Zen practice at the Falaise Verte Zen Centre follows the tradition of the Rinzai School of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
Zen tradition dates back to the historical Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, also known as Shākyamuni.
Shākyamuni was born in Nepal around 2 500 years ago.
Zen transmission starts with Mahākāśyapa, which is then followed by a succession of 27 Indian arhats.
‘I have the true Dharma eye, the wondrous spirit of Nirvana, the true formless form, the subtle Dharma door that does not hinge on words or letters but is a spiritual transmission outside scriptural tradition. All this I entrust to Mahākāśyapa.’
Even though Buddhism had been established in China as early as 1st C A.D., Boddhidharma, an Indian or Persian monk, 28th in a transmission line going back to the historical Buddha, travelled to northern China in the 5th or 6th C. He introduced a form of Buddhism emphasizing meditation training and realizing one’s true nature rather than engaging in scholarship or abiding by the precepts of Buddhism. He is regarded as the first patriarch of the Dhyāna branch of Buddhism, later to become Ch’an in China and Zen in Japan.
‘A special transmission outside scriptures
No reliance on words or letters
To point directly to the heart and mind of man
To see one’s own nature and become a Buddha’
Ch’an flourished in China and was divided into 5 schools, including the Rinzai school [Linji in Chinese], which was named in the 9th C. after its founder, 10 generations after Boddhidharma. His style was purposefully direct and unorthodox.
‘The only thing you have to do is behave most ordinarily. Leave behind your affectations. I am telling you: there is no Buddha, no Law, no practice to work on, no benefit to obtain’
While Buddhism in Japan dates back from the 6th C. onwards, Zen only came to Japan at the end of the 12th C.. At the beginning of the 18th C., through the efforts of the great Zen master Hakuin, the Rinzai school became accessible to all.
‘I want you all to be aware that Zen practice can bring about a miraculous transformation that can change you down to the marrow of your bones.’
Today there are 14 branches within the Japanese Rinzai school. The Falaise Verte Centre belongs to its main branch in terms of the number of temples, the Myôshin-ji branch, named after its head monastery in Kyôto, which was founded in 1342 by the Japanese Zen master Kanzan Egen.