Zazen meditation (Zen) is also known as sitting meditation which calms the human body and mind. It also allows the mind to discover insights into one’s personality and physical body.
Mediation can help you to create an interaction of your wholeness as a human being. The proper meditations are done through correct sitting positions, closing your mind through breathing and visual images.
During Zazen meditation, your breathing will be as slower than your heart rate. Zen Meditation is widely used around the world and in many cultures because of the consistent benefits it provides to anyone.
A Zen lifestyle Is An Attempt To Lead A Simpler Life
To do so effectively you will need to take on a set of habits that minimize, simplify and sort out the chaos of your everyday life.
By incorporating Zen habits into your everyday routine, you can learn to focus on what’s meaningful in life and give all your attention to that. At the same time, you will also hone in your skills to remove the unwanted and unimportant stuff from life.
The goal is to lead a simpler yet more purposeful and productive life. This book will help you get started with Zen fundamentals and how to implement these habits into your life
Here Are Just Some Of The Benefits of Zazen Meditation
- Boost self-esteem and confidence. If you properly learn the Zen Meditation, your self-trust will be boosted and it will give you a higher self-confidence. It will help you do whatever job tasks that are assigned to you at work.
- Better wisdom and a clear mind. It will relax your mind and enable your internal wisdom and help you clear your mind.
- Better relationships. As you progress and learn Zen Meditation, you will develop clarity of mind, this will help you to build good relationships in your family, friends and loved ones.
- Feel youthful. This meditation will help you feel happy and young again as the life around you takes on a whole new meaning.
- Openness to life. This will help you to become open to all aspects of life, whether you like certain aspects of your life or not, you can accept much more of your life with all of your heart.
- A healthier body and lifestyle. This meditation will allow you to do good things for yourself and help prevent bad habits, this can help reduce your addiction to alcohol or a desire for drugs.
- Good blood circulation and cleaner blood. As you go deeper into Zen meditation, your body will start to heal and can cleanse the blood itself.
- Stress reliever. The proper meditation can relieve all your stress if you will learn how to focus better through daily meditation.
- Better personality. You will find yourself being open to different lifestyles and you will be nicer to yourself and to others.
- Improved concentration. You can do your tasks even though there are distractions around you. This mindset can help you to accomplish your work quicker with better results.
- Heal depression. This meditation will lessen or eliminate depression in your life.
- Enhance your inner strength. It will boost your self-confidants and help you accept all the challenges that come into your life.
- Positive thinking. This will help you to have positive thoughts throughout all the things you do and to other people as well.
- New approach. You can now grab all the opportunities that come to you and you can create a new approach as to how you can make anything possible in your life.
- It can provide you better sleep. As you practice meditation, you can have better rest and sleep throughout the night.
- Improve your personality. Since this Zen meditation is focused on all aspects of life, whether physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects you and others will see improvement in your personality.
With the learning of Zazen Meditation and improved self-discipline, you can begin to solve all of your life challenges. So, if you are struggling with problems and difficulties in your personal life, you can go to a Zen meditation center or you can search the internet.
The Buddhist meditation practice is over 1,500 years old, but modern science says it has very real mental and physical health benefits.
“There’s an old saying: ‘If you’re busy, meditate for 30 minutes. If you’re REALLY busy, meditate for an hour’,” Tricarico says. “The moral there, I think, is that the busier we are, the more we can benefit from stillness and mindfulness. But it doesn’t have to take forever.”
Zazen Meditation Techniques
We all have to deal with stress from either work or school. You can’t close your eyes to make it go away but you can find peace to deal with it. One technique is called Zazen meditation.
Zen meditation techniques are often referred to as the study of the self. It involves sitting in various postures so you are able to bring the mind and body to a peaceful and stable condition. This happens as you focus on images and thoughts that just pop up as your heart rate slows down until you reach a reflective state of meditation.
One of the best seating positions to do this is called the Burmese position. There is also the full lotus, half-lotus, kneeling or Seiza posture and sitting on a chair.
The key here is to keep your back straight so that your deep breathing will go naturally. This allows more oxygen to enter that will help cleanse and energize the body.
The buttocks must be thrust out and the chin tucked in. The hands should be placed close to the body with the left hand resting on top of the right with palms open and up. The joint of the middle fingers are resting on top of the other with the thumbs slightly touching.
Your eyes should be half closed and your head should be positioned to a 45-degree angle towards the body. Given that it is not easy to keep the eyes like this the whole time, you can try closing them first and then opening them later on. Should you get sleepy, just open them wide.
The challenging part with these Zazen Meditation Techniques is staying in a stationary position for 15 to 20 minutes.
After you have developed a breathing pattern, you slowly relax the muscles from your face all the way down to your feet. As it slows down and oxygen enters, you should focus on positive thoughts and exhale those that are negative.
By concentrating, you are able to unite the body, mind, and soul so that your mind is aware of only the present and no longer the past or the unforeseeable future.
Aside from the right posture, you should always wear loose clothing. It is not wise to practice this after a heavy meal because a full stomach usually creates discomfort which in itself is a distraction.
