Let’s have an introduction to Zen Buddhism. First, we need to know the meaning of “Zen”. It isn’t something that is in the scriptures. It neither needs words nor letters but yes, it directly connects to mankind as well as one perceives its personality or nature.
Now, let’s have an introduction to Zen Buddhism. First, let’s talk about Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is a blend of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. The idea of Zen Buddhism began in China, and with its concepts, it raised its wings in Korea as well as Japan. Zen Buddhism reached many people across the world, and in the West, people began to recognise it as well as follow it from the mid 20th century. The aspect of Zen became so popular that people started to grasp the meaning of life, and the most interesting thing was that they weren’t being deceived by language!
Many religions follow Zen Buddhism teachings and Zen procedures are compatible with other faiths too. No doubt, Zen Buddhism practices require profound self-restraint, but with dedication, one can achieve improvisation as well as an exemption. One should never confuse improvisation with intrusiveness.
Meaning of Zen
In Japan, the ” Zen” word is pronounced as “Ch’an”, and Zen Buddhism philosophy says that this word comes from the Sanskrit word “Dhyan”, which means “to meditate”. Christmas Humphrey, Zen Buddhist, explained that the “Zen” word is easy to misinterpret. Well, it isn’t something that can be described by words, but yes, it is something that a person does. We will try to give you an idea about Zen Buddhism. If one wants to follow Zen Buddhist philosophy, then one needs to inculcate it and experience Zen Buddhism practices.
Every person has that subconscious mind that helps him/her to distinguish between right and wrong. It helps us to understand the insight within us. The root of Zen Buddhism believes that every person is The Buddha, and becoming a Zen Buddhist isn’t difficult; one just needs to explore this fact within oneself.
Zen Buddhism explained in very beautiful words:
“Ice by nature is water; likewise, all human beings by nature are Buddhas.
Without water, there can’t be ice; like that apart from beings, there are no Buddhas.”
The above words explain the essential element of life and tell how one just needs to know the truth of life within oneself! Every heart is positive, and there is the Buddha within everyone’s nature, but one needs to find this eternal element within oneself.
It is vital to realise the enlightenment to understand Zen Buddhism for beginners. One can never find answers if one doesn’t understand the power within him/her. Our mind raises many questions, but the best about Zen Buddhism is that every question has an answer within us. It is thus, useless to depend on scriptures as well as justify thoughts or just following rituals to be religious. Zen Buddhism teachings start with this concept of enlightenment. It doesn’t involve reciting or enchanting various religious things, but yes, it helps you to believe your intuition and make your insights stronger.
The first step towards Zen Buddhism practices involves meditation that helps to regulate our minds. Zen Buddhist meditation enhances the power of the mind and dominates the process of thoughts that keep revolving in our minds. Other techniques in Zen Buddhism teachings involve various techniques that manage our mind as well as body.
History of Zen Buddhism
Here is an intro to Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism gained its name when it was brought to China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma. Zen Buddhism practices became popular in China, and their people pronounced the word “Zen” as “Ch’an”. Zen Buddhism teaching became popular from the 6th century CE to the 9th century CE.
From China, Zen Buddhism teachings gained their name in Korea during the 7th century CE. It became quite prominent in Japan in the 12th century CE.
When the concept of Zen Buddhism reached from Japan to westerners, they found it difficult to adapt Zen Buddhist philosophy as it became really hard for westerners to elude the thoughtfulness of western culture. Zen Buddhism teachings do not involve scriptures but depend on various Zen Buddhism practices to learn how it works.
Zen Buddhism aims towards eliminating your rational way of thinking from the mind. This proves a great help about Zen Buddhism for beginners as it makes them more familiar with their self or we can call it “The Buddha-nature”.
Students who adopt Zen Buddhism teachings realize their nature and accomplish wisdom to live life. Zen Buddhism practices involve a gradual enlightenment process.
Zen Buddhism teachings include some of the primary ideas:
- Zen Buddhist philosophy helps to achieve enlightenment without the interference of intellect which is important to understand one’s nature.
