Zen is a light blue octopus-like creature with eight identical tendrils and a central body consisting of two connected blue orbs. His body bears his facial features and is attached to each of Zen's tentacles. Zen is depicted as yellow in the Illustrated Book, but many characters are colored incorrectly in it.
Zen's mission is to serve as a guard in Mon-chien (Land of Dreaming) and notify any change that occurs. He is unable to move aside from turning his head, as he is frozen in ice. He is killed by an intruder and dies, fulfilling his mission as a guard.
Reference to the Kuji Edit
Zen's name is the ninth syllable of the Kuji (九字), series of nine syllables. Each syllable has its own symbol, mudra (hand sign), mantra (utterance/prayer) and mandala (visualization). The syllables in order are Rin (臨), Pyō (兵), Tō (闘), Sha (者), Kai (皆), Jin (陣), Retsu (列), Zai (在) and Zen (前). The mudras, mantras, and mandalas put into practice for ritual or meditation purposes is referred to as the Kuji-in (九字印), or "Nine Hand Seals".
The Kuji-in has roots in Hinduism and is used in a wide variety of practices including Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism, Ninjutsu and schools of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism such as Mikkyo, Tendai and Shingon. Because of that, Zen (前) has many different meanings, mudras, mantras and mandalas depending on the practice it is used for. The Kanji itself (前) can mean "to be in front/move forward", "absolute" or "enlightenment".
Mudra, Mantra and Mandala Edit
A typical mudra consists of the right hand cupping a fisted left hand with the thumbs of both hands touching. One particular mandala visualizes emptiness with a calm, soothing light. One then merges with that light. Through this, one may become invisible to average people because their vibrations are higher than what the common mind can interpret as real.
Here is the Mantra followed by an interpretation used in meditation:
Sanskrit: Om a ra pa cha na dhi.
Japanese: On a ra ba sha nō sowaka.
English (Translation) All hail! A-ra-pa-ca-na.
Interpretation: I am the void and the light.