Name Instructor Course Date Buddha's and Zen's differences Introduction Zen Buddhism claims that its enlightenment has been passed down from Buddha himself over the last 2500 years. However, this claim is more of a distinction of form rather than an essence…
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The Mahayana was an effort to expand the restrictive structure of Buddhism, thus it appeared outward and accessible. It is not proper to generalize the differences between Buddhist traditions and the Zen, since they share similar concerns such as a common path and the understanding of the scenery of reality. However, differences can be seen with regard to techniques of medication, nature of enlightenment, and conception of the meaning of life. Differences in techniques of meditation Several methods of meditation exist, which were used in the original teachings of Buddhism. For instance, those methods used in Tibetan Buddhism are called “visualization methods,” meaning that when a practitioner carries out this meditation, he requires something to rely on, often an image (Tan 38). On the other hand, Zen Buddhism has different methods; they do not require any image or item to rely on, particularly in Shikantaza. Another difference is that, in Original Buddhism, meditation involves different techniques that develop concentration, insight, mindfulness, and tranquility. Zen Buddhism in contrast seems to view the breath, body, and mind as one reality. Primarily, they study the self, where to be liberal is to identify the unity of the self. The Zen Buddhists practice features that are not present in the Original Buddhism, though the Chan spirit has been preserved, as well as the teachings of the great Buddha masters. The Zen monasteries are recognized for their discipline because it differs from other Buddhist monasteries in this sense. Their way of practicing meditation proves this. Numerous long meditation sessions of about two years each are held on a daily basis. The Monks come together for this function. Some meditative traditions stress the necessity to separate oneself. Further, it teaches the significance of a person freeing him or herself from destruction but the Zen Buddhists regard the group environment to be useful as it provides particular mutual reinforcement. Each Monk will have a specific topic of meditation, assigned to him by the Master or the roshi ((Tan 39). Difference in nature of enlightenment In the perspective of original Buddhism, Buddha nature is equal to perfection, because the attainments of Buddha were the maximum that could be accomplished. The nature of enlightenment in Buddhism is in connection to Hui Neng, a Buddhist Monk. The story about his succession signifies how the quest for enlightenment should be expressed. In original Buddhism teachings, by adhering steadily to religious discipline, the mind will slowly be purified and thus wisdom prevails. In contrast, Zen Buddhism maintains that Perfection requires a radical and immediate reversal of an individual’s reversal of habitual thoughts, rather than a gradual purification. In this sense, the concept of sudden enlightenment came into existence. In addition, “letting go” in Zen Buddhism happens after the enlightenment. The image of their meditation techniques gives a precise idea of the fanaticism and energy, which Zen believes essential in the quest for enlightenment. In simple terms, the difference between the teachings of the Original Buddhism on “gradual enlightenment” and the Zen’s “sudden enlightenment” makes it clear that the two religions are parallel in a way (Tan 40). In gradual enlightenment, one can see progress happening, such as a huge and huge sense of dethatching from the world, but there is no evidence of such a practice in sudden ...
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