Difference Between Zen Buddhism And Tibetan Buddhism (With Table)

Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism are the two most important schools of Buddhism. They are a part of Mahayana Buddhism. Zen Buddhism began in China and spread in Korea and Japan. Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in Tibet. Zen Buddhists deal with understanding the meaning of life. Tibetan Buddhism deals with mantras and meditation practices.

Zen Buddhism vs Tibetan Buddhism

The difference between Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism is that Zen Buddhism began in China, whereas Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in Tibet. They also vary in the way they preach and practice Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is a minimalist way of Buddhism that means leading a simple life whereas Tibetan Buddhism is more of an elaborate Buddhism which can be seen in their activities in temples and monasteries.

Zen Buddhism combines both Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. Zen is a Chinese word pronounced as ‘Ch’an’ meaning meditation. It was brought to China by the Indian monk ‘Bodhidharma’ around the 6th century. It was spread to Korea in the 7th century and Japan in the 12th century.

Tibetan Buddhism combines the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism and the ancient Tibetan religion called Bon. It was brought from Indian to Tibet at the end of the 8th century. Dalai Lama is a well-known Buddhist Monk. Vajrayana Buddhism is taught along with Tibetan Buddhism. Nyingmapa, Kagyupa, Sakyapa, Gelugpa, and the new Kadampa tradition are the various Tibetan Buddhist groups.

Comparison Table Between Zen Buddhism And Tibetan Buddhism

Parameters of ComparisonZen BuddhismTibetan Buddhism
FounderDaruma Bodhidharma is known as the father of Zen Buddhism.Dalai Lama is known as the leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
OriginZen Buddhism was brought to China by Daruma Bodhidharma in the 6th century.Tibetan Buddhism was brought to Tibet by India at the end of the 8th century.
MinimalistZen Buddhism is a minimalist type of Buddhism. Leading a simple life is influenced by Zen Buddhism teachings.Tibetan Buddhism is an elaborate kind of Buddhism.
More ReligiousZen Buddhism is a less formal way of Buddhism. It is less complicated and a minimalist kind of Buddhism. They also have some rituals to be followed. Tibetan Buddhism is a more complicated kind of Buddhism with complex rituals and rites.
MethodologyZen Buddhism is a way of following the breath and concentrating on the emptiness of the mind so that one can establish their desires, ambitions, and goals.Tibetan Buddhism utilizes mantras and visualizations. They are recited to reach enlightenment of the soul.

What is Zen Buddhism?

Zen Buddhism is a combination of Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. It was introduced in China and spread across Korea and Japan. It deals with concentrating on the breath through meditation in the state of nothingness or emptiness so that one can realize their desire, destination, and goal. It requires intense discipline and practice as well.

Zen Buddhism was brought to China by an Indian monk Daruma Bodhidharma in the 6th century. It was popularized in the west by the Japanese. Zen is a Chinese word Ch’an meaning meditation. Their techniques are compatible with other religions and faith. It relies on concentrating on the breath.

Zen Buddhism deals with discovering the truth in oneself. It tries to seek enlightenment. Zen Buddhism helps to find the answers that each one is seeking within oneself from where the questions have arisen. It starts with controlling the mind through meditation that involves both mind and body. It involves fewer rituals and rites.

Zen Buddhism is a minimal kind of Buddhism. Zen Buddhists can be seen across the world in large troops. They account for about 20% of the Buddhist temples in Japan. It focuses in clear the mind through meditation and discovering the hidden answers within each person. They are known to be the soul of Buddhism.

What is Tibetan Buddhism?

Tibetan Buddhism is a combination of Mahayana Buddhism with tantric and shamanic, and the ancient Tibetan religion called Bon. Vajrayana Buddhism is taught along with Tibetan Buddhism. Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. It was observed that 1 in 6 Tibetan Buddhists are monks. It employes both rituals and meditation practice.

Tibetan Buddhism has spread widely in Tibet towards the end of the 8th century. Trisong Destin the Tibetan King brought Tibetan Buddhism from India to Tibet. The first monastery of Tibetan Buddhism was built by Shantarakshita abbot of Nalanda in India. Certain visual techniques help in understanding Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhism has certain groups within the religious community. Nyingmapa is one such religious group founded by Padmasambhava which is the oldest among all. Kagyupa founded by Tilopa follows the Kagyupa tradition headed by Karmapa Lama. Sakyapa is created by Gonchok Gyelpo. Gelugpa is a tradition headed by Dalai Lama.

Tibetan Buddhism has Lamas who are known as Teachers. Lamas are the senior members of the community. They are a monk or a nun. In Tibetan Buddhism lay people and married people can also become and be Lamas. They also perform particular skills during rituals and rites. They are an elaborate form of Buddhism.

Main Differences Between Zen Buddhism And Tibetan Buddhism

  1. Zen Buddhism was lead by Daruma Bodhidharma whereas Tibetan Buddhism was found and led by Dalai Lama who is also known as the father of Tibetan Buddhism.
  2. Zen Buddhism was brought to China by the Indian monk Daruma Bodhidharma in the 6th century, whereas Tibetan Buddhism was brought to Tibet by India at the end of the 8th century.
  3. Zen Buddhism is a minimalist kind of Buddhism whereas Tibetan Buddhism is an elaborate kind of Buddhism concerning their teachings and the following of rites and rituals.
  4. Zen Buddhism relies on meditation and controlling the mind and soul to seeking answers from where the questions have arisen, whereas Tibetan Buddhism relies on mantras, rites, and yogic ways of following Buddhism.
  5. Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, whereas Tibetan Buddhism is a combination of Mahayana Buddhism and ancient Tibetan religion called Bon.

Conclusion

Zen Buddhism focuses more on meditation, controlling the mind and body, and observing nothingness to seek answers for the questions that are found within. Tibetan Buddhism relies more on the supernatural side of Buddhism that focuses on its rituals and rites.

Zen Buddhism is a minimalist way of following Buddhism whereas Tibetan Buddhism is an elaborate kind of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is much spread across Japan whereas Tibetan Buddhism is from Tibet and spread more in Tibet. Zen Buddhism focuses on breath whereas Tibetan Buddhism focuses on mantras.

References

  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1960-06706-000
  2. https://philpapers.org/rec/PERDIT
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