I’ve encountered zen philosophy during my game development career. I got interested in eastern philosophies and read books about Zen*. I spent quite a lot time in different philosophy forums and tried to find the essence of zen.
No, zen is not a fancy word for being enlightened nor does it contain any supreme truth. I think the following phrase contains very much the essence of zen:
“Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.”
That’s about it. Nothing fancy there: go with the flow. Zen is about being in here and now and accepting change. Zen philosophy will help you to understand that major source of stress is expecatations: if you concentrate on what should happen instead of what is happening, you’ll end up getting your stress level up.
*If you are interested in Zen, I’d recommend reading books like: Zen and Zen and the art of Archery. Other books – I think these were interesting, but not perhaps the best in the field – are Hardcore Zen and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.