Zen Buddhism In Philip Kapleau's Three Pillars Of Zen,

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Many people practice a religion because they desire order in their lives. However, there are many religions, each with their own belief systems. In Philip Kapleau’s Three Pillars of Zen, Harada-roshi explains the concept of Buddhist spirituality to an American businessman. Harada-roshi tells him, “You must break out of your self-imprisonment…you must put your mind in your hara and breathe only mu in and out…The center of the universe is in the pit of your belly!” From reading this quote, it’s evident that Zen Buddhism focuses on the individual. This idea that the self is one with the universe, differs from concepts in western religions. The eastern religions share some common features, but have different notions of spirituality than those found…show more content…
The highest caste members are Brahmins, or members of the priestly caste, and they’re the only ones who can achieve Moksha. The ultimate goal for Hindus is bringing one’s true self, Atman, into unity with the transcendent self, Brahman. By achieving this self-realization one can then achieve Moksha. A major obstacle for achieving Moksha is Maya, the belief that the material realm is more real and important than the spiritual realm. This concept of Moksha is very similar to the Buddhist notions of Nirvana or Satori. However, unlike Hindus, Buddhists are against the caste system and reject the concept of Atman, which is the belief that a soul or eternal self exists in every being. Two crucial beliefs in Buddhism are the Noble Eightfold Path and the Middle Way. If followed, the Noble Eightfold Path is thought to help one attain Nirvana, and is often divided into three categories: wisdom, morality, and concentration. The Middle Way is another right path for Buddhists to follow, and is described by the Buddha as moderation between the extremes of self-mortification and indulgence. It’s important to not completely…show more content…
For example, little authority exists in the scriptures for Hindus and Buddhists. They focus more on following the right path, than on avoiding sin or following the word of any one god. For them, human suffering is caused by ignorance, not by sinning or by disobeying God. Eastern religions are also polytheistic and have a complex series of gods and goddesses. However, the major difference between eastern and western religions is their notions of spirituality. In the Three Pillars of Zen, Kapleau reveals a spirituality that is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Throughout the story, an American businessman struggles to reach Satori. At his first dokusan, his teacher, Harada-roshi, reveals that to find enlightenment it’s crucial to merge yourself with the universe. The businessman meditates and concentrates only on Mu for years. Eastern religions believe that the self is one with the cosmos, and Buddhists do not even believe in the concept of a soul. A central idea is immanence, that there’s a divine presence in everything. Western religions have no ideas similar to this, and believe that every person has one soul that will be eternally judged. For western religions the ultimate goal is Heaven, while eastern religions wish to find enlightenment by achieving Moksha, Nirvana, or Satori. Hindus and Buddhists focus on rejecting their desires and attachment to the material realm, while Christians, Jews, and

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