Zen: Existentialism & Eastern Thought


Zen may be thought of as ‘existential’ in outlook insofar as it shares, with ‘existentialist’ thinkers, a deep concern with understanding, and acting upon, the value and meaning of individual, everyday existence as lived. The deep sense in Zen that ‘enlightenment’ is nowhere other than here and now at one’s living, and its refusal (following Buddhist ‘madhyamaka’ metaphysics) of a foundational reality ‘underneath’ appearances (apperceptions) invites liaison with the thinking of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.