Definition of Zen in English:

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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.
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)
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'.

Words that rhyme with Zen

Adrienne, again, amen, Ardennes, Behn, Ben, Benn, Bren, cayenne, Cévennes, Dairen, den, en, fen, gen, glen, Glenn, Guyenne, Gwen, hen, julienne, Karen, ken, Len, Loren, men, Nene, Ogaden, paren, pen, Penn, Phnom Penh, Rennes, Shenzhen, Sun Yat-sen, ten, then, Tlemcen, when, wren, yen, zazen

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