Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why the fascination with Zen Buddhism and Budo?

I am frequently told, by people who don't practice Zen Buddhism, that there is a special relationship between Zen and Budo. The more I look at it, the less sense this makes, because I can't find any particular characteristic of Zen Buddhism that is not present in other branches of Buddhism. Can someone please tell me what is unique about Zen Buddhism that would indicate it has a special relationship with Budo?

The goals of Zen Buddhism and all the other branches of Buddhism are ultimately the same, that's why they are all forms of Buddhism. The tools they use to get there are different, but they all strive for compassion, mindfulness and an escape from the cycle of rebirth. Zen uses primarily seated meditation, other forms of Buddhism meditate on mandala, or chant sutras, or use a combination of all of these techniques. With all the forms of Buddhism that have been practiced across Japan, what makes people think that only one branch of Buddhism had significant impact on something as organic and disorganized as Budo?