September 1, 2014

Western Zen: Transition And Turmoil

A series of essays by Chuan Zhi Shakya discussing some of the challenges faced by Western Zen Practitioners.

Western Zen: Transition And Turmoil -- Part 1

by Chuan Zhi

Published Nov 15, 2006

Western Zen: Transition And Turmoil -- Part 1

Whenever a religion enters a new region dominated by an ethnic culture differing from that of its originating source, a certain amalgamation of ideologies, ethicalities, as well as prevailing myths and superstitions of the newly introduced religion and the antecedent religions takes place. Buddhism is an especially interesting case, as... Read more

Part IV - The Gong An (Koan) and Hua Tou

by Chuan Zhi

Published Feb 15, 2007

Part IV -  The Gong An (Koan) and Hua Tou

Many people equate Zen training with gong-an (koan) study due to the fairly frequent use of this teaching technique in Zen monasteries. Koans are one of many different techniques that teachers have used over the centuries to help students break through the rigid mental framework that obscures the higher domain... Read more

Part III - Dharma Transmission and Lineage

by Chuan Zhi

Published Dec 12, 2006

Part III - Dharma Transmission and Lineage

While most of the world's great religions rely on the sanctity of words to convey the Truth of their religious doctrines, moral codes, etc., Zen Buddhism makes no such claim as it has no such written document or collection of documents. Instead, Zen Buddhism relies on the concept of Dharma... Read more

Part VI - Conclusion

by Chuan Zhi

Published Mar 30, 2007

Part VI -  Conclusion

Buddhism is a complex religion, without a single voice, with many faces, and many representatives holding many different views. It's tremendously easy for a newcomer to get lost in the quagmire of beliefs, ambiguous language, customs, teachings, superstitions and myths that have produced a Matta-like painting of this unusual and... Read more

Part II - The Zen Master

by Chuan Zhi

Published Nov 29, 2006

Part II - The Zen Master

A master serves several functions in a sangha: as a teacher and resource for practicing students, as a guide or "coach", as a leader or co-leader of ceremonies, as a disciplinarian, and often as an administrator. In addition, a master is usually responsible for the financial health of the temple,... Read more

Part V - The Context of Zen

by Chuan Zhi

Published Mar 12, 2007

Part V - The Context of Zen

The context in which we view a thing has a great influence on our perception of it. It is a great influence on our perception of Zen.When we first learn about something it's with our senses and we know all too well that they can mislead, tricking us to believe... Read more