The term “Zen” has its roots in the Sanskrit word “Dhyana”. Dhyana means meditation. Zen Buddhism was brought to China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma in the 6th century CE. It is a mixture of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism. Taoism (also referred to as Daoism) is an ancient tradition of philosophy that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs. Mahayana (which literally means the great vehicle) Buddhism originated in India.
People in Western countries have been practicing Zen techniques for more than 50 years. It was popularized in the West by the famous Japanese scholar Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. Zen enables you to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language. This is one of the main reasons why it is popular all over the world.
According to Zen, you cannot find enlightenment by philosophizing or rational thought.
Truth is not revealed to people who practice religious rituals. It is not for those who study scriptures. Enlightenment is for those who practice Zen under the guidance of their spiritual master. The first step in Zen is to control the mind through meditation and other techniques that involve body and mind. Zen masters emphasize on the need to give up logical thinking.
It is very difficult to describe Zen in words. It is not a concept. It is something a person does. It is something to be experienced by doing. “Zen is a subject extremely easy to misunderstand,” says Christmas Humphreys, a Buddhism expert. Zen believes that all human beings are Buddha and each one has to discover that truth for himself/herself. According to Zen, true human nature is Buddha-nature.
When you practice Zen, you embark on a journey of self-discovery. Students of Zen achieve enlightenment by the way they live, and by mental actions that approach the truth without philosophical thought. Zen encourages you to realize your own Buddha-nature gradually. It is concerned with what actually is rather than what we think or feel about what is.
Zen techniques can be practiced by anyone.
Many people use Zen techniques in an effort to get a mystical understanding of their religion. Zen requires intense discipline. If you practice Zen sincerely, you will enjoy spontaneity and freedom. Zen encourages you to look inside yourself for enlightenment and believes that you can find the answers in the same place where you found the questions.