How to do zazen

How to do zazen

The observe of Zazen meditation is fastidiously associated to Zen Buddhism, merely which suggests “seated meditation.” It is the core (spiritual) meditation observe of Zen Buddhism. In Zazen Meditation the meditator sits, allowing concepts, ideas, and photos to maneuver by with out judgment or involvement. The intention of the meditation is to calm physique and ideas and to appreciate notion into the character of existence, and at last to realize enlightenment.

Whereas the primary goal of Zazen meditation as described above, it is taught in many various strategies, counting on the Zen Buddhist faculty. The strategies described underneath are broadly very like completely different meditation methods – You’ll see obvious similarities to Aware meditation and others. Observe that whatever the technique used, some great benefits of a meditation observe, largely depend on the intention of the meditator. The Aware meditator reaps the physiological advantages of the meditation, whereas the similar physiological benefits (along with contemplation all through meditation) help the Buddhist meditator to align ideas and life to the Buddhist precepts.

By way of meditation, there is not a one-size-fits-all!

Preparation and Instruction

Do Zazen meditation with eyes open (saved lowered), gazing

1 meter forwards. The mouth have to be saved closed (as long as you can breathe via your nostril!) and tongue pressed on the upper palate.

The seating place could possibly be any of the widespread meditation postures: Meditation Posture: Choose the Best and Most Comfortable Posture. Nonetheless, the fingers must undertake the hand place commonly known as the “cosmic mudra.” This hand place is equal to a minimum of one used for Sacral Chakra meditation, pictured underneath.

How to do zazen

The “cosmic mudra” hand place is the state of affairs of the physique’s vitality center known as Hara or Tantien.

As with completely different meditation traditions, start Zazen meditation with some respiration exercise routines to calm the physique and center the ideas.


  • Shut your eyes and inhale deeply. Preserve the breath for 3-4 seconds and exhale slowly.
  • Protect doing this for 5 or 6 events then allow the breath to watch a cosy, relaxed rhythm.
  • Proceed your pure respiration rhythm and develop to be more and more extra cosy and peaceful.

There are a selection of kinds of meditation taught with Zazen

Focus (Centre)

The meditator focuses on the hara (tantien) – The hara resides inside the physique barely under the navel and should, the place the folded fingers are positioned all through meditation. The hara is a location that is frequent with Reiki meditations. Use a mantra or counting the breath could possibly be utilized as an help to sustaining focus.

Koan (contemplation)

A Koan is an object or widespread/paradoxical question, which generally speaking, has no reply – just like “What is the universe?” or “What’s my goal?”. It is speculated to suppress the ego and illicit an intuitive response.

The meditator focuses on this question, silently repeating it with each breath, prepared for the ideas to be clear. In several phrases, the ideas is clear when the ego provides us and stops attempting to unravel the difficulty. Such questions are utilized in Zen Buddhism to examine the meditators diploma.

Sitting (nonthinking)

Sitting meditation is solely as described. It has no particular focus apart from conserving the ideas inside the present second, not pondering – It is in numerous respects, very like the intention of Aware meditation.

How to do zazen

Remaining summer time season, as I was re-reading Carl Bielefeldt’s Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation, I obtained a very kind email correspondence from a reader asking me to provide my sort out strategies to do zazen. I do not know what variety of events I’ve offered zazen instruction particularly individual, nonetheless in finding out that request, I noticed that I had certainly not tried to place in writing all of it down. Furthermore, it had certainly not really occurred to me that I have a specific sort out it — after I make clear it to a different individual, I’m very aware of every Dogen’s instructions and points I’ve heard from my lecturers. Nevertheless the timing — that e book, with this request — impressed me to look further fastidiously at how I technique zazen, how I hear the explanation in my head.

Loads of Bielefeldt’s e book (which I can’t counsel extraordinarily adequate) chronicles the evolution of Dogen’s “Universally Helpful Instructions for Zazen [Fukanzazengi]” from an earlier draft to a later one, displaying that Dogen’s understanding of zazen — every strategies to watch it, and strategies to categorical that observe to others — was evolving. Dogen handed away when he was 53; if he’d lived to 80, I’ve little doubt that the zazen instructions we study in temples every night time could possibly be fully completely different, someway, from what they’re.

