Zen Buddhism Teachings

Zen | Teachings

Zen (Chinese: Chan; Sanskrit: dhyāna; Japanese: Zen; Korean: Seon; Vietnamese: Thien) is the Japanese term (and often used term in English) for the principle of dhyāna in Buddhism, and for Zen Buddhism, a tradition in Mahāyāna Buddhism which originated in China during the Tang dynasty (as Chan Buddhism). Chinese Chan Buddhism developed into various other schools, including many Japanese Zen schools, to which the term

Ālaya-Vijñāna | Storehouse Consciousness

Ālaya-Vijñāna is the Sanskrit term denoting, roughly, “storehouse” consciousness, a conception of unconscious mental processes developed by the Yogācāra school of Indian Buddhism in the 3-5th centuries CE. Ālaya-Vijñāna appears in such “Yogācāra” scriptures as the Saṁdhi-nirmocana Sūtra and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, but is most systematically treated in the scholastic treatises of Asaṅga (c. 315-390) and Vasubandhu (c. mid-4th to mid-5th centuries).

Buddhist Philosophy

Within the Buddhist tradition there exist enormously sophisticated systems of thought: Whether these systems should be regarded as “philosophy” or “theology” or something else is a difficult question and a topic of much debate: The Buddhist term most closely related is Dharma, which means something like truths or teachings, especially teachings about how to live. But it is not what professional philosophers in modern West

Mahāyāna Precepts in Japan

The term Mahāyāna Precepts is usually used to differentiate lists of precepts or rules found in Mahāyāna texts from those found in the Vinaya, the traditional source upon which monastic discipline was based. A large number of Mahāyāna texts contain such lists, some detailed and others very simple. The history of Mahāyāna precepts in Japan was decisively influenced by the country’s geography: Japan is an

Buddhist Saṅgha | Community

The Saṅgha (community) is the third of the 3 Buddhist Refuges, or Jewels (tri-rātna), of Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha. The word Saṅgha literally means “that which is well struck together”; it derives from a Sanskrit root, han (to strike), with the prefix sam conveying a sense of togetherness and completeness. The idea is that the true Buddhist community is well hammered together, impervious to schism,

Precepts in Buddhism

Precepts within Buddhism are rules and guidelines intended to properly shape the mind and its manifestations in physical and verbal behaviour so as to facilitate progress on the path to Liberation. Although the precepts appear as external prescriptions and are often couched in negative terms, their goal and the proper thrust of Buddhist morality is the natural and positive embodiment of right action, speech, and


The Sanskrit term Mahāsiddha (“great master of spiritual accomplishment” or “great adept”) and the simpler, near synonymous form siddha (adept) refer to an individual who has achieved great success in tantric meditation. Buddhist traditions mainly associate siddhas with the transmission of tantric instructions. They are especially important for the Buddhist schools of Nepal and Tibet, there are 84 Mahāsiddhas, founders of tantric lineages still in

Decline of the Dharma

Texts predicting that the Buddhist religion will last only 500 years do not subdivide this figure into smaller periods. With the advent of longer timetables, however, Buddhists began to identify discrete stages or periods within the overall process of decline. A wide range of periodization systems can be found in Indian Buddhist texts. Clearly there was no consensus among Indian Buddhists on the total duration

Dāna | Giving

It is difficult to overstate the centrality of generosity and gift giving (Dāna) in Buddhism. Dāna is a supreme virtue perfected by Bodhisattvas, a key practice of providing economic support to monks and nuns and the Buddhist establishment, and a means of generating religious merit. Dāna is first in the lists of the Pāramitā (Perfection) that a Bodhisattva cultivates through the many eons of lives

Bodhi | Awakening

The Sanskrit and Pāli word Bodhi derives from the Indic root budh- (to awaken, to know). Those who are attentive to the more literal meaning of the Indic original tend to translate Bodhi into English as “Awakening,” and this is to be recommended. In the most general terms, Bodhi designates the attainment of that ultimate knowledge by virtue of which a being achieves full Liberation