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Hi guys. Im struggling to find more info on Zen practice after practising precepts and sitting Zazen

edited August 2011 in Sanghas
Hi everyone. Other than sitting meditation and living by the precepts, what else is included in Zen practice.
I cant find much info on the Zen practice.
Ive been told by some people that other than meditation there isnt much else that zen teaches. But if this is so, does that mean to be a Zen buddhist is to just practice Meditation?

Cheers everyone.


  • Ive been told by some people that other than meditation there isnt much else that zen teaches. But if this is so, does that mean to be a Zen buddhist is to just practice Meditation?

    Cheers everyone.

    This is sort of true. Zen is primarily a meditative practice. There's also chanting and sutra study, but the priority of Zen is meditation.
    Dhyāna in Sanskrit (Devanagari: ध्यान) or jhāna (झान) in Pāli can refer to either meditation or meditative states. Equivalent terms are "Chán" in modern Chinese, "Zen" in Japanese, "Seon" in Korean, "Thien" in Vietnamese, and "Samten" in Tibetan.
  • Zen is most definitely a "contemplative" tradition. It's teachings are far more obscure and are typically used to direct the mind toward the meditative state. Of course, mastery of shikantaza and samathi is not an easy task to undertake by any stretch of the imagination.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited August 2011
    Zen is more than just meditation and basic precepts. Buddha could have spent the rest of his life in the forest, meditating and obeying a list of ethical rules, and never attained Enlightenment.

    Zen is asking, "What am I" and keep asking that, cultivating a "don't know" mind, until you learn to look at the world with a clear mind. So what are you? What is doing the meditation? What is suffering? What is your Buddha Nature? Where is it?

    Ask those questions and keep asking.
  • edited August 2011
    Zen is direct appraoch into supremeness and only meditation in silence or stillness to "sit off" all worldly and heavenly habits. Zen never chant or study sutra as Buddha Sakyamuni meditated under a bodhi tree and enlightened. Sutra and mantra are the record of all his realization and expediencies after enlightenment, to impart varied level of living beings.
  • ZenBadgerZenBadger Derbyshire, UK Veteran
    There are other practices such as Gong-An (Koan) or Hua Tou where a nonsensical or paradoxical story or phrase are used to shock the mind into realisation. Some say it is best to use these practices only under the tutelage of a good teacher but others say that in the absence of anything better it is possible to look at the simpler ones independently. Shattering the Great Doubt: The Chan Practice of Huatou by Master Sheng Yen is probably the best book I have read on this subject.

    As for chanting, liturgy etc. there is a very good book by John Daido Loori called Bringing the Sacred to Life: The Daily Practice of Zen Ritual. The Treeleaf Zendo also have some useful material on their website, look in their forum.
  • Thanks all. :)
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited August 2011
    Zen literally means "meditation". However, most people think of meditation as "sitting on a cushion for 1/2 hour a day" and that's it. Zen meditation means much more than that. Zen meditation is a 24/7 practice. It's a continual practice of remaining mindful of your body, feelings, mind, mental qualities in all situations throughout the day. In addition to formal sitting practice and the questioning techniques stated above.
  • hermitwinhermitwin Veteran
    edited August 2011
    soory wrong thread.
  • soory wrong thread.
    No worries. :)
  • You may also want to consider an online Zen program such as the one at White Wind Zen Center. You can coordinate with a Roshi from wherever you are and move forward in your practice. Here's their website:

    and an informative page about Zen itself:

    "Zen is simply the direct Way of Awakening. It is just allowing ourselves to enter into the heart of this moment, which is the heart of our lives. It is simply paying attention to our actual experiences, to our lives as they are: a breeze passing your cheek, rain falling and soaking the earth and trees, a stomach ache, the laughter of children playing -- seeing what you see, feeling what you feel. Colours, forms, sights, sounds, touch, taste, smell, thoughts, all coming and all going. Where do they come from and where do they go? Zen is entering into things as they are, beyond concept and cosmology, beyond separation and duality, beyond personality, and into the intimacy and richness of this whole moment. It is a radical questioning into whatever arises as our experiences and true entry into the nature of experiencing. Zen is the day to day and moment to moment practice of this moment. It is the transmission of yourself to yourself in a Lineage of Teacher to student, face to face. It is a mind-to-mind transmission that has spanned two thousand, six hundred years from India to China to Japan to right here."

    Even if you don't join their program, there are many excellent resources on that site. Hope you find it helpful.
  • Not1- Thanks very much.
  • not1 not2
  • @Ashatman : Check out Sheng Yen's books (which are really transcriptions from various talks). I find him very practical about Chan/Zen, very down-to-earth.

    Faith in Mind, Dharma Drum, Subtle Wisdom and Hoofprint of the Ox are particularly good places to start.

    Me, I read Dogen for the far out stuff, I read Sheng Yen to keep me grounded.
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