History of Zen
Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. It began in China, spread to Korea and Japan, and became very popular in the West from the mid 20th century. The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language.
Each country has established its own definitions and practices, but all are based on the original ideas of the Ch’an School, which is why the most colloquial term around the world for following a Zen lifestyle is “Zen Buddhism”.
What exactly is Zen?
Zen is the Japanese name for a Buddhist tradition practiced by millions of people across the world. Historically, Zen practice originated in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, and later came to in the West. Zen takes many forms, as each culture that embraced it did so with their own emphases and tastes.
Zen is as diverse as its practitioners, but common features include an emphasis on simplicity and the teachings of no duality and no conceptual understanding. No Duality is sometimes described as “not one not two,” meaning that things are neither entirely unified nor are they entirely distinct from one another.
Zen recognises, for example, that the body and mind are interconnected: they are neither the same nor completely separate. Nonconceptual understanding refers to insight into “things as they are” that cannot be expressed in words.