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in the USA

D. T. Suzuki Hakuun Yasutani Taizan Maezumi Shunryū Suzuki Seungsahn

Category: Zen
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Zazen
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/ Shikantaza Kōan
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practice

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v t e

In Zen
Zen
Buddhism, zazen (literally "seated meditation"; Japanese: 座禅; simplified Chinese: 坐禅; traditional Chinese: 坐禪; pinyin: zuò chán; Wade–Giles: tso4-ch'an2, pronounced [tswô ʈʂʰǎn]) is a meditative discipline that is typically the primary practice.[1][2] The precise meaning and method of zazen varies from school to school, but in general it can be regarded as a means of insight into the nature of existence. In the Japanese Rinzai school, zazen is usually associated with the study of koans. The Sōtō
Sōtō
School of Japan, on the other hand, only rarely incorporates koans into zazen, preferring an approach where the mind has no object at all, known as shikantaza.[3]

Zazen
Zazen
in Rinzai
Rinzai
school

Kōshō Uchiyama writes that Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, in which the "back, waist, legs, arms, and even fingers" are curled up, is the opposite of zazen posture.[4]

Contents

1 Significance 2 Methods

2.1 Sitting 2.2 Posture 2.3 Types 2.4 Instruction

2.4.1 Concentration 2.4.2 Koan
Koan
introspection 2.4.3 Shikantaza

3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Significance[edit] Zazen
Zazen
is considered the heart of Japanese Soto Zen
Zen
Buddhist practice.[1] The aim of zazen is just sitting, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.[3][5] Methods[edit] Sitting[edit] In Zen
Zen
temples and monasteries, practitioners traditionally sit zazen as a group in a meditation hall, usually referred to as the zendo. The practitioner sits on a cushion called a zafu,[2] which itself is usually placed on top of a low, flat mat called a zabuton.[2] Before taking one's seat, and after rising at the end of the period of zazen, a Zen
Zen
practitioner performs a gassho bow to their seat, and a second bow to fellow practitioners.[6] The beginning of a period of zazen is traditionally announced by ringing a bell three times (shijosho), and the end of a round by ringing the bell either once or twice (hozensho). Long periods of zazen may alternate with periods of kinhin (walking meditation).[7][8] Posture[edit] The posture of zazen is seated, with folded legs and hands, and an erect but settled spine.[9] The hands are folded together into a simple mudra over the belly.[9] In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the hara (the center of gravity in the belly) and the eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli. The legs are folded in one of the standard sitting styles:[2]

Kekkafuza (full-lotus) Hankafuza (half-lotus) Burmese (a cross-legged posture in which the ankles are placed together in front of the sitter) Seiza
Seiza
(a kneeling posture using a bench or zafu)

In addition, it is not uncommon for modern practitioners to practice zazen in a chair,[2] often with a wedge or cushion on top of it so that one is sitting on an incline, or by placing a wedge behind the lower back to help maintain the natural curve of the spine. One can sit comfortably, but not too comfortably, so as to avoid falling asleep. While each of these styles is commonly taught today, Master Dogen
Dogen
recommended only Kekkafuza and Hankafuza. Types[edit] In his book Three Pillars of Zen, Philip Kapleau
Philip Kapleau
says that practitioners in the Rinzai school
Rinzai school
face in, towards each other with their backs to the wall, and in the Soto school, practitioners face the wall or a curtain.[10] Kapleau quotes Hakuun Yasutani's lectures for beginners. In lecture four, Yasutani describes the five kinds of zazen: bompu, gedo, shojo, daijo, and saijojo (he adds the latter is the same thing as shikantaza).[11] Instruction[edit] Very generally speaking, zazen practice is taught in one of three ways.

Concentration Koan
Koan
Introspection Shikantaza (just sitting)

