Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

41. What is Zen Buddhism?

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Hiroko Kawanami [+-]
Lancaster University
Hiroko Kawanami is a Professor in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, UK. She is known as a specialist in Myanmar Buddhism but has also conducted fieldwork in several Buddhist countries.


The term “zen” originated from the pronunciation of djan which became chan in Chinese, deriving from dhyāna in Sanskrit or jhāna in Pali, meaning a state of “absorption” in the practice of Buddhist meditation. Chan is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, the roots of which lie in sixth-century China, and which spread to other countries in East Asia after the eighth century. It was introduced to Japan as Zen Buddhism in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries by two Japanese monks, Eisai and Dogen, who traveled to China to study the Buddhist scriptures and methods of practice.

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Kawanami, Hiroko. 41. What is Zen Buddhism?. Buddhism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 202-206 Oct 2021. ISBN 9781800500907. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40780. Date accessed: 02 Jul 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40780. Oct 2021

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