The Zen Tradition

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The Zen Tradition

ZEN COMES FROM THE CHINESE WORD CHÁN (禪), WHICH IN TURN COMES FROM THE INDIAN (SANSKRIT) WORD DHYĀNA (ध्यान), MEANING “MEDITATION”. THE ZEN APPROACH EMPHASISES MEDITATION, AND IN PARTICULAR, WHAT YOU FIND WHEN YOU DEEPLY MEDITATE.

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In the modern world of chaos, Zen stands out as a voice of sanity. It is about rediscovering a different way of seeing the world, based upon revealing to us our true nature.

Zen is a branch within Buddhism and is relevant to people of all faiths and of none. Throughout time, Zen’s teachings have remained remarkably consistent, adding to its validity. Although some finer details in teaching may differ from teacher to teacher, all of the great Zen masters have all had the same vision, revelations and enlightenment.

It is not possible to define Zen, however it can be best understood as being the awareness and experience of our own existence, within each moment. Unlike many meditation approaches, Zen does not make grand claims about supernatural experiences- in fact, Zen is simply reconnecting with natural life. In other words, it is about seeing the world as it truly is, without illusion.

In Zen, practical experience far surpasses theoretical knowledge. Zen is both a practical and spiritual path- practical because it is based on what is happening here and now, and allows us to live our lives more joyfully and spontaneously. It is a spiritual practice because it encourages us to experience the true essence within ourselves and the world around us, and enables us to view the true sacredness of every aspect of existence.

In his book ‘Discover Zen’, David Fontana, describes Zen rather welll;

“In Zen, even the most mundane objects are things of wonder, if we stop to look at them, and the fact that we are alive is the biggest wonder of all”

“Zen is like a wise and compassionate friend: humorous and enigmatic, challenging yet supportive, old as the hills yet young as a new day, ever present around us yet located deep within ourselves. That wise and compassionate friend is non other than our own true nature”