Two questions invariably come up in dinner conversation when I mention that I am a Buddhist, normally precipitated by people asking why I am now a vegan.

I always struggle to answer these questions eloquently. I have not practiced my answer to be both succinct, relatable, and understandable. Further, I have always had an easier time of expressing myself in written medium instead of spoken word. I am currently working to eliminate these flaws as much as possible.

So, what is Buddhism? What is Zen? I am open to any further suggestions on how to answer these two questions, but this is what my answer will be from now on:

Buddhism is a philosophy to become awakened (bodhi) through peace and loving kindness, to find happiness that can last forever.

Zen is the discovery of self through meditation, and learning to live in the present moment.

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