>Zen and Enterprise Architecture

>Zen believes in the transience of everything in this world and seeks enlightenment or an understanding of the way of the world for its followers.

The Book of Zen, by Eric Chaline, states that “nothing we can see, hear, or touch in the world has any permanent existence. It will of necessity, pass away.” This is the concept of “emptiness.”

Emptiness means that “all forms or appearances in the universe” are constantly changing and transient. For example, a simple chair was once “a piece of wood from a tree.” And over time, the “wear and tear on the chair will change its appearance and structure: losing some of its wood and gaining deposits of dirt. In time, the chair will break, and the wood will decay, rot, and finally fall to dust.”

This is similar to how the Torah/Bible describes the lifecycle of mankind, “for dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return.” We are simply passing through this world.

Similarly, in the Jewish high holy day prayers of Yom Kippur, we recognize and contrast G-d’s kingship and everlasting permanence with the earthly transient world of mankind which is likened to “a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.” The point here is not to bemoan our mortality, but to rejoice in G-d’s eternalness.

Like in Judaism, Zen and other religions and belief systems, User-centric EA seeks to understand the “as-is” nature of things, in this case, the organization, and it seeks to reconcile the “emptiness” and transiency of the current state with the necessity for adaptation and metamorphosis to its future state. EA recognizes that the way things are today and not the way they will be tomorrow; all factors inside an organization as well as the external factors affecting the organization are constantly in a state of flux. Therefore, the state of the organization is temporary and the organization must adapt or die. EA seeks organizational change and transformation through the development of a new “to-be” state along with a transition plan to get there.

In that sense, EA is a form of enlightenment for the organization and its transformation to a new state of being.