Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    Being Intimate with Demons Paid Member

    At Tassajara, the Soto Zen monastery inland from Big Sur, where I lived for three years in the mid-seventies, a stone Buddha of great beauty and concentration sits on an altar. From his lotus throne he radiates both serenity and acceptance, the traditional half-smile on his face greeting whatever is brought into the room. In many ways, I found such a reminder of one’s own Buddha-nature quite helpful. Without such equanimity, how could one sit without moving amid the many hours of thoughts, feelings, memories, physical pain, or even the joys, that are an inevitable part of Zen practice? More »
  • Interbeing with Thich Nhat Hanh: An Interview Paid Member

    Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh was born in central Vietnam in October 1926 and became a monk at the age of sixteen. During the Vietnam War, he left his monastery and became actively engaged in helping victims of the war and publicly advocating peace. In 1966, he toured the United States at the invitation of the Fellowship of Reconciliation "to describe the aspirations and the agony of the voiceless masses of the Vietnamese people." As a result, he was threatened with arrest in Vietnam and unable to return. He served as the chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation during the war and in 1967 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More »
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    The Lady and the Monk Paid Member

    One reason I had always been interested in Zen was my sense that for people like myself, trained in abstraction, Zen could serve as the ideal tonic. For Zen, as I understood it, was about slicing with a clean sword through all the Gordian knots invented by the mind, plunging through all specious dualities—East and West, here and there, coming and going—to get to some core so urgent that its truth could not be doubted. The best lesson Zen could teach—though it was, of course, something of a paradox to say or even think it—was to go beyond a kind of thinking that was nothing more than agonizing, and simply act. In that sense, Zen reminded me of Johnson's famous refutation of Berkeley by kicking a stone. It was unanswerable as pain. More »
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    The Fertile Soil of Sangha Paid Member

    TWO THOUSAND five hundred years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed that the next Buddha will be named Maitreya, the “Buddha of Love.” I think Maitreya Buddha may be a community and not just an individual. A good community is needed to help us resist the unwholesome ways of our time. Mindful living protects us and helps us go in the direction of peace. With the support of friends in the practice, peace has a chance. More »
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    Think Not Thinking Paid Member

    People who are new to Zen practice have all kinds of weird ideas about the state of nonthinking. Some people envision it as some kind of trippy spaced-out sorta thing. I’ve even heard the term mushiryo (“not-thinking”) consciousness thrown around as if it was some way-cool and mysterious altered state. Some folks are even scared by the idea. But it ain’t like that, folks. In fact, it feels real nice to stop thinking. And it’s not nearly as difficult as people want to make it seem. You just kind of think not thinking. More »
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    Yasutani Roshi: The Hardest Koan Paid Member

    In Zen at War (Weatherhill, 1997), Brian Victoria examined how the Japanese Zen clergy interpreted Buddhist teachings in ways that made Zen dharma—and themselves—complicit with the Imperial Forces for the success of what was called "The Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere." More »