Just the facts on religion.

History of Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism began in China (where it is called Ch'an) in the 6th century CE. Its introduction to China is generally attributed to Bodhidharma, a South Indian monk who arrived in China in about 520 CE.

As Ch'an Buddhism developed in China, it was also influenced by Taoist concepts. This is especially apparent in its emphasis on spontaneity and naturalness in all things, which significantly influenced Chinese painting, writing, and other arts.

Zen Buddhism arrived in Japan as early as the 7th century, but did not develop significantly there until the 12th century. Zen has since been an important force in Japan. It has had considerable influence on Japanese culture, "reaching far beyond the temple and entering into cultural and social areas of all kinds, including gardening, ink painting, calligraphy, the tea ceremony, and even military strategies. " {2}

Zen priests played an important role in the political unrest of 16th century Japan, both serving as diplomats and administrators and preserving Japanese cultural life.