I am eager on complaining that we rely too carefully on Dogen on this practice. That doesn’t come from any grievance about him or his writings — certainly not. Nevertheless it seems to me that inside the 800 years since his lack of life, we should at all times have only a few further people to reference. Additional lecturers must have stepped forward with their very personal understanding of the customized. Or possibly the institutions spherical this observe must have given higher voice to those who had been attempting, in ineffective, to be heard. In any case, 800 years later, it’s nonetheless nearly all Dogen.

So on planes and in line on the monetary establishment, I’ve found myself selecting away at my very personal instructions for zazen. Of this, I’m constructive: if I had tried to place in writing these instructions 10 years previously, they may have been very, very fully completely different. And I sincerely hope that 10 years from now, these instructions shall be equally fully completely different, that they’re going to have superior with my understanding of the observe. If all goes successfully, I’ll study these instructions after I’m an earlier man and wince a little bit of, seeing further clearly then what I don’t see clearly now.

Nevertheless instantly, at age 40, I imagine that’s my best effort. I put out these instructions (some are pretty regular, nonetheless only a few won’t be) to not rewrite one thing, nonetheless to put myself on the spot, to make myself open to irrespective of dialogue or suggestions might observe. This generally is a work in progress. Higher than that, I do it inside the hopes that it’d start a dialogue, and that others might actually really feel a push to publish their very personal instructions. I might very similar to to study them.


Choose this place.

Every time you can, sit with others. When you can’t, sit with others. Let others sit with you.

Placed on the kashaya. Merely as Buddhas sit in zazen whereas zazen is the train of Buddhas, Buddhas placed on the kashaya — the kashaya manifests the type of a Buddha. Even when there is not a robe, merely placed on it.

Do not put your self into sitting — come empty handed. Do not make zazen — let sitting reveal itself. Do not use zazen for this or that — sitting is neither means nor end.

Unfold a blanket or mat and place a zafu on excessive. Sit down, marking the center of the zafu with the underside of the spine.

To sit down down inside the full lotus, place the right foot over the left thigh, then the left foot over the right thigh. Leisure your left hand in your correct hand, palm up — the middle joint of the middle finger underneath aligns with the middle joint of the middle finger above, and thumbtips contact as if attempting to not, merely near adequate to actually really feel {the electrical} power between them. That’s known as Sitting in Apply.

Reverse the legs; reverse the fingers. That’s known as Sitting in Verification.

Sit in observe instantly and in two days. Sit in verification tomorrow and yesterday.

If not full lotus, half lotus. If not half lotus, leisure the foot of the raised leg all through the calf of the lower leg. Or kneel. Or sit on a chair. Don’t forget that this physique is the buddha’s physique. Do not harm it. Moreover, do not underestimate it.

On a regular basis place the knees underneath the hips, the pelvis tilted forward, the lower once more barely curved. Arrange a posture that needn’t battle gravity.

Be the tree beneath which completely different buddhas sit.

Press the fingers underneath the navel; permit them to switch with the breath. In full lotus, leisure them on excessive of the heels. In one other posture, help the fingers with a blanket or cushion.

As quickly as seated, rotate the torso on the hips in broad circles, then in small ones until the spine is holding the earth in place; pull inside the chin and stretch the once more of the neck upwards, lifting the sky.

Take seven prolonged breaths. As you inhale, fill the physique with a wind that loops via your toes and all through your thumbs. As you exhale, accomplish that slowly, persevering with until your breath has touched the far corners of the world. Exhale until nothing stays.

On the eighth breath, merely breathe.

How prolonged ought to one sit? What variety of breaths? Historic buddhas did not measure zazen in minutes or hours.

Let in all sounds — hear the shifting of the continents, a fowl delivering flight. Going by the wall, see previous the horizon. Actually really feel your coronary coronary heart beating, your lungs transferring, your pores and pores and skin growing and shrinking, the magnetic draw of your thumbs. Breathe inside the stench and the perfume of the world. Let your tongue leisure flat in your mouth, and elegance.

