Questions tagged [zen]

Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasising practice.

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16
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3answers
3k views

Does Zen Buddhism have canonical texts?

I'm aware that Theravada, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism have a canon of texts. However I have never heard of a canon for Zen Buddhism. Does it have a canon or does it just not bother with such a thing? ...
14
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2answers
574 views

Modern vs traditional Zen

According to David Chapman, modern Zen was basically invented by D.T. Suzuki, and doesn't have much to do with original Zen or even with Buddhism in general. Is this true? Is modern Zen closer to ...
14
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5answers
581 views

Is zazen practised for its own sake, or as a means to end suffering? Experts seem to say different things

It is confusing to me that what what the goal of zazen is (and is not), as proposed by various people with more or less authority on the subject, varies so greatly. Some say no goal, and others ...
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10answers
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What is the meaning of the Zen quote: “Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water”?

In the question "A question regarding the level of worldly participation for a buddhist monk", Bhante gave an answer containing a Zen quote. The quote is; "Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry ...
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4answers
5k views

Philosophical and Doctrinal Differences between Theravada and Zen, and its effects

The difference between Theravada and Zen may be like night and day. I favour Zen over Chinese Mahayana because I don't quite prefer the Pure Land beliefs. Hence, I want to compare these two. I ...
9
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4answers
555 views

Returning to the marketplace - examples

In the Ten Ox Herding Pictures of Zen the final picture is commonly depicted as returning to the marketplace. Enlightenment is said to be doing the most ordinary things in a most extraordinary way. ...
9
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1answer
613 views

Does Zen have a concept similar to stream entry?

Stream entry feels like a milestone where some very significant things happen and the practitioner cannot slide backwards from it. Do Zen sutras describe the concept of stream entry by that or any ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Does Zen distinguish between concentration and insight meditation?

Both the Theravada and Tibetan systems distinguish between two aspects of meditation -- concentration (aka shamata, serenity, calm abiding, shiney or zhiney (Tib.)) and insight (aka vipashyana, ...
9
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5answers
13k views

Who said 'if you are too busy meditate for two hours'?

There is a zen quote that goes something like Meditate for an hour every day unless you are too busy. In that case meditate for two hours. I'm not sure about the exact quote - it might be 0.5 ...
8
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3answers
844 views

What is the purpose of using a wand to hit a monk in Zen meditation?

I have seen Zen monks in meditation, usually with one monk supervising. The monk supervising usually carries a wand of some sort. Every once in a while he would rest the wand on the shoulder of one of ...
8
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3answers
496 views

Has Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance got anything to do with Zen?

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig a few years ago and really enjoyed it. However I'm not convinced it's got anything to do with Zen. From what I remember the ...
8
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6answers
4k views

What is zen sickness?

I was reading that the Zen monk Hakuin suffered a debilitating condition called zen sickness before his enlightenment. This seem to be a direct result of his practice. Does anyone know what this was? ...
8
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2answers
106 views

What is the role of kōans in contemporary Buddhism?

I have a copy of The Iron Flute that I use to study individual kōans, and read the analysis provided. I feel like this provides me with some good insight, but it also feels... backwards. How are ...
8
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1answer
540 views

What kind of harm can koan answers cause to one's practice?

In a recent meta discussion some people expressed the opinion that giving koan answers may be detrimental to one's practice. In what way, exactly? And if it is so, why did many Buddhists publish koan ...
7
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6answers
3k views

Is Satori the same as Enlightenment?

Is the Zen term Satori the same as enlightenment or does it have different nuances or emphasis over what is commonly meant by enlightenment in non-Zen texts. If it is the same then why is used at all. ...
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7answers
1k views

What is the difference between right thinking and right view?

They seem to be both elements that promote a healthy perception about things in life. I have a hard time differentiating between one and the other.
7
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4answers
4k views

Buddhism and self-improvement

For a person to have a will to change, there must be some dissonance between its real self and a mental image of ideal self. To put simply, one must be dissatisfied with oneself somehow. This ...
7
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6answers
606 views

So many Buddhist schools!

