Zen Buddhism is one of the Buddhist systems with the most followers, its name is related to meditation and the way it is pronounced in Japan. The central nucleus of this philosophy is the reach of wisdom as a path to reach enlightenment.
The Zen movement does not speak of theoretical knowledge but rather of learning that is related to the self-realization of the individual, through their spiritual balance that is achieved through different states of meditation.
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What is Buddhism?
At the time Gautama Buddha disappeared, Zen Buddhism began to spread throughout India and Southeast Asia. In a short time, different ways of interpreting the master's original teachings began to emerge, which is why different schools were created, developing different theories of the main knowledge taught by Buddha.
These differences between the beliefs of each school generated some confusion, which is why many of the monks and Buddhist teachers retreated to the forest to dedicate himself exclusively to the meditation practice taught by the Buddha.
Zen tries to take the practice and the teaching of awakening beyond any doctrine, word or conventional form of communication. Zen Buddhism is above all a concrete and immediate way of emitting the essence of the Enlightenment experience and seeing things as they are.
Zen and meditation
Zen is the school of Buddhism that has taken meditation as the only path that leads directly to enlightenment. It is the only one, among all the currents, that takes this practice as the main membrane of the entire movement, while the others take it in a secondary way.
Zen has a Japanese origin and is derived from the Chinese word Chan, which was the name of Mahayana Buddhism practiced in China. The term Dhyana describes the experience of meditative absorption that arises after effective concentration. In the ancient discourses of the Buddha up to eight different levels of this absorption are detailed.
The master's transmission
Zen Buddhism emphasizes the essence of the teachings transmitted from master to disciple and on this simple practice, the entire Buddhist culture revolves. There are different ways of transmitting Buddhism or rather different levels of learning to reach absolute knowledge.
There are four main types of transmission within Buddhism; transmission of ordination, transmission of scriptures, transmission of doctrine, and transmission of the spirit of Dharma.
The transmission of ordination
This first level can be given in three different ways. Lay ordination (known as Upasaka or Upasika in Theravada Buddhism or South Asian Buddhism.) Ordination as a monk or nun (Bhikshu or Bhikshuni). Bodhisattva ordination which involves special vows and is only practiced in Mahayana Buddhism or Sino-Japanese and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.
The transmission of scriptures
The second level consists of correctly transmitting the content of the scriptures. After centuries of transmitting the knowledge of the Buddha, these were preserved in palm leaves that later became books over time in order to preserve in an incorruptible way the true and only word of the great teacher, the Buddha.
These books have been accompanied by other writings that contain the comments of different teachers and monks who have lived through the transformation process, and thus give a version based on their experience and complement the study and transmission of complete knowledge.
In some parts of the Buddhist world a person is only considered to have mastered the scriptures when he or she has studied them with a teacher. It is not enough to read the printed page; you have to learn, at the same time perform the correct interpretation, which can be done with the help of a teacher "in Succession".
Transmission of doctrine
Within Zen, the doctrine is the systematic presentation of Buddhist teachings, following a logical and coherent structure that corresponds to Buddhist thought and Buddhist philosophy.
Some doctrinal topics, for example: the Five Aggregates, the Nine Sacred Persons, the Twelve Links, etc. Which is the way the Buddha's teaching had been formulated for mnemonic purposes. The transmission of this way of accommodating and grouping the teachings is what is understood as transmission of the doctrine.
Dharma Spirit Transmission
The Dharma refers to truth and reality and is the most important transmission of all and is known as; "a special transmission outside of scripture".
This transmission is to be understood as something that takes place, not only outside of scripture, but outside of the context of ordination and doctrinal formulation.