Zen is not a religion but relationship

Is Buddhism a Philosophy or a Religion? | HuffPost

zen is not a religion but relationship

This paper argues that the belief in and reverence for superhuman beings exist that do not depend on a relationship between humans and superhumans. . that such sects as Theravada and Zen are not really forms of religion after all. Until very recently religion has not played much of a role in development debates because There is a causal relationship between material poverty and social. Zen Buddhism And Its Relationship The basic premise that the highest truth, or first principle, or Tao, is not expressible in words or and West had incalculable influence on their respective arts, as well as on their philosophies and religions.

October This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. October Learn how and when to remove this template message In regards to romantic relationships, Buddhism has very liberal views.

Non attachment is the idea that in order to be fulfilled and happy in life, a person cannot be attached to any one thing because this thing can cause suffering. This idea is not referring to worldly objects in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense.

Is Buddhism a Philosophy or a Religion?

Instead, one must accept a partner for who they are unconditionally. In Buddhism, this is the key to a happy romantic relationship. Accepting a partner for who they are, for who they are throughout their life no matter what changes, and making the best of every situation is how one achieves personal fulfillment in a romantic relationship.

The idea of unconditional love is essentially what Buddhism teaches. People married for a variety of reasons including: Buddhist text do not delve too deeply into the idea of marriage because Buddhism leaves the decision to marry up to each individual person.

In Buddhism, marriage is not a religious obligation, a means for procreation, or a romantic notion of love. It is simply an option for each individual to make. If an individual believes marriage will bring them happiness and keep them on the path of enlightenment, then they are free to make that choice.

Buddhism does not provide rules or traditions about marriage; instead, the religion offers advice to help a person live happily while they are married. This advice is thought to help give people the best chance at a happy relationship.

Buddhist texts do make it clear that men should be limited to one wife. Look at anything closely enough — even a rock or a table — and you will see that it is an event, not a thing. This too, accords with modern scientific knowledge.

There is just one event, with multiple aspects, unfolding. We are not just separate egos locked in bags of skin. We come out of the world, not into it. We are each expressions of the world, not strangers in a strange land, flukes of consciousness in a blind, stupid universe, as evolutionary science teaches us.

zen is not a religion but relationship

In our Western relationship with time, in which we compulsively pick over the past in order to learn lessons from it and then project into a hypothetical future in which those lessons can be applied, the present moment has been compressed to a tiny sliver on the clock face between a vast past and an infinite future. Zen, more than anything else, is about reclaiming and expanding the present moment.

It tries to have you understand, without arguing the point, that there is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment. Life exists in the present or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that, you are simply living a fantasy. For all Zen writers life is, as it was for Shakespeare, akin to a dream — transitory and insubstantial. There is no security. Looking for security, Watts said, is like jumping off a cliff while holding on to a rock for safety — an absurd illusion.

Everything passes and you must die. Neither Buddha nor his Zen followers had time for any notion of an afterlife.

zen is not a religion but relationship

The doctrine of reincarnation can be more accurately thought about as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy, of which we are all part, before and after death. Another challenge for Western thinkers when struggling with Zen is that, unlike Western religion and philosophy, it has no particular moral code. The Noble Truths are not moral teachings. Evil cannot be destroyed, any more than good can, because they are polar opposites of the same thing, like poles of a magnet.

zen is not a religion but relationship

Destruction is as necessary as creation. Chaos must exist if we are to know what order is.

Zen Buddhism teaches us of the importance of living in the present

Both aspects of reality, in tension with one another, are necessary to keep the whole game going: This can lead to some fairly shocking moral reasoning. And who can deny that the history of the 20th century bears out this view, with Nazi and Communist ideologies causing such havoc?

After all, Hitler was an idealist, too. If you are human-hearted, you are unlikely to want to do any great ill, even without a great moral vision to guide you. And, even if you do, the damage you cause will be limited by your own self-interest.

zen is not a religion but relationship

This lack of a clear moral code is perhaps why Zen is not a philosophy wholly appropriate for the young or immature mind. Watts thought the Beats were childish, although he did suggest that their behaviour also revealed a clever paradox: Again, you can look at it both ways.

Rather, it accepts something that Western philosophy finds hard to grasp — that two contradictory truths are possible at the same time.

zen is not a religion but relationship

It just depends on which way you look at it. The world is not a logically consistent one, but a profoundly paradoxical one. Again, this is illustrated in science, which shows that two things can be one at the same time — light, for instance, acts as both a particle and a wave. The Zen masters say the same thing about human life. There is no way of knowing which is which. It is like a formal dance so deft that you cannot tell who is leading, and who is following. While it is refreshing that Zen philosophy is supported in many ways by present scientific knowledge, it is also a critique of scientific thought.

The scientific tradition requires things up to be cut up — both mentally and physically — into smaller and small pieces to investigate them.

Zen Buddhism and Art

It suggests that the only kind of knowledge is empirical and that the rigid laws of scientific method are the only kind that are valid. Zen implies that this is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater — scientific thinking might be immensely useful, but it also does violence to a meaningful conception of life.

It tends to screen out the essential connectedness of things. We live in an imprecise world. Nature is extraordinarily vague. The fundamental nature of the world is not something you can get too precise about. They are mysterious and unknown. This kind of thinking is anathema to the modern scientist who thinks that everything can be known and finally will be known. But, Watts argued, it is impossible to appreciate the universe unless you know when to stop investigating.

Truth is not to be found by picking everything to pieces like a spoilt child. It is impossible, of course, to summarise Zen in a few thousand words. It asks you to come to it, in supplication, and to tease it out. After spending nearly two years studying Zen, Taoism and the works of Alan Watts, I think I genuinely achieved a sort of satori — a freedom from the inner weights and contradictions of ordinary life. When a student asked Watts what enlightenment felt like, he said if felt very ordinary — but like walking slightly in the air, an inch above the ground.

And that is exactly how I felt — every day. Perhaps as long as a year, perhaps even longer. All that time, Watts and the Zen idea were there in my head, informing my thoughts and actions. The background noise, the static of worry and gabble that informed my old life had disappeared.

My head was clear. The philosophy entirely permeated me. My life was truly more joyful than it had ever been. I felt full of energy and optimism. Then one day, I lost the vision. A period of stress and clinical depression took me under and, when I surfaced again, Watts and the Tao had left my thoughts.

I was alone again, puzzled and conflicted. The old thoughts and habits I had been conditioned into since birth reasserted themselves. Once more, I worried about things pointlessly, and got lost in the past and the future instead of existing in the dynamic present. What Alan Watts taught, above all else, is that everything is transitory. Everything comes and goes. Watts himself did not exist in a perpetual state of spiritual bliss. He died an alcoholic.

He had been a lifelong heavy drinker. His later life was not easy — in the last years, he cut a Dickensian figure, working desperately to support his seven children and, presumably, his two ex-wives by the time he died he was on a third. He never expressed guilt or regret about his drinking and smoking, and never missed a lecture or a writing deadline. Yet it is still something worth attaining.