Why does Buddhism have so many variations, like Zen, Nembutsu, True world, Nichiren Buddhism, etc.? Why is Buddhist philosophy not uniform?
7
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3answers
2k views

The Buddha-nature of a dog

I keep seeing the following koan: A monk asked Zhàozhōu, "Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?" Zhaozhou said, "Wú". What does this mean and why is it important? More specifically: Does "Wú" ...
7
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7answers
503 views

Caught in a bind; what to do?

I would imagine the following may be a bit odd to be asking here outright and dare I say it, a little egoic to do so, but I was referred to this place to ask questions, and I have some questions. But ...
7
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1answer
96 views

Shoshin in regular buddhism

In Zen-Buddhism there is the concept of the "Beginner's mind" called "Sho Shin" which I find fascinating. I haven't heard of something analogous in "regular" buddhism (meaning the forms of buddhism ...
6
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4answers
3k views

“Anyone can be enlightened”

To my limited knowledge, in Zen, it is believed that anyone can be enlightened(if dedicated enough). Does everyone have this potential in other branches of Buddhism? Can everyone achieve this ...
6
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8answers
1k views

Why is Zen/Chan thought to be more related to Buddhism than to Taoism?

According to the book The Tao of Zen, Zen/Chan is esentially a form of Taoism. This makes sense to me, as it's hard to understand what is the common ground between the relative simplicity of Zen and ...
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2answers
1k views

What are the main differences between the different Zen schools?

What are the main differences between the Rinzai and Soto Zen schools? Is it right that koans are only used in one of the schools? Also are there other Zen schools and if so what distinguishes those ...
6
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3answers
854 views

Which canon and traditions does the Flower Sermon text belong to?

I've heard of a Buddhist story in which the Buddha just holds up a flower and one monk in the audience understands then becomes instantly enlightened. I believe it is a foundational text for Zen ...
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9answers
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Why does the mind always want to 'do something' and how to cultivate 'non-doing'?

There is a Zen saying, 'Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself' by Basho. But I have observed the nature of my mind that it always wants to 'do something', it ...
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5answers
863 views

Zen & Dukkha — Is Everything Suffering?

Thich Nhat Hanh seems to deny a major teaching on dukkha/suffering common to both Theravada and Tibetan teachings -- the idea of all-perasive suffering ("the suffering of composite things",...
5
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3answers
649 views

What is the Buddhist view in Socratic questioning?

From Socratic questioning – Wikipedia: Socratic questioning is a form of disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore ...
5
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8answers
248 views

Good is not different from Bad?

In the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, I read the following statement: This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good;...
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4answers
713 views

Can someone regain a Beginners Mind when it has gone?

Shunryu Suzuki famously said in Zen Mind, Beginners Mind In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few But if one's beginners mind has gone is it ...
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3answers
224 views

What is observing the precepts in a Hinayana way or a Mahayana way?

In Zen Mind, Beginners Mind Shunryu Suzuki says observing the precepts in a Hinayana way is violating the precepts in a Mahayana way Can an one give an explanation of way he is getting at here ...
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5answers
262 views

Not-Buddhism is the highest level of Buddhism?

I'm new here. I have a question regarding "Not-Buddhism" as the highest level of Buddhism. I'm not sure where is the source, but this is the koan. Tozan said to his monks, "You monks should know ...
5
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6answers
467 views

When Zen monks are completing a task, why are they doing it very quickly?

Recently, I watched a documentary about zen philosophy and what it is like to be zen monk on a daily basis and I noticed that in the documentary the zen monks always looked like they were in a hurry. ...
5
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2answers
326 views

Attending my first Buddhist Retreat

This weekend I will be attending my first retreat with Zen monks. It is at a camp ground and I will be camping in a tent for the weekend. Does anyone have any advice on attending a retreat for the ...
5
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2answers
214 views

Are there any strict Soto Zen teachers online that I could listen to?

