Zen Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism. In this manual, we will give you a brief introduction of Zen Buddhism, along with its complete history...
The Mahayana sutras that were written in India and China form the basis
of Zen Buddhism. Of these, the most prominent ones are the Lankavatara
Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Samantamukha Parivarta, the Heart Sutra, a
chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the Platform Sutra of Huineng. The
fundamental elements of Buddhist philosophy consist of the basics of Zen
Buddhism also. These include the Eightfold Path, the five precepts, the
Four Noble Truths, the five skandhas, three dharma seals, etc.
The teachings in Zen philosophy are restricted to the Mahayana
Buddhism. The major religious figures in Zen include Samantabhadra
Bodhisattva, Mañjusri Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin Bodhisattva,
Sakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha. Zen Buddhism has been influenced
by Chinese philosophy to a great extent, especially Taoism. This is
because of the fact that Zen emerged as a distinct school in medieval
China. However, the degree of influence of Taoism on Zen Buddhism is
still open to debate.
As per a number of modern scholars, the influence was quite shallow,
while others contend a deep influence of Taoism on Zen philosophy. It is
a mistake to understand Zen as an intellectual philosophy or a solitary
pursuit. Rather, it is more of a practice or a way of life. The temples
dedicated to zed lay emphasis on a thorough practice of meditation on
daily basis. They also advise practicing along with other people, as it
helps in preventing the traps of ego. The students of Zen Buddhism are
required to perform some of the tedious tasks that one performs at home.
This is because Zen Buddhists believe that a person should acquire
knowledge from all the aspects of life. This knowledge will help him in
the process of enlightenment. The textual hermeneutics have been
severely condemned in Zen teachings. The pursuit of worldly treasures is
looked down upon. They advise people to focus on meditation, which will
ultimately lead them to unmediated consciousness of the processes of
both the world as well as their own mind.