ZAZEN PRACTICE – A GUIDELINE FOR BEGINNERS, you can read about it and download this Zazen Meditation Pdf HERE.
Once you get the hang of things, you can even buy a few accessories to make the experience a fruitful one like incense sticks, a bell or even a singing bowl to mark the start and end of a session.
Short incense sticks burn for about 45 minutes while the longer ones are double the time. You can even use the kitchen timer since no one will be there to ring the bell to say time is up.
Zen meditation experts recommend that beginners should try these Zazen Meditation Techniques for 10 minutes first. Until you get used to it extend this for 20 or 30 minutes. Should your mind wander off, concentrate a little harder to focus once again on your breathing so your thoughts will settle down naturally.
Background of Zazen Meditation:
This was the meditation technique of Lord Buddha – I should have to say no more in order to motivate you to try this meditation. It is one of the most widely used meditations in the world and is the heart of Zen Buddhist teachings. If one was to make a shortlist of the best meditation techniques, Zazen would most certainly make the top 10 list.
Zazen is considered the heart of Japanese Sōtō Zen Buddhist practice. 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.
The variety of choices in Zazen meditation can be beneficial because your needs and focus may change over time as you continue on your meditation journey. Start with the meditation method that appeals to you most at this time in your life. You can experiment with different meditation methods and types to discover what types are best for you.
Make a commitment to your meditation practice and remember that Zazen isn’t going to make you lose touch from reality. Its main focus is grounded in the present moment, the here and now, and it will help you feel much more balanced and centered. The more you practice Zazen meditation, the easier it will be for you to have awareness of the present moment throughout the day.
Remember that the meditation object is to be completely aware of what’s happening around you, and not to judge whether it is good or bad. Zazen meditation will get easier over time, as it’s a discipline that can be learned with a commitment to daily practice. If you can, seek out a qualified Zen teacher who can help guide your practice or join a local group in your town.
Tools required for Zazen Meditation Technique:
Zafu (traditional Zen Buddhist meditation cushion), Smile Cushion or other firm meditation cushion. I purchased mine from zafu.net. I also purchased a zabuton (meditation mat) from them, a zabuton though is optional.
Loose comfortable clothing that makes you feel good and will keep you warm.
An alarm clock, stopwatch, online meditation timer, or another timing device.
Cautions for Practicing Zazen Meditation:
There are very few cautions with regard to the Zazen meditation practice, but the one I would like to point out has to do with emotional storms.
There can be periods of time, either during a single sitting or spanning across several weeks, when emotions you may have suppressed rise up to the surface and force you to deal with them. During these turbulent times, don’t exacerbate the issue by chewing on the emotion-laden thoughts that come up.
Traumatizing yourself in this way has no value. Instead, sit with the emotions and related thoughts without resistance, then let them go and return your awareness to your breath.
This emotional cleansing is due to the visibility of the subconscious mind once the conscious mind is quieted by the meditation. In the short term, this can be a difficult time to go through, but in the long term its a necessary and healthy cleansing that will promote greater peace, depth, joy, and clarity in your life.
VIDEO – Beginners Introduction to Zazen
Learn the basics of Zen meditation in less than five minutes. Clear, step-by-step meditation instruction, as practiced at the Hazy Moon Zen Center of Los Angeles.
This video teaches you how to meditate as taught in the tradition of Zen Buddhism. These meditation techniques, known as Zazen, have been passed down generation after generation from the Shakyamuni Buddha.
1) Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
If using a zafu or similar meditation cushion, sit on the forward third of the cushion. The objective is for your hips to be raised above your knees and to form a three-point base with your knees and buttocks touching the floor/cushion.
Bring your hands to your lap and place them in the cosmic mudra. To do this rest your right hand on your lap, then rest your left hand on top of it and have your fingers overlap. Now bring the thumb tips together thus forming an oval frame.
2) Set your alarm or other time devices for 20 minutes.
3) Now elongate your spine upwards and to align it with the back of your head. Subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. There will be a slight inward arch in your lower back.
4) Now rock gently from side to side in big arcs, making them smaller and smaller till you drift to a stop. You should find yourself perpendicular to the floor with no tension or pull from either side.
5) Have your eyes half open with an unfocused gaze on the floor in front of you. You should be looking down at a 45-degree angle about 2 to 3 feet in front of you. You may also close your eyes if you prefer.
6) The whole point is to find an alert, energetic posture that will allow you to sit very still. Check yourself each time you sit, forming the habit of careful attentiveness to your body posture before practice.
7) Close your mouth, swallow your saliva creating a slight vacuum and place your tongue against the roof of your mouth. After this point, there should be absolutely no more movement of the body. No fidgeting, scratching, shifting – nothing – be like you are frozen in time.
8) Take 5 deep, slow breaths through the nose. This will oxygenate your blood and relax you.
5-Minute Mindfulness Body Scan Meditation
9) Now bring your attention to your breath without trying to manipulate it further in any way, just become aware of its flow. Spend a few minutes just observing it intimately until it starts to become regular and relaxed.
