Definition of Zen in English:


(also Zen Buddhism)

Pronunciation /zen/ /zɛn/

Translate Zen into Spanish


  • A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

    Zen Buddhism was introduced to Japan from China in the 12th century and has had a profound cultural influence. The aim of Zen is to achieve sudden enlightenment (satori) through meditation in a seated posture (zazen), usually under the guidance of a teacher and often using paradoxical statements (koans) to transcend rational thought

    ‘Among practitioners of Zen Buddhism and vipassana meditation, women were authorized to teach relatively soon after men.’
    • ‘Stephen Batchelor is a former Buddhist monk who has studied under both Zen and Tibetan masters.’
    • ‘Japanese schools other than Zen are also well represented in the West.’
    • ‘When I found the Japanese Zen meditation, it was very natural for me.’
    • ‘Could you clarify for me what the differences in technique are between Buddhist meditation as practiced in Tibet versus, say, Zen Buddhism that we've heard about from Japan?’
    • ‘Note that Zen meditation and Zen philosophy are two different things.’
    • ‘If you sit in zazen, divorced from the rest of Buddhist practice, I'm afraid it's not Zen Buddhism.’
    • ‘I've studied Zen Buddhism a great deal, I know very little of it, but I've studied it for 30 years or so, and I have long conversations with friends from India about religious practice there.’
    • ‘One of the ways to control physiological reactions to psychological events is meditation, Yoga, Zen Buddhism etc.’
    • ‘She studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan at Songgwang Sa monastery until 1985.’
    • ‘Some sects of Zen Buddhism consider him their founder.’
    • ‘It must be investigated honestly if Zen is to remain a meaningful and real tradition.’
    • ‘Most of us associate Zen with black robes and rock gardens, but do we really know what it is?’
    • ‘Much of Kendo's philosophy is drawn from Zen and from Buddhism and from Shintoism.’
    • ‘The most radical form of Buddhism, Zen, has been described as a path of crooked wisdom.’
    • ‘I read this story a long time ago when I was discovering the wisdom of Zen, Taoism and Buddhism.’
    • ‘The early development of Japanese art was influenced by Zen Buddhism and the sophisticated Chinese culture.’
    • ‘His views based on meditation came to be known as Zen Buddhism and became popular in China and Japan.’
    • ‘Koans are profound riddles, used as a form of meditation by some schools of Zen.’
    • ‘They dedicate their lives to spiritual enlightenment through the practice of Zen Buddhism and the disciplined exercises of kung fu.’


  • zenPeaceful and calm.

    • ‘she is kind and relaxed with a very zen energy about her’


Japanese, literally ‘meditation’, from Chinese chán ‘quietude’, from Sanskrit dhyāna ‘meditation’.