Zen and the West
From the standpoint of knowledge, certain scholars, including Professor Daisetz Suzuuki, have contributed a great deal toward arousing the interest of Westerners in Zen Buddhism. Zen has influenced the thinking of theologians like Paul Tillich, and philosophers like Erich Fromm and Carl Jung. But Zen does not yet exist in the West as a living tradition. Many monks are teaching the practice of Zen there, but this practice still remains Oriental: foreign to Western culture. The fact is that Zen has not yet been able to find roots in this soil. Culture, economic, and psychological conditions are different in the West. One cannot become a practitioner of Zen by imitating the way of eating, sitting, or dressing of the Chinese and Japanese practitioners. Zen is life: life does not imitate. If Zen one day becomes a reality in the West, it will acquire a Western form, considerably different from Oriental Zen.
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