Finding Zen

What’s “Mahayana Buddhism?” you may ask?  It’s essentially a subsect of Buddhism that focuses less on religion and more on spirituality.

Their idea of spiritual health is called Zen.  So, how do you reach Zen?

First, let’s get a general idea of some common Zen beliefs.

Mahayana Buddhists do believe in the Buddha, and that all beings have a nature similar to the Buddha.  They believe that all facets of life transmit knowledge, and this knowledge lead to Enlightenment.  Mahayana Buddhists believe that there are six principles of Enlightenment.  They are:

-Dana paramita: to be boundlessly generous, and to have an open heart and mind

-Sila paramita: to have virtue/morality

-Shanti paramita: to be patient, tolerant, accepting and enduring

-Virya paramita: to be energetic, diligent, courageous and enthusiastic

-Dhyana paramita: to meditate, absorb, concentrate and contemplate

-Prajna: to obtain wisdom through transcendence

Enlightenment is obtained through the practices of meditation and mindfulness.

Some meditation techniques involved in Zen are ZaZen, or Japanese sitting meditation.  This is typically done alone in a quiet place.  Another is Sesshin, or intensive group meditation.  A tradition in Zen is to practice Koan, which are short stories, questions or dialogue practice during ZaZen.

Some other traditional spiritual practices involve flower arranging, writing haiku, chanting, painting and calligraphy.

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