Zensunnism (Ajax)

Zensunnism is a syncretic belief developed around the Ozeros Sea region of Ajax based around the reverence of the Bodhisattva Mesfin. Zensunni is derived from the zen meditative disciplines that have their roots in early Jhāna and the “Tashbith” which are the social practices propagated by the cultural reformer Mesfin.

History

Bayarid influences

The cultural traditions of the Bayarids were transferred across Ochran and the eastern hemisphere by the military conquests of Khaduur Khan. While the Bayarids were not proselytizers, they found adherents in the professional and aristocratic castes of conquered peoples who sought advance their positions with the great Bayarid empire. Khaduur Khan and his successors also built temples and funded a healthy priesthood throughout the empire and the availability of the Bayarid faith was its own greatest missionary.

The oral history of the Bayarids, which had been commissioned by the famed general Tukal and completed during Khaduur’s reign, was the most important work in a body of oral traditions which became well-known throughout Ochran. After the collapse of the Bayarid empire, their religious adherents soon evaporated, by the oral traditions of the Bayarids remained and were absorbed by resurgent folk religions.

Mesfin Buddha

The Yen prophet Mesfin was born in Waletta in about 951 CE. In the early 9th century, Mesfin united the various tribes of the Gombakori and created a single Yen religious polity. Following his death in 832, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Azdarin rule beyond Nahlia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory in a matter of decades. At the same time that Yen began to proselytize, a wave of important clerics began to promote the teachings of Praśansanīẏa and many proposed that he was a bodhisattva.

The potent Almurid Caliphate was immediately recognized as a new version of the kingdom established by Praśansanīẏa and Mesfin as a reincarnation of Praśansanīẏa. The famous monk, Dīkṣā, formed the Red Hat School based on the unified personality of Mesfin Buddha. Other factions and schools, which emerged alongside the Red Hat School rejected the Buddhahood of one or both and the Red Hat School would not become dominant until the Golden Khaganate.

Golden Khaganate

In the late 11th century CE, during the collapse of the Alban Caliphate, Southwest Ochran was swept under the control of the Golden Khaganate, a confederation of central Ochran tribes that were actively migrating west out of the chaos after the fall of the Bayarid Empire. They established a new state in modern Jhengstang, but at the height of their realm, the Golden Khaganate also controlled the smaller Zhuz states and a large portion of the western coast of the Sea of Ozeros. Many prominent figures in the Zhuz were Azdarin, but as their empire contracted and became centered on Ozeros, the importance of ameliorating the Pathists and Yen became increasingly important. While the new Golden Khaganate heartland of Jhengstang remained Azdarin, the peripheral provinces took advantage of the decentralized state to convert and promote the Red Hat School’s syncretism.

Beliefs

Iman

Iman, literally faith, is the core creed of Zensunnis that distinguishes them from all other Sadhana Schools and denominations of Azdarin. Iman is typically taught as series of six, simple articles.

  • Belief in God, there is one supreme deity which is the emptiness of all existence.
  • Belief in Spirit, the Buddha-nature--which is God--exists in all things seen and unseen.
  • Belief in Sutras, there is an esoteric path to Buddhahood recorded in the Sutras.
  • Belief in Teachers, there is an exoteric path to Buddhahood taught by the Buddhas.
  • Belief in Judgement, all actions have Dharma which influence the next life.
  • Belief in Predestination, all things will eventually escape the cycle of death and rebirth.

Samsara

Samsara is the cycle of death which all living things participate in. It is caused by desire, which zensunnis call the original sin, and life within samsara is ultimately painful since all humans’ deepest desire is God which exists outside samsara. Samsara occurs in many realms, some good and some bad, and is ended though nirvana. Nirvana occurs when all desires are eliminated except for the non-desire, the yearning for God.

Enlightenment

Alongside Samsara, there exists an escape from desire. The complete acceptance of God, that is the acceptance of the lack of self, allows physical beings to exit the cycle of death and rebirth. Enlightenment is the process of learning and realizing certain fundamental truths which each manifest themselves in unique ways. Satori is the inner realization that the self does not exist. Vidya is the correct knowledge, unclouded by desires. Nirvana is the elimination of all desires which creates freedom, moksha.

When enlightenment is achieved alone, the enlightened person can become a Buddha by teaching others the dharma, or cosmic order. More often, zensunnis seeks to become arhat. Arhats reach enlightenment through the guidance of a teacher, which is in accordance with the “Middle Way” proposed by Praśansanīẏa and his reincarnate Muhammad, so that all people would not have to become ascetics to reach enlightenment.

Practices

Shahada (faith)

Shahada is the declaration of faith that confirms the Iman. There are many variations of the declaration, but a common one is “there is no god-nature but God and Muhammad has the nature of God”.

Zalah (meditation)

The primary practice of zensunnis is Zalah, which is intensive group meditation that takes place five times each day at a Mosque. Zalah takes many forms, but all are designed with the clear intention of realizing the true lack of self. Koans or the words of Muhammad are also often used in these sessions.

Zakat (charity)

Zakat is the process of ridding oneself of physical possessions by giving them away. This practice is also extremely important for supporting people who are going on pilgrimage and in the support of the ascetics who, though they are not considered the preferred “middle way” of Muhammad, are legitimately pursuing enlightenment.

Sawm (fasting)

Like Zakat, Sawm is another purification ritual in which the individual refrains from indulging in material pleasures. Sawn can be the denial of any physical pleasure, but the most important ritual is the celebration of Ramadan.

Hajj (pilgrimage)

Just as Sawn and Zakat involve surrendering physical comforts, Hajj breaks the connection between the individual and their homes. Physical displacement emulates the spiritual detachment that is the objective of the faith.