Mara visits all through zazen, nonetheless not as visions — visions, if solely glanced at, will transfer by like shadows. Nor will Mara come disguised as want — wants, confronted instantly, lose their power to haunt. Mara will go to as a weight on the eyelids, bearing the snug seduction of sleep. Open your eyes; within the occasion that they develop heavy or the world blurs, open them wider. Protect the room cool. Let light in. Uncover the waking world, not wishes.

Be the stress of gravity, pulling you deep into the underside; be the load of a flame. Do not switch from this posture. With every cell in your physique, every drop of blood, every inch of pores and pores and skin, regularly do not switch.

Zazen won’t be non-doing; it is not non-thinking. Zazen is a deep, dreamless sleep on fireside. It is clutching a boulder to your abdomen on the bottom of the cool ocean. Roots penetrate and plunge downward into the powerful textures of the earth. A cloud dissolves into open sky.

Sitting in Apply: gōmaza (降魔坐)
Sitting in Verification: kichijōza (吉祥坐)
The phrase “weight of a flame” is taken from a verse provided by Dai-en Bennage, abbess of Mt. Equity Zendo: “Abandoning myself to respiration out, and letting inhaling naturally fill me. All that is left is that this empty zafu beneath the massive sky, the load of a flame.” (genuine provide unknown)

Change January 20, 2019: My gratitude to Saiho Sandra Laureano, of Centro Budista Soto Zen in Puerto Rico, who very generously translated these instructions into Spanish.

Our observe of zazen can also be known as shikantaza, a Japanese time interval that could be translated as “nothing nonetheless precisely sitting.” All the stage is to merely sit there. Doing nothing. A observe of not-doing.

That’s so powerful for us, we’re in a position to hardly even conceive of it. Instead, we take into consideration we’re supposed to sit there meditating. We’re supposed to concentrate, or take note of this second, or one factor. One thing. One thing nonetheless really, really doing nothing.

After I settle into my morning zazen at home, I sometimes try and encourage myself by inviting myself to not meditate. With out even realizing it, I will have taken the seated place and started to do this observe of shikantaza. Then my ideas will wander and I’ll take into accounts how I’m not sitting zazen very successfully, and the complete factor will actually really feel off. Laughing inwardly, then, I’ll remind myself I don’t should do one thing. Merely sit back and sit there!

For a second, merely sitting there, the complete universe opens up. I’m awake. I’m proper right here. I’m appreciative, intimate, dependently co-arising with each factor. My embrace of my life, momentarily, isn’t contingent on this and that. Really easy!

Then I’m off as soon as extra, severe about points. Often severe about meditation and observe, paradoxically.

Or am I really “off as soon as extra?” Who’s “off as soon as extra?” Who’s me? Am I solely my self-consciousness, the half that is aware of, “I’m sitting?” Am I not my physique as successfully, which via all of my ideas wanderings, continues to patiently merely sit?

Nonetheless, it’s good to wholeheartedly sit – to mentally and volitionally merely sit, along with bodily merely sit. As expedient means, because of this truth, we “observe not-doing.” A observe is one factor we do, although paradoxically, on this case, our observe is not-doing. Because of human beings are so hooked as much as doing, it’s a clever technique to get us devoted to zazen.

How do you observe not-doing? Primarily, you make the most of irrespective of technique you’ll uncover that convinces you, or permits you, to stop doing. Chances are you’ll do as I do, and invite your self to relax out. In any other case you might remind your self there’s fully no respected motive you have to contemplate all that stuff by the 20-30 minutes you’re sitting zazen; you’ll have a great deal of time to imagine later. (While you really wish to take into account one factor that badly, you shouldn’t be meditating!) In any other case you might try and imitate a cat when it’s merely sitting there, alert and watching each factor, nonetheless merely letting time go by.

One different conventional technique to watch not-doing is to softly observe your breath. This generally is a good technique to keep up not-doing for higher than a second – nevertheless it certainly’s important, from the angle of shikantaza, that you just don’t make following your breath into doing! Instead, you compromise into not-doing, and because you’re not doing something, you can observe your breath. Okay, it’s a little bit of little little bit of “doing,” nevertheless it certainly’s a relative tiny and straightforward “doing.” Chances are you’ll even want to rely exhalations 1-10, after which start once more at one.

