Questions tagged [zen]

Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasising practice.

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3answers
4k 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? ...
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654 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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2answers
629 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 ...
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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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6answers
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What's the meaning of the Buddhist boy's message to Neo in the movie The Matrix?

In this scene from the first movie in The Matric trilogy, when Neo goes to meet the Oracle he meets the Buddhist boy who shows him that he can bend the spoon and then tells him that he can do the same ...
11
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1answer
786 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 ...
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4answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
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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, ...
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5answers
15k 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 ...
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4answers
627 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. ...
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6answers
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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? ...
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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. ...
8
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3answers
928 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 ...
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2answers
114 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 ...
7
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3answers
873 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 ...
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7answers
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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.
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4answers
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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 ...
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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" ...
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6answers
628 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?
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7answers
587 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
553 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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1answer
105 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 ...
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4answers
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"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 ...
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752 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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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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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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2answers
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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 ...
6
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1answer
132 views

Trying to find a quote by Pema Chodron

I'm looking for a quote by Pema Chodron. In my memory, she's having a discussion with a Zen master, and the quote goes something like this; Pema: "what do you do when things fall apart?" 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
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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",...
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3answers
768 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 ...
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4answers
530 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 ...
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8answers
263 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
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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 ...
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3answers
232 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
286 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 ...
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4answers
585 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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250 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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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
332 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 ...
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1answer
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Symbolic meanings in Dogen's Fugen zazengi

What is the symbolic meaning behind "the tiger takes to the mountain" in Dogen's Fugen zazengi?
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2answers
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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
826 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? ...
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1answer
543 views

Modern and original versions of Chan and Seon

According to the answer to this question there is a clear distinction between the traditional Zen practised in Japan until 19th century and its modern version invented by Suzuki. Is there such a clear ...
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2answers
182 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' ...
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1answer
238 views

Zen's concern with "reality" vs. being in the present

In "Zen Mind" Suzuki says: "The true purpose is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes". To see things as they are... doesn't that involve an ...
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6answers
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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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5answers
565 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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6answers
507 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. ...
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2answers
257 views

How do kōans work?

A kōan (公案?) (/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng'àn; Korean: 공안 (kong'an); Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, (1) which is used in Zen practice to provoke the "great ...