Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism and originated in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, to Korea and east to Japan.

The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 Dzyen (Modern Mandarin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state".

Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.

The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Huayan. The Prajñāpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential.

Read more about Zen:  Zen in The Western World, Doctrinal Background, Zen Teachings, Zen Organisation and Institutions, Zen Narratives

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... Zen Buddhism (禅), pronounced Chán in Chinese, seon in Korean or zen in Japanese (derived from the Sanskrit term dhyāna, meaning "meditation") is a form of Buddhism that became popular in China ... Zen places less emphasis on scriptures than some other forms of Buddhism and prefers to focus on direct spiritual breakthroughs to truth ... Zen Buddhism is divided into two main schools Rinzai (臨済宗) and Sōtō (曹洞宗), the former greatly favouring the use in meditation on the koan (公案, a meditative riddle or puzzle) as a device for ...

Famous quotes containing the word zen:

    Zen ... does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
    Alan Watts (1915–1973)