Zen can never be Buddhism. Neither can Zen be any other ‘ism’. But there can be Zen in Buddhism. Likewise there can be Zen in any other religion, philosophy or way of life.

The concept of Zen is often used as an abbreviation of Zen Buddhism, and for good reasons. Zen is so important in Zen Buddhism that it almost is synonymous. But still: Zen is Zen, and Buddhism is Buddhism. Just like Zen is Zen and Taoism is Taoism, or Christianity is Christianity. Zen is an awareness of the moment, and basically emptiness of everything else. Zen is a method for training this awareness, for training mindfulness. Zen is focused meditation, nothing else. The moment we fill Zen with anything else, it is no longer Zen.

Zen is an universal way of quieting the mind from what’s disturbing. It is an universal method for training insight and awareness. The…

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