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Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism: The Shambhala Sun offers a wide selection of teachings from the Zen Buddhist tradition.

Zen Buddhism
Zen Buddhism employs a bare bones meditation approach called "just sitting" as well as koans and ritual forms of exchange between student and teacher to inspire an intense focus on enlightenment.

Teachings by the most revered Zen masters of our time—Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Maezumi Roshi, Eido Roshi, Seung Sahn—and many of their dharma heirs have appeared in the Shambhala Sun. Each of the teachings presented below reveals a different facet of Zen's unique transmission of Buddhism.

Sudden Awakening

Awakening can come gradually, almost imperceptibly, or in a sudden, life-altering flash. But however it happens, what's important is that awakening is real and possible. Like life itself, says John Tarrant, Zen's enigmatic koans offer us a path to surprising, unpredictable transformation. when will it happen to you and what—donkey, broom, or morning star—will trigger it?

You Already Understand!

Bodhidharma, founder of the Zen lineage, is said to have described Zen this way: "A special transmission outside the scriptures/ Not depending on words and letters/ Pointing directly to the human mind/ Seeing into one's nature and attaining Buddhahood." There's no better example of Zen's direct, penetrating spirit than these exchanges between the late Seung Sahn—one of the great Zen masters to have lived and taught in the United States—and his students.

Nothing Holy: A Zen Primer

Most of us associate Zen with black robes and rock gardens, but do we really know what it is? Norman Fischer takes us through the principles and practices of the major schools of Zen.

Nail Implies Hammer

Eido Shimano Roshi's commentary on Engo's introduction to Case One of the Blue Rock Collection on how swift discernment is as important to Zen practice as stillness and a lucid mind.

This Life Which is Wonderful and Evanescent

"One of the Buddha's most significant teachings is impermanence. But actually that is just how things are-anything, anytime, anywhere. To live in harmony with this truth brings great happiness," says Blanche Hartman, a senior teacher at San Francisco Zen Center.

View From a Moving Train

Just as we receive and release the passing scenery when we're on a train, we must accept and let go of all of our experiences, says Jakusho Kwong Roshi, in a presentation of shikantaza.

Appreciate Your Life

Maezumi Roshi gives a commentary on Dogen Zenji's Genjo Koan that answers the question "why do you practice?"

The Future of Zen

John Tarrant, Sojun Mel Weitsman, Jiko Linda Cutts, and Steve Hagen talk about how the practice is taking form in the West.

More Related Articles:

Beautiful Snowflakes, by Norman Fischer
Finding Joy Amid the Pain, by Darlene Cohen
When the Candle is Blown Out: On the Death of Katagiri Roshi, by Natalie Goldberg
Sitting Meditation Step by Step: Being in the Body, Labeling, and Opening into the Heart of Experience, by Ezra Bayda
Divers in Emptiness, by Katagiri Roshi
The Life of a "Lazy Monk," by Arnie Kotler
Annie Mirror Heart, by Maura O'Halloran
Ordinary Mind is the Way: A Zen Discourse, by Joshu Sasaki-roshi
Wherever You Are, Enlightenment is There, by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
Koan Practice: The Great Way is Not Difficult If You Just Don't Pick and Choose, by John Tarrant


Zen Mountain Monastery
San Francisco Zen Center
Everyday Zen Foundation
John Tarrant
Natalie Goldberg
Zen Peacemakers

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