Author Topic: What's difference between Tantric Buddhism and Zen Buddhism?  (Read 2287 times)

Offline Peter Vredeveld

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What's difference between Tantric Buddhism and Zen Buddhism?
« on: April 19, 2016, 12:06:58 am »
I am jst curious since Tantric Buddhism is quite popular in Tibet while Zen is supposed to be widely followed in Japan.
Is it Buddhist practices or Buddhist sutras that differs the difference between Zen and Tantric?

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: What's difference between Tantric Buddhism and Zen Buddhism?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2016, 04:15:58 pm »
I think the differences outweigh the similarities. Both their practices and favorite texts differ. Tantric Buddhism is most identified with “Vajrayana” Buddhism in Tibet, while Zen Buddhism evolved in China and was influenced by the Taoism which had already existed there for centuries (Although many Zen Buddhists attempt to deny the influence of Taoism).

Zen and Vajrayana both place considerable importance on the connection between teacher/disciple and a direct pointing or transmission of the ultimate reality beyond words. They also both claim to trace their origins to the Buddha himself -- with very little actual evidence to support those claims.

Tantric practices apparently evolved in India after Buddhism was already well established there. A Buddhist form of tantra developed which was transported to Tibet. Those practices are quite complex and include such things as mantra, chakra, deity and guru worship, as well as some sexual/energy retention practices.

Zen is quite austere and emphasizes zazen, or sitting meditation, over everything else. Vajrayana is much more ritualistic.

If you want to know more, especially in regard to their favorite texts, I suggest you google both of them and follow up on some of the links.

My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at


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