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World Religions - Zen Lifestyles

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Zen Lifestyles

For this project my topic was the Lifestyles of Zen Buddhism and I learned a lot of things that I didn't know came with this religion and I really got to expand my mind on it. Most of Zen Buddhism is pointed toward simplicity and the truth. Everything else comes secondary. With in this Zen religion it contains methods, practices and influences that are expressed daily in a Zen Buddhists' life. In Zen, philosophical teachings and textual study are given less emphasis than in other forms of Buddhism. Nonetheless, Zen is deeply rooted in both the teachings of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama and Mahayana Buddhist thought.

In this religion the monastic lifestyle is very important and is made to move every disciple closer to enlightenment. The most known method of monastic training is "zazen". Zazen literally mean seated meditation. This practice is consisted of the Buddhist monk seated in rows on platforms in a mediation hall or room. They sit in a style called by the Japanese, the lotus position, which is a straight upright back and eyes closed. They meditate in this position for hours at a time, day after day, everyday. The amount of time spent daily in zazen by practitioners varies. the purpose of this zazen meditation is to clear the mind and to gain insight of their lives. If a monk looses concentration while meditation or worse falls asleep, they are whacked on their back with an "encouragement stick' to show their masters authority and to refocus them. Even though you are looked down on at that time a monk to refresh himself is looked at with gratitude. In the monastery work is a huge essential part of ones day, along with their meditation of course. Mostly physical activity is performed to help prevent a monks mind from becoming dull. Monks eat simple meals and they sleep on mats in their meditation hall. With all the Zen teaching, the monks everyday lifestyles move them closer to their goals of enlightenment. Also in the Zen monastery discipline is very strict. this is what separates this practice from many westerners. The master's discipline to each individual monk shows their complete authority over them. The Roshi (master) shows signs of discipline through mostly physical contact like pushing one to the ground and slapping of their face. Not for hatred but to make the monk show thier strength and will power to find enlightenment. The Disciplne is not unkind but a nurturing concern and upbringing.

Life outside the monastery is much less strict and more relaxed for a Zen. Mostly the practice of zazen is implied in each person lives each day. This meditation does not have to be performed in a special hall or anything. One can be alone with their family in their own



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