Thursday, March 21, 2013

Zen Meditation

Zen Meditation or Zazen is a part of Zen Buddhism. A part of Mahayana Buddhism, Zen places an importance on experiencing life as it is, without any structure or belief system. 

Zazen is an important part of the process of experiencing this kind of 'bliss'. Zazen means 'sitting meditation' and is usually done in a variety of sitting postures.

This form of meditation is quite akin to yoga. One can meditate either by oneself at one's home, or one can participate in long sessions of Zen meditation held at various meditation halls. This type of meditation practice is a group activity and lasts for anywhere between a week to ten days.

The Zen masters suggest that lone practitioners need to practice this meditation for at least 5 minutes or more on a daily basis. They say that regularity is an important part of the process of coming closer to awareness via Zazen. Practicing Zen monks practice this meditation technique for at least 30 to 40 minutes for at least 4 to 6 times a day. This meditation is followed by a brief period of walking, known as 'kinhin', which helps relax the legs between two periods of meditation.

Zen also puts a focus on tasks from daily life. Zen masters say that such a focus is an opportunity to encounter reality. 

Another most interesting aspect of Zen Practice is the focus of the practitioner on 'Koans' which are questions which have 'no answer'. Often, several practitioners focus on these Koans during the meditation to find new breakthroughs in their mental pathways and thought processes.

One such example that combines to serve as an example of both these aspects is a Koan that is my particular favorite. It states, simply:

Before Enlightenment,
You Chop the Wood, You Draw the Water.
After Enlightenment,
You Chop the Wood, You Draw the Water.

The Meditation Process