Obtaining Realization Through Koan
Zen, also known as Ch’an Buddhism in China, is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that was established in China about 1500 years ago. Zen is a form of religious practice of mainly concentrating the mind to a single point in which then results in self-realization and/or enlightenment. Zen philosophy is interpreted that all humans are capable of reaching enlightenment, which is generally blocked by ignorance. The idea emphasizes enlightened masters over forms of scriptures, and is the least “academic” of all the Buddhist schools. The beliefs and traditions Zen Buddhism holds has been very influential on western society, which makes Zen one of the most well known school of Buddhism in America. The main ideas and practices found in Zen Buddhism are derived by its meaning, meditation. Zen teaches that through meditation, enlightenment may be achieved by realizing that one self is already an enlightened being. There are many goals to the practice of Zen meditation, but there are three that stand out as most important. The first goal is called “joriki” in Japanese. Jo means concentration, and riki means power. Thus, jordi is the power of concentration, “which develops through the practice of meditation” (Thien-An 93). The second goal of Zen is kenshogodo, meaning to see or realize one’s true nature. In order to attain Kensho, we need to not only self-realize but have realization of others as well. When one realizes that they cannot exist alone, a state of isolation will not follow, but a state of interdependence, known as Kensho. The attainment of Kensho is mostly and especially emphasized in Rinzai Zen. The third goal, known as the highest goal of Zen Buddhism is mujodo no taigen, translated as the actualization of the Supreme way. The actualization of the supreme way is “the realization of the truth of enlightenment” (Thien-An 100) in our everyday lives. When one comes to realize that things are perfect just they way they are they have...
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Heine, Steven, and Dale Stuart. Wright. The Koan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.
Singh, Lalan Prasad, and B. M. Sirisena. Zen Buddhism. New York: Envoy, 1988. Print.
Thiện, Ân. Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice. Emeryville, CA: Dharma Pub., 1975. Print.
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