http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=15569dzogchungpa wrote:Also, K. D. Lang and, if you include "Zen" Buddhism, Leonard Cohen.
that reminded me of the book Buddhism and Zen by Nyogen Senzaki. It's quite an artifact, in that it gives some insight into the very early days of Buddhism in the US--the Mentorgarten scene in San Francisco, with Paul Reps and Sufi Sam Lewis in the mix. In this text, Senzaki takes what you might call a perennialist line: he suggests that Buddhism is a religion, but Zen is the truth of spiritual life independent of any religious tradition (if you're expecting a quotation or two from Meister Eckhardt by now, you won't be disappointed). I assume this was Senzaki's way of trying to reach the Americans he met at the time he met them.
I don't know any contemporary Zen practitioners who would agree with Senzaki on this point. The consensus seems to be that Zen is what it seems to be: a way to practice Buddhism. I also know there are Buddhists outside of any Zen school who would argue that what happens in Zen temples isn't Buddhism at all, but something else. That's why the quoted comment above caught my eye.
So I present this question to the gallery: Is Zen Buddhism? Are Zen practitioners Buddhists?