Etymologically, the word ‘zen’ emerges from the Sanskrti ‘dhyana’ which means meditative practice or deep mental concentration. When Buddhism was taken to China, dhyana was translated as ‘chan’ and then ‘zen’ in Japan, ‘thien’ in Vietnam and ‘seon’ in Korean. The term Zen is a general one used to describe a variety of traditions who utilize different tools to silence and then awaken the mind to the true self.
Some scholars believe that Zen is a blending of Taoism with Buddhism where the more complex meditative practices of Buddhism encounter the simple, direct approach of the Chinese Tao. This combination produced a new branch of Buddhism known as Zen.