Zen Buddhism



1.      Chan in China (from India about 500 CE by Bodhidharma)

a.      Images of Bodhidharma - sitting meditation, brusque, Western facial features, earring

2.      Zen in Japan - a simplification of approach, focusing on meditation experience of Siddhartha Gautama.

3.      This-worldly attitude. Monastic ideal: all of life in meditation.

a.      Work and Ordinary Life.  Manual labor: gardening, cleaning the monastery, cooking.

b.      Spend every moment in meditation. Control

4.      Zazen: sitting meditation, at the center of Zen.  Leading to greater contact with reality.  Like the Buddha.

a.      Several hours, morning and evening.

b.      Sitting in silence, back erect, body still, concentrating on breath

c.       Quieting the mind and focusing it in the moment

d.      Directness and Spontaneity: one comes to experience things directly, in a series of "nows," flowing together, each particular; one's true nature revealed in abiding awareness -- one’s Buddha Nature -- with long practice.

e.      Normal ways of understanding the world are misleading: special techniques to break these.

5.      Koan: riddles, mind-problems.  Technique for attaining awareness.  Given by Zen Master, the monk’s understanding is tested.

a.      Questions that do not allow easy, logical response

b.      Proper answers may seem nonsensical, sometimes non-verbal -- a sound, taking off shoes, a facial expression

1.      Why is a mouse when it spins?  What was the shape of your original face before you were born?  What is the sound of one hand clapping?  

c.       Wrestled with, unlock one's thinking from mistaken perceptions, open up into immediate experience.

6.      Satori: realization in experience

a.      Begins with awareness of the reality that there is no separation between oneself and the rest of the universe.  Notions that suggest a separation -- me, you, yours, mine, this and that -- are artificial.

b.      Enlightenment is accompanied by less anxiety over life goals, death.  Awareness of the moment

7.      Arts: art and religion fused.

a.      Martial arts: swordsmanship, archery -- hitting the target without aiming.

b.      Flower arrangements, calligraphy and painting, gardening (racked gardens of rock )

c.       Tea ceremony: tea pavilion (small hut), friends gathered and served green tea and sweets. Ritualized process, limited conversation, create atmosphere of harmony, beauty, tranquility.