Zen is not a religion, or an ideology, a theology, a dogma, or a belief-system. Zen is not a philosophy. Zen simply means waking up, attaining my True Self, and helping all beings be free of suffering.
Zen comes from the enlightenment-teachings of Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha. The Buddha (“the one who woke up”) was neither a god nor a messiah nor a guru. He was a human being of great sensitivity who, troubled in his youth with the prevalence of suffering which he experienced in human life, attained his true nature by sitting in meditation. We also practice meditation in order to realize the same true nature realized by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. Zen does not involve the worship or supplication of any deity or “higher power.” It means simply returning to our True Self, right here.