1

Zen

noun \ ˈzen \

Definition of Zen

1 : a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation
2 or zen : a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort
  • Perhaps that is the zen of gardening—you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand.
  • —Irene Virag

Origin and Etymology of zen

Japanese, religious meditation


2

Zen

adjective

Definition of Zen

1 : of, relating to, or associated with Zen Buddhism
  • a Zen monk/priest/master
2 a : suggestive of the teachings or practice of Zen Buddhism
  • Paddling, itself, is a Zen art: Anyone can do it, yet you can spend a lifetime perfecting it.
  • —Jim Albrecht
b : having or showing qualities (such as meditative calmness and an attitude of acceptance) popularly associated with practitioners of Zen Buddhism
  • "I hate to use this word, but Owen is very 'Zen,'" said Rita Nagel, a vice president at Goldman, Sachs. "When some traders start losing money they get nervous. Owen stays very relaxed."

First Known Use of zen

1881

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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