Dharma Rain Zen Center - Our Soto Zen Practice
Many years after the death of Shakyamuni, Buddhism continued to
spread across the map of Asia, evolving in different ways as it moved.
The beginnings of
Zen as a distinct sect of Buddhism can be traced to a reformer who
began teaching in China in the late fourth century C.E., a time when Chinese
more interest in debating philosophy and reading complex texts than
the urgent business of finding the Truth within.
This teacher, Bodhidharma, is remembered for his emphasis on disciplined
meditation practice and the importance of direct personal experience. “Zen” is
the Japanese transliteration of the Chinese “Ch’an,” which
derives from the Sanskrit “dhyana,” which means ‘absorption.’ Bodhidharma
emphasizes deep meditation (Zazen) as the fundamental practice.
is the school of Buddhism that emphasizes the practice of meditation
as both the means to,
and expression of, awakening. Zen continued to evolve after Bodhidharma,
and by the time it reached Japan in the 13th century, there were
several Zen schools
with different styles of training. One of these was Soto Zen.
An important teaching in Soto Zen is that every thought, word, and
action is part of our spiritual life, whether or not we choose
to acknowledge them as significant.
The practice of Zen is fully developed when all aspects of life are
integrated into a deep awareness, and the wisdom of the Buddhist
us as naturally as healthy lungs guide the flow of breath.
In Soto Zen, ongoing growth toward this integration comes from
the continuous practice of the three pillars of "sila" (morality), "dhyana" (meditation),
and "prajna" (wisdom). We cultivate these in everyday life with zazen practice, which strengthens concentration and opens the mind to the truth; work,
which encourages vigor and develops capacity for "mindful" action;
and the study of Buddhist principles and Precepts, which cultivates selflessness
in thought and action.
A Zen master once said that Zen is not something that
can be added to our lives; rather our lives, just as they are,
should become Zen. Because of this, Zen practice should lead us to a full
and healthy engagement
with life for the benefit of self and others.
Dharma Rain Zen Center is dedicated to helping people cultivate
and realize the practice of Zen in normal, everyday American
Continue to Zazen.