Zen FAQ

Please take some time to read our Zen FAQ (Zen Frequently Asked Questions) that answers the most common questions related to Zen Buddhism.

Is Buddha a God?

No, he is not and, contrary to Christ, he never claimed to be the son of God or even the messenger from God. He was a human being like you and me, but perfected himself to a state of enlightenment and taught that if we follow his example, we can also perfect ourselves.


Why is the Buddha so fat?

He is not. This is a western case of mistaken identity. The fat and smiling guy often depicted on statues is actually called Budai (not Buddha!) and Hotei in Japanese. He is the God of contentment and happiness, guardian of children.


Do Zen Buddhists believe in God?

Zen Buddhists do not believe in a personal God or in a Divine being that reign on the Universe. Zen Buddhism does not have any worshiping, praying, or praising of a divine being.



Do Zen Buddhists worship idols?

In Zen, followers and monks pay respect to images of the Buddha but do not worship or pray to him. Bowing to a statue representing Buddha is simply an expression of respect towards the teaching (Dharma) and the teacher (Buddha).


Do Zen Buddhists pray?

Since Buddhists do not believe in a personal God, they don't pray. In Zen, nothing in the Universe exists independently, separated from the rest. There is not separation between the Universe and me, therefore to whom could I address my prayers to?


Is Zen a Religion?

Zen goes beyond religion; it is free from all these religious and dogmatic encumbrances that you find in Christianity. Zen masters from old times called Zen the ‘Natural Religion’ as it includes everything. Call it ‘religion’, call it ‘philosophy’, it doesn't matter, Zen is the spirit of man.


What are the differences between Zen and Buddhism?

Around five centuries after the Buddha passed away, Buddhism traveled to various Asian countries where it got transformed into a dogmatic religion with rituals and ceremony, departing from its true origins. Zen stayed true to the original teaching of the Buddha which lays emphasis on Zazen, and not on rituals and theoretical concepts.



Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Around five centuries after the Buddha passed away, Buddhism traveled to various Asian countries where it got transformed into a dogmatic religion with rituals and ceremony, departing from its true origins. Zen stayed true to the original teaching of the Buddha which lays emphasis on Zazen, and not on rituals and theoretical concepts.


Why do Zen Buddhists bow?

As previously mentioned, bowing is simply a sign of gratefulness and respect towards the teaching of Buddha and the Buddha himself.


Do I have to quit my religion to practice Zen?

Zen is beyond religion, so the choice is entirely up to you. Some Christians priests and nuns practice zazen on a daily basis.


How do I become a Zen Buddhist?

Practice Zazen, here and now. Ideally, find a zen dojo where you can practice with a Master that will guide you, particularly in the beginning.


What is the Zen view point on sexuality?

Sexuality is a part of life. Denying sexuality is denying humanity. Avoiding sexual misconduct and attachment to sex will lead you to develop a strong sexual ethic, automatically, naturally.


What is the Zen view point on desires and ambition?

Desires, like sexuality, are an integral part of human nature, we could not live without desires. People without ambition, desire, aspiration or goals are like wandering ghosts. The Buddha never said we must suppress or eradicate desires, but stated that we must suppress attachment to desires. Desires and ambition should not become a prison, and we should not become its slave.



What is the relation between Buddhism and money?

The problem is not money; the problem is you and your attachment to money. Money is a tool meant to be used, not to be used by.


What can I do in my daily life to be in accordance with Zen?

You live your life normally, you work, you eat, you kiss your children before bed, you do whatever you like, but to it mindfully. You don't have to change for Zen; Zen will change you, unconsciously, automatically, naturally. Zazen will make you concentrate on each act of everyday life, so when you are in bed with your wife, you will concentrate on her, not on work. You will harmonize with the people around you and in return, naturally, they will harmonize with you! Zazen will make you calm and unshakable.


What does Zen Buddhism thinks about the afterlife and rebirth?

Zen Buddhism accepts Karma and Samsara or rebirth but does not care too much about the afterlife, as what matters is the present moment, here and now.


Zen viewpoint of other religions.

Zen Buddhism is very tolerant towards other Religions and generally agrees with their moral teachings. Some traditional religions are growing weak because they are no more than mere decorations, relying too much on imagination (dogmas), ceremonies and texts. Zazen makes you cut away the decorations and look for what is the core of Religion.


What does Buddhism thinks about the law of attraction?

The law of attraction is actually a Buddhist concept that we call Karma. Karma is not a reward nor a punishment system; its is simply a universal law that says that whatever you send out in the Universe, you will receive back. If you send out love, you'll receive love. If you send out hate, you'll receive hate. If you send out scarcity, you'll receive scarcity.


How can Buddhism help me?

Buddhism makes you understand the source of suffering and the way to get rid of it.


Please share: