The term zazen refers to seated meditation. It is a meditation exercise designed to provide insight into your inner nature.
Buddha, who lived in India 2,500 years ago and developed the religion and philosophy of Buddhism, is the source of zazen. These teachings were first conveyed to Chinese Buddhist schools and eventually to Japan.
The purpose of the practice is to release all judgments and objectives. The meditator is aware of all arising and passing sensations and ideas. Meditation is the discipline of recognizing the impermanence of all things and seeing things as they truly are. This is made possible by focussing on the current moment.
Meditation can have enormous effects on your life and on yourself, and it allows you to increase mental concentration.
How to Position Oneself
Where to Sit
To practice Zazen, you must sit erect and be alert. This posture aids in maintaining a focus on the body and the current moment. If at all feasible, face a wall. You should maintain a balance between being grounded and open. The half lotus and full lotus positions are great for zazen.
If you cannot sit in this position, you can try another one.
- One ankle should be in front of the other in the Burmese position.
- Utilize a meditation cushion while you lean back on your heels.
- Put your feet on the ground while seated on a chair or stool.
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How to Use Your Hands
Form your chosen mudra with your hands. Try the following:
- Place the back of your palms on your thighs if you are in the lotus pose.
- Place the right hand on top of the left hand with the palms facing up and the fingers arranged so that they point outward.
- Place your small fingers against your lower abdomen and softly squeeze the tips of your thumbs together above your palms.
Focusing your attention on your hands might help you maintain concentration and vigilance.
How to Maintain Good Posture
Engage your shoulder blades without contracting your shoulders. To accomplish this, maintain a straight head position and a modest chin tuck toward the chest. Your spine should be aligned with a slight incline in the lower back. Your bottom body will feel weighted and grounded, while your upper body will feel light.
Position the tip of your tongue near the front of your mouth's roof. Put your teeth together and close your lips. Do not entirely close or completely open your eyes. Maintain a soft glance in front of you.
How to Use Your Breath
Your breath is directly affected by your ideas. Keeping your attention on each breath as it rises and falls might assist you in remaining in the present.
- Feel the breath as opposed to observing or following it.
- When your mind wanders, regain focus by bringing your attention back to each breath.
- Breathe normally so that your breath remains natural.
- Keep your stomach calm and soft.
How to Maintain Mental Focus
Your thoughts are likely to be erratic, moving and leaping all over the place. Utilize your body's stillness and the rhythm of your breath to stabilize your mind.
- Always be kind to oneself when attempting to calm or stabilize the mind.
- Any force you apply will be met with mental resistance.
- Permit oneself to take on an observer role. Relax and allow your ideas to run their course.
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Your formal practice is your seated meditation, and your informal practice consists of applying what you've learned from it to all aspects of your life. Utilize the same awareness you develop during seated meditation throughout the day.
There is no predetermined schedule for how much time you must devote to practice. You must establish your own practice and determine how much time you can commit.
For example, begin with 10 to 30 minutes each day that is attainable. On days when you have additional time, you can increase the duration of your meditation. As your practice develops, you may find it necessary to commit extended periods of time to meditation.
Seek out a qualified instructor who can take you through the procedures. You may find it advantageous to meditate in a group, at least occasionally. Now that you understand how to concentrate your mind and arrange your body, let's examine the five most popular styles of Zazen meditation.
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Type 1: Bompu Zen
Bompu means "ordinary" This meditation is appropriate for everyone. There is no philosophical or theological content in Bompu Zen. It is believed that Bompu Zen practice helps promote physical and mental health by inducing feelings of contentment and well-being.
There are no adverse consequences. Bompu Zen teaches concentration, mental control, and mental tranquility. You can learn to control your thoughts, avoid temptations, and free yourself from attachments.
Bompu Zen encourages the development of the mind, emotions, and volition. It helps develop your individuality and character strength. It provides you with the fortitude to confront any obstacle in your life with ease.
The following practices qualify as Bompu Zen:
- martial arts
- longevity methods in Taoism
- Noh playhouse
- the majority of modern Western forms of meditation
Type 2: Gedo Zen
Gedo means "outside method" in Japanese and refers to teachings outside the Buddhist tradition. It also refers to experiences that are not typical in one's life. Gedo Zen has ties to both religion and philosophy. Gedo Zen refers to Hindu yoga, Confucian sitting techniques, and Christian contemplation practices rather than Buddhism.
It does not adopt Zen Buddhism formally, but it incorporates elements of it. Gedo Zen is widely practiced in order to acquire extraordinary abilities or capabilities. The goal is to achieve an altered state of consciousness or to do physical feats that are above your normal capabilities.
Type 3: Shojo Zen
Shojo means little vehicle in Japanese. It emphasizes the teaching of transitioning from delusion to enlightenment. It is a small vehicle because it is designed specifically for you. You are solely responsible for your own happiness and well-being. This form of meditation enables you to investigate the origins of your suffering and confusion. It is the examination of the surrounding environment through firsthand experience.
Shojo Zen is Buddhist, but differs from the greatest teaching of the Buddha. You learn via awareness that you are part of a whole and not distinct from anything else. Shojo Zen is for those who believe in the duality of reality and view themselves as distinct from the total. Shojo Zen holds that some mental states are superior to others, and practitioners should aim for serenity.
Type 4: Daijo Zen
Daijo Zen is widely recognized as the greatest practice. It is a Buddhist Zen that enables you to perceive your true essence in every instant. It is the type of Zen that Buddha taught.
Daijo Zen teaches you that you are inseparable from all other beings. You realize that your actions have a reciprocal effect on others. This comprehension permits deeper connection and compassion. Daijo Zen instructs you to liberate yourself from the illusions of the world in order to encounter a unified, absolute reality.
You learn to eliminate restrictions and constraints. It focuses on the nature of the self and is an enlightenment-based religion. It teaches you how to recognize and manifest your true essence. The more you practice this technique, the more you will desire and feel compelled to perform it.
Type 5: Saijojo Zen
The highest vehicle of Buddhist Zen is Saijojo Zen. It is considered the finest exercise because there is no attempt to realize or attain anything.
The correct practice of Saijojo restores you to the essence of your flawless genuine nature. You stop from desiring, pursuing, or attempting to obtain something. You have trust that you will achieve enlightenment via diligent practice. The emphasis is on practicing the practice.
Your sat practice evolves into a simple state of sitting and being. This technique truly awakens you to your genuine, pure nature.
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Starting Your Zazen Journey
Because your needs and focus may shift over time, the variety of options in zazen meditation might be advantageous. Start with the type that now appeals to you the most. You can experiment with many varieties to determine which types fit you best.
Make a commitment to the practice and keep in mind that Zazen will not allow you to escape reality. Its emphasis is on the present, and it will help you become more balanced and concentrated.
The more you practice, the simpler it will be to be mindful of the present moment. Keep in mind that the purpose is to be aware of what is occurring, not to evaluate it as good or negative.
As Zen meditation is a discipline that can be learnt, it will become easier over time. If possible, get a certified instructor who can lead your practice.Related Link: Kava for Anxiety Guide: Benefits & Dosage