Sept 18, 2016: Zen Buddhism is a practice that needs to be experienced, not a concept that you can intellectualise or understand with your brain.
It is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. The essence of Zen is attempting to grasp and register the meaning of life directly, without being deluded by logical thought or language.
To study Buddhism is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self.
– Dogen Zenji
Zen techniques are often accordant and feasible with other faiths and are subsequently used, for example, by Christians seeking a mystical understanding of their faith.
Zen often seems perplexing because of the intricate and cryptic theories that it holds. Zen requires a profound discipline which, when practised properly, results in total spontaneity and ultimate freedom. This natural licentiousness should never be confused with impulsiveness.
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Zen Buddhism is not a theory, an idea, or a piece of knowledge. It is not a belief, dogma, or religion; but rather, it is a practical experience. Zen is not a moral teaching, and as it is without dogma, it does not require one to believe in anything. A true spiritual path does not tell people what to believe in; rather it shows them how to think; or, in the case of Zen – what not to think.
HISTORY OF ZEN
Zen Buddhism was brought to China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma in the 6th century CE. It was called Ch’an in China.
Zen’s golden age began with the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng (638-713), and ended with the persecution of Buddhism in China in the middle of the 9th century CE. Most of those we think of today as the great Zen masters came from this period. Zen Buddhism survived the persecution though it was never the same again in China.
Zen spread to Korea in the 7th century CE and to Japan in the 12th century CE. It was popularised in the West by the Japanese scholar Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870 – 1966); although it was found in the West before that.
The practice of Zen meditation or Zazen is the core of Zen Buddhism: without it, the is no Zen. Zen meditation, is a way of vigilance and self-discovery which is practised while sitting on a meditation cushion. It is the experience of living from moment to moment, in the here and now. It is through the practice of Zazen that Gautama got enlightened and became the Buddha.
Zazen is an attitude of spiritual awakening, which when practised, can become the source from which all the actions of daily life flow – eating, sleeping, breathing, walking, working, talking, thinking, and so on.
Zen Buddhism is not interested in metaphysical theories and rituals and focuses entirely on the mindful practice of Zazen. Zen is very simple. It is so simple, in fact, that it’s very difficult to grasp.
In the silence of the dojo or temple, quietly sit down, stop moving, and let go your thoughts. Focus just on your Zazen posture and your breathing. Keep your back straight. Let your ego and your unconscious mind melt away, merge with the universe.
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Zen teachings are said to be ‘non-dual’, emphasising that our usual way of being is like living in a trance of dualism. The philosophy of emptiness – no subject, no object – has become the hallmark of Zen teachings.
The assertion on practical methods in practising the belief of Zen is what makes it unique, beautiful and charismatic in itself.
-by Arya Sharan of NewsGram. Twitter: @NoOffense9