Seed of Zen
The seed of Zen is germinated by Buddha. Which afterward nourish by the Buddha’s disciple Mahakasyapa. Mahakasyapa was the first to receive knowledge transmission from Gautama Buddha on Zen during the white flower sermon.
Zen is a meditative practice of awareness & full consciousness that developed in India (where it is known as Dhyana) as part of the 2,500-year-old tradition established by Siddhattha Gotama. When Dhyana reached to China it became Chan from China to Korea (as Son), Japan (as Zen) and Vietnam (as Thien). In the last 50 years or so it has taken root in many other countries.
Zen is a practice of transformation of our mind towards the present moment. It is like a famous saying in Zen “when thirsty drink, when hungry eat, and when tired sleep” Living in the present.
Why Should I Meditate?
This is a basic question that arises in our mind why should I meditate? Is meditation beneficial or not? Yes, Meditation can, it seems, bring both physical and mental benefits to those who practice it on regular basis. According to medical studies conducted by various international institutes, meditation helps improvements in concentration and reasoning power to improved immune system activity, and relief from conditions such as insomnia, stress, depression and blood pressure. The main reason why Zen practitioners meditate, however, is to see things as they are, and this includes us. We are largely unaware of the link between our usual pattern of mental activity and the suffering that this causes to ourselves and others.
Basic Concepts of Zen?
Concepts are only meant to help us to overcome our habitual inability to see & observe the reality. Zen also has its concepts about the life & its living.
- Compassion – This is one of the principal virtues for Zen practitioners along with wisdom. As per the enlightened experience of the oneness of all beings, it is beyond the sentimental emotion and naturally extends itself without distinction to all life– enemies, strangers, animals, everything.
- Emptiness –Without emptiness, everything would be fixed and there would be no chance of change or development. Thus emptiness creates the existence of all phenomena around us. Well, many people associate the concept of emptiness in Zen with the concept western philosophy of Nihilism. It does not mean that things don’t exist, rather that they are nothing beside Emptiness is often equated with the absolute in Zen writings since it is without duality and empirical forms.
- Law of Cause and effect (karma called in Sanskrit) – The concept of Karma or cause and effect are obvious to all of us in our daily lives, although the full scope of this function is as intricately wide and as enduring as the universe itself. Things are as they are because of the conditions that preceded them. Those conditions were caused by other contributing conditions, and so on. The notion of cause and effect is closely related to the teaching on conditioned arising.
- No-mind –The experience of “without thinking” or “No-mind” is characterized by:
– Non-Positional Attitude: Neither affirming nor Negating, consciousness is no longer an intentional vector proceeding from a subject to an object but is, rather, an open the dynamic field in which objects present themselves;
– No subject-Object distinction: The subject has disappeared completely;
– Immediacy: It is without a subject standing back, the experience is of immediacy within the dynamic field of consciousness;
– Fullness: It is Because the object is not filtered through an intentional act, it presents itself in its fullness;
– Purity and Simplicity: The pure presence of things as they are.
No-mind does not mean any mindfulness, rather it means not being attached to or distracted by discursive thinking and ideas that cover up things as they are.
- Wisdom – A central idea of Zen referring to an immediately experienced inherent wisdom that cannot be conveyed by concepts or in intellectual terms. The definitive moment of wisdom is an insight into emptiness, which is recognized through personal experience to be the true nature of reality. The realization of wisdom is often acquainted with the realization of enlightenment.
Zen is Master Yourself
Love yourself and be awake –
Today, tomorrow, always.
First, establish yourself in the Way, then teach others,
And so defeat sorrow.
To straighten the crooked
You must first do a harder thing –
You are your only master.
And discover your master.
(adapted from the Dhammapada, translated by Thomas Byrom)