This is a classificaion of the most important categories of Zen, made by the early Chinese Ch'an (Zen) master Kuei-feng Tsung-mi. The notion Zen in this context stands generally for "meditative practice." These are the five types of Zen:
(Japanese, "ordinary unenlightened person");
Bonpu Zen is a type of zazen that is practiced without religious motivation, as, for
example, for the improvement of mental or bodily health.
(Japanese, "outside way");
The type of Zen that is religious in character but follows teachings that are outside
the Buddhist teachings. Christian contemplation, for example, would fall into this category.
Also subsumed under gedö Zen are those meditative practices that are pursued purely
for the sake of developing supernatural powers and abilities.
(Japanese, "small vehicle");
A type of Zen that leads to the state of mushinjö, a condition in which all sense perceptions
are cutt off and consciousness discontinued. If one remains in mushinjö until death occurs,
then there is no rebirth and a kind of separation from the cycle of existence (samsära) is
achieved. Since shöjö Zen is directed only toward the attainment of one's own inner peace,
it is regarded by Zen Buddhism, which belongs to Mahäyäna Buddhism, as not in agreement
with the highest teachings of the Buddha. The last two of the five types of Zen, on the other
hand, are considered in agreement with these teachings.
(Japanese, "great vehicle");
The central characteristic of daijö Zen is self-realization and the actualization of the "great way"
in everyday life. Since in self-realization the connectedness, indeed, the untiy, of the self
with all beings is experienced, and since the actualization of the "great way" in everyday life
has to do with working for the welfare of all beings, this is a Zen of the Mahäyäna type.
(Japanese, "supremely excellent vehicle");
In this highest form of Zen practice, the way and path are fused into one. Zazen is understood
here not so much as a means to "attain" enlightenment, but rather as a realization of the
buddha-nature immanent in every being. It is said that this Zen was practiced by all the
buddhas of the past and it is considered as the pinnacle and crown ornament of Buddhist Zen.
This practice, also known as shikantaza, is the Zen particularly fostered by Dögen Zenji.
|_____||Return to Zen Buddhism @ Neurotopia|