Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which can be approximately translated as “meditation” or “meditative state.”
Zen emphasizes experiential wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct self-realization through meditation and dharma practice.
In studying Zen, we start with practice and although much of Zen is concerned with philosophical problem solving and those of the mind, Zen never separates from the personal practice which is carried out through both the Body and The Mind.
It is common in many Zen traditions today for Zen teachers to have a stick with them during formal ceremonies which is a symbol of authority and which can be also used to strike on the table during a talk. The now defunct Fuke Zen sect was also well known for practicing suizen, musical meditation with the shakuhachi flute, which some Zen Buddhists today also practice.
Often we take up Zen to search for the meaning of life or nature of our existence but the lessons are learned through our daily practice, one moment at a time. Through consistent Practice and Training. Practice. More training. More practice. Patience and seriousness should be observed in your approach to training. Just as the consistent flow of water can carve sandstone, consistent flow of concentration and practice can carve your path to excellence.
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