Recently, I have become interested in Soto Zen. I would like to go to a Soto Zen center, but I live to far away from one. This leaves me with the option for listening to online talks. Are there any ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Isn't it insane Bodhidharma cut his own eyelids?

I am not questioning the path of Zen. It just exist as it is. But I read this legend about Bodhidharma. To stay awake he cut off his eyelids and tea was flourished. Upto now I have felt tranquility in ...
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4answers
722 views

The role of doubt in Zen Buddhist practice?

The Zen monk Hakuin said that 3 things are essential to practice great faith, great doubt, and great resolve I can see how faith and resolve would be essential but I don't see why doubt would be? ...
5
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2answers
177 views

Where to do a 'Rains Retreat' in South Korea?

I would like to attend a 3 months "rains retreat" (Kyol-Che), in a Zen (Seon) temple in South Korea. I would have to go to a temple where they give instructions in English, though. 'Mu Sang Sa' ...
4
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6answers
2k views

jhānas, Zen, and how to practice concentration meditation

I've read about the jhānas which one can experience from concentration (samatha) meditation. I have been practicing some form of mindfulness, breathing meditation, but have not experienced a state of ...
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4answers
502 views

What is Zen, what are Zen beliefs, and why is it called Buddhism?

Please note that i have no idea about what Zen is, and I mean no disrespect to anybody with this question. I have heard these words "Zen Buddhism", many times, and I'm curious: why it is called or ...
4
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5answers
507 views

live as if it was your last day?

So there is a lot of teaching out there focuses on meditating on death. A lot of it talks about living life as if it was your last day, week, month... in that this way, you don't take life for granted ...
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3answers
439 views

Do Cittamatra / Yogacara explicitly refute the existence of an external world?

Tibetan texts that belong to the genre of tenets (doctrinal classification) usually claim that the Cittamatra school refutes external existence. These texts further claim that Cittamatrin posit that '...
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2answers
138 views

Female Zen teachers and writers

The Zen center where I live is very male dominated. This might be because it's very small. Anyway, I think Zen sometimes tend to be a bit masculine in its form, wit a kind of quasi militaristic ...
4
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3answers
144 views

How does “thought-provoking dissonance” in Zen Buddhist dialectics differ from “wrong speech”?

Zen question-and-answers and talks like the ones described here don't seem like commonly accepted 'right speech'; yet, they are believed or intended to trigger spiritual progress. In what way do such ...
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3answers
241 views

Is this a Buddhist poem?

Ryōkan Taigu is described as, Ryōkan Taigu (良寛大愚?) (1758–1831) was a quiet and eccentric Sōtō Zen Buddhist monk who lived much of his life as a hermit. Ryōkan is remembered for his poetry and ...
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4answers
2k views

Buddhist Centres in Paris?

I moved to France, Paris recently. I am seeking any meditation centres vipasana, zen, Insight etc., where I can also communicate in English, since I don't speak much French. Can anyone here who ...
4
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2answers
108 views

Does everyone need to sit, even zen masters, especially according to Soto zen?

Does everyone need to sit, even zen masters, especially according to Soto zen? Or are certain highly accomplished meditators incapable of experiencing scattered thoughts?
4
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2answers
224 views

What's the relationship between effort and zazen?

I'm currently reading Zen Mind Beginners Mind which I am enjoying. However when I read Zen books I'm always confused about the role of effort in zazen practice. Reading the book it makes it seem like ...
4
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1answer
100 views

How reputable is D.T. Suzuki among modern Zen Buddhists?

Over the past year I've been studying Zen, and eventually came across a compilation of the writing of D.T. Suzuki, an anthology of such. Needless to say I was impressed and profoundly influenced by ...
4
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1answer
71 views

Symbolic meanings in Dogen's Fugen zazengi

What is the symbolic meaning behind "the tiger takes to the mountain" in Dogen's Fugen zazengi?