A branch of Mahayana originating in China that originally emphasizes non-dualism and intuition. Modern monastic forms have a strong emphasis on zazen (Korean) or on zazen combined with militaristic top-down hazing (Japanese).
Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China during the Tang dynasty as Chán. From China, Chán spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan, where it became known as Japanese Zen.
Zen emphasizes rigorous meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it deemphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.
The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Huayan, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal. The Prajñāpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential in the shaping of the "paradoxical language" of the Zen-tradition.