|A prince born in the north of India in 624B.C. would one day cast aside his royal heritage, and after wandering the streets of his city, don a saffron robe and shave his head. Forever after known simply as Buddha, he would spend many years studying spiritual practices, then traveling the country, to preach his doctrine.
From his teachings, grew the practice of Buddhism, which takes on different forms according to the cultural influence and country in which it is practiced. Zen is the Japanese name given to one form of Bhuddism, which is practiced in Japan, China, Korea, and North Viet Nam.
The theory of Zen stresses meditation in achieving enlightenment, an awareness of the true nature of the Universe, after which, one is freed of the cycle which encompasses birth, suffering, death and rebirth. However, itís also stressed that enlightenment is not just an intellectual pursuit or state, but an entire way of life built on humility, gratitude, labor, prayer, service, and meditation.