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1. 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.
2. 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.
[Japanese zen, from Early Middle Chinese dʑian, meditation; also the source of Mandarin chán), from Pali jhānaṃ, 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'nǎ "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.
1. (Buddhism) a Japanese school, of 12th-century Chinese origin, teaching that contemplation of one's essential nature to the exclusion of all else is the only way of achieving pure enlightenment
2. (Buddhism) (modifier) of or relating to this school: Zen Buddhism.
[from Japanese, from Chinese ch'an religious meditation, from Pali jhāna, from Sanskrit dhyāna]
1. a Mahayana movement of Buddhism, introduced into China in the 6th century a.d. and into Japan in the 12th century, that emphasizes enlightenment by means of meditation and direct, intuitive insights.
2. the discipline and practice of this sect.
[1725–35; < Japanese]
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|Noun||1.||Zen - school of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith; China and Japan|
Buddhism - a religion represented by the many groups (especially in Asia) that profess various forms of the Buddhist doctrine and that venerate Buddha
Zen Buddhist - an adherent of the doctrines of Zen Buddhism
|2.||Zen - a Buddhist doctrine that enlightenment can be attained through direct intuitive insight|
satori - (Zen Buddhism) a state of sudden spiritual enlightenment
Buddhism - the teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct and wisdom and meditation releases one from desire and suffering and rebirth
|3.||Zen - street name for lysergic acid diethylamide|
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