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Zen Rituals and Practices

Both the words "Zen" (Japanese) and "Ch'an" (Chinese) derive from the Sanskrit word dhyana, meaning "meditation." Zen Buddhism focuses on attaining enlightenment (bodhi) through meditation as Siddharta Gautama did.

Zen Buddhism teaches that all human beings have the Buddha-nature, or the potential to attain enlightenment, within them, but the Buddha-nature has been clouded by ignorance. To overcome this ignorance, Zen rejects the study of scriptures, religious rites, devotional practices, and good works in favor of meditation leading to a sudden breakthrough of insight and awareness of ultimate reality. Training in the Zen path is usually undertaken by a disciple under the guidance of a master.