Intended for healthcare professionals

Filler Endpiece

Basis of Zen practice

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 21 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1442

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.


Philosophical mysticism, the idea that truth is indefinable and can be apprehended only by non-rational means, has been with us since the beginning of history. It's the basis of Zen practice. But it's not an academic subject. The academy, the Church of Reason, is concerned exclusively with those things that can be defined, and if one wants to be a mystic, his place is in a monastery, not a University. Universities are places where things should be spelled out.

Submitted by Nicholas Steel, health services research fellow, University of East Anglia

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