(Skt., dhyana, meditation, pronounced chan in Chinese, zen in Japanese). A form of Buddhism centred upon sitting meditation, and the wordless and silent nature of enlightenment. It claims a history stretching back to the Buddha himself, but its origins are linked with Bodhidharma, a Buddhist who arrived in China in the 5th century, and then allegedly sat motionless for nine years gazing at a wall. A variety of techniques are used to restore identity with the nature of Buddha, including shouting and beating. The discipline, or zazen, may be aided by concentration on texts and problems, or koan . Since the state of enlightenment is not communicable, it must be manifest in the radiant attitude which the adept can adopt to all the ordinary things of life.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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