"Zen Buddhists are
encouraged to each have their own understanding so this is my perspective. Buddhism (including Zen) may be a religion or a philosophy, and is often defined as a "way of life". Zen Buddhists teach that everyone has a Buddha nature and that the small mind, our thinking mind, blocks us from reaching that realisation, and subsequent direct experience. In Zen, the follower is aware of the emptiness of all things, and of the interconnection of all life. The logical mind tries to perceive the truth by dealing with concepts, which are, in Zen terms, empty. Therefore, insight must be gained outside that logical process, at a different level. In Zen Buddhism, the key words are direct personal experience, which can occur at almost any moment when realisation occurs. Different versions of Buddhism have their own way, but all seek the Buddha mind and follow the core teachings of the Buddha. "