Catholicism is both the oldest and largest denomination within Christianity, with its Papacy going all the way back to St. Peter the Apostle. It is centered on the Life and Teachings Of Jesus Christ, worship Him as the Eternal Son Of God.

Zen is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism was was founded in China by Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk. It is also called "Chan," and has elements of Taoism mixed in it.

Comparison chart

Catholicism versus Zen comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCatholicismZen
Place of worship Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica. Pagoda, Temple.
Place of origin Roman province of Judea, which is part of present-day Israel, Palestine and Lebanon China
Clergy Heirarchial clergy in Holy Orders Deacons, monks, nuns, Priests and Bishops, other ranks are only offices (archibshop, cardinal Pope etc. although several other offices also exist) monks, nuns.
Human Nature Man has inherited "original sin" from Adam. Mankind then is inherently evil and is in need of forgiveness of their sin. Man's desire for material things leads to suffering.
Use of statues and pictures Crosses, statues and pictures are acceptable in Catholicism. Catholics widely use them as depictions of Christ, Mary, and the Saints. As a symbolic reminder, which can be found in sculptures, arts, and architecture.
Belief of God One God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit believes in "buddhas" that can live forever and influence man kind in ways similar to the abilities attributed to "god(s)". this information comes from the late mahayana sutras and is opposite the oldest, original teachings (pali canon).
Founder Jesus Christ, St. Peter the Apostle. Founded by those who broke away from the original teachings of the Buddha or those who make adjustments to the teachings, during the Third Buddhist Council.
Life after death Eternal Salvation in Heaven; Eternal Damnation in Hell; Temporal third state before Heaven for those who desire purification, known as Purgatory. Multiple births, ultimate Nirvana
Literal Meaning catholic - from the Greek adjective καθολικός, (katholikos) meaning "general" or "universal". zen is the japanese translation of the chinese word "chan" which is the chinese word for "dhyana" which is the sanskrit word for the pali word "jhana" which means "meditation".
Means of salvation Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; salvation through faith and penance. Belief in Jesus as the sole savior of humanity. Must have a relationship with Jesus. Good Works. Seven Sacraments. seeks enlightenment
Confessing sins Confess to priests for absolution from sins in the name of Christ (John 20:22-23). Prayer to the Saints. Not discussed
Practices Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life, celebrate and revere Jesus' sacrifice on the cross at Mass. The celebration of seven sacraments Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of Sick, Holy Orders and Confession. Regularly visit temple to meditate & to make offerings to the Buddha and donations to monks/nuns.
Marriage Marriage is sacrament between one man and one woman. Divorce does not exist in Catholicism, but there is annulment (that the marriage was invalid to begin with) by competent church official. not specified in the sutras, likely varies greatly depending on which school of zen and in which country.
Goal of religion To give glory to God and share Eternal Life in Him. To gain enlightenment
Status of women Women are Equal to men and have the same dignity as men, but women are not eligible for Ordination in Catholicism.They can be religious (sister, or commonly called "Nun") and can lead many offices assisting the clergy within the church. Women can become nuns.
About Belonging to the Church Founded By Christ, when He chose St. Peter as His Rock (first Pope). Apostles creed gives summary of Catholic creed, man fell and Christ came to redeem mankind. Zen follows myriad teachings that have accrued over millenia, many of which are attributed to the buddha in a retrograde fashion since he was dead when they were written. they also highly regard later zen teachers writings.
Concept of Deity Believe in the Trinity. Three persons in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. believes in "Buddhas" which are immortal and exist in infinite numbers and have nearly every attribute usually given to deities of all religions. opposite what is taught in the oldest teachings (pali canon) validated by later mahayana texts.
Religious Law 10 Commandments, Canon law , Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), papal decrees and orders. Dharma
Identity of Jesus God Incarnate. Son of the Father. The Messiah saviour of mankind sole mediator between God and man. N/A.
God's role in salvation God sent His only Divine Son to save humanity from their sins. Zen does not specify any Supreme Being Who Is the Creator of the universe.
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of None. Faith is integral to Catholicism, a christian who rejects Christianity altogether is considered an Apostate. Atheism is a sin against Faith. Yes.
Geographical predominance Catholicism has spread worldwide across all six settled continents, predominantly Europe, North, Central, and South America, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. Asia, North America.
Resurrection of Jesus Affirmed N/A.
Belief Believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King of Heaven, and Saviour of the entire world. follow Gautama Buddha and believe that he exists in a spiritual form and can answer prayers and help people. enlightenment is mostly up to the practitioner to attain. this is how it is in the mahayana texts which are opposite the original teachings
Promised Holy one. Second Coming of Christ The Buddha known as Meitreya.
Three Jewels Faith, Hope and Charity buddha, dharma, sangha
Original Languages Latin and Greek. Pali, Sanskrit, Mandarin
Status of Muhammad False Prophet. N/A.
View of other Abrahamic religions According to Catholic doctrine, Catholicism is the original Christian Church. Christianity is the true religion, and Catholicism is true Christianity. Zen is a Dharmic religion. Not an Abrahamic religion, and sees no contradiction in following more than one religion.
Authority of Pope Successor of St. Peter. N/A.
Denomination of which religion Christianity Buddhism

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