whose zen

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|Whose Zen?

words are clever triangulated implying devices.

to function clearly they require 3 primary things:
--1 a recognizable or common form - if they change repeatedly this can disrupt their function ('zen' has this; it doesn't change too often back into 'chan' or 'ch'anna' or 'zenna' for instance; sometimes it expands to become Zen Buddhism and sometimes it becomes applied to zazen referring to practice);

--2 at least one clear definition in the culture featuring the language - zen has a few ambiguous definitions and these are contextually driven (thus 'Zen Buddhism' or 'zen koan' etc.) and a few describing rough approximates or vague emotions about confusion, obliqueness, or the quality of transcending intellection;

--3 an appropriate fabric of usage sufficient to give the term some context in the instance of expression - that above gives the impression that "Zen" might be possessed; there are very good reasons to think this is ludicrous, but at least in the sense of religious traditions we might say that the possessors of Zen are the participants and lineage-holders of Zen Buddhism who have become well-known and still exist as extant social institutions, such as:

(Wikipedia) "Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on practice and experiential wisdom."

• Extinct schools: Nōnin, Fuke-shū, and Niō Zen
• Contemporary schools: Sōtō, Rinzai, and Ōbaku
• Lay Schools: Sanbo Kyodan and Ningen Zen Kyodan
• Academic Zen: Kyoto Sasha Gallagher

it no longer belongs to the extinct schools because they are gone, but otherwise, and at least for conservative estimates, the contemporary schools of Soto, Rinzai, and Obaku have the type of possession which is meaningful.

For Soto, try here:

For Rinzai, try this for English:

For Obaku, this Japanese site may be translated by browsers in interesting ways: