When Gotama became enlightened, and began preaching the practices of Buddhism, it came at such a time when the Han dynasty was collapsing, citizens were tired of Confucianism and looking for a new ideology that they could put there hearts and souls into.
Diasetz Teitaro Suzuki was born in Japan in 1870, received his philosophical training as a Buddhist disciple at the great Zen monastery at Kamakura, and was a distinguished professor of Buddhist philosophy at Otani University, in Kyoto, Japan....
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If you're a westerner you may find it hard to shake off the intellectual and dualist ways of thinking that dominate western culture: these can make it difficult for westerners to come to Zen.
the God conceived by most Christians. God is not in time mathematically enumerable. His creativity is not historical, not accidental, not at all measurable. It goes on continuously without cessation with no beginning, with no end. It is not an event of yesterday or today or tomorrow, it comes out of timelessness, of nothingness, of Absolute Void. God's work is always done in an absolute present, in a timeless "now which is time and place in itself." God's work is sheer love, utterly free from all forms of chronology and teleology. The idea of God creating the world out of nothing, in an absolute present, and therefore altogether beyond the control of a serial time conception will not sound strange to Buddhist cars. Perhaps they may find it acceptable as reflecting their doctrine of Emptiness ().
It is now necessary to examine Eckhart's close kinship with Mahāyāna Buddhism and especially with Zen Buddhism in regard to the doctrine of Emptiness.
While silence is certainly valued in the Christian monastictradition, the emphasis on text, liturgy, and interpretation makes Christianitydistinct from the "wordless" ideal of Zen Buddhism.
Asearly as the second century B.C.
The Buddhist doctrine of Emptiness is unhappily greatly misunderstood in the West. The word "emptiness" or "void" seems to frighten people away, whereas when they use it among themselves, they do not seem to object to it. While some Indian thought is described as nihilistic, Eckhart has never been accused of this, though he is not sparing in the use of words with negative implications, such as "desert," "stillness," "silence," "nothingness." Perhaps when these terms are used among Western thinkers, they are understood in connection with their historical background. But as soon as these thinkers are made to plunge into a strange, unfamiliar system or atmosphere, they lose their balance and condemn it as negativistic or anarchistic or upholding escapist egoism.
For Zen Buddhists, the appointment of Mahākāshapa as the firstpatriarch validates what would later become a Zen ideal, ., the importance of the"wordless" transmission of enlightenment.
Ordinary Buddhism depends on the basic practice of mindful attention. This form of mental training, used today worldwide by progressive physicians, requires practitioners to unsentimentally see things as they are. It takes a long-term approach to stress by delivering insight into the ways we think things ‘should’ be. This can be disquieting. By contrast, tantric practitioners need to view every facet of the guru’s behavior as enlightened. Whether or not it’s actually possible to reconcile these two approaches, for all but the most penetrating thinkers they end up being mutually exclusive.
Near the end of his life—at least according to the Zen tradition—heassembled his followers, and delivered what has come to be known as "The FlowerSermon." The Buddha said absolutely nothing in this sermon; he merely sat insilence and held up a lotus flower for all to see.
In additionto teaching his Chinese disciples the practice of "wall-gazing," , sitting meditation, healso propagated what we now consider to be the core teachings of Zendoctrine—a collection of scriptures known as the or "Perfection ofWisdom" sutras.
Thescriptures of this genre, which include the well-known Heart, Diamond, and Lankāvatāra sutras, all emphasizethe stilling of the mind in order to bring about a kind of interiortransformation.
Where Christ embraces suffering by acceptance of the Cross,the Buddha transcends suffering by pointing out its illusory nature, and byshowing that the distinctions between such things as pleasure and pain, lifeand death, etc., are ultimately false.
Afterattaining enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his days travelingthrough northern India, teaching the , and gathering disciples.