Zen Buddhism in a Nutshell

Four Noble Truths (Principles)

Life is suffering (dissatisfaction in the face of ongoing change)
Suffering's cause is craving or desire (attachment, greed, grasping)
That can be ended
Through the Eight-fold Path

Right/skillful views
Right/skillful thought
Right/skillful mindfulness
Right/skillful speech

Right/skillful action
Right/skillful effort
Right/skillful concentration
Right/skillful livelihood

Three Doors of Liberation

Emptiness/interbeing (egolessness, no self)
Signlessness/notionlessness (everything changes, impermanence )
Wishlessness/non-craving (ending dissatisfaction, desire and aversion)

Three schools, or styles, of Buddhism

Hinayana: Self-development through monastic, intensive, or rulebound practice
Mahayana: Expanding to include wider communities, and embracing all beings
Vajrayana: Embracing life itself as enlightenment

The Bodhisattva Vow (Mahayana)

Beings are numberless; I vow to save them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.
Buddha's Way is unsurpassable; I vow to become it.

Another Form of this Vow, from Kobun

The Paramitas (Virtues, Perfections) with Milarepa's Song (of Nothing to Do Other Than ...)

Giving/generosity (danaparamita)
Morality/precepts (silaparamita)
Patience/equinanimity (ksantiparamita)
Devotion/energy (viryaparamita)
Meditation (dhyanaparamita)
Wisdom (prajnaparamita)

Stop fixating on self.
Stop being dishonest.
Not fear what is ultimately true.
Practice continuously.
Rest in presence.
Know directly how things are.

An Avowal

All my ancient wrong actions
arising from beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,
based on mind, speech and body,
I fully avow.

Triple Treasures (Mahayana; Bodhisattva Refuges)

Buddha (self nature: I take refuge in the Buddha, I return to Buddha)
Sangha (community: I take refuge in the Sangha, I return to Sangha)
Dharma (teachings/laws/truth/wisdom: I take refuge in the Dharma, I return to Dharma)

Two versions of The Three Pure Precepts

Embracing and sustaining right conduct.
Embracing and sustaining every good.
Embracing and sustaining all beings.
Doing no harm,
Cultivating what is good and wholesome,
Understanding heart and mind.

Precepts, in terms of first Prohibitions and then of Truth

no wasting or killing
no stealing
no being greedy, no misuse of sex
no lying
no being intoxicated
not talking about others' faults and errors
not elevating oneself and putting down others
not being stingy
not being angry
not slandering the Three Treasures
Everlasting Truth: not raising the view of extinction
Ungraspable Truth: not arousing the thought of gain
Free Truth: not raising the view of attachment
Inexplicable Truth: not expounding a word
Pure Truth: not arousing ignorance
Faultless Truth: not talking about sins and mistakes
Truth of Equality: not talking about self and others
Pervading Truth: not clinging to a single thing
Truth of No-self: not contriving a reality of self
Truth of Oneness: not raising a distinction between Buddhas and beings


Acknowledgements, Sources, and Web Resources
Mind and Meditation