Zen is a meditative form of Buddhism which seeks enlightenment primarily through meditation while sitting and the study of koan, short, irrational statements which were contemplated until the bounds of rationality were broken and enlightenment suddenly struck. Koan are typified by the famous question, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping’? Originally developed in China, Zen has been an important influence on Japanese culture. Its influence is especially strong in gardening, bonsai (cultivating stunted plants in small pots), painting, tea ceremony, calligraphy (writing) and the martial arts. It was particularly favored in the Edo period by the samurai class who appreciated the strict mental discipline of Zen.