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The Foundations of the Zen Buddhism Philosophy



Religion is a very difficult topic. For centuries, people of various religions were debating the truthiness of their Gods. Try to remember from school history lessons how many wars were triggered by religion-based motives, and how many people have been killed because of the fact that they did not share someone else’s religious convictions. Indeed, religion has governed humankind for centuries, and largely it is like that nowadays as well. Did you ever think about why people need religion so much? Indeed, every person has their own opinion and his full right to it. However, many people agree that it is human intrinsic insecurity that makes people wish they could rely upon somebody much stronger than them. Before moving to Zen art, it is important to understand more about the historical roots of Zen practice and about the inner views and theological concepts that lie as its foundation.



The story of Zen Buddhism starts back in India, back to the moment Prince Siddhartha Gautama left his castle to dive into a life-long meditation and free his mind. This was the moment when a new spiritual doctrine emerged. Separated from its Hinduism roots, Buddhism started its own life. It was a one-of-a-kind theological movement, based on predicaments previously unseen. Prince Siddhartha has left his luxurious castle to cure himself of the deep psychological and mental barriers that we all carry within ourselves. These barriers prevent us from what real happiness is. The Prince has traveled a lot, has seen a lot, and has found his way to Nirvana leaving the fear of death behind him. The pursuits he made on his way were carefully collected by his disciples, creating the basis for the further development of the concepts. There is no real God in Buddhism; it is more of an ideology that aims at revealing several truths, simple but important, about the world around us and the world within us. It provides empirical answers to people’s existential problems helping overcome many natural issues that impede us in our development, such as Ego first of all.




No wonder Buddhism started quickly spreading across Asia replacing local cults and fusing with them. On its way to our hearts, Buddhism, and particularly Zen has been through very difficult times. In several countries of South Eastern Asian region between the 13th and 16th centuries, Zen was considered religious heresy. Real witch hunting lasted for several centuries, but it could not stop people practice it. Well, let us not rush ahead. How did Zen appear? It started its way with the help of an Indian nobleman who followed the same path as Siddhartha. Bodhidharma or simply Dhamo moved to China and brought with him a new breath of Buddhism, the first concepts of Zen, which he developed in a cave currently called Dhamo Dun (Chinese).  Nine years he spent meditating in his cave near the Shaolin Temple. He formulated the foundations of Mahayana Buddhism which we currently know as Chan (in China) or Zen (in Japan and later everywhere in the world). This happened in the 8th century AD. In two hundred years, his concepts spread over China, and later over the entire South East Asia becoming particularly popular in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.


The information is passed down to younger practitioners by means of Zen narratives. Zen teachers do not really like speaking a lot. A very meditative practice requires self-development and Zen meditation. Speaking about religion, in general, is difficult, but speaking about Zen is just impossible! The best words to describe Zen would be a quote from Zen narratives. It invites us to sit down in the silence of the temple or dojo, stop moving, letting our thoughts go away. You focus on your Zazen and upon the rhythm of your breath.  Let your ego and your unconscious mind melt away, and merge with the universe. This is what Zen is. An idea, a breath that sweeps away your concerns and worries and allows you fully live the moment of NOW. Not tomorrow or in the afterlife, but right here and right now.



In its evolution and development, Buddhism and Zen, in particular, have strongly influenced and were strongly influenced by Taoism, Shinto, and other religious practices popular in South East Asia. Today, Zen practice is probably the most popular among Buddhist practices. The foundations of Zen Buddhism philosophy rely upon eternal principles of nature and harmony between your soul and the universe. If there is freedom in this world, then you can find it in Zen philosophy and Zen meditation. This is how you can change your life for the best, leaving the bad things in the past, and creating a new mindset that will help you have a new look at the world outside you – the look of a happy person.  

Harshada Pathare is a multifaceted new-generation Indian, making a name for herself as an Author, and Contrarian Thinker who wishes to revitalize the creative industry with her design thinking skills and creative intelligence. Link to her website -