Buddhism is one of the major religions of the ancient civilization which had been retained and even strengthened through the course of the human development. It has different schools of thought. Included in these subdivisions is the Zen Buddhism which can be directly described as the school of thought that deals mainly with the different principles of the inner self related to meditation. Along with the Zen Buddhism, which is also referred to as Ch’an or Son, are the other schools such as the Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana (Yool, 1992). Zen can be defined through different aspects and meanings.
One of the main definitions of Zen is related to meditation. On the other hand, certain groups perceive Zen as independent from Zen Buddhism.
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The main objective of the study that was conducted is to be able to present a view on the main principles of Zen Buddhism and related practices. Also, due to the development of these principles, there are different approaches to the practice of Zen Buddhism. The varying approaches and kinds of Zen Buddhism on the basis of location and principles are included in the main issue discussed and studied in research that was conducted.
Specifically the objectives of the research revolve around the view on Zen Buddhism. One is to be able to discuss the origin and the history of Zen Buddhism to be able to determine the possible basis of the principles and beliefs of the religion. Another objective is to be able to present the different principles and beliefs of Zen Buddhism. Based on the beliefs and practices, there are different forms of Zen Buddhism. Included in the types are the schools of thought that fall under Zen.
In addition, the development of Zen in the different countries is also included in the topics that will be discussed. Another objective is to be able to present a comparative analysis of the Zen and the Pureland Buddhism. Upon the determination of the development of Zen Buddhism through the course of history and the different localities, it is important to determine the importance of the school of thought in the modern era, a view against the concepts of the modern world. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Being one of the major religions in the ancient and modern society, the study focused on the related issue can be considered as essential especially to the determination of the culture and development of the society wherein the religion and the belief originated and flourished. This is due to the fact that Zen Buddhism, being one of the schools of thought of Buddhism, can be considered to have a significant influence to the views and beliefs of the present society. The study can contribute in the increase of consciousness of the public on the belief of one of the most important schools of thought.
The aim of the study is to present a particular view on Zen Buddhism and its present role in the modern society. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE The study that was conducted is mainly based on the research that was undertaken prior to the study. These include the documents that express the written account of the Zen Buddhism, with its principles, teachings and roles in the culture. One extensive account and study was conducted by D. T. Suzuki which includes a compilation of the practices incorporated in Zen Buddhism.
The author presented an in depth organization of knowledge on Zen Buddhism that can be considered as one of the contributing factors in the increase of interest in the subject. Being one of the forerunners in the study of Zen Buddhism, the works of Suzuki can be considered as an importance reference in the study related to Zen. Based on the study, Zen can be defined as a way of life that focuses on the being itself. The factors that revolve around the person and his environment are the main concern of the principles of Zen.
It describes the different process mainly targeting the spirit to be able to achieve freedom specifically on the spiritual aspect, the beliefs equating to a positive outlook in life (Suzuki, 1960). The main concentration is the body where in development of the view and outlook of the person can be improved. Once the freedom of the spirit is achieved, the state of happiness can ultimately be viewed and experienced on the basis of the freedom of the spirit. On the basis of different writings, the principles of Zen can be interpreted on different approaches and forms.
The Doctrine of Enlightenment can be considered as one of the basic teachings related to Zen in China. On the study that was conducted, the analysis was based on the concept of happiness as presented by Zen Buddhism. One of the issues that were discussed is in relation to the position of Zen Buddhism in the principles of Buddhism as a school of thought. This can be attributed to the fact that there are questions on the relationship of Zen Buddhism in the main teachings of Buddhism. These queries are related to the differences on the principles of Zen with the main body of Buddhism.
Certain groups even consider Zen Buddhism as an aversion from the teachings of Buddhism. But it is important to consider two scenarios in the judgment of whether the teachings divert from the true sense of Buddhism or not. One focus can be of the methods or techniques to be able to achieve the ends of the beliefs. For example, to be able to achieve happiness or the state of enlightenment there are certain differences for Zen Buddhism and the original Buddhism in India (Suzuki, 1961). Another view in terms of the historical focus on the definition and application of Zen Buddhism, H.
, Dumoulin is one of the most important authors. The focus of the works presented is Zen enlightenment and the historical origins of Zen Buddhism specifically in the most important places, India and China where Zen Buddhism flourished (Dumoulin, 1979; Dumoulin, 2005). Zen Buddhism, even against the beliefs of other groups is one of the major divisions of Buddhism that originated in India but developed in the China. Presented in the said work are queries that can be related to the diverting values and even origins of Zen and Buddhism (Dumoulin, 2005). These cases can be viewed as the different sides of a complex concept.
