Zen and Chan

Mala: “Just for counting” or “Profound sacred practice”? A Buddhist Guide to Practicing with a Mala: Mantras, Blessings, Reverence, Color, Power, and Profound Realizations

What is a mala? Why is a mala special? What difference does it make how many beads, the size of beads or the color? Does a mala have to be blessed? How do you use it? Ask a ...

“Dharma in motion”: Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhist Tantra and Zen have as much in common with martial arts as religion?

Premise: Buddhism, Vajrayana Tantra and Zen have as much in common with martial arts as it does with religion. Second Premise: Martial arts skills are helpful to meditators and helps develop practice discipline. That may seem like an ...

Veneration Practice and Devotion According to the Ksitigarbha Sutra: Why Devotion is Not Superstition

Editor: In a special feature, author Eddie Sobenes explores The Sutra of the Fundamental Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, emphasizing the differences between the meritorious karma activity of "devotion" versus "superstition." In the Chinese Buddhist Canon, there are three ...

Dharma and the Tao: how Buddhism and Daoism have influenced each other; Why Zen and Taoism can be complementary

Buddhism and Daoism have co-influenced each other over hundreds of years in China. Although Buddha lived from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C., the founder of Daoism, Lao-Tzu was thought to live in the 6th century BCE. Buddhism and ...

Mindfulness: a Soto Zen priest discusses sensory and mental stability — and a vision absent of contamination

The relationship between the world around us and our mind has always been the source of discussion and amazement on the part of human beings. This has given rise to multiple schools of thought and doctrines about this ...

Response to the Cries of the World: Teacher Theodore Tsaousidis asks “Why do such terrible things happen?”

Excerpt from a feature by teacher Theodore Tsaousidis. Editor's note: Theodore is a profoundly impactful meditation teacher, popular in Ontario, and always has precious insights. Although this excerpt is from 2011, we are publishing here with permission because ...

Bodhidharma’s Breakthrough Teaching: Shastra on Eradicating Appearances

Bodhidharma[1]  is one of the most venerated Buddhist masters of the far east.  He was an Indian monk known for having brought the Zen[2] teachings to China, which then spread to Japan and other regions.  He left behind ...

Why Reciting Buddhist Sutras Out Loud is Important; Sutras Help Us Remain Mindful of the Teachings and Disengage the “Clinging” Conscious Mind

In many Buddhist disciplines we are taught to value the meritorious practice of reciting sutras. Often this is done from memory, in a mantra-like chant, which begs the question why do we recite sutras? A Buddha Weekly Special Feature Sutras ...

Visualization Activates the Mind; Mindfulness Stills the Mind — Which is Right for Your Buddhist Practice?

The great Lama Yeshe said: "Our problem is that inside us there is a mind going, 'Impossible, impossible, impossible. I can't, I can't, I can't, I can't' ... Human beings have great potential; they can do anything. The ...

Bodhidharma – The Legendary Founder of Zen Buddhism: “Who stands before me?” — “I don’t know.”

When Emperor Wu of Ryo of China, who was a patron of Buddhism, heard of the legendary monk Bodhidharma, he invited him to his court, expecting to receive teachings and wisdom. When they finally met, the emperor asked: ...

How to know which type of meditation is best for you: Metta, mindfulness, breath, progressive, transcendental, or Zazen

Our society is rife with stress, competition, fear, and commercialism – yet we're at a time when spirituality has become a buzzword and you can find a yoga studio on every block. On one hand, there’s definitely an ...

Basho’s Zen: Matsuo Basho and the Buddhist influence on his Haiku Poetry — profound wisdom in three lines

Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694, painted by Kamimura Hakuo. Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is regarded as among the greatest poets — not only in Japanese literature, but worldwide. He is the undisputed master of the now world-famous Haiku form of poetry. ...