What does zen mean?

Definitions for zen

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word zen.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Zen, Zen Buddhism(noun)

    school of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith; China and Japan

  2. Zen, Zen Buddhism(noun)

    a Buddhist doctrine that enlightenment can be attained through direct intuitive insight

  3. acid, back breaker, battery-acid, dose, dot, Elvis, loony toons, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, pane, superman, window pane, Zen(noun)

    street name for lysergic acid diethylamide


  1. Zen(Noun)

    A denomination of Buddhism elaborated in Japan.

  2. Zen(Noun)

    A philosophy of calm reminiscent of that of the Buddhist denomination.

  3. Zen(Adjective)

    Extremely relaxed and collected

  4. zen(Noun)

    A denomination of Buddhism

  5. zen(Adjective)

    Pertaining to this denomination of Buddhism

  6. zen(Adjective)

    extremely relaxed and collected

  7. Origin: 禅, from 禅那, from ध्यान (Pāli: jhāna)


  1. Zen

    Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan. The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state". Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher. The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Huayan. The Prajñāpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. zen

    To figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment. Originally applied to bugs, but occasionally applied to problems of life in general. “How'd you figure out the buffer allocation problem?” “Oh, I zenned it.” Contrast grok, which connotes a time-extended version of zenning a system. Compare hack mode. See also guru.

Editors Contribution

  1. zen

    When the going gets tough, the tough stays zen.

    Submitted by Marvinterra on May 16, 2018

Suggested Resources

  1. zen

    Song lyrics by zen -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by zen on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. ZEN

    What does ZEN stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the ZEN acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of zen in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of zen in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of zen in a Sentence

  1. Irvin Kirshner:

    I want to introduce some Zen here.

  2. Robert M. Pirsig:

    The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.

  3. Zoroaster:

    He who sows the ground with care and diligence acquires greater stock of religious merit than he would gain by the repetition of 10,000 prayers. Zen Zoroaster

  4. David Allen:

    The ability to know I can get control... is a certain level of Zen-like freedom, because I know I can get control, then I don't need to be in control all the time.

  5. Alexander Ludwig:

    By the end Clive and I were just shaking, we were so tired, the shower afterwards was the most incredible Zen feeling in the world. I just sat down and let the water fall over me.

Images & Illustrations of zen

  1. zenzenzen

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Translations for zen

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"zen." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Jan. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/zen>.

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