Satori, koan, mondo
[Zen, koan]
Zen Buddhism, Zen meditation, Zen philosophy

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Zen Buddhism

  Zen claims to have its basis in a particular assembly, which had been arranged to convey teachings of importance, where the Buddha instead of uttering any words moved forwards towards the edge of a platform and picked one of the flowers with which the platform had been decorated. The Buddha then held the flower aloft before returning to his seat.

  Whilst most of the gathering were bewildered by these proceedings one of the more venerable of the assembled monks seemed to receive a particular opening of Enlightenment and exchanged a glance with the Buddha which somehow itself expanded upon this comprehension.


    Some sources suggest that it was almost a thousand years after such an exchange might have taken place that Buddhism, of the kind that was to develop towards becoming Zen was introduced into China by a monk of "rough-diamond" aspect named Bodhidharma (circa 520 A.D.). Other sources maintain that Buddhism, once introduced to China, adapted through interactions with Taoism to produce a meditative type of Buddhism. 

  It was perhaps a century after Buddhism's introduction into China that Ch'an (from Sanskrit dhyana - Meditation) Buddhism became a distinct Buddhism in China. It was this Ch'an Buddhism itself that was to evolve after being transplanted to Japan. Buddhism in China itself suffered from the effects of a determined official "Confucian" discouragement after 845 A.D.

  There are two major Schools - Rinzai and Soto. Both Rinzai and Soto Ch'an - seem have been introduced into Japan from China in the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.

  Zen hopes to promote such an intuitive understanding in preference to attempts being made towards an intellectual understanding - it holds that if a question is innately felt in the right way then the answer will arise, innately, in response!!!

  Zen Buddhism refers to such innate Enlightenment as Satori. This Satori Enlightenment is a key goal of meditation!!!

  In order to assist students towards such an attainment of Satori Enlightenment Rinzai masters are known to require aspirants to meditate upon obscure question and answer riddles known as mondo and in requiring students to meditate upon enigmatic statements known as koan.
  A widely known koan being that concerning the sound of one hand clapping!

  Zen Buddhism does not seem so much to place emphasis on the attainment of Nirvana as a state where desires have been abandoned but seems rather to hold in view the goal of an intuitive experience of Satori Enlightenment "wisdom" that is independent of words. 

Introductory quotations
Life of Buddha
Buddha teachings
Zen Buddhism
Enlightenment koan


Start of Zen Buddhism
meditation and philosophy