The true meaning of Zen

Feet up on the couch, a cup of herbal tea, relaxing music… becoming “Zen”. Taking a moment to unwind, going to the spa, doing a yoga class: that is what most people associate with the word “Zen”. But these activities have very little to do with authentic Zen Buddhism. Zen is a school of the Japanese Buddhist movement that originated in China. The central idea of Buddhism is to achieve enlightenment. What is enlightenment exactly? It is defined as a spiritual state in which everything is understood and there is no more suffering or desire. Achieving enlightenment differs greatly among the various Buddhist sects.

Zen: a pragmatic approach and meditation

In Zen Buddhism, for example, the emphasis is mainly on meditation practice called Dhyana. In fact, the word Zen is a Japanese rendering (禅) of the Chinese word Chán, meaning concentration. Through meditation, insight can be gained into one’s own true nature, opening the way to simplicity, freedom from unnecessary complications in life and enlightenment. A practical, down-to-earth way of thinking is characteristic of Zen. Things are simply as they are. There is no need to look for deeper explanations. If you ask a Zen monk what he sees in the clouds, the answer will probably be: “I see

clouds and the sky”. Simplicity is the key word to describe Zen practices.

The Haiku and other Zen influences in Japanese culture

Zen Buddhism has been very influential on many traditions and art forms in Japan. Take Japanese poetry for example: the typical, very short Japanese poems – haiku, tanka and renga – are collections of Zen characteristics. Their message is simple and beautiful and is ideal for contemplative thought or meditation.

‘Dawn –

fish the cormorants haven’t caught

swimming in the shallows.’ – Yosa Buson, 1716 – 1784

Zen and the art of tea drinking

The tea ceremony is another Japanese tradition that has taken shape thanks to Zen. Essential to the tea ceremony is not the tea itself, but the entire ritual associated with it. Experiencing such a tea ceremony is like a form of meditation: you sit for hours in the same pose and concentrate on the


Flower-arranging and simple tasks to achieve Zen

The same applies to Japanese flower arranging. Both making a flower arrangement and looking at it presuppose a meditative concentration on the essence of nature in the different seasons. For us in everyday life, doing a simple task like gardening, cleaning the windows, or even ironing, can help you achieve that peace of mind that comes with Zen.

Minamoto glasses: inspired by Zen

In the Minamoto eyewear collection, we capture the values of Zen. Minamoto frees itself from the superfluous, to return to the essence of eyewear: authenticity, comfort, high quality, finesse, unsurpassed attention to detail and beauty are the true values. The focus of the design is on simplicity and minimalism and because the frames are made of super light titanium, they feel absolutely comfortable and relaxed.

We think you’ll agree, we achieved Zen.