Sometimes learners are taught breath following or counting as a way to check to do zazen. If this works for you, good. For many individuals, nonetheless, we actually should step-by-step grope our method within the route of not-doing in a a lot much less simple method sooner than we’re in a position to observe or rely the breath! It’s taken me 20 years of diligent sitting observe to have the power to reliably rely my breaths 1-10 and start once more at one. This isn’t because of it’s taken me 20 years to develop a expertise, or 20 years to find out strategies to do zazen! It’s because of I’m really hooked as much as doing, and it’s taken me 20 years to let go adequate – to be nonetheless, simple, and spacious adequate – to allow my respiration to be most likely probably the most thrilling issue that’s occurring.

Whichever gateway into not-doing works for you – focus or relaxation – the strategy of discovering that gateway, entering into it, and finding out what it really means to not-do, is itself the beauty of observe. We proceed to find methods to “do” zazen our full lives.

How to do zazen

Photographer unknown, courtesy of San Francisco Zen Coronary heart.

If you end up working in direction of Zazen, do not try and stop your pondering. Let it stop by itself. If one factor comes into your ideas, let it can be found in, and let it exit. It’s not going to maintain prolonged. Everytime you try and stop your pondering, it means you is perhaps bothered by it. Do not be bothered by one thing. It appears as if one factor comes from outdoor your ideas, nonetheless actually it is solely the waves of your ideas, and in case you aren’t bothered by the waves, step-by-step they’re going to develop to be calmer and calmer. In 5 or at most ten minutes, your ideas shall be absolutely serene and calm. In the intervening time your respiration will develop to be pretty sluggish, whereas your pulse will develop to be a little bit of faster.

It’s going to take pretty a really very long time sooner than you uncover your calm, serene ideas in your observe. Many sensations come, many concepts or images come up, nonetheless they’re merely waves of your particular person ideas. Nothing comes from outdoor your ideas. Usually we take into account our ideas as receiving impressions and experiences from outdoor, nonetheless that is not an actual understanding of our ideas. The true understanding is that the ideas consists of each factor; everytime you assume one factor comes from outdoor it means solely that one factor appears in your ideas. Nothing outdoor your self might trigger any problem. You your self make the waves in your ideas. While you depart your ideas because it’s, it ought to develop to be calm. This ideas is named enormous ideas.

It’s going to take pretty a really very long time sooner than you uncover your calm, serene ideas in your observe. Many sensations come, many concepts or images come up, nonetheless they’re merely waves of your particular person ideas.

In case your ideas is claimed to at least one factor outdoor itself, that ideas is a small ideas, a restricted ideas. In case your ideas won’t be related to something, then there is not a dualistic understanding inside the train of your ideas. You understand train as merely waves of your ideas. Large ideas experiences each factor inside itself. Do you understand the excellence between the two minds: the ideas which includes each factor, and the ideas which is claimed to at least one factor? Actually they’re the similar issue, nonetheless the understanding is totally completely different, and your angle within the route of your life shall be fully completely different consistent with which understanding you’ve got.

That each factor is included inside your ideas is the essence of ideas. To experience that’s to have spiritual feeling. Regardless that waves come up, the essence of your ideas is pure; it’s fairly like clear water with only a few waves. Actually water on a regular basis has waves. Waves are the observe of the water. To speak of waves aside from water or water aside from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Large ideas and small ideas are one. Everytime you understand your ideas on this fashion, you’ve got some security in your feeling. As your ideas would not rely on one thing from outdoor, it is on a regular basis crammed. A ideas with waves in it is not a disturbed ideas, nonetheless actually an amplified one. Regardless of you experience is an expression of big ideas.

The train of big ideas is to amplify itself via quite a few experiences. In a single sense our experiences coming one after the opposite are on a regular basis latest and new, nonetheless in a single different sense they’re nothing nonetheless a gradual or repeated unfolding of the one enormous ideas. For instance, when you could have one factor good for breakfast, you may say, “That’s good.” “Good” is provided as one factor expert some time approach again, even though you may not keep in mind when. With enormous ideas we accept each of our experiences as if recognizing the face we see in a mirror as our private. For us there is not a priority of dropping this ideas. There’s nowhere to come back again or to go; there is not a priority of lack of life, no affected by earlier age or sickness. Because of we get pleasure from all factors of life as an unfolding of big ideas, we do not care for any excessive pleasure. So we have got imperturbable composure, and it is with this imperturbable composure of big ideas that we observe zazen.

How to do zazen

Whats up! My title’s Peter. Welcome to my site about Buddhism. This web site has instructions on strategies to do zen meditation (known as “zazen”) and some articles and talks on Buddhism.

While you’re in or spherical Tokyo, I keep zen meditation classes on Saturdays at Tokyo Faculty Buddhists Affiliation. Anyone is welcome to attend.

I will likely be holding a 4-day Buddhist Retreat at Shokakuji temple near Tokyo from Would possibly 3-6 (Friday to Monday), 2019. Anyone is welcome.

Learn to Do Zazen (zen meditation)

Practising zen meditation is a gigantic part of Zen Buddhism. The Japanese phrase for Zen meditation is “zazen”. “Za” means “sit” and “zen” means “meditation”. So in the event you occur to’re inquisitive about finding out about Zen Buddhism, an excellent place to start is to try doing zazen. On this net web page you can acquire a PDF file with instructions on doing zazen. There’s moreover two films on there of my Buddhist coach, Gudo Nishijima, demonstrating strategies to do zazen and talking regarding the which suggests zazen. There’s moreover options to Four questions I was requested about doing zazen.

Talks from Gudo Nishijima’s Zazen Retreat

This net web page has Four talks that my coach, Gudo Nishijima, gave at a Zazen Retreat at Tokei-in temple in Japan.

The Coronary coronary heart Sutra

The Coronary coronary heart Sutra is a popular sutra in Buddhism. It’s a very fast sutra with solely about 300 phrases, nevertheless it certainly’s talked about to incorporate the essence of what Buddhism is about. That’s my translation of the Japanese mannequin of the Coronary coronary heart Sutra, commonly known as “hannya shingyo”. There’s moreover a hyperlink on the bottom of the online web page to an audio file of the Coronary coronary heart Sutra being chanted by some Japanese monks.

The Buddhist Precepts

The Buddhist precepts are suggestions for every day life for Buddhists. Many Buddhists try to keep up the precepts as best they’re going to on a day after day basis with out doing any formal ceremonies. Nevertheless there’s moreover a ceremony you’ll be able to do in the event you occur to want to formally take the precepts. This net web page has a quick booklet about what the precepts are and the best way they happened. There’s moreover a number of articles on their about me doing a ceremony to take the precept and about what the precepts are.

Buddhism and God

This generally is a fast article about how I was dumb adequate to ask a Buddhist priest about God, and what he knowledgeable me.

A bit about me

How to do zazen

I grew up in Ireland, nonetheless left after college to spend only a few years travelling. I arrived in Japan in 1991. I anticipated to stay a 12 months, nonetheless ended up staying for for much longer. I began studying Buddhism with Gudo Nishijima in 1996. Numerous years later I was ordained a Buddhist monk. In 2001 Gudo Nishijima gave me his formal approval to indicate Buddhism to others. I taught classes at Gudo Nishijima’s Zen center near Tokyo, and afterward I started instructing on the Youthful Buddhists Affiliation at Tokyo Faculty. I work as a translator, and stick with my partner and our two youngsters.

How to do zazen

Sit on the forward third of your cushion or chair.

Put together your legs prepared you can protect comfortably in a half-lotus, full-lotus, Burmese or seiza. Make certain that your weight is distributed on three components: your knees have to be on the underside and your buttocks in your cushion. On a chair, keep your knees apart, regarding the width of your shoulders; toes firmly on the bottom.

Straighten and extend your spine, conserving it naturally upright, centering your steadiness inside the lower abdomen. Push your lower once more a little bit of forward, open your chest, and tuck your chin in just, conserving the top upright, not leaning forward or backward or to the facet. Protect your ears in step with your shoulders. Rock your physique gently forward and once more, after which sway gently backwards and forwards until you naturally come to a level of steadiness and stillness in your cushion.

Protect your eyes on the bottom about three to five toes you; eyes neither completely opened nor completely closed. In case you’re coping with a close-by wall, then look “via it” within the route of the place the bottom could possibly be. If the eyes are closed, it is further seemingly you may begin to daydream, visualize, and chase your concepts.

