Putting on our clothes or robes early in the morning, drinking coffee or tea afterwards, then sitting in zazen is really not the highest Zen practice. It’s a start. Zen master Chinul once said:
Ordinary men are deluded: when donning clothes they only understand that they are donning clothes; when eating they only understand that they are eating; in all their activities they are deceived by appearances.
Yes, those who practice Zen are very much deceived by appearances even though they are in a temple or Zen Buddhist retreat. What is missing in this practice is direct insight into what animates this body which can put on robes early in the morning and have a cup of tea, then sit in Zazen. This is beyond the ambit of appearance. It is not something our eyes can see. It is unthinkable. Yet if you witnessed it firsthand you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what the Bodhisattva saw whereby he became the Buddha. Being attentive to this is the highest practice of Zen. This is Buddha, Dharma, and Saṃgha rolled into one.
This is the whole picture of reality—not just half of it which is mere appearance. And this is the most important part of Zen, that we should know who, actually, puts on these robes early in the morning or who does prostrations in front of the Buddha statue or where our thoughts arise from and what they are made of.