But it is important to consider, though, that the application of principles of religion and even traditions adapt to the needs of the particular locality and group of people. Thus, such queries can be considered significant only on the perspective that it can lead to more exploration of the issue. The superficial judgment and analysis of the religion and culture can be considered futile specifically when the standards are set by the factions that are not intrinsic of the group. Another important query to consider is the areas to consider in the study of Zen Buddhism. There are different outlooks and views regarding Zen Buddhism.
These views include the psychological, the ontological and the epistemological views. It is important to consider that the role and the principles of Zen Buddhism transcend the different inclusions that are tend to be set by the different fields of disciplines (Suzuki, 1961; Suzuki, 1962). It is then important to consider the fact that in issues such as conceptual definitions, the limitations to the definitions that are often set hinders the probability of understanding. Although this is the case, it is important to set standards and classification yardstick to be able to capture the essence of the term.
In a study of concepts and views of any area, it is important to consider that the presentation of data is needed to focus on a district aspect. This is due to the fact that these concepts, e. g. religion cannot be delineated by standards because the effects extend through different aspects and facets. Understanding then requires presentation of a certain aspect and the background of the concept. Zen Buddhism can be considered as an important area of Buddhism, an important area of study due to the effects on the culture of the particular areas that practice the belief.
One of the ways to be able to present and achieve an understanding is to target a particular area. In the study conducted, the different approaches and types of Zen Buddhism developed in different locality is the main concentration. Although this is the case, to be able to present a view means to create the environment and the factors and relationships related to the issue. In the study of Zen Buddhism, the determination of the relationship of the principles of Zen to the issues of the modern society is another important focus.
One example that can be given is the relationship of Zen Buddhism on psychology and psychotherapy. The relationship can be attributed to the fact that the principles of the religion target the achievement of a state of being which usually affects both the psychological state. It can clearly be related to the goal to achieve a certain level of consciousness. One scenario that was studies was related to the interaction of the eastern and the western methods, namely psychotherapy and Buddhism. These methods are both aimed to be able to improve the behavioral state of an individual.
The eastern method as the traditional method is represented by Buddhism and the western method is represented by psychotherapy as the modern method. But this is only one of the situations that describe the extent of coverage of Zen and Zen Buddhism on the society (Muramoto & Young-Eisendrath, 2002). METHODOLOGY To be able to determine and present an overview on the philosophies and beliefs of Zen Buddhism mainly the different approaches and types, the use of a descriptive type of research was conducted.
The objective in this type of research is mainly to present a particular perspective on the topic of interest. It also presents the possible factors and issues that can be related to the subject that is under study. It was undertaken through the study of the information that is made available through prior work of contemporary authors. The research was conducted through the integration of the different published references and other available sources. The issue that deals with the view of the population can be presented through the gathering of information related to the issue.
The method that was utilized in the process is qualitative research. The said method can be utilized for historical and conceptual issues that are given an in depth view. In relation to the results of the study that was conducted, an investigation on the documents and published works that were conducted prior to the research is one of the primary phases undertaken to be able to achieve the set goals. The areas that can be considered of priority include the subjects and issues related to Zen Buddhism such as its origin and history.
The principles and beliefs related to Zen Buddhism are the basic knowledge also included in the research. From these principles variations and forms are then studied on the basis of the locality and place of origin. Also included in the search for references are the sources that can be utilized for the discussion and comparative analysis of Zen and the Pureland Buddhism. Mainly, the achievement of the needed data was undertaken through data gathering on the printed and published works on the topic.
Description, data gathering of pertinent information and analysis are included in the process undertaken to be able to achieve the goals of the research. The analysis of the data gathered that are essential to the topic is done mainly through the process of induction (Baum, 1984; Hoepfl, 1997). In the research undertaken, the presentation of the overview and the different approaches to Zen Buddhism along with the present role of the school of thought in the present generation is the mainly based on the accumulated facts and organized data from reputable and historical published records and studies.
The concepts that were gathered were recorded, measured, organized and analyzed to be able to come up with the output from published references. The works done by different authors are the main basis of the generalization and conclusion that are established. This phase is important primarily on the basis that the conclusion can be considered as the main end of the process of research. In any sociological process that is under study, there are always varying sides and approaches, which are included in the important part of the research conducted. RESULTS
The issues related to Zen Buddhism revolve on different concepts which mainly include Zen, Buddhism and the different forms of Zen Buddhism. These terms are the primary phase to be able to achieve an understanding of Zen Buddhism, the different forms and the present role in the modern society. I. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism Zen Buddhism Defined There are different attributes within which Zen can be defined and described. This can be attributed to the fact that the concept can affect different facets and aspects namely including religion, arts, culture and even the different facets of an individual.
