ZEN & BUDDHISM

“Zen is a practice of meditation and action designed to free us to live compassionate, healthy and energized lives.” Mountain Cloud Zen Center

Zen or Zen Buddhism is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism. The simplest meaning of Zen is meditation. It’s lineage path is Indian to Chinese to Japanese. Zen is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana which means meditation. Dhyana became Chan in Chinese, which means quietude. And Chan became Zen in Japanese, which, again, means meditation.

The “Explore More About Zen & Buddhism” section at the bottom of this page provides related teachers, posts (both videos and text), articles (free downloadable PDFs), and books & dvds (if applicable).

Zen has two older schools: Rinzai and Soto and a third more contemporary one, Sanbo Kyodan. Rinzai focuses on kensho (or the initial awakening into our true nature), followed by further practice leading to full awakening. Soto emphasizes shikantaza (nothing but precisely sitting) and asserts  that practice and awakening are inseparable so practice (i.e., shikantaza) is expressing awakening.

Sanbo Kyodan (or Sanbo Zen), a lay practice, combines Rinzai and Soto and its foundation is “the three treasures of zen (Buddha or awakening/sitting practice, Dharma or practicing/understanding the teachings, and Sangha or sitting as a community that includes all beings).” Sanbo Zen emphasizes the lay aspect, i.e., that it be an intrinsic part of everyday life. Dharma here also includes koan study as an added means of deepening insight into our true nature ultimately leading to full awakening.

Buddhism is a “religion and dharma {(or teachings – in this case teachings of Buddha)} that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha (“the awakened one”). Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: “The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana Buddhism (Sanskrit: “The Great Vehicle”).” 

The variation in Buddhist schools is in how each interprets (and follows) the path to liberation, the importance of teachings/scriptures, and their practice.

In Theravada Buddhism, the ultimate goal is the attainment of the sublime state of nirvana, achieved by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way), thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth. Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

Mahayana Buddhism, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai) is found throughout East Asia. Rather than Nirvana, Mahayana instead aspires to Buddhahood via the bodhisattva path, a state wherein one remains in the cycle of rebirth to help other beings reach awakening. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian siddhas, may be viewed as a third branch or merely a part of Mahayana; Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth century India, is practiced in regions surrounding the Himalayas, Mongolia and Kalmykia. Tibetan Buddhism aspires to Buddhahood or rainbow body.”

Above quoted, italicized text about Buddhism is excerpted from the Buddhism wikipedia page.

Tibetan Buddhism will be coming soon as a separate tradition.

Zen & Buddhism is a new topic of exploration (even though there was some content on this topic in the old site) … so we are launching with mostly new, and minimal, content but expect lot more in future. 

Please scroll down to see the “Explore More About Zen & Buddhism” section that provides related teachers, posts (both videos and text), articles (free downloadable PDFs), and books & dvds (if applicable).

Explore More About Zen & Buddhism

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