What is ZenMasonry?

ZenMasonry is an attempt to present the symbols, allegories and myth of Speculative Freemasonry in a radical and refreshing way. Masons and non-masons alike are invited to use this site as a gate to further light in Masonry.

It is important to clarify that ZenMasonry is not a publication of any Masonic or Buddhist organization. ZenMasonry is neither proselytizing for the Buddhist religion, nor claiming that Masonry and Zen are the same thing or share all the same ideals and purposes. It is perhaps most important to note that, unlike Zen, Masonry is not a religious sect but a nonsectarian fraternity. However, the two traditions do have significant points in common, including the following commitments:

Moral and ethical lifestyle
Subduing the passions
Respect and tolerance for differing religious and political beliefs
Service to fellow human beings
Search for the light of wisdom beyond concrete reason

While interested persons are encouraged to discover more about the similarities and differences between Masonry and Zen, the primary purpose of this site is to provide a set of tools to explore Masonic symbols, allegories and myth. Those tools are methods and concepts borrowed from Zen, including the practice of meditation, mindfulness, and the contemplation of koans.

The page of ZenMasonry Koans & Parables is the artistic heart of this site. Every piece in this collection is written in the language of Masonic myth and symbolism. Many of the pieces are adaptations of traditional Zen koans, while many others are koans or parables composed by Masons who practice Zen or some of its methods. No effort has been made to distinguish one kind of piece from another, and interested persons should review the Copyright Statements & Submission Guidelines.

Some people may find the ZenMasonry koans and parables to be confusing, enigmatic or even offensive. Such reactions are understandable given the radically different perspective of Masonic symbols and myth that can be stimulated by these pieces and the kind of inner work that produces them. Readers are asked to keep in mind that ZenMasonry makes no claim of authority on what Masonic symbols, allegories and myth must mean to anyone. ZenMasonry only invites its readers to see Masonic symbols through new eyes, and hear Masonic allegories and myth through new ears.

In closing, it is asked that readers take note of all this site has to offer. The Introduction and Essays provide basic information on this site, Masonry, meditation, koans and Zen, including a Glossary of key terms and concepts from both Masonry and Zen. A Questions & Responses page has also been provided for posting questions from the readers and responses from the developers of ZenMasonry, and a Reflections page presenting a guestbook and the poetry and prose of our readers. Further information about Masonry, meditation and Zen can be found by visiting the sites linked on the ZenMasonry Resources page.

Questions or comments about ZenMasonry or this site should be sent to the ZenMasonry webmaster.