Zen can be considered as the art improving oneself on the basis of freeing the spiritual well being. The state of freedom and the achievement of enlightenment can be considered as the major goal. From the point of view of the Zen Buddhism, improving the inner person can strengthen other aspects of a person. The body is considered as the most important instrument in the principles of the group (Suzuki, 1961). The main teachings revolve around the fact that the enlightenment and freedom should be achieved by the soul and the spiritual segment of an individual.
Etymological Perspective Based on etymological meaning Zen can be attributed as a short term for zenna, which can be traced as related to the Mandarin term channa. Literally, the term is related to the Sanskrit term (dhyana) or meditation. In Chinese writing it is chan, Seon in Korea and Thi? n in Vietnam. Due to the differences in equivalent terms in different locality, it can be considered important to present the principles on the basis of the development in different localities (Dumoulin, 2005). Zen is one of the sects of Buddhism.
It is one of the important schools of thought that mainly focus on meditation, also referred to as zazen. The main focus is the stage of enlightenment through wisdom of the spirit. The main proponent and founder of Buddhism is Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. Being one of the important subdivisions of Buddhism, it is considered to have an important religious and experiential effect on the believers and practitioners. Due to the fact that the teachings are based on theoretical established thought, Zen Buddhism is considered to be a school of religious thought.
This can be translated as a basis for decision making for different cultures in Asia, e. g. India and China (Dumoulin, 2005; Suzuki, 1960). Variety of Meanings of Zen Zen can be of different meanings on different people on the basis of their orientation and affective factors. Although the principles of Zen are meant to be basic, the interpretation often varies, creating different perspective and subjective meaning to the term. The term Zen has different related meanings. One is meditation which can be related to its etymological interpretation and basic meaning in Buddhism (Dumoulin, 2005; Suzuki, 1960).
Aside form the said interpretation the other possible meanings of Zen are cosmic reality and the meaning in Zen Buddhism (Kit, 2002). It is important though to consider the fact that to be able to achieve a clear grasp of the meaning of Zen Buddhism, the primary issue to consider is the understanding of Buddhism as a religion. This is due to the fact that Zen Buddhism and its techniques are rooted to the religion that originated in India although many people may contradict due to differences of superficial representations of the two subject matters (Dumoulin, 2005).
The discussion on the true meaning of Zen, even at the simplest perspective can be considered as a complex process. One view is Zen Buddhism being a religion. This is the basis perspective since Buddhism is one of the most important and most established religions. It is important to consider the fact that Zen cannot be captured in just a single definition due to the complexity of its role. In that case, Zen can be considered as a synergy of different definitions and roles which vary on the basis of the perspective needed.
Zen Buddhism can be a way of life, a culture and a religious principle. Subjectivity can also play an influential role in the definition of Zen Buddhism. Thus, it is important to consider the different approaches to the study of Zen. One important perspective is the historical basis of classification, mainly based on the development over a timeline. Origin and History of Zen Buddhism In the study of the history of Buddhism, it is important to consider the development and the spread of Buddhism in different countries in Asia.
This can be considered important to be able to determine the development of the varying approaches in the practice of Zen Buddhism. The Buddhism Timeline To be able to determine the root of the principles of Zen Buddhism, it is important to study the timeline in the development of the said school of thought. Due to the fact t hat Buddhism can be considered as one of the oldest and most established religions in Asia, the origins of Buddhism can be traced back to the 500 BC. This is the time wherein Buddhism was established (Dumoulin, 2005; McCowan, n. d. ; Suzuki, 1960).
Although this is the case, the influences in the practices incorporated in Buddhism can be traced back even through the prehistoric period, wherein the Indus Valley civilization can already be observed to practice meditation. This practice can be considered as one of the most important activity and the basis for the activity of the Zen Buddhism. On the other hand, the said practice was brought to India due to movements of different groups of people. Included in the cultures and traditions that was given to India is the Vedas, Brahma, priesthood, the caste and rituals.
Also the strengthening of the Dharmic religions which occurred through the 1800 to 470 BCE is followed by the birth of the founder of Buddhism between 624 to 560 BCE (Watterson, 2004). The period of enlightenment of the great teacher of Buddhism in 589 to 525 BCE, can be considered as the revelation of the basic teachings and principles of Buddhism. The commencement of the Four Noble Truths occurred in the Dhamma-vinaya, the religion he established. But after his death between 544-480 BCE, the Buddhists Council became active in the establishment of the religion.
The 1st – 3rd Buddhist Councils expanded the coverage of the religion and even included leaders of the country such as King Asoka who converted in 297 BCE. In the said councils the different issues related to Buddhism are discussed and resolved (Watterson, 2004). During this period, the influence of Buddhism reached other parts of Asia, causing the rise of the different forms of Buddhism in different countries which can be attributed to the local and domestic cultures and traditions of the particular area. Buddhism can be considered to adapt and blend to the culture of the people.