Example of questions about Zen from students
Here are a few core questions asked by students that I dealt with over the years.
This list is not exhaustive and is not in any specific order.
Pick a few of them or have your own ones then write them down.
There is no stupid question, just a dumb answer. Don’t be shy to ask
A question is, like its answer, an integral part of the teaching.
Who was the Buddha and what does the name “Buddha” mean?
Did the Buddha create a religion?
Did the Buddha believe in God?
What are the Sutras and when they were written?
What is Zen?
Who founded Zen and when?
Is Zen very different from genuine Buddhism?
Are they different Zen schools?
Is Zen a religion?
What are the pillars of Zen teaching?
What is the main source(s) of suffering?
Tell me what Zen is not.
Does Zen Buddhism believe in God or Gods?
Who was Buddha?
What is the core teaching of the Buddha?
What is the #1 teaching of the Buddha that he gave just before dying?
What is the main function of my Zen teacher?
What is the origin of the Koans?
What is a Koan given to a student and for what purpose it is given?
If the Koan you gave me cannot be answered by my thinking, how can I find the solution?
What is the proper way to answer a Koan?
How many Koans are in the Zen literature?
How do I know that my answer you the Koan you gave me is right?
Besides breathing, can I focus on something else during my meditation?
Can I count my breathing and why and how?
What is the difference between serenity and happiness?
Why is being “in the moment” is important?
Do past and future are realities?
What does “suffering” means?
What is Awakening?
Why knowing that everything is transient is important in Zen teaching?
Is there a difference between Awakening and Enlightenment?
What exactly Nirvana means?
How can I reach Nirvana and when?
How long does it take to reach Awakening?
What is happening when I am experiencing Awakening?
How often and how long should I meditate?
What is the minimum duration to meditate daily?
What is the best time to meditate during the day?
Why group meditation is important?
Why do many quit meditation?
What is meditation on the go?
Why am I using breathing as a focus point during meditation?
What type of breathing should I use for meditation?
Many use “guided meditation”. Is it okay?
Is meditation practice cumulative as far as its beneficial effects?
What exactly does being mindful mean?
How to get rid of my thoughts and feelings?
Is Karma part of Zen philosophy?
Does Zen believe in reincarnation?
Why my mind is in the past or future most of the time?
Why I cannot focus on my breathing for more than 30sec. during meditation?
I am using music to meditate: Is it okay?
What does practicing the Middle Way mean?
Can I meditate lying down?
What should I do when I am getting restless during meditation?
Is Zen too much self-centered compared with other religions?
Is my ego the main source of my suffering?
Should I keep my eyes open during meditation?
What are the main obstacles to proper meditation?
How do I know I am progressing?
Am I going to lose what I gained if I quit meditation for a few weeks?
Do Dharma talks teach absolute truth?
Can you describe walking meditation?
What is a meditation on the go?
Does a cushion meditation better than a chair and why?
Am I the major source of my sufferings?
Can I avoid suffering in my life by practicing daily meditation?
Is self-compassion a form of narcissism?
What does “ Just be” means?
What is the difference between brain and mind?
Can you explain what a “Don’t know mind” means and how to practice it?
To be mindful is to pay attention w/o any analytic nor decisional purpose: How can I do that?
Do the beneficial effects of meditation have been proven scientifically?
Why the ego is perceived so negatively in Zen teaching?
What exactly serenity means in Zen philosophy as opposed to happiness?
You said that everything is transient; what is permanent?
What are the most important points regarding my meditation posture?
Is there an after-life after my death?
Why the 4 Noble Truths are called that way?
What is the Zen position regarding consciousness?
How do I know the difference between factual reality and fictional one?
What is neuroplasticity?
What are the effects of meditation on my brain?
Does the practice of meditation cumulative?
Am I going to be happier after a few months of meditation?
Are there any tricks to watch my thoughts and emotions?
I could not set it today. What should I do?
How can I observe my thoughts and feelings?
How can the past bring suffering if the past is “dead” according to your teaching?
How can the future bring suffering if the future is “not born” according to your teaching?
Zen is teaching that our genuine self is not the one who thinks. Can you explain?
You said that we are alive only in the Now: can you explain that?
What is “Transmission”
Can anyone be able to become a Zen Master?
Does being “Awakened” bring happiness?
Why do our minds is spending so much time in the past and future?
Can I get rid off of my attachments?
What does “non-acceptance “mean?
Can I get rid off of my non-acceptance of whatever?
Is my ego friend or foe?
Does “Acceptance” sort of giving-up?
Do we have a balance between positive and negative energy?
Does my ego the main responsible for my self-centered behavior?
Why learning to focus mindfully on my breathing will help me to tame and control
Does my ego the main source of my suffering?
What are the best books about Zen practice and mindfulness meditation?
Is consciousness the product of my mind or is it something else?
Can I be a Christian or Muslim or Jew or Indus and also practice Zen?
Zen says: “ When you eat, just eat; when you walk, just walk” What do they mean?
What does " Day sleep walker" mean?
How do I know Iam progressing?