16 Facts About Zen


Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, known as the Chan School, and later developed into various sub-schools and branches.

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Term Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word ?, an abbreviation of ??, which is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word ???? dhyana.

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Zen teaching draws from numerous sources of Sarvastivada meditation practice and Mahayana thought, especially Yogachara, the Tathagatagarbha sutras, the Lankavatara Sutra, and the Huayan school, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal.

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Actual Chinese term for the "Zen school" is ??, while "Chan" just refers to the practice of meditation itself or the study of meditation though it is often used as an abbreviated form of Chanzong.

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Zen's works seemed to have exerted some influence on the earliest meditation manuals of the Chan school proper, an early work being the widely imitated and influential Tso-chan-i, which doesn't outline a vipassana practice which leads to wisdom, but only recoomends practicing samadhi which will lead to the discovery of inherent wisdom already present in the mind.

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The interaction with a teacher is central in Zen, but makes Zen practice vulnerable to misunderstanding and exploitation.

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Various sets of precepts are taken in Zen including the five precepts, "ten essential precepts", and the sixteen bodhisattva precepts.

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One popular form of ritual in Japanese Zen is Mizuko kuyo ceremonies, which are performed for those who have had a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.

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Some Zen temples perform esoteric rituals, such as the homa ritual, which is performed at the Soto temple of Eigen-ji.

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Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism.

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At the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, by the time of the Fifth Patriarch Hongren, the Zen school became established as a separate school of Buddhism.

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Subsequently, the Zen tradition produced a rich corpus of written literature, which has become a part of its practice and teaching.

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Zen-tradition developed a rich textual tradition, based on the interpretation of the Buddhist teachings and the recorded sayings of Zen-masters.

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An external narrative is Nondualism, which claims Zen to be a token of a universal nondualist essence of religions.

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Zen founded the Jogye Order, which remains the largest Seon tradition in Korea today.

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Zen was not introduced as a separate school until the 12th century, when Myoan Eisai traveled to China and returned to establish a Linji lineage, which eventually perished.

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