Monday, 30 April 2012
Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism which originated in China during the 6th century CE as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, to Korea and east to Japan. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 Dzyen (Modern Mandarin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state". Zen emphasizes the personal expression of experiential wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes reliance on standardized theoretical knowledge of sutras, and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher. The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Hua-Yen. Also the Prajñāpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have been influential.