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The Zen Temple is a native Asian religious settlement featured in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties. Like all natives, they can be allied with by building a Trading Post at their Trading Post site.


  • Sohei aoe3de Sohei Naginata: Japanese warrior Monk armed with a naginata. Good against cavalry and buildings.


Age Technology Cost Effect
Age I tech tree aoe3
Meditation Meditation 350 wood
350 coin
Gives 1,000 XP
Master Lessons Master Lessons 150 food
150 coin
Hand infantry get +10% attack damage
Merritocracy Meritocracy 300 food
300 coin
Unit upgrades cost -20%


Meditation provides 1,000 XP, which is especially useful in the early game to get shipments quickly.

Master Lessons gives hand infantry +10% attack. It buffs some non-infantry units, such as hand shock infantry and pets.

Meritocracy makes unit upgrades cost -20%. This is especially useful for civilizations with strong single units or a great variety of units. European civilizations benefit more due to their Royal Guard unit upgrades. It is notable for paying for itself in only 1 Imperial Age unit upgrade. It is reached very quickly (10 seconds), so can be researched last minute.

The Sohei Naginata is a fast-moving (5.25 speed) pikeman. It counters cavalry, shock infantry, and buildings. It is more specialized in those roles than a Halberdier, but less so than a Pikeman. It is relatively good at raiding, due to its relatively high speed. Its high speed incentivizes healing it, as it can escape from enemy units to be healed. It has a very high train limit of 16.

Overall, the Zen Temple is strongest just before getting a lot of unit upgrades, especially Imperial Age ones, due to Master Lessons. It can also be used to rush shipments with Meritocracy. Its native warrior is a fast-moving pikeman.


  • Buddhism is the only religion which has multiple Holy Site settlements to represent different branches/regions of it.
  • All three technologies and the native warrior of the Zen Temple likely reference religion, even if not immediately apparent.


This Holy Site is identical to a Native Trade Site. Allying with Natives allows a player to train special Native units, usually warriors, and also grants access to a group of improvements to that tribe. Native units do not cost any population spaces, but can only be built in limited numbers.

Zen is a school of Buddhism that seeks a form of enlightenment achieved by the Buddha, a title that began with the very first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who abandoned his life of luxury to pursue an ascetic life. The goal of Zen is to eventually reach enlightenment through the Four Noble Truths: existence is suffering; desire is its cause; the cessation of suffering is possible; and the way to accomplish this is to follow the Eightfold Path.

In the year 520 AD, a legendary Indian monk named Bodhidharma brought the teachings of Zen, then called Chan, to the Chinese. Chan Buddhists worked to see the world just as it is, with a mind free of thoughts or feelings. This perception was called "no-mind, or "wu-shin" in Chinese. Chan split into two separate schools, the Southern school, which believed in sudden enlightenment, and the Northern school, which believed in a more gradual process. Only the Northern school survived through the 8th century. By the 12th century, Zen had flourished in Japan, and by the 20th century it had gained adherents in the West.

Today, Zen Buddhism is practiced by millions of people around the world. The tenets remain the same, that the potential to reach enlightenment lies in every human being, but is blocked by ignorance. Only intense study, meditation, doing good deeds, conducting rites, and the worship of images will enable the breakthrough required to shed limited perceptions and achieve a spiritual awakening.


Civilizations in Age of Empires III
AfricanFlag Ethiopian aoe3de Ethiopians · Flag Hausa Hausa
AmericanFederal American: Flag MexicanDE Mexicans · Flag American act3 aoe3de United States
Native American: Flag AztecDE Aztecs · Flag IroquoisDE Haudenosaunee (formerly Iroquois) · Flag IncanDE Inca · Flag SiouxDE Lakota (formerly Sioux)
AsianFlag ChineseDE Chinese · Flag IndianDE Indians · Flag JapaneseDE Japanese
EuropeanFlag BritishDE British · Flag DutchDE Dutch · Flag FrenchDE French · Flag GermanDE Germans · Flag ItalianDE Italians · Flag MalteseDE Maltese · Flag OttomanDE Ottomans · Flag PortugueseDE Portuguese · Flag RussianDE Russians · Flag SpanishDE Spanish · Flag SwedishDE Swedes · Polish · Danes
AfricanAkan Settlement Icon Akan · Berber Settlement Portrait Berbers · Somali Settlement Portrait Somalis · Sudanese settlement portrait Sudanese · Yoruba settlement portait Yoruba
AsianBhakti aoe3de Bhakti Temple · Jesuit aoe3de Jesuit Mission · Native shaolin site icon portrait Shaolin Temple · Sufi aoe3de Sufi Mosque · AOE3DE Tengri Tengri Shrine · Udasi aoe3de Udasi Temple · Zen aoe3de Zen Temple
EuropeanBourbon icon portrait-1 House of Bourbon · Habsburg icon portrait-1 House of Habsburg · Hanover icon portrait-1 House of Hanover · Jagiellon icon portrait-1 House of Jagiellon · Oldenburg icon portrait-1 House of Oldenburg · Phanar icon portrait-1 House of Phanar · Vasa icon portrait-1 House of Vasa · Wettin icon portrait-1 House of Wettin · Wittelsbach icon portrait-1 House of Wittelsbach
Native AmericanApache aoe3de Apache · Aztec native icon aoe3de Aztecs · Carib aoe3de Carib · Cherokee aoe3de Cherokee · Cheyenne aoe3de pre update Cheyenne · Comanche icon aoe3de Comanche · Cree aoe3de Cree · Iroquois aoe3de Haudenosaunee · Huron aoe3de Huron · Klamath settlement portrait Klamath · Sioux aoe3de Lakota · Lenape warrior portrait Lenape · Mapuche icon aoe3de Mapuche · Maya aoe3de Maya · Navajo aoe3de Navajo · Nootka aoe3de Nootka · Inca native icon aoe3de Quechua (formerly Incas) · Seminole aoe3de Seminole · Tupi aoe3de Tupi · Zapotec icon aoe3de Zapotec
CampaignUnited States flag revolt DE Black Family Estate · EIC Flag AoE3DE British · Circle of ossus Circle of Ossus · Flag John Black's Mercenaries DE John Black's Mercenaries · Flag Maltese Cross Knights of St. John · Flag American act3 aoe3de United States
Historical BattlesBarbary States flag revolt Barbary Pirates · Flag CanadianDE Canadians · Flag Ethiopian aoe3de Ethiopians · Flag Moroccan Moroccans · Flag Somali aoe3de Somalians · Flag Tatars aoe3de Tatars · Flag American act3 aoe3de United States