Buddhism in America is generally synonymous with Zen. Also, American Zen is …unlike Asian Zen. Asian Zen — Korean or Japanese Zen — is a religion. It’s something like Catholicism: highly structured, disciplines and rigorous.
–Different from the stuff you read in Shambhala magazine. Pro tip: If it compares the religion to quantum mechanics, or talks about mood management — it’s not what the Buddha taught. The Buddha taught enlightenment.
This is Theravada Buddhism. Different branch than Zen. Based on the Pali canon — Pali being an ancient scholarly language. Think of the Buddhists’ “ancient Greek.”
The basics: Enlightenment is the goal. Immediately we work for personal enlightenment. Long term we work for the liberation of all sentient beings from suffering (via their enlightenment). So the enlightenment of all sentient beings is our goal, while our own liberation is our objective.
The 7 Sets: (some links are to articles being written)
Harmoniously, cordially, without dispute,
train yourselves in these qualities
that I have pointed out to you,
having known them directly
- The 4 frames of reference
- The 4 right exertions
- The 4 bases of power
- The 5 faculties and…
- The 5 strengths (one entry for both)
- The 7 factors for Awakening (the last 4 of which are the 4 Jhanas)
- The Noble 8-fold path
If you want to memorize them, note– This is a list of 7. There are there 3 fours, 2 five’s, 1 seven, and 1 eight.
They’re worth memorizing, and copying into a pocket notebook for odd moments!
For more information — see Wings For Awakening — an excellent book free online!
- Why has Zen had more influence than other forms of Japanese Buddhism? (japanexplained.wordpress.com)
- Practical Enlightenment: Living in the World (rahkyt.wordpress.com)
- Buddhism: Science of the Mind (bigthink.com)