Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 31 comments

    Holding Anger Paid Member

    Anger hinders our liberation from suffering. It takes its toll on our spirit and our health. Stress levels are on the rise. The Harris Poll in 2002 recorded that tension levels in almost half of Americans had worsened over the preceding year. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75 to 90 percent of doctors’ visits are for stress-related ailments. Psychological distress such as anger, anxiety, and depression seems to be a good predictor of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and sudden death. But what is missing from this research is the “first cause,” the damaged self—a belief that manifests as anger projected for the most part onto others. On one level, this projected anger is a defense against one’s “bad self.” On a deeper level, it represents our feelings of vulnerability. More »
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    The Examined Life Paid Member

    I address you now not as your professor, but as Seido, Rinzai Zen monk, caretaker of Hokoku-An Zendo. The semester has come to an end. When I look out at you I see 30 people. When you look at me you see one. But for each one of you I am a different professor. There are 30 different versions of me standing before you in this classroom. It is my job to create a relationship of sorts with each and every one of you. I do that by reading your journals and your papers, by observing how you are in class, whether or not you come prepared, whether or not you take notes, how often you text, and how often you nod off. I’m like Santa Claus. I see you when you’re sleeping and I know when you’re awake; I know when you’re taking notes and when you’re checking your Facebook page. More »
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    A Special Transmission Paid Member

    Legend tells us that Chan Buddhism began in India, specifically when the Buddha transmitted his true dharma to one and only one disciple, Mahakashyapa. History, however, tells us a different story, namely that Chan originated in China some time around the 6th century. Over time, the Chan school spread throughout most of the Chinese sphere of cultural influence—to Korea, Vietnam, and of course Japan, and it is by its Japanese name, Zen, that Westerners recognize it best. Of course, it is not just the name; the Japanese tradition is by far the most familiar and visible of Chan’s various cultural manifestations, though Korean and Vietnamese traditions as well have gained sizable footing in the West. All of which makes for a certain irony: while Chan originated in China, and while China, after the Indian subcontinent, has been the most historically influential home for Buddhism, Westerners tend by and large to have very little working knowledge of contemporary Chinese Buddhism. More »
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    The Enlightenment Pill Paid Member

    Western society is obsessed with medication. Because medical science has advanced so far so quickly, we are prone to imagine that drugs can cure any illness if only we can find just the right combination of chemicals. So naturally when we hear representatives of Eastern religions describe our normal condition as diseased, we wonder what we can take to fix that. The notion that there might be a pill to make us enlightened seems to make perfect sense. The idea that psychedelic drugs might be able to do in minutes what used to take years of deep introspection and hard practice has recently made a major comeback. As if the 1960s and 1970s taught us nothing, there is a whole new generation promoting hallucination as a substitute for meditation. More »
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    The Buddha Stain Paid Member

    At the further edges, cults are certainly different from other types of communities, whether religious or secular. But aside from the extremes, there can be a large gray area. Which is to say, certain characteristics that are present in most any purposeful community—self-validating agreements about authority; the singular significance of the group’s mission; clear rules of conduct and organization—can, when pushed far enough, lead to cult-like behavior, with damaging consequences. More »
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    The Lens of Your Heart Paid Member

    From the moment we wake up in the morning, we take many pictures with the lens in our hearts. Our sensory organs, not only our eyes, take all sorts of pictures of the world we live in. When we go through the countless pictures we take during the day, we realize that they were taken with a lens covered with layers of prejudice and stubbornness, regardless of the true essence of the objects in our pictures. At the end of the day, we come to realize that many of those photos are part of our illusion and have little relevance to the essence of the world. More »