The introduction of zen

Sit on the forward third of your cushion or chair, so that your hips are higher than your knees and your belly is free to move in and out without stress on your lower back.

A practitioner of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, Suzuki, in his writings about the ultimate experience of satori and the meditative use of koans, made Zen terms almost household words in the United States.

essays in zen buddhism

If floor sitting is too difficult, simply use a chair. But we can carry our form lightly, with respect and appreciation for its gifts. During these years, Zen organized itself into five "houses," or five schools.

the way of zen

Go to a Zen meditation center or a similar group and sit with other people. During this time in Japan, Suzuki translated into Japanese a number of Swedenborgian texts.

These are just ways of separating from our deepest intention and our zazen. On the other hand, for such a small sect, Zen has had a disproportionate impact on the art and culture of Asia, especially in China and Japan. This sounds good, but how is it to be accomplished?

Japanese zen

Whether it is a room or just a corner, the space should be clean and uncluttered. As an old meditation manual says, as soon as you are aware of a thought, it will vanish! You are not living as you ought to live, you are suffering under the tyranny of circumstances; you are feeling a constraint of some sort, and you lose your independence. Breathing in, allow the breath to fully enter your body until your lower belly expands; then, breathing out, softly allow the breath to ease out through your nostrils. It isn't true that Zen makes no sense. After you've practiced awhile, particularly with a teacher, you may catch on—or not. If there's no monastery or Zen center handy, you might find a "sitting group" of laypeople who sit zazen together at someone's home. While they speak of the possibility of attaining the freedom and naturalness of a tiger in the mountains or a dragon in the water, the actual instructions are so concrete. Your chin is pointing neither up nor down, but is slightly tucked in. The standing bow to and away from our cushion actualizes our respect for our practice and for those, whether present or not, who practice with us. I hope that for the next three months you will help me in my own practice by joining this ango. Zen abhors this. We study to encourage, refine, and deepen our own practice and that of others.

Let the breath fill your lower abdomen as if it were a balloon. Instead of moving, stay with them, observe them, and bring your focus back to the breathing.

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Introduction to Zen