Zen is the Japanese translation of the Sanskrit word meaning meditation. Zen is based on the practice of transcendent virtues with the most widely used being generosity, moral training, patient endurance, energy or effort, meditation, and wisdom.





Zen Meditation

Zen teaches the practice of zazen, sitting in meditative absorption as the shortest, but also the steepest, way to awakening.




Zen proverbs

Sitting peacefully doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself.

Zen proverb



4 Main Zen Principles

① The denial of the ego

② The focus on interconnectedness in the universe

③ The recognition of attachment as a source of suffering

④ The realization that human perception is faulty

  Zen style of life management harmonize energies Yin and Yang self-learning teaching PowerPoint slides



Japanese Proverbs

Sometimes we need shady means to tackle shady problems.

Japanese proverb





 “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki


The Essential Nature of Zen

  1. A special transmission outside the orthodox teaching

  2. Nondependence on sacred writings

  3. Direct pointing to the human heart

  4. Realization of one's own nature and becoming a Buddha

Zen Is Both a Practical and Spiritual Path

  1. Practical because:

    • it is firmly grounded in the here and now

    • it helps you to live life spontaneously, even joyously

  2. Spiritual because:

    • it invites you to see the essence ("emptiness") behind the world of appearances

    • it enables you to see the sacredness of the very fact of existence

Key Ideas of Zen

  1. True enlightenment comes suddenly. Special preparations may be necessary, but it' actually comes through experience.

  2. Action can be achieved by inaction, where the result is achieved by "Not-Me"

  3. Enlightenment and experience are closely connected, while books, texts and theory don't open the way to nirvana.

  4. True wizard lives in every person and every thing. The man does not need to seek recluse or to be an ascetic to achieve enlightenment

World Cultures

Zen Proverbs, Sayings, and Quotes


The Wheel of Life in the Buddhist Teaching

Buddhism About Happiness

Happiness as the Purpose of Life

Integral Yoga


Zen Way of Thinking

"When an ordinary man gains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage gains understanding, he is an ordinary man." ~ Zen saying

Zen way of thinking about the world is based first of all on clarity and preciseness of images, as opposed to the Western approach based on formal logics. The secret of Zen philosophy is that it can be expressed not only through words and writings, but also through arts, paintings, calligraphy, customs, and ceremonies (e.g. tea ceremony is also some kind of  philosophy).

The Circle of Continuous Perfection

In Zen, the circle represents the process of continuous perfection, leading to a self with a difference. This process has no beginning and no end. The practitioner following a long pathway around the circumference of a circle, which eventually leads back to the starting point, but now he or she has had the experience of the journey and is changed from the person he or she once was. "The self is thus both the reason for the journey and the goal of the journey, both the path and the fruit of the path, both the question and the answer. And by "self" Zen means self-knowing, the recognition of our essential nature, which is ultimately identified with "emptiness", the infinite potential, from which all things arise."1

Zen paintings - the Circle of Continuous Perfection

Can Zen Be Defined?

When asked "What is Zen?" a Zen master replied, "Your ordinary, everyday life." Zen, like life, defies exact definition, but its essence in the experience, moment by moment, of your own existence - a natural, spontaneous encounter, unclouded by the suppositions and expectations that come between you and reality. Zen is a paring down of life until you see it as it really is, free from your illusions; it is a mental divestment of yourself until you recognize your true nature.1

Your Wise and Compassionate Friend

Because it is refreshingly free from dogma, Zen can help you to lead richer, less anxious, more compassionate and ultimately more effective life. It teaches you to acknowledge your emotions, lay negativity to rest, and answer fundamental questions about your own being, and about life, death and what lies beyond. "Zen is like a wise a compassionate friend: humorous and enigmatic, challenging yet supportive, old as the hills yet young as a new day, even present around us yet located deep inside ourselves. That wise and compassionate friend is none other than our own true nature."1

Zen Paintings

"In Zen even the most mundane objects are things of wonder, if we stop to look at them, and the fact that we are alive is the biggest wonder of all."  ~ David Fontana

Zen artists try to see the 'catness' in the cat, the 'dogness' in the dog, and the 'treeness' in the tree.

Zen paintings - Cat        Zen paintings - Dog        Zen paintings - Tree

Zen Positioned

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, which developed in China in the 6th and 7th centuries from the meeting of Dhyana Buddhism and Taoism.

Zen is a set of teachings and practices directed towards self-realization and finally to complete awakening (enlightenment). More than any other school, Zen stresses the prime importance of the enlightenment experience and the uselessness of ritual religious practices and intellectual analysis of doctrine for the attainment of liberation (enlightenment).

In the global supermarket of ideas, faiths, practices, theories and ideologies, Zen stands out as a voice of sanity. "It represents a different way of seeing the world, one based upon the rediscovery of who we really are and have always been, though revealing to us our true nature."1


If someone is determined to reach enlightenment, what is the most essential method he can practice?

‘The most essential method, which includes all other methods, is beholding the mind.

But how can one method include all others?.



References and Resources:

  1. Learn Zen Meditation, David Fontana

  2. The Rider Encyclopaedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion, Rider

  3. Zen at Work, Les Kaye