10) At this point begin counting your breath. Count an inhalation as one, then the exhalation as 2 and continue to count your breaths until you reach 10. At which point return to 1 with the next inhalation. If at any point you get caught in a mental storyline and lose your count, gently, without passing any judgment, return to 1 and start over. That’s it, continue for the duration of the meditation.
Other Zen Breathing Techniques
Full Yogic Breath Meditation Method
VIDEO: Full Yogic Breath Meditation Method
The Full Yogic Breath is at the core of meditation practice. When you learn to breathe from your deep belly instead of your chest you increase your lung capacity, increase circulation, send more oxygen to the brain and reduce stress and tension quickly and effectively. Benefits: reduced tension, increased lung capacity, and circulation, improves mental performance and encourages focus
The principle behind this technique is to fill up your entire abdomen and chest with air. Fresh air should enter your body like a new life force and renew it. This internal process also stretches your spine, tones internal organs, and improves circulation throughout the body.
To do this, exhale completely so that everything hollows out. Following a short pause, inhale deeply. As you inhale feel your belly expand outward. Next, move your focus to your lower back and sides, filling them with air. Once you’ve filled these with air, shift your focus to your ribcage filling the midsection of your abdomen. Allow your ribs to puff out.
Finally, fill your upper chest area all the way to your collarbones. This should also lift your heart as you come into a tall posture. This entire inhales process may be done in a few quick seconds or stretched to an extended period of 15 or so seconds.
For the exhale, keep your chest lifted and your posture tall. Starting with the belly first, exhale and empty the belly. Then move toward your spine and empty the midsection. Round off the exhale with emptying the chest. Ideally, your exhale should be longer than your inhale or at least of equal length.
Bellows Breath Meditation Method
VIDEO: Bellows Breath Tutorial
A short introduction and tutorial on the Pranayama technique Bellows Breath. Skip to 1:29 to go straight to the exercise. This method can help improve alertness, clarify your mind and make you energetic. If you feel lazy, hazy, or as if you’re moving in slow motion, try this breathing technique.
Sitting up tall, relax your shoulders and take a few deep breaths in and out from your nose. Begin the bellows breath by exhaling through your nose. Follow by inhaling through the nose once again.
This practice should ensure that your breath comes from your diaphragm. As you breathe in and out, make sure to keep your head, neck, shoulders, and chest absolutely still.
Complete one cycle of 10 breaths followed by a 15-30 second break. Start the next round with 20 breaths. Break and then do a final round of 30 bellows breaths.
This practice is best done first thing in the morning when you need to start your day off right. You can also do this during your mid-day slump or right before a workout session.
Counting Breaths Meditation Method
VIDEO: Counting Breaths Meditation To Strengthen Focus
Learn how to slow the mind down by counting as you pay attention to each breath. A Counting Breaths meditation by Stop, Breathe & Think and Mind Body Awareness Project.
This is a simple technique used in Zen practices to calm an active mind. Start with abdominal inhales and exhales. At the end of the first exhale, make a mental note saying “one”. Inhale, exhale and mentally count “two”. Continue breathing until you reach “ten”.
Next start counting backward until you reach “one”. The point here is to keep track of the numbers so that your attention stays put and doesn’t detract.
This exercise is a strength-building one for the mind. It removes distracting thoughts and builds concentration power. So if you’ve never given much thought to your breathing, now’s the time to get started.
VIDEO: Guided Intermediate Zazen Meditation
Learn how to do Zazen in a guided meditation. Zazen is the primary meditation technique in Zen Buddhism. This Zen technique is a mindfulness meditation that emphasizes the harmonization of the mind, body, and breath. We will go through all the instructions step by step. Once you learn how to practice Zazen meditation, you can do it on your own. Get a lot more free training at http://www.deepermeditation.net.
Guided Advanced Zazen Meditation Technique:
VIDEO: How to Do Advanced Zazen Mind Meditation
7 steps to practicing the advanced mind meditation to silence the mind of thoughts and achieve enlightenment. This Silent Mind Meditation Technique is an extension of the work of J. Krishnamurti and can be considered advanced Insight Meditation or advanced Zen Meditation. More details are available on AnmolMehta.com.
Hints and Tips for Zazen Meditation Technique:
Do some stretching or Yoga before sitting in zazen. It will help your body adjust better.
Be regular, the benefits of this meditation are vast, but they take time to manifest.
A Zen lifestyle means you have to filter, weed, eliminate and edit a lot of habits, possessions, mindsets, and perspectives from your life.
All this is to simplify and minimize your life to make it a more purposeful existence.
It is a fight against speed and time, where you get yourself out from the constant swirl of unending worries and thoughts.
You slow down the pace of your daily life, remove all that isn’t necessary and enjoy life as it comes your way.
Some good internet resources and books on zen meditation and zen teachings are listed below…
The Secret Of Zazen Meditation Technique
The secret of Zazen does not lie in the awareness of the inhalation or the exhalation. It lies in the gap between these breaths. It lies when the breath is spontaneously suspended. It is in this gap where the mysteries of the Universe are hidden.
This gap and the gap between 2 thoughts are best friends, and in this silence between 2 thoughts, the absolute is revealed. Don’t try to force this pause, just continue with your Zazen meditation, it will come about naturally.