Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, to Korea and east to Japan.
The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 Dzyen (Modern Mandarin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state"
I said that Japanese schools don't have full monastic ordination (i.e. according to the Vinaya) and not that there are no monasteries. Does the OBC observe the Dharmagupta Vinaya or another one?
No Caodong school exists in China as an individual organisation, although there is the Caodong lineage, however, that is only nominal and has no influence on daily monastic life.
The Meiji government only removed the punishment for breaking monastic regulations. They didn't force anyone to have families and live like a layman. It was a decision the Buddhist churches made themselves to allow people give up the previous rules. But this is a different subject and off topic.
Some of my own musings...what, in a nut-shell, are the major differences between chan, seon, rinzai & soto zen?
doctrines & practices i suppose. just trying to get a feel for what makes all these different sects "different".
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