Kim Boykin teaches contemplative prayer to both Christian and non-Christian audiences. This beginner's guide to Zen is aimed mainly at those who know little or nothing about Buddhism. The author relates how her experience of Christianity has been enhanced by the practice of zazen or sitting meditation. As she puts it: "Zen practice is about opening compassionate awareness to all of reality and realizing that the joy and freedom we long for are available right here and now, in the midst of the messiness and pain and confusion of our lives."
Boykin makes it very clear that Zen teachings should not be considered as doctrines, beliefs, or articles of faith. She explains that teachings come through practical instruction about meditation and ethical conduct, through koans (brief and pithy anecdotes from the tradition), and through observations about human nature (the Four Noble Truths, nonduality). Christians don't have to give up any of their beliefs or practices to do Zen practice. Both paths agree that liberation cannot be earned or achieved. "Zen is an unproject, a nonproject," she notes. "Zen is not about striving to get somewhere else. It's about being right here. Zen is not about being someone else someone more peaceful and wise, someone happier and more together. It's about being ourselves, exactly as we are right now."