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Research paper for English class Uses paraphrasing and cited works Very well written Didnt recieve a grade Focuses on Zen Parables koans but also talks about Zen Buddhism 5 pages 1252 words Zen parables also called koans are stories or questions meant for reflection between a master and his student They substitute meditation self-contemplation and intuition for faith and devotion Marinello 1 Koans are the means by which one must achieve enlightenment So what is Zen Zen is a Buddhist sect primarily in China and Japan that uses a particular from of meditation and mental practice to end suffering and achieve enlightenment in this lifetime These practices often consist of reflecting on the meaning of koans Byrne 6 While Westerners can adopt these beliefs and practices they make little sense outside the context of zazen and in the company of other students and under the guidance of a master Zazen is simply Zen meditation It is sitting in which one cuts all connections with the external world and lets go of all concerns within Roshi 1 Often koans are sifted through the thought process when students practice zazen In order to acquire a deeper understanding of what exactly koans are and how they are used one must first learn a little more of Zens guidelines If Zen has an essence it is to be found not by uncovering any truth that may be hidden to others but by having an attitude to life that is at the same time playful yet disciplined sophisticated yet quite simple full of tradition and yet completely spontaneous Such contradictions are essential to Zen the student strives for enlightenment but to become enlightened one must give up all striving To further complicate things no eternal self exists to enlighten anyway On the other hand everyone has self-nature so everyone is enlightened already Byrne 8 As one can see Zen becomes very complicated as it often contradicts itself which is
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