What is Zen?
This is an interesting question, since the very essence of Zen says that the notion should not be explained by words; instead meditation and an intense introspection process should enlighten the student in Zen, reveling all there is to know about it. Nevertheless we’ll spare you from the effort and give the most important facts about Zen.
If it is to translate the word itself, it means ‘meditation’ and its followers suggest that everyone is capable of finding true happiness, by simply looking inside and understand its true self. Zen is not supposed to be defined by a term as it is not a material thing, but rather a state of mind and an objective in itself.
The history of Zen is particularly interesting as it originated from ancient India, had a great impact on these lands and was imported to China in the 5th century. It was referred to as Chan and it was very popular even before the Japanese embraced it as Zen, as it is now known by people worldwide. The concept was very appealing to westerners as well and there are now many Zen schools that offer intensive practice sessions.
At its core Zen is a Buddhist concept and so, proclaims that all being have a Buddha-nature, which is practically an enlightenment nature. Its purpose is to discover this nature inside each person and the best way to do it is meditation. By freeing the mind and putting aside all the daily worries and frustrations, the self is rediscovered and the Buddha-nature reveals itself.
Meditation is usually performed while sitting in a specific position, such as the lotus, half-lotus, Burmese or other. The goal is to enter a superior state, where you become aware of the thoughts flux and let them pass freely, without any interference.
What is Zen?