Tenets of Zen Buddhism
You hear a lot about Zen Buddhism and as you look forward to learn more about it, you realize that this is a little different from the traditional Buddhism or Tibetan Buddhism that you have known so far. ‘What is the difference between Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism’, you will ask. ‘Is there any difference at all?’
Zen Buddhism is often interpreted as the study of self. The origin of Zen – unlike common belief that point to China or Japan – is tracked to an Indian master by the name of Bodhidharma. Counted as the 28th master in the hierarchy from the Buddha, he is known as Shi Da Yang in China and Daruma Taishi in Japan.
The basic teaching of Zen is to focus on inner meditation to discover the Buddha within yourself. An important term associated with the Zen Buddhism is Zazen which is a combination of two Japanese words, i.e. za, which means ‘to sit’ and zen, which means meditation/ concentration/ contemplation.
Zen Buddhism encourages everyone to look within for happiness and attainments of the enlightenment of Buddha. Many renowned and well respected Zen masters did not know to read or write, yet they gained and taught enlightenment effortlessly.
Zen teaches or rather goads the mind to look beyond its realm of easy comprehension of the universal truth, and contemplate on the truth within; on ‘who am I?’. Zen has two goals:
- The first is a little easier to achieve enlightenment
- The second is to become a Bodhisattva, or the compassionate one in mind and spirit so you could become one with the Universe
Tibetan Buddhism is more or less a systematic way of practicing the values, principles and teaching of Buddha towards attaining all consuming compassion. This is one of the most important differences between the Tibetan Buddhism and any other type of Buddhism practiced in other parts of the world.
Tibetan Buddhism, which many say is the true cradle of the Buddhist doctrine, emphasizes that the only sure path to enlightenment is through the practice of loving compassion for not only fellow human beings but for every living thing around us.
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Studies in the Lankavatara sutra: One of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism, in which almost all its principal tenets are presented, including the teaching of Zen
Book (Prajna Press)