Zen is an East Asian form of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is practiced primarily in Japan and has greatly influenced Japanese culture. Since the mid-1900's, Zen has gained many followers in the United States.

The goal of Zen is the attainment of a state of spiritual enlightenment called satori. Zen Buddhists believe meditation is the key to achieving satori. There are two major schools of Zen, Rinzai and Soto. Followers of Rinzai meditate on the meaning of baffling riddles called koans while sitting cross-legged. People who practice Soto meditate in the same position. They also read from the sacred works of Mahayana Buddhism, another East Asian form of the religion. Zen Buddhists believe physical labor contributes to the attainment of enlightenment. They work closely with a teacher called the master, who guides their search for satori.

Zen developed in China, where it is called Chan. According to legend, an Indian monk named Bodhidharma first taught its principles in China in the A.D. 500's. Two Japanese priests, Eisai and Dogen, introduced Chan into Japan. Eisai founded the Rinzai school in the 1100's, and Dogen established the Soto school in the 1200's. Zen quickly became a major religious and cultural force in Japan.

Zen is an East Asian form of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is practiced primarily in Japan and has greatly influenced Japanese culture. Since the mid-1900's, Zen has gained many followers in the United States.

The goal of Zen is the attainment of a state of spiritual enlightenment called satori. Zen Buddhists believe meditation is the key to achieving satori. There are two major schools of Zen, Rinzai and Soto. Followers of Rinzai meditate on the meaning of baffling riddles called koans while sitting cross-legged. People who practice Soto meditate in the same position. They also read from the sacred works of Mahayana Buddhism, another East Asian form of the religion. Zen Buddhists believe physical labor contributes to the attainment of enlightenment. They work closely with a teacher called the master, who guides their search for satori.

Zen developed in China, where it is called Chan. According to legend, an Indian monk named Bodhidharma first taught its principles in China in the A.D. 500's. Two Japanese priests, Eisai and Dogen, introduced Chan into Japan. Eisai founded the Rinzai school in the 1100's, and Dogen established the Soto school in the 1200's. Zen quickly became a major religious and cultural force in Japan.

Many people in the West have turned to new religions or movements, or to religions whose origins are in the East. A large number of people have sought fulfillment in the teachings of Asian religions. Some of these people have been attracted to Zen, a form of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation.