Study Guide

The World's Religions - Chapter III, Buddhism, The Secret of the Flower, Summary & Analysis

Huston Smith
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The World's Religions.
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Chapter III, Buddhism, The Secret of the Flower, Summary and Analysis

One of the off-shoots of Mahayana Buddhism is Ch'an, or Zen Buddhism, which flourishes in Japan. It is difficult to define in words because Zen Buddhism speaks in conundrums, which the untrained ear finds confusion. Zen Buddhist monks set verbal traps for one another and delight in sidestepping them. Zen Buddhism contends that people fool themselves by constructing artificial worlds, using words that describe inadequately, and by not realizing that the highest experiences cannot be expressed in words. Therefore, Zen cannot be expressed through any verbal formula (p. 131). Zen abhors creeds and is not founded on any written word. It strives to go past any word barrier with a unique mode of understanding. Zen students are brought forward through the three approaches: zazen (sitting in meditation for...

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