The World of Zen

From its beginnings in ancient India to its efflorescence in medieval Japan and its latest Western incarnation as “mindfulness meditation,” Zen Buddhism has had a profound and wide-ranging impact on human culture and spirituality. This series examines Zen’s global journey, the meaning of satori (enlightenment), and the rise of meditation as an aid to psychological well-being in our age of chaos, confusion, and information overload.

Zen and Politics: The Counsel of Yamamoto GenpōDemachi Yuzuru

Located in Tokyo’s Yanaka district, Zenshōan is a Zen temple that has often been a sanctuary of reflection and meditation for some of Japan’s most influential figures, including several prime ministers. The temple’s role as a place of contemplation for the powerful can be traced to the enlightened samurai Yamaoka Tesshū and the Zen priest Yamamoto Genpō. The first installment of this two-part series looks at Genpō’s role as an adviser to several important political leaders during the wartime and postwar periods.
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The Language of Zen: Words for a World of ChangeMokutan Angelo

Familiar people and places surround us, but we should recognize that each encounter is different. The first of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips tackles the phrase 一期一会 (ichigo ichie).
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The Roots of Mindfulness: Hakuin Ekaku and the Art of Zen

Zen Buddhism has had a profound impact on Japanese society and culture. Today the influence of Zen “mindfulness” is felt throughout the world. In this article we look at the human side of the great Zen masters of the past and the ways in which Zen continues to be relevant to people in contemporary society.
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Steve Jobs and the Rediscovery of Zen

Coming of age at a time when the counterculture was embracing Eastern mysticism, Steve Jobs ended up as a lifelong practitioner of Zen meditation. Through the lens of Jobs’s amazing life, career, and posthumous impact, we examine the evolution of Zen-style meditation from a spiritual pursuit into a practical health-maintenance tool.
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