Comunidad Budista Sotozen

Zen and Western Thought

Many contemporary Western thinkers have been sensitive to the teaching of Zen showing their interest for it. For example, psychoanalysts such as C. G. Jung, Erich Fromm and Karen Horney. Eminent philosophers such as Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Martin Baber and Simone Weil, the great anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, the mystic catholic Thomas Merton, as well as many writers of different moods such as Dr. Paul Chauchard and the German Eugen Herrigel, the Americans Henri Miller and Alan Watts, the British R. H. Blyth and Christmas Humphrey, also other artists such as Braque, Picasso or the French choreographer Maurice Bejart.

We can also find echoes of the Zen spirit, of its attitude in life, in the works by Goethe, William Blake and Emerson, as well as in the great christian mistics such as Master Eckart, Tauler and Suso in the 15th century, and Jacob Boehme in the 17th century.

All of them sensed this supreme wisdom that is beyond philosophy, but its essence cannot be reached by our thought. This wisdom is not intellectual speculation but driving force, art of living and the way we are. We can only reach it through the practice of meditation.