Yoshizen's Blog

Is Zen, Atheist ?

Posted in Buddhism, Dharma, Selflessness, Zen by yoshizen on January 5, 2010

Among the Buddhism,  Zen has been regarded to be the most Atheistic sect,

since unlike any another sect, they don’t worship a Devine Figure or Dogma.

Certainly, there are Buddha figure or another Devine figures and images in the Temple, and in the Mantras

they read, there are numerous Devine figures appearing.

Yet, they don’t believe not only the Self but almost anything, even the very  Zenism  itself.

And in their Path way, even Buddha himself is not taking significant role because as Buddha himself

ordered in his death-bed, not worship him but his teachings, the Dharma——— STILL they are

one of the most typical practitioner of the Buddhism, as they are just doing it.

Why ?

Zen believe, beyond the Selflessness, the Dharma would be prevailed itself.

To an outsider’s ears, it sound yet another belief system, another object of worship though, to

the Zen Buddhist, this is not the belief but the wisdom to see the Truth, like knowledge of

the Atomic-particles.

Nobody ever seen the Atoms by their eyes,  we only guessing from the shadow of them, still they exist.

Dharma is the Rules and its operating system, hard ware all together : ie, the Existence.

( So that even a Western God is just another idea existing in the world, no contradiction there )

The belief to the Dharma is so fundamental and no margin  of argument left, it is like the Physics

thus, no one can escape since it is the absolute like a fact, Sun is there.

So that, when Zenist is absorbed to (his belief) Dharma, he himself become the Dharma,

and its no longer distinguishable (this is the ultimate Ichijo / oneness), he just look like a non believer.

——– Still, is this a fancy belief, or just deep knowledge or serious insight to the Truth ?

15 Responses

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  1. irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 01:24

    First, I was a Benedictine in England in my 20’s (I am 60 now). But yes, there is something wrong with a religion of negation. We cannot really negate human life. As in fact Christianity is in reality about acceptance of human life, with and in the Incarnation of Jesus who is the one and only Christ! Right meditation leads one to the interior of the heart of God, which is always triune.

  2. […] more here: Is Zen Atheist ? « Yoshizen's Blog By admin | category: zen | tags: among-the-buddhism, around-the-web, buddha, devine, […]

  3. yoshizen said, on January 6, 2010 at 02:54

    To irishanglican
    Your view is correct as a Christian, though Buddhist took different way.
    When they evolved to the Hinayana, bywhich not only broaden the way but
    also the way of thinking as well. To apply the negation to the negation then
    came to the quite positive view of the life, accepting the Human nature as
    the nature.

    If you read my previous post, you may find I have discussed all those matters before.
    What the Buddhist aiming is to see the Dharma. To see this, it is necessary to silence
    the noise generated by the conscious mind by way of Selflessness.
    This Selflessness is very different to the Christian’s understanding (it is not sucrifice
    the self like Christians do——-but do the things without self consciousness)—–
    Which I explained before.

  4. irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 03:12


    Yes, I am not attacking you or your faith really. But you do not have dogma like the West or the East of Christianity. For us Christ and his crucifixion are both, his and ours, not just sacrificial, but sacramental. We share in both the life & death of Christ…the only God-Man. Yes ours is redemptive, and certainly grace given and received…Epiphany!

    Fr. Robert (irishanglican)

  5. yoshizen said, on January 6, 2010 at 03:48

    To Robert
    This conversation must be the epitome of the west and east. Your view is to share the
    pain of Christ and share the same feeling of the spirituality common in all human.
    In eastern philosophy, the misery and the suffering is a part of human existence (so,
    it is nothing special —— the matter is what is behind of the human life and the Fate)
    So, in another words, your belief is based on the universality of the same Emotion.
    And see the world by your own eyes which might be filled with tear.
    But the Buddhism is trying to see the truth of the life with clear eyes, by avoiding
    the distortion caused by the Emotion.
    It is completely different approach to see the same human being.

  6. irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 05:57


    There is no fate, or mere emotion..per se only reality, this is in Christ Jesus, now Risen & Ascended, even now the Christian shares this..His ‘eschaton’! Thus the only lasting approach is Himself, ‘the I AM’, the way, and the truth and the life, “no one comes to the Father [God], but by Me.” (St. John 14:6)

    Fr. Robert

  7. yoshizen said, on January 6, 2010 at 06:56

    To Robert
    I remember the passage in that St John’s as I attended the gatherings of Last day’s Saint Church short period when I was 18 (?). So, I respect your belief and conviction.
    But we Buddhist believe the hand of the Absolute Rule, the Dharma.
    After deliberating and observing the life, I came to the conclusion that the hand is
    there, and laying the Path way, in another word, there is the fate. We are not free agent.
    For instance, to encounter you and start to talk about the Fate, it might be the task
    what I was expected to do as my duty——- in another word, the will of the Dharma.
    So, it might be the time of me to reveal how the Dharma is communicating to me.
    I’ll write about this in the next post.

    • irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 11:24


      That’s fine mate, I look forward to reading this. I do hospital chaplain work, so right now I can post. Just another, and perhaps something do doubt that no other faith has but Christianity…Resurrection! Yes, as I mentioned Christ is Risen from the dead! Thus death has been conquered for us Christians, but still we die, but only physically: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25) Indeed, for us Christians this is one of the greatest promises in our Judeo-Christian faith! And yet, in this world we Christians engage in the real life and death reality with Christ: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor. 4:7-11, St. Paul speaking, as in verse 12, “So death is at work in us, but life in you.” St. Paul speaking as an Apostle, priest/pastor.. to his fellow Christians.)

      Fr. R.

      • irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 11:26

        *no doubt

      • spritzophrenia said, on January 7, 2010 at 14:49

        It’s been some time since I’ve talked to someone who quotes Bible as frequently as you R 🙂 This is not necessarily a bad thing. I did appreciate Yoshizens’ distinction of two different ways of seeing things above. I only bumped into this blog because I’ve just written a long post on ethical problems some Buddhists have.

  8. irishanglican said, on January 6, 2010 at 11:28

    My blog BTW, is irishanglican.wordpress.com

    Fr. R.

  9. spritzophrenia said, on January 7, 2010 at 14:46

    It hadn’t occurred to me that Zen might be the most atheistic of Bhuddist sects. As I mention in my recent post, it seems many Westerners are under false impressions about the supposed “lack” of gods in Buddhism when many non-Westerners practice devotion to spiritual entities of some kind.

    Thanks, I will have to investigate this.

    • irishanglican said, on January 7, 2010 at 16:28


      Thanks to reply. Well I am also just an old Judeo-Christian theolog type. For what its worth I hold the D. Phil., and Th.D. So Holy Scripture is very central for me. I read my Greek NT daily, something we Anglican priests/presbyters are supposed to do really. But yes I do love biblical theology especially! I am also a rather conservative man, both biblically and even politically, though I was born and raised in Dublin. But now I am more of the Anglo-Irish. But I have family in America.

      I have read DT Suzuki in years past. I lived thru the whole Tom Merton experience also. And read his later stuff just before he died in that tragic event. God’s providence and way home for him. Yes, we all must pass thru death and dying.

      Buddhism, well I will perhaps just sit back a listen to you two perhaps?

      Fr. R.

  10. yoshizen said, on January 7, 2010 at 15:52

    To Spiritzophrenia
    You may need to distinguish two in the Zenist, (1) a beginner who haven’t got
    enough God yet ( 😀 ) or just pretending to be a Zenist for a socializing pretext
    and (2) who really gone beyond of the Zen, not only in the Selfless but also
    even the notion of the Buddhism or Enlightenment has gone——ultimate state
    of the Selflessness.
    ———-They may looks same though they are dimensionally different.
    As I explained in my previous post this is the Paradox in the Buddhism particularly
    in the Zen (because the Zen tend to push every thing to the extreme)
    ———-So that, real Zenist don’t brandish Zen or Buddhism, even don’t remember
    he himself is the Zenist, since he doesn’t need to talk Dharma as he is the Dharma.
    Say in metaphr, as long as you try to see the God, you can’t see the God,
    and when you got the God you can’t see the God neither, because the God
    is inside of you.
    This is why the Zenist looks Atheist. He doesn’t need to carry a God to
    show off, or even impossible to show, since it is inside or he is the Zen itself which
    doesn’t show any sign.

  11. yoshizen said, on January 14, 2010 at 19:12

    As a PS to Spiritophenia
    While seeing your site, I found you made up of everything mish-mush,
    some bad apples in the So-called Buddhists, Tibetan Buddhism which is a mix of
    Vedic belief and Tantrism which originated from the popular belief more akin to Boo-Doo
    then. There are always some bad apples, not mention Paedophile Catholic Bishops,
    and lots of pretenders.
    To see any phenomenon, to capture clear image and get insight of what is behind etc
    takes quite a time. Because, the observer yourself may not yet obtained clear eyes.
    Try investigate further.

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