The Way of Zen

3222 Words13 Pages
------------------------------------------------- The Way of Zen RLG206 Ishan Sharma 999877085 Prof. Emmrich Among the many sects enveloped in the Buddhism religion, there lies a sect by the name of Zen. The name “Zen” can provide a variety of images to one’s mind when it is first heard, as it has been used in so many different places, from Hollywood to products to music and so forth. However, Zen has a very different meaning completely in terms of Buddhism. One could even go so far as to argue that the word and the teachings of Zen have no meaning at all. This is because Zen is concerned only with the direct experience or insight into enlightenment, away with all dogma, theology and doctrine which is ever-present in other religions. In Zen, this direct insight into the nature of life, or enlightenment, is achieved through meditation, and also through the contemplation of unsolvable riddles called koans. Through the analysis of the teachings, beliefs and art of Zen culture, we can assess how Zen attempts to gain direct insight instead of relying on any doctrine to attain enlightenment. Zen Buddhism is a form of Mahayana Buddhism, which holds its roots from China, the home of Ch’an Buddhism (Dumoulin 34). The incessantly interesting feature of Zen Buddhism is that there is no dogma, philosophy or doctrine one must believe in to be a Zen Buddhist (“Buddhist beliefs”). O’Hara describes Zen as a “practice of coming back to the actual right-now-in-this-moment self, coming back to the naturalness, the intimacy and simplicity of our true nature.” In A History of Zen Buddhism, Dumoulin quotes Bodhidharma, a highly regarded teacher of Buddhism, as describing Zen in the following way: A special tradition outside the scriptures; No dependence upon words and letters; Direct pointing at the soul of man; Seeing into one's own nature, and the attainment of Buddhahood. (67) Zen
Open Document