According to many famous practitioners and writers of Zen, Zen is not strictly a philosophy in the sense of the word.

There is something extra-logical about the nature of Zen thinking.

However, Ludwig Wittgenstein's ladder suggests you need to use senseless propositions to finally arrive at the conclusion of the senseless-ness of your original propositions.

Which gave me the idea that, even though Zen is strictly not a philosophy, you can use philosophy and logical thinking to jolt yourself into realizing the limits of logical thinking and come closer to Zen thinking.

Should questions on Zen thinking be allowed in philosophy.stackexchange?


As with any religious or spiritual practice (or really any topic for that matter), whether a question is on-topic for this site simply depends on what aspect of it you are referring to. There are philosophical notions in many religions/practices, which is why the philosophy of religion is applicable here. For example, a good question pertaining to Zen might be: "The Rinzai tradition emphasizes kensho, insight into one's true nature. However, Western philosophers have long held that introspection is an unreliable source of knowledge for x y z reasons. Does the Rinzai tradition avoid these issues, and if so, how?"

At the same time, there are of course purely historical or semantic questions which are not about philosophy proper so much as some particular historical reason why something is the case. For example: "What does the word "Zen" [禪] mean?" "Where did Zen originate?"

Just try to be mindful of this subtle distinction, that's all. If you are unsure/borderline, post it and we'll help work it to where it needs to be. :)

  • +1 for the last para! – Sniper Clown Dec 20 '12 at 6:24

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