Zen - Zen in The Western World

Zen in The Western World

See also: Buddhism in the West and Zen in the USA

Although it is difficult to trace when the West first became aware of Zen as a distinct form of Buddhism, the visit of Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen monk, to Chicago during the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is often pointed to as an event that enhanced its profile in the Western world. It was during the late 1950s and the early 1960s that the number of Westerners, other than the descendants of Asian immigrants, pursuing a serious interest in Zen began to reach a significant level. Especially Japanese Zen has gained popularity in the West. The various books on Zen by Reginald Horace Blyth, and Alan Watts published between 1950 and 1975, contributed to this growing interest in Zen in the West, as did the interest from beat poets such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.

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