The Beginnings of Zen

Beginnings of Zen in China

1. Chu Tao [360~434 A.D.] - was the first to teach that 'enlightenment' or 'Buddhahood' was achieved instantly and not as a gradual process.

2. Seng Chao [384~416 A.D.] - advocated that 'wisdom' was essentially an internal perception which is essential for enlightenment. Knowledge was considered a tool as it was not direct perception which arises from one's strict adherance to the path of sadhana.

3. Bodhidharma [520 A.D. arrived in China] - was the first to effectively pronounce the 'Zen' or 'Chan' sect. With his rich experience in Indian Yoga, he propagated meditation as a way of life in which 'present moment is lived with full attention and awareness'.

Further development of Zen in China

During the Tang Dynasty, the southern and nothern schools developed in china. The northern school which propagated gradual enlightenment, died out.

Pai Chang [749~814 A.D.] - Revived austerity and simplicity. He balanced action with stillness and designed a simple and less strict monastic life. He introduced 'work' idea (no work, no food).

Zen is introduced in Japan

In Japan Zen schools have developed training systems based on the practice of koan study [Rinzai Zen] and based on the za-zen meditation [Soto Zen]

Rinzai school of Zen saw its advent with the chinese monk Lin Chi, who was the pupil of Huang Po. Ei Sai, japanese, was the pupil of Lin Chi. Ei Sai was the Japanese founder of Rinzai school of Zen. Ei Sai period was 1141~1215 A.D.

Soto school of Zen saw its advent with the chinese monk Ts'ao Tung whose pupil was the japanese Dogen. Dogen period was 1200~1253 A.D.