Allan Watts · Zen and Chan History · Zen in the West

Zen in the Western World

An discussion of early Zen development in the west (specifically, from the time of the beatniks onwards) and some differences between how Zen was lived originally, how it was lived in Japan, and how the Western world has begun building its concepts into Western society (often without properly understanding its roots).

Because Zen was so foreign to the West, it was “added on” to the western way of thinking, instead of understanding where it came from and what it meant originally.

Zen was used as an underpinning to the Beatnik group, and then the hippie culture, to “do as they pleased” and “live for the moment”, and this was not at all how Zen had been practiced before hitting the western worlds shores.

Allan Watts speaks to the excuses for this loose usage, and the developing escapist ways, adding information (which was not much available in those days anywhere in English or the West) to bring a more balanced understanding of the actual roots of Zen.

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