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Originally a Japanese branch of Mahayana Buddhism. It teaches a doctrineless path to enlightenment, based upon existentialism and intuition. Transcendence acquired in Zen is the only state of being that validates self.
Calvin Miller, Transcendental HesitationOff-site Link, [Out of print] Zondervan Corporation, 1977, p.175

Chinese CH'AN (from Sanskrit dhyana, "meditation"), important school of Buddhism in Japan that claims to transmit the spirit or essence of Buddhism, which consists in experiencing the enlightenment (bodhi) achieved by Gautama the Buddha.
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Zen teaches that the Buddha-nature, or potential to achieve enlightenment, is inherent in everyone but lies dormant because of ignorance. It is best awakened not by the study of scriptures, the practice of good deeds, rites and ceremonies, or worship of images but by a sudden breaking through of the boundaries of common, everyday, logical thought. Training in the methods leading to such an enlightenment (Chinese wu; Japanese Satori,) is best transmitted personally from master to disciple. The methods recommended, however, differ among the various sects of Zen.
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ZenOff-site Link, Encyclopedia Britannica

Zen Buddhists seeks salvation by experiencing satori, which is the Japanese term for enlightenment.
  1. Satori is the sudden awakening to one's true nature.
  2. When Zen Buddhists realize their Buddha nature, they experience inner joy and peace.
  3. Through the continued practice of meditation, Zen Buddhists can experience satori many times, each bringing them into deepening levels of self-awareness.
  4. Like all Buddhists, the ultimate goal of a Zen Buddhist is to reach parinirvana (extinction), but unlike other Buddhists, the immediate goal of the Zen Buddhist is to experience satori.
Buddhism, Taoism, & Other Far Eastern ReligionsOff-site Link J. Isamu Yamamoto, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998. p.50

- Articles -
Perhaps no Eastern religion is considered more chic and intellectually sophisticated in America today than Zen Buddhism. Offering an autonomous path to mystical enlightenment that does not demand acceptance of Eastern mythology and culture, Zen is well suited for the ''post-modern'' American. Yet, J. Isamu Yamamoto maintains, Zen is actually an anti-intellectual approach to truth that denies fundamental human needs

Secular ZenOff-site Link (Neutral) Entry in Encyclopedia Britannica
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- Sites -
Non-Christian International Research Center for Zen BuddhismOff-site Link Japanese academic research institution at Hanazono University, devoted to the study of Zen Buddhism.
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