Zen and the Art of Blogging2 min read

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

It seems to me that, thanks to the Internet, there are quite a lot of teachers, but not that many people who know how to learn.

Yes, there’s an art to learning. To know what information is best suited to your own needs, motives, principles, and goals.

While this post is not going to teach you much about Zen Buddhism, it is going to offer you a different perspective on the art of blogging.


Read on.

The Four Noble Truths of Blogging

1. Get Over Your “Self”

Buddhists believe that suffering begins with our perception that we are separate and distinct from the rest of reality. In other words, our own egos make us miserable.

In blogging, the publisher / reader mindset can also cause you unnecessary pain. The key to successful blogging is an alignment of both writer and reader.

Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that benefits your readers.

2. Free Your Mind

Zen is all about seeing deeply into the nature of things by direct experience. The Art of Blogging is all about writing about existing information from a unique perspective.

Zen encourages meditation, and great blogging requires contemplative thought. It’s while being busy doing something else that our most creative thoughts emerge.

Albert Einstein figured out that time is relative while on a stroll with a friend. Go do something else and a genius idea for your next blog post may just pop into your head.

3. Free Yourself from Outcome

Another key to existential angst is an attachment to outcomes rather than simply focusing on excelling in our actions.

It’s not the destination, but the journey.

It’s chasing that flow state that matters more than what you aim to achieve by blogging.

Focus on consistently producing excellent reader-focused content and effectively promoting it. The results will come.

4. It’s Up to You (And Only You)

As a philosophy, Zen is more concerned with attaining wisdom through doing, that is how you will learn more than by reading any sacred text. In this way, blogging and Zen are closely aligned— just showing up and keeping at it will teach you more than anyone else can.

Zen encourages practitioners to learn from teachers and other students to better understand how to attain truth through direct experience. The blogging community offers a similar environment, but the final breakthrough will always occur in your own mind and be the result of your own actions. You’ve got to accept responsibility for your own success.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

30 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Blogging2 min read

  1. Well posted, Christian.

    I perceive some action items still to deal with in Your text.
    There are remains of dualistic thought in Your words.

    I take it as another chance to chant my mantra:
    “Real Greatness starts beyond #EgoBarrier.”

    A few minutes before You published this, I added a reference to a Zazen-tutorial and another Zazen- Explanation to the draft of an upcoming post at http.//commodus.org.
    Everything is connected to everything …

  2. I enjoy your writer’s voice very much. Fan of Dostoevsky I take it? I ask because while trying to discern influences from your writing, I took particular notice to your habit of constantly addressing the reader’s story in a predictive dungeon master style which I correlate strongly with his works. I would assume such a tactic makes it rather easy to assert oneself as a guiding position toward the reader and form a mild state of intellectual dependence, or in my case makes it very engaging as I argue everything you posit while going through your articles. You’ve gained yourself a rather intrigued fan Mr. Cynical Spiteful blogging-guru guy

  3. I agree. Just ‘doing stuff’ gives me my next blog post. Whether it is a walk with my camera, a day out or a job in the garden, real life fuels thought fuels blog posts. And one blog post can fuel the next one, depending on comments received, or what you then read to follow up on a post. I have read around diverse subjects since I started blogging, to research posts, but also to see what other people are writing about on related subjects. Even if you don’t like a post it can teach you something.

  4. Great insight and thoughts. Point #2 certainly resonates with me. I do dind that when I’m at work or spending time in the outdoors, ideas and thoughts about new potential posts or something that I’m currently working on swirl around and slow cook in my mind. Need to write them down more when they happen. Tend to forget them or only remember parts of them. Thanks for posting.

  5. My meditative zen practice has taught me how to relax with conscious breathing,That action in itself has helped me blog more effectively.

  6. #2 couldn’t be more true for me. I have generated exactly zero ideas for posts while doing brainstorming exercises, googling questions, reading Quora, etc. But let me just start doing the dishes or going grocery shopping, and all of the ideas I couldn’t generate when I was trying just flow into my mind.

    I guess there’s a method to everyone’s idea generation, and, sometimes, it’s not in the ‘tried and true’ methods we’re taught about.

  7. The comparison between blogging and a zen mind state are something I never thought of before.

    This is an awesome comparison. I have a hard time with taking a step back and just writing. I’m always concerned if what I put out there is good enough to warrant someone to read, rather than just posting it out there and playing with different ideas.

    Great post. Keep it up.

  8. I just listened to a comedy podcast where the advice was to write anything for 30 minutes, just to get into the flow of writing. Then the creative thoughts would flow.

  9. Lots to absorb here, Cristian. I will reread it and try to lock on to a couple of these very important points. I like the image of the overflowing cup and the idea that we need to work at not being too full of ourselves! 🤪👍🏽

      1. Yes, we have an egotistical example in Wash. DC who doesn’t need “briefing,” because he has all the answers! 😢😭😰😱

  10. I would love to have some Buddhist followers who comment on my blogs with their zen philosophy. Unfortunately, I attract another kind of audience normally.

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