The Zen "Dhyana" in sanskrit, goes back to the experience of Shakyamuni Buddha, who in the 5th century BC reached the awakening in the zazen posture. This experience was transmitted without interruption, from master to disciple, thus forming the lineage of zen.
Its culture and folklore have been known in the Western World from the beginning of the XXth century through different practices such as the martial arts, the tea ceremony, the art of floral arrangement or the famous Japanese gardens, etc.. The depth of its philosophy and the purity of its aesthetics, although often charming artists, writers and philosophers, never gave birth to any real practice because they were the fruits of a seed planted in the earth of Japan a few centuries ago.
But what is this seed? What is the creative source of all these fruits?
ZAZEN IS THE SECRET OF ZEN
What is zazen?
It is sitting meditation in the traditional lotus posture, which has been practiced by human beings since prehistory. Zazen is neither a theory, nor an idea, nor some kind of knowledge to be grasped by the brain. It is only a practice which completely modifies our own mind. It is to be linked to the whole universe. In 1967 Master Taisen Deshimaru, disciple and successor of the great master Kodo Sawaki, brought to Europe the practice of zazen, thus planting the original seed in a new ground.
Zazen and Buddhism
Buddhism itself is a fruit of zazen. Legend says that before Shakyamuni Buddha there were seven Buddhas; buddhism refers thus back to a time period before its own existence. Indeed, the zazen posture goes back to the dawn of time and numerous archeological vestiges are there to testify to it (see zen and prehistory), it is a basic treasure of humankind. Historical buddhism was born from the zazen of Buddha 2500 years ago and has been transmitted from masters to disciples from this time throughout the world without interruption.
ZEN AND THE WESTERN WORLD
Today zen exists in the Western World; however, it has not been really seized. It is perceived as something exotic and a bit folklorey, something associated mainly with Japanese and Chinese art. But what about its integration into our culture and moreover into our new world culture? What will be the fruits which will spring up from it?
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