Koan
Koan
practice is usually associated with the Rinzai school
Rinzai school
and Shikantaza with the Sōtō
Sōtō
school. In reality many Zen
Zen
communities use both methods depending on the teacher and students. Concentration[edit] The initial stages of training in zazen resemble traditional Buddhist samatha meditation in actual practice, and emphasize the development of the power of concentration, or joriki[12] (定力) (Sanskrit samādhibala). The student begins by focusing on the breath at the hara/tanden[13] with mindfulness of breath (ānāpānasmṛti) exercises such as counting breath (sūsokukan 数息観) or just watching it (zuisokukan 随息観). Mantras are also sometimes used in place of counting. Practice is typically to be continued in one of these ways until there is adequate "one-pointedness" of mind to constitute an initial experience of samadhi. At this point, the practitioner moves to one of the other two methods of zazen. Koan
Koan
introspection[edit] Main article: Koan Having developed awareness, the practitioner can now focus his or her consciousness on a koan as an object of meditation. Since koans are, ostensibly, not solvable by intellectual reasoning, koan introspection is designed to shortcut the intellectual process leading to direct realization of a reality beyond thought. Shikantaza[edit] Main article: Shikantaza Shikantaza is a form of meditation, in which the practitioner does not use any specific object of meditation;[3] rather, practitioners remain as much as possible in the present moment, aware of and observing what passes through their minds and around them. Dogen
Dogen
says, in his Shobogenzo, " Sitting
Sitting
fixedly, think of not thinking. How do you think of not thinking? Nonthinking. This is the art of zazen."[14] See also[edit]

Walking meditation Ango Jing zuo Keisaku Sesshin Zuowang

References[edit]

^ a b Warner, Brad (2003). Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality. Wisdom Publications. p. 86. ISBN 086171380X.  ^ a b c d e " Zazen
Zazen
Instructions". Zen
Zen
Mountain Monastery. December 30, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2015.  ^ a b c Warner, Brad (2003). Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality. Wisdom Publications. pp. 189–190. ISBN 086171380X.  ^ Uchiyama, Kōshō (2004). Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen
Zen
Buddhist Practice. Wisdom Publications. pp. 45–46, 105. ISBN 0861713575.  ^ Suzuki, Shunryū (2011). Zen
Zen
Mind, Beginner's Mind. Shambhala Publications. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-159030849-3.  ^ Warner, Brad. "How To Sit Zazen". Dogen
Dogen
Sangha
Sangha
Los Angeles. Retrieved April 1, 2015.  ^ Heine (ed.), Steven; Wright (ed.), Dale S. (2007). Zen
Zen
Ritual : Studies of Zen
Zen
Buddhist Theory in Practice: Studies of Zen
Zen
Buddhist Theory in Practice. Oxford University Press. p. 223. ISBN 9780198041467. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Maezumi, Hakuyu Taizan; Glassman, Bernie (2002). On Zen
Zen
Practice: Body, Breath, Mind. Wisdom Publications. pp. 48–49. ISBN 086171315X.  ^ a b Suzuki, Shunryū (2011). Zen
Zen
Mind, Beginner's Mind. Shambhala Publications. p. 8. ISBN 978-159030849-3.  ^ Kapleau, Philip (1989). The Three pillars of Zen: teaching, practice, and enlightenment. New York: Anchor Books. p. 10(8). ISBN 0-385-26093-8.  ^ Kapleau, Philip (1989). The Three pillars of Zen: teaching, practice, and enlightenment. New York: Anchor Books. pp. 48–53. ISBN 0-385-26093-8.  ^ Carl Bielefeldt (16 August 1990). Dogen's Manuals of Zen
Zen
Meditation. University of California Press. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-0-520-90978-6.  ^ Eihei Dogen; Taigen Dan Leighton; Shōhaku Okumura; John Daido Loori (16 March 2010). Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku. Simon and Schuster. pp. 348–349. ISBN 978-0-86171-670-8.  ^ Dogen. "Principles of Zazen". Soto Zen
Zen
Text Project. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Austin, James H (1999). Zen
Zen
and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation
Meditation
and Consciousness. The MIT Press. ISBN 0262011646.  Buksbazen, John Daishin (2002). Zen
Zen
Meditation
Meditation
in Plain English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861713168.  Tanahashi, Kazuaki (2004). Beyond Thinking: A Guide to Zen
Zen
Meditation. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1590300246.  Harada, Sekkei (1998). The Essence of Zen: Dharma
Dharma
Talks Given in Europe and America. Kodansha. ISBN 4770021992.  Humphreys, Christmas (1991). Concentration and Meditation: A Manual of Mind Development. Element Books. ISBN 1852300086.  Loori, John Daido (2007). Finding the Still Point: A Beginner's Guide to Zen
Zen
Meditation. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1590304799.  Loori, John Daido; Leighton, Taigen Daniel (2004). The art of just sitting: Essential writings of the Zen
Zen
practice of shikantanza. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 086171394X. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zazen.

How to sit Zazen
Zazen
[1]

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