Protect you lips and enamel collectively collectively together with your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth. This helps forestall excessive salivation.

Place your fingers in your lap with the right palm up and your left hand (moreover palm up) resting on the right hand, fingertips of the left hand touching the underside of the fingers of the right hand, thumb ideas contact barely, forming a horizontal oval. That’s the mudra of zazen, whereby all points are unified. Place the sides of the little fingers in direction of the abdomen, only a few inches underneath the navel, thus harmonizing your mudra collectively together with your center of gravity.

Take only a few deep breaths, exhaling completely. Let your breath settle into its pure rhythm. With right bodily posture, your respiration will flow into naturally into your lower abdomen.

Sit nonetheless and keep your consideration in your breath. When your consideration wanders, convey it once more to the breath many instances (and as soon as extra) – commonly, as many events as important.

Be completely present. Merely do your best possible. On the end of your sitting interval, gently sway your physique as soon as extra, stretch your legs and be sure they’ve feeling sooner than standing.

Sitting every day is further important than how prolonged you sit. So observe every day for ten to fifteen minutes (or further), slowly rising the dimensions of your sitting and you will uncover the treasures of your life.

On the coronary coronary heart of Zen is the meditation observe known as zazen, which suggests “merely sitting.” The instructions are simple, nonetheless the observe is endlessly refined. The upright open posture of zazen, which could possibly be carried out How to do zazenon a cushion, a bench, or in a chair, fosters every concentrated stillness and notion.

Zen Grasp Dogen’s simple suggestion is that this: Put aside the psychological conduct of chasing phrases and phrases, and research to take the backward step that shines the sunshine inward. Letting go of conceptual distractions inside the ideas, we allow the breath to convey us once more to the direct experience of the present second. Each second of zazen is latest if we uncover fastened change and each scholar follows their very personal pure course of over time.

Not like many meditation practices, the intention of zazen is to not achive any particular mind-set, nonetheless fairly to How to do zazenstudy what’s most true on this second. In zazen, we come to know instantly the ideas’s bizarre train inside the improvement of experience, and converse in confidence to our inherent good alert clear reflective nature. Zazen is fast and easy, however radical in its acceptance of conditions and penetrating information. All the Buddhist teachings are investigated instantly via its observe, along with the character of struggling, the highest of struggling and key to residing an ethical life.

In case you’re new to its observe, it’s strongly advisable that you just get ongoing help from a coach or group who can also enable you to control your posture and get guidance regarding frequent struggles with ache and discomfort, intense emotion, obsessive concepts, and sleepiness. The one issue required in taking over zazen is a approach of curiosity and a human life — you can’t do it improper!

This textual content was co-authored by Soken Graf. Soken Graf is a Meditation Coach, Buddhist Priest, Licensed Superior Rolfer, and a Printed Author who runs Bodhi Coronary coronary heart Rolfing and Meditation, a spiritual life educating enterprise based in New York Metropolis, New York. Soken has over 25 years of Buddhist teaching experience and advises entrepreneurs, enterprise householders, designers, and professionals. He has labored with organizations such as a result of the American Administration Affiliation as a advisor for teaching packages on such topics as Aware Administration, Cultivating Consciousness, and Understanding Data: The Compassionate Guidelines of Work-Life Stability. Alongside along with his work as a priest, Soken has certifications in Superior Rolfing from the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, Visceral Manipulation, Craniosacral Treatment, SourcePoint Treatment®, and Chilly-Laser Treatment.

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Zen meditation (or Zazen) is an efficient strategy to reduce stress, give consideration to the present second, and be part of further deeply together with your self and the world spherical you. [1] X Educated Provide

James Brown
Meditation Coach Educated Interview. Three April 2019. The usual place for Zen meditation entails sitting on a spherical cushion (zafu) collectively together with your legs crossed inside the Lotus place, your spine upright, your fingers in your thighs, and your eyes pointed barely downward. Relying in your desires and circumstances, though, you must make the most of a chair, bench, or rolled cushion for Zen meditation, nonetheless do your best to keep up your spine, head, and fingers inside the helpful place.

