An examination of the Zen literature reveals a complex, multifaceted, and diverse religion with varying sects, o‘en in opposition. e question becomes what Zen is being described. is is further complicated by
regional variations and by the experiential emphasis of Zen training, which becomes colored by the personality and interpretation of the particular teacher. For instance, we might ask whether we are speaking of the 11th-century Chinese Zen teacher Tai-hui’s tendency to derail dialogue or 13th-century radical Japanese Zen reformist Dogen’s e‡orts to expand dialogue. Another signicant question that is germane to this discussion centers on whether one views Zen through the lens of quietist or insight-oriented introspectionist practices or some viable integrated form. Do practitioners of a particular sect believe in quick or gradual enlightenment? Does a particular sect emphasize mysticism, or does it take an iconoclastic position that seemingly negates all positions? Recently, for example, Barry Magid (2005) has written about the di‡erences between what he describes as “top-down” and “bottom-up” Zen practice, which is essentially a critique of the Rinzai emphasis on a rigorous and increasingly intensied practice mediated by its subitist orientation. He is supportive of the more relaxed shikantaza “just sitting” practice associated with the Soto Zen tradition. is distinction has roots in a complex of cultural and historical factors that require elaboration in order to develop an informed discussion on the relation between Zen and psychoanalysis.*
Much of the early psychoanalytic exposure to Zen was ltered through D. T. Suzuki’s teachings, which were Rinzai inƒuenced and which emphasized the irrational, illogical, diachronic aspects in relation to koan study. However, his depiction of Zen shi‘ed over the years. For example, he expresses ambivalence with regard to quietist and insight-oriented approaches over the span of his career. e specic entry point into the stream of his thought becomes crucial. Many of the later inƒuences derived from the shikantaza approach that was traditionally associated with Dogen and the Soto tradition. While sectarian extremism exists in all religious systems, when thought of as operating along a continuum of emphasis, as the Zen scholar Steven Heine (1994) notes, the di‡erences are not as extreme as they might initially appear.