily rest from all that other mess might be worth a few minutes of meditation.

Zen is a break from the rest of your hectic existence, even if you can’t honestly say you’re turned your eye inward to the zen of dating.

Just remember that reading online dating tips suggests you want to think about the tips and not accept them on blind faith, that you might keep some dating tips as worthy and throw others away as useless. If so, then you’re on the path to zen dating, anyway.

“A Date Is Just a Date”

Or instead of studying a dating guide or cramming for your next date, you might just tell yourself “a date is just a date” and go into the date in an open and honest fashion – come what may.

All is nothingness, so dating is nothingness. See if that releases you to be yourself.

Love the Zen, Not the Zenner

With those words in mind, what are you still doing here?

Go date.

Go meditate.

Your zen dating master will be here when you return.


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