n 2007, I stumbled upon a small hardcover book just titled “Zen Buddhism” in my grandmother’s house. It was a short collection of stories and quotes accompanied by an introduction and some cool minimalist ink illustrations. Albeit somewhat dated, the intro presented Zen as the solution of Western man’s postmodern religious woes. It was the “ultimate solution to the worldly man’s lack of religious conviction”. In a world where nothing could really be “believed” with whole faith, Zen posited a solution (or non-solution).
I couldn’t really conceptualize this at the time— since I was 12— but as a member of a remarkably hyperactive and seemingly aimless technologically inundated generation, I found Zen innately appealing. It was funny and absurd, never settling on an answer and asking questions that were as overambitious as they were bizarre. Stories of Zen Masters involved them swearing, smacking their disciples around, and frustrating them into practicing in a manner that would lead them to satori, or enlightenment. In doing so, Zen had established a tradition of challenging reality, belief, and truth, opening up a “Middle Way” through meditative practice.
I was enamored with Zen at a young and impressionable age; I saw it as a sort-of antidote to the cultural hyper-stimulation I was exposed to on a daily basis. I was obsessed with the internet, and in 2008 had joined a relatively new social network called Twitter. I spent some of my free time searching through Zen books and websites, trying to expand my knowledge of this strange Eastern tradition while also teaching myself how to meditate.
I created a Twitter account called “Daily Zen”. I posted an aphorism each day. The page grew slowly at first. After a couple years of on-and-off posting, I began posting multiple times a day. The follower count began to increase to 1,000, then 5,000, 20,000. I began to take the idea of publishing Zen material for people more seriously.
For a brief time, the quotes posted on the account were often not by Zen thinkers, but were instead just provocative sayings that I liked, following the idea that “once you understand Zen, everything is Zen.” I started a website and a Facebook page, and the Twitter continued to grow rapidly as I posted my own writings to it.
Now the account has more than 200,000 followers, gaining around 1,000 each week. I post Zen quotes and write posts about Zen thinking and meditation. I removed ads from the site and have been collecting donations from users so I can continue spending 3 or 4 hours each day working on the site. I bought a nice WordPress theme and made the site look like something professional rather than a college kid’s Buddhism blog. This is where it’s at right now. I hope you enjoy it.