- Every person has an intuitive ability to detect things and differentiate between right and wrong. Thus, we can say that Zen Buddhism practices help in intuitive understanding.
- One important thing to love about Zen Buddhism is that it doesn’t make us adapt to different things, but it is more concerned to leave things the way they are.
- Zen Buddhist philosophy inculcates self-knowledge that helps to understand the true meaning of life, and the best thing about Zen Buddhism is that it considers every individual as Buddha as well as explains the way to discover it within.
- Zen Buddhism for beginners isn’t too difficult because it is more lively and eliminates the mind from choking on logic.
- Zen Buddhist meditation helps to break the serfdom and gives away liberty.
Comparison of Zen and Buddhism
Zen Buddhism is often mistaken by people. Thus, here we have included some points that compare Zen and Buddhism as well as give a clear understanding of the concept:
- Buddhism originated in the Indian subcontinent, whereas Zen Buddhism originated in China.
- Buddhism was founded by The Buddha, whereas Zen Buddhism broke some of the norms of the teachings of Buddha. We can say that Zen Buddhism teachings are some of the adjustments to the teachings of the Buddha.
- Buddhism rejects the idea of an omnipresent creator and believes that every person has a self-constrained God. As Zen Buddhism only contradicts some of the Buddhist teachings, it also believes the same concept. Zen Buddhism explained, “Buddhas” that can live forever and are meant to influence mankind in various forms.
- Buddhism came from the teachings of the Buddha, and Buddhists are people who follow the Buddha, whereas Zen is a Japanese word that came from China, where people pronounced it as “ch-an”. This word comes from the Sanskrit word ” dhyana”, whose literal meaning is “meditation”.
- Buddhism truly believes in an endless cycle of rebirth, and it can only be broken by attaining Nirvana, and as Buddhism is all about ending sufferings permanently, it solely believes in attaining Nirvana. On the contrary, Zen Buddhism also believes in the same concept of attaining Nirvana by having multiple births.
- Both Zen and Buddhism include Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, which are also called The Sangha, as well as they are backed by lay Buddhists.
- Zen and Buddhism didn’t differentiate between men and women. Both of them have equal rights as well as have a major role in Sanga.
- Zen and Buddhism both work forward to attain enlightenment.
- In Buddhism, salvation can be achieved only if one leaves the worldly views or we can call “samsara”, while Zen Buddhism later validated some points of Buddhism and believed that every human nature has “Buddha” within; it just needs the discovery of truth to attain enlightenment.
- The Sanga that is, the monks and nuns do marry in Buddhism as well as are celibate, whereas, in Zen Buddhism, anything related to this isn’t mentioned in Sutras. It solely depends on which country the Zen Buddhism teachings are preached.
- Zen and Buddhism have one common law, and it is the “Dharma”, which is the aspect of truth and reality.
It is quite clear that Zen and Buddhism do not have much difference between them. Zen Buddhism practices have just some validations in Buddhism practices. Buddhism believes in attaining enlightenment by eliminating all worldly views, whereas Zen Buddhism believes that every human nature has The Buddha within and can attain enlightenment once they discover the same.
Zen Buddhism has helped many visionaries to discover direction and precision in their work. Steve Jobs meditated every day to recognize his mental process and followed Zen Buddhist Kobun Otogawa to practice Zen Buddhism. Steve Jobs believed that with the help of Zen Buddhist meditation, the mind slows down, and one gets ideas as well as sees more than one sees before. That simply means that the mind gets better ideas than before.
Zen Buddhism Practices to bring focus in your workday
What is best about Zen Buddhism? How is Zen Buddhism different? Zen Buddhism prioritises the process of learning by doing or practising it and leaves the concept of studying or rationalizing the teachings of Zen Buddhism.
If there is no need to rationalise the teachings of Zen Buddhism then How do you practice Zen Buddhism? Well, you do not need to live your life in a hermitage. Anyone can apply Zen Buddhism in his/her life to make it more focused!
