What is Zazen Meditation?
What Is Zazen Meditation?
The core of Zen meditation practice is seated meditation, widely known by its Japanese name zazen, and recalls both the posture in which the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, and the elements of mindfulness and concentration which are part of the Eightfold Path as taught by the Buddha.
Zazen meditation is different from other forms of meditation. In Zazen Buddhism, zazen meditation (literally “seated meditation”) is a meditative discipline practitioners perform to calm the body and the mind and experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment (satori).
The posture of zazen meditation is seated, with folded legs and hands, and an erect but settled spine. Long periods of zazen meditation, usually performed in groups at a zendo (meditation hall), may alternate with periods of kinhin (walking meditation).
The beginning of a zazen meditation period is traditionally announced by ringing a bell three times (shijosho), and the end of a round by ringing the bell once (hozensho). In Japan, seated zazen meditation is traditionally performed on a mat called a zabuton while sitting on a cushion called a zafu.
Basically, zazen meditation is the study of the self.
Benefits of Zazen Meditation
Zazen meditation offers spiritual benefits and also relieves stress and improves concentration and posture. Some argue that Zazen meditation is not even meditation, by our Western standards, so deep is its lack of attachment
Tips for practicing Zazen Meditation
- The first thing to pay attention to is the position of the body in zazen. Throughout the years of the evolution of Buddhism, the most effective positioning of the body for the practice of zazen has been the pyramid structure of the seated Buddha.
- In zazen meditation, it is important to loosen up anything that is tight around the waist and to wear clothing that is non-binding. As you develop your zazen, you’ll become more aware of the hara as the center of your attentiveness.
- While doing zazen meditation, focus your attention on your mind and breathe slowly progressively. In deep zazen, deep samadhi, a person breathes at a rate of only two or three breaths a minute. Respiration, heart rate, circulation, and metabolism slow down in deep zazen.
Whether you are new to meditation or an experienced meditator, guided meditations are an extremely popular meditation technique, easy to follow, and incredibly beneficial. This is why I created The Big List of Free Guided Meditations which I update regularly and welcome comments and suggestions on. Remember to sign up for the My Meditation Garden Newsletter to receive reviews of new guided meditations each month!
Do you practice Zazen Meditation? How does it differ from other meditation techniques?
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