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Zen

is a form of Mahyna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on praxis and experiential wisdom, particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen, in the attainment of enlightenment as experienced by the Buddha Siddh?rtha Gautama. As such, it de-emphasizes both theoretical knowledge and the study of religious texts in favor of what it terms a “special transmission outside the scriptures” that points to each individual practitioner’s inherent Buddha-nature. Satori (awakening) has always been the goal of every school of Buddhism, but that which distinguished the Zen tradition as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan was a way of life radically different from that of Indian Buddhists.In China social circumstances led to the development of a temple and training-center system in which the abbot and the monks all performed mundane tasks. These included food gardening or farming, carpentry, architecture, housekeeping, administration, and the practice of folk medicine. Consequently, the enlightenment sought in Zen had to stand up well to the demands and potential frustrations of everyday life.

The fundamental Zen practice of zazen, or seated meditation, recalls both the posture in which the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, and the elements of mindfulness and concentration which are part of the Eightfold Path as taught by the Buddha. All of the Buddha’s fundamental teachings