Here are some of the Zen Buddhism practices that will bring clarity in your daily work life, and you can follow them to be more focused in your daily routine:
Make your mornings beautiful:
Morning time is that time in your life that may help you to kick start your mood, and it is believed that if mornings are beautiful, our whole day becomes beautiful. Here are some tips from Zen Buddhism practices that may make your mornings beautiful:
- One should wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual and start the day on the right foot. The logic behind changing your schedule to 30 minutes earlier is to give yourself at least some space to breathe.
- Purify the space by opening the window. Yes, Zen Buddhism teachings involve this vital step as it is believed that one should purify the space which helps to purify the mind and thoughts. This helps to set the mood of your day.
- One should spend a good time cleansing the space where one lives. Zen Buddhist monks spend their time cleaning so that it clears their minds too. One should understand that cleaning the space helps to purify the space in which you live.
- One should follow Zen Buddhism practices for mindful eating. Zen Buddhist live in issoku and believe that any work should be done with purpose. One should be focused while eating too. One shouldn’t be distracted by mobile phones or work or anything less while eating as this puts less burden on metabolism and keeps away from overeating. This helps to lead a healthy life!
Fill your day with energy!
The day is that part of the time that involves work. One needs to be more focused on this part of the time. Here are some of the Zen Buddhist teachings that may help you to energize your day:
- One should get focused on completing the most difficult tasks first, as when we start our day, we have a good mind that may help us to complete the burdensome work earlier in the day.
- One of the Zen Buddhist principles includes living in issoku, and one should concentrate on a given task or project at a time. Concentrating on one task helps to boost productivity. If you want to enhance your productivity, then you should let yourself free from distractions and focus on a particular task.
- Give your body a break! Your body and mind need rest. One should reduce the urge of using mobile phones. One should do some light stretching to relax one’s body and give a break to it.
- Let your lunch be light. This helps you to focus and maintains stable energy. It also keeps you motivated to work throughout the day.
Let your evenings be wonderful
After a day full of work, one should focus on the concept of wonderful evenings by practising some of the Zen Buddhism teachings as evening is that part of time where your work diary ends!
- Meditation is the best exercise, and after a day full of work, Zen Buddhist meditation may energize you. Zen Buddhist use walking meditation too to stretch their limbs which are called kinkou. You can just take a walk after your exhausting day. Nourish your breaths while you walk and energize yourself.
- Create your boundary between the work and your evenings.
- Heal your mind with some music so that you get a relaxed atmosphere. This helps in decision-making. Also, this soothes your body and prepares your body for rest.
- Zen Buddhism practices cultivate gratitude in their lives. Express your gratitude towards your set shrine. One should sit in front of it and express gratitude as well as pray to spend the next day with safety. This helps your body to be optimistic that automatically boosts the energy of your body.
The above Zen Buddhism practices may help any person to lead a healthy life. What are Zen Buddhism beliefs? It believes in experimental knowledge and the perfection of dispassionate wisdom. In Japanese Zen Buddhism, it is called “shugyo” which means “self-cultivation”. This involves the procedure to train the whole person. It involves practical techniques to correct one’s mind and body.
Zen Buddhism Practices also include Koan Practice and just Sitting practice. These two methods are well-known methods one can reach his/her goal. Koan Practice involves the observation of breath count, and just sitting practice can also be termed as single act samadhi. Rinzai Zen Buddhist includes the Koan practice, which helps Zen Buddhist practitioners to fully embody compassion. A Koan is devised like a puzzle, and it is designed in a peculiar way such that it is difficult to solve it by intellectual reasoning. It breaks the limits of ego-consciousness to solve the riddle of Koan.
Rinzai Zen Buddhist has four mottos for the process of self-cultivation that includes :
- There is special conveyance outside the scriptures.
- One shouldn’t be dependent on letters or words.
- One should point directly into one’s mind.
- One should see into one’s nature to become Buddha.
What makes us love Zen Buddhism is that it focuses on practical learning processes. Moreover, we saw how a person could include Zen Buddhism practices in his/her life to lead a healthy living.
Zen Buddhism helps us to look at the Buddha within us and follow our heart! Just follow your heart and believe in your intuitions to reach your goal and make your dream come true.