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Buddhism

Is Buddhism a Religion or way or Life

Buddha’s teachings are for all – those who wish to attain enlightenment like him, as well as those who wish an ordinary life. Buddhism is both a religion and a way of life. Siddhartha Guatama, born around 565 B.C., founder of Buddhism, learned about the harsh realities of life at …

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The Basics of Zen

Zen is an art that is often mistaken for a form of nihilism seeing as there is a principal of nothingness that is attached to it. In fact it seems that when we talk about Zen we are actually talking about nothing at all, and this is actually true of …

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Zen Moment

The difference between a “Zen moment” and a “regular moment” is the difference between an event and a story. We are so used to telling each other stories, of narrating every minute of our existence to others that we tend to edit our experiences (think of the common phrases “cut …

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Zen Koan Sun Face Buddha Moon Face Buddha

Case: Roshi is sick as a dog. A Zen monk inquires with great concern, “How is your health these days?” Roshi answers, “Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha!” Pointer: A Sun Face Buddha lives two-thousand years.  A Moon Face Buddha lives twenty-four hours. Roshi, being a compassionate teacher, even in …

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Zen Koan Case of Hui Chaos Question

Case: A traveling monk, Hui Ch’ao, asked Master Fa Yen, “What is Buddha?” Master Fa Yen caused Hui Ch’ao to ‘drop it’ when he answered, “You are Hui’ Ch’ao.” Pointer: Many practitioners have heard the hoary Zen battle call, “Not a thing exists!” This call is a dangerous and central …

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Eightfold Path

The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path are the basic tenets of Buddhism; by following the Eightfold Path, a person reaches Nirvana, which is the end of suffering.  The founder of Buddhism, the Buddha, is Siddhartha Gautama, who was likely born in Lumbini, Nepal in 563 BCE. His …

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History of Buddhism Regional Varieties

Buddhism exists wherever there are sentient beings in contemplation. One need not be a Buddha to attain enlightenment. Many have come close all over the globe. Many have dwelled in nirvana, whether for a short time or for eternity, no matter what tradition led them there. The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, …

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The Dating of the Historical Buddha

(originally published as A NOTE ON THE DATING OF THE BUDDHA in the Middle Way, Journal of the Buddhist Society of the UK) Most books available on Buddhism place the Buddha in the sixth century BCE (1) and the usually quoted dates are 563-483 BCE. Modern scholarship is now veering …

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In Buddhism who is Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma is the First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism. He brought Zen Buddhism to China from India. He was born around 470 AD, the third son of an Indian King of the Bhramin caste, in Southern India. He received the name Bodhidharma from his teacher, Prajnatara, who was the 27th Patriarch …

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Zen Koans Roshi Polishes Brick

Case: It is meal time at the temple’s Great Hall and a line of monks are performing ‘kin-hin’ – awareness walking – between their living areas and the Great Hall.  As the monks pass through the courtyard they notice Roshi sitting on a bench.  In his lap he holds a …

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