美國前衛作曲家約翰凱吉（John Cage, 1912-1992）以其「反藝術」的創作，不僅深深地擾動了音樂界，更擴散到其他藝術領域，催生後現代的多元性 狀態。而這一切的發生，與二十世紀的「禪」熱潮有密不可分的關係。本文以凱吉習禪的大時代與個人背景談起，陳述東學西傳中的某些偏差現象；繼之從「寂靜」、「空」、「公案」、「緣起性空」等概念，參考各家說法，批評凱吉作品中或接近或偏離「禪意」的作法。整體而言，具備強烈宗教人格的凱吉在中壯年時，傾向以音樂模擬、闡釋他認可的禪佛概念，卻因為種種原因產生落差與偏離，導致音樂界與宗教界對他的作法皆頗具微辭。但他晚年的創作如《龍安寺》、「數字作品」系列等，在一種自由與控制之間的張力中，其簡潔之氣直接呼應了東方禪宗美學裡枯高、幽玄、靜寂等性格，印證凱吉在多年努力之後有了靈悟趨向，為東西文化交流留下具重大影響力並值得深思的成果。
An American avant-garde composer, John Cage (1912-1992) created some anti-art works which not only deeply disturbed the musical world but also influenced other artistic fields, and helped birth postmodern pluralism. All of these phenomena were closely related to the “Zen Boom” in the 20th century. This article starts with the exploration of the era and personal backgrounds in which Cage practiced Zen, and states some of the inevitable deviations that arose as Eastern thought moved West. The author then offers critiques on Cage's music compositions which are more or less akin to the Zen spirit, according to authentic explanations of such Buddhist terms as “silence,” “emptiness,” “koan,” and “dependent origination and emptiness of nature.” On the whole, Cage, who had a strongly religious personality, tended to use music to simulate the concept of Zen he approved of in his middle-age. For various reasons, however, there were some contested interpretations that caused ill feeling towards Cage from those in musical and religious circles. Nonetheless, Cage’s late-period works, such as Ryoanji, the “Number Pieces” and so forth, in the tension between freedom and control, and with the quality of simplicity, directly echo the character of austere sublimity, profound subtlety and tranquility found in Oriental Zen aesthetics. This proves that after years of hard work, Cage finally approached a state of enlightenment, and left an influential legacy through East-West cultural interactions.