When any religion is started or rather to be more precise,when any religion is established by followers of any enlightened master, the very beauty or the very essence disappears. Each and every religion was very wonderful when the master who was behind it was alive. Then the disciples try to organize the religion, make a foundation or some trust out of it. In this process the very beauty is lost. But, if we have a look, there are a very few religions which have prevented themselves from falling in this trap. Zen comes out to be one of the such religions.
The founder of Zen was Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was a disciple of Buddha. When Bodhidharma was enlightened, he left for Japan. The word Zen comes out to be a synonym of the word Dhyana which Buddha in Pali language called Jhan and which was later in Japan pronounced as Zen. The beauty of Zen is that it combines both Taoism and Buddhism in it. It is very significant thing that Zen has not lost its beauty through the ages.
It is said that the truth can be realized through the absurdities. When you try to organize it, it just vanishes. It can be observed that when you are given a rule to follow, there is no scope for your own thinking or rather no scope for your consciousness. When a religion is organized, it gives nothing but rules. Rules do nothing but reduce your opportunities of being aware. In this context, Zen is really a very virtuous sect. Even today also there are a few Zen monks living in remote areas along with a small group of their followers. They do not form any organization nor are they interested in any recognition. They love to die unrecognized. Generally, disciples naturally have an urge that work or wisdom of their master should survive. In this very effort of preserving, they ruin it. Truth can never be preserved. It can be felt moment to moment. But, we humans, just like money, have a tendency to store the truth for the future and in this very process, the beauty is lost, the truth itself is lost
Specialty of Zen is that it focuses on living truth moment to moment. They will enjoy sitting with their master totally rather than recording his words to listen them in future. Zen works through absurdities. Many master of Zen were famous to enlighten their disciples through their absurd behaviors. This absurdity would include anything from hitting a disciple with Bamboo, or throwing a mind shattering Koan over him or directly throwing the disciple himself down the roof. The basic foundation of Zen can be said to be Zazen. Zazen is a very profound meditation technique which can be very lucidly described in a Haiku-
Doing nothing, just sitting….
And grass grows by itself……
Zazen simply means just sitting in a specific recommended posture. Just sitting means just sitting, without doing anything. The basic focus of Zen is concentrating mind at a single place and then shatter it in a single blow. There are many famous Zen masters such as Dogen, RInjhai, and Bokoju who are very famous for their strange methods of enlightening their disciples.
When there is any religion, there is a very big temptation to propagate it, expand it. Most religions lose their very core in the attempt of preserving or expanding the religion. The beauty of Zen lies in the fact that Zen just doesn’t care for its future. It believes in making present as fruitful as possible and I think this is the highest form of trust shown towards the existence.