There are 5 basic sitting positions from which to resolve on: the whole lotus, the half-lotus, the Burmese, and seiza, or kneeling. You may additionally use a chair. The necessary stage is to find a spot which you can protect. Most of us can tolerate some minor discomfort, however when a specific place is unduly painful, uncover one different one which isn’t. Weight, flexibility, and physique sort all have an effect on your experience of sitting, so pay attention to your physique.

Throughout the Full Lotus place, the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot rests on the right thigh. In Half-Lotus, the left foot rests on the right thigh, whereas the right leg is folded beneath the left leg.

In Burmese place, every legs are folded, resting on the sq. mat (zabuton). One variation of this place areas the left foot upon the right calf.

In seiza or kneeling place, knees are shoulder-width apart whereas buttocks are supported each by the heels, a zafu (sitting cushion) or completely different cushion, or a low sitting bench.

Using a chair, steer clear of slouching nonetheless sit upright. While you’ve received once more problem, a company cushion will be utilized to help your lower once more. Protect your toes shoulder-width apart on the bottom. If the chair is just too extreme for you, place a zafu on the bottom to help your toes. Make certain that your hips are elevated than your knees.

In each of these positions: Seat your self on the forward third of your cushion (or chair), using a further cushion if wished, so that your hips are barely elevated than your knees. Tuck in your chin barely and guarantee your nostril is aligned collectively together with your navel and your ears aligned collectively together with your shoulders. Your head must leisure squarely over your spine and by no means tilt or lean in any course. While you uncover any stress in your shoulders, sit back them. Barely arching the small of the once more so that the pelvis tilts forward, extend your spine upward. Steer clear of straining or tensing each your once more or abdomen muscle tissue. To center your physique, sway various events from the hips in lowering arcs until you drift to a stop. On this place, your posture is upright, leaning neither left nor correct, forward nor backward.

Place your left hand, palm up, on the palm of your correct hand. Leisure your fingers in your lap. Protect your eyes barely open, making an attempt downward inside the course of the bottom only a few toes in entrance of you. Permit them to float out of focus. If coping with a wall, look downward at a number of 45-degree angle, and let your eyes drift out of focus.


Take only a few deep sluggish breaths via the mouth, and exhale freely, to settle ideas and physique. Shut your lips and swallow any saliva in your mouth. Empty your mouth of air, making a slight vacuum. Steer clear of tensing your jaws. Breathe quietly via your nostril. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth merely behind the doorway enamel. Let your respiration develop to be deep and pure, with out notably straining to control it.


Pay shut consideration to your respiration, to the sensations of breath leaving and entering into your physique with each exhalation and inhalation. Consider the movement of your lower abdomen. As you inhale, uncover it develop; as you exhale, uncover it contracting. Direct your consideration to the center of your lower abdomen, about two or three inches underneath the navel, or onto the palm of your left hand. As you breathe, you may rely each breath, repeating the strategy and counting each exhale/inhale cycle as one breath. While you’ve counted ten breaths, return to “one,” and begin as soon as extra. Try this until you can focus your consideration and protect it. As quickly as you can rely your breaths, you may be capable to observe your breaths with out counting. Merely observe your respiration attentively. Everytime you uncover your ideas wandering or pursuing concepts, recollections, emotions, and so forth., merely uncover this and return your consideration to your breath inside the present second.

How to do zazen

Let your consideration keep collectively together with your breath. Be affected individual together with your self, as it’d take some time sooner than you can reliably focus your consideration for an extended timeframe. At first, you may solely sit only a few events each week, for a few minutes. At your particular person tempo, step-by-step enhance the frequency and interval of your sitting until you can sit every day for 30 to 35 minutes at a time. Don’t rush this course of, nonetheless allow your ideas and physique to step-by-step regulate to the observe. Some people select to sit inside the morning, others at night time time, and some do every. Experiment to go looking out which of these works best for you, then make it your particular person widespread observe. When working in direction of, it is useful to sit within the similar place and on the same time of day, if potential.

Endurance, consistency, and perseverance are important in establishing and settling into your observe. We strongly counsel widespread sitting at a Zen center or with an similar sitting group, when you could have entry to a minimum of one, and to work with a licensed Zen coach.

Illustrations from Zen Meditation In Plain English by John Daishin Buksbazen, Data Publications