Definition of Zen in English:


Line breaks: Zen
Pronunciation: /zɛn
(also Zen Buddhism)


[mass noun]
  • A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures.
    More example sentences
    • 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.

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



(also Zennist) noun ( • rare )
More example sentences
  • The struggle to be tolerant in Zennist terms is the ability to accept there is a good life available.
  • Some Zennists teach that we should repress our thoughts and be like a dead tree.
  • Overcoming these two sufferings will help Zenists to attain happiness and the Great Enlightenment.


Japanese, literally 'meditation', from Chinese chán 'quietude', from Sanskrit dhyāna 'meditation'.

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