- A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Also called Zen Buddhism .
- also zen An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals: the zen of cooking.
Origin of Zen
Japanese zen from
Early Middle Chinese d&zcurl;ian meditation
( also the source of
Pali jhāna&mlowdot; from
Sanskrit dhyānam from dhyāti he meditates Word History: Zen,
a word that evokes the most characteristic and appealing aspects of Japanese culture for many English speakers, is ultimately of Indo-European origin. The Japanese word zen
is a borrowing of a medieval Chinese word (now pronounced chán,
in modern Mandarin Chinese) meaning “meditation, contemplation.” Chán
is one of the many Buddhist terms in Chinese that originate in India, the homeland of Buddhism. A monk named Bodhidharma, said to be of Indian origin, introduced Buddhist traditions emphasizing the practice of meditation to China in the 5th century and established Chan Buddhism. From the 7th century onward, elements of Chan Buddhism began to reach Japan, where chán
came to be pronounced zen.
The Chinese word chán
is a shortening of chán'n&acaron;
“meditation, contemplation” a borrowing of the Sanskrit term dhyānam.
The Sanskrit word is derived from the Sanskrit root dhyā-, dhī-,
“to see, observe,” and the Indo-European root behind the Sanskrit is *dheiə-, *dhyā-,
“to see, look at.” This root also shows up in Greek, where *dhyā-
developed into sā-,
as in the Common Greek noun *sāma,
“sign, distinguishing mark.” This noun became sēma
in Attic Greek and is the source of English semantic.
Often capitalized, similar to a proper noun, when talking about the denomination proper (compare Catholicism), rather than the philosophy or calm: “That's very zen." versus “She studies Zen Buddhism."
- (religion) A denomination of Buddhism
(comparative more zen, superlative most zen)
- (religion) Pertaining to this denomination of Buddhism
- (colloquial) extremely relaxed and collected
Japanese ç¦…, from (ç¦…é‚£ zenna; Mandarin: chÃ¡nnÃ ), a derivation from the Sanskrit term à¤§à¥à¤¯à¤¾à¤¨ (dhyÄna; PÄli: jhÄna), which refers to a specific type or aspect of meditation.
- (religion) A denomination of Buddhism elaborated in Japan.
- (informal) A philosophy of calm, reminiscent of that of the Buddhist denomination.
Usually capitalized in all senses, almost always when talking about the denomination proper (compare Catholicism), usually but less often when referring to a looser sense of the philosophy or calm: “That's very zen." versus “She studies Zen Buddhism."
(comparative more Zen, superlative most Zen)
- (colloquial) Extremely relaxed and collected.
From Japanese ç¦… (zen ãœã‚“), from Middle Chinese ç¦ª (É–jen) (compare Mandarin ç¦… ChÃ¡n), an abbreviation of ç¦ªé‚£ (É–jen-na), from Sanskrit à¤§à¥à¤¯à¤¾à¤¨ (dhyÄna, “a type of meditation"). Akin to dhyana.