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Zen (Chinese: 禪; pinyin: Ch�n, Middle Chinese: dʑjen) is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty as Ch�n. It was strongly influenced by Taoism, and developed as a distinguished Chinese style of Buddhism. From China, Ch�n spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan, where it became known as Japanese Zen.
Zen emphasizes rigorous meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it deemphasizes 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, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal. The Praj�āpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential in the shaping of the "paradoxical language" of the Zen-tradition.
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