PDF | In this article we review two eight weeks long courses on mindfulness meditation for health and well-being, and for insight. Our nonprofit mission is to develop and deliver to you the very highest quality books on Buddhism and mindful living. We hope this book will be of benefit to you. Dogen,, Meditation--Zen Buddhism, Sotoshu- . The Zen school is the Meditation school, and the character of Zen can be traced in the tradition of.
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than “sitting in meditation”. In short, “zazen” is a Buddhist practice to settle your mind in its original state: purity and clarity, and from that you can. Download the Zen ebook on Meditation Practice. Zen monk meditation practice ebook cover Download the pdf. ebook here ( pages). Formal Zen practice employs five elements that work together: ▫ Vows. ▫ Prostrations (bowing). ▫ Chanting. ▫ Sitting meditation. ▫ Wisdom training. The following.
The variety suggests there is a form of meditation to suit most people, regardless of personality or lifestyle. For someone who meditates, the practice offers a chance to improve physical wellbeing, as well as emotional health. However, there is no "right way" to meditate, meaning people can explore the different types until they find one that works for them. Fast facts on types of meditation: Within each type of meditation, there are several subtypes to discover and practice.
Meditation teachers have different ideas about how frequently a person should meditate. It is fine to blend types or to test different approaches until the right one is found. Types of meditation The following seven examples are some of the best-known ways to meditate: 1. Loving-kindness meditation With the many types of meditation to try, there should be one to suit most individuals.
Loving-kindness meditation is also known as Metta meditation. Its goal is to cultivate an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, even a person's enemies and sources of stress. While breathing deeply, practitioners open their minds to receiving loving kindness. They then send messages of loving kindness to the world, to specific people, or to their loved ones. In most forms of this meditation, the key is to repeat the message many times, until the practitioner feels an attitude of loving kindness.
Loving-kindness meditation is designed to promote feelings of compassion and love , both for others and oneself. It can help those affected by: anger resentment interpersonal conflict This type of meditation may increase positive emotions and has been linked to reduced depression , anxiety , and post-traumatic stress or PTSD.
Body scan or progressive relaxation Progressive relaxation, sometimes called body scan meditation, is meditation that encourages people to scan their bodies for areas of tension. The goal is to notice tension and to allow it to release.
During a progressive relaxation session, practitioners start at one end of their body, usually their feet, and work through the whole. Some forms of progressive relaxation require people to tense and then relax muscles. Others encourage a person to visualize a wave, drifting over their body to release tension.
Ideal for Enlightenment. These are just a few variations, others use bolsters and blocks to sit on. Meditation can always be practiced in a chair or laying down as well. When in a chair, if possible, make sure you are sitting in the front half so your back is not being supported.
Cosmic Mudra: This mudra, or hand position, should be placed comfortably in your lap no matter what seated position you are in.
Hands cupped, thumbs touching. Especially at the beginning of meditation, by swaying naturally back and forth like a palm tree you can grow taller and find your center. Blinking is such a small involuntary response that if we can slow down enough to control this movement we can tap into the concentration necessary for Zen. Become fully present of the room you are in, seeing the wall in front of you, detecting everything around you and then slowly close your eyes for a moment.
Can you feel yourself in the same room and not get lost in thought? There are many different contexts and religious or spiritual meanings these have for different groups of people and individuals. No ones definition of each of these will be the exact same just as each individuals personal experience with Satori, Enlightenment and Nirvana would be literally indescribable.
Conversations and shared experiences around these topics can give us reprieve that we are on the right track, but the descriptions in and of themselves will never be able to capture the full essence of what these states of beings are. While joy and ecstasy can be felt as we can sit back and laugh at the passing emotions that use to take hold of us, presence in these states encompasses all of the feelings and none, in one.
Satori is sometimes called a sudden flash of awareness, an a-ha moment, and is even considered the entire point of Zen. While this is not complete enlightenment, the discovery of this state will be enough to keep the seeker coming back for more.
These little bits of realization start to cumulate the more you practice Zen and experience Satori. With enough of these pieces of Satori the way starts to open up for enlightenment.
For me I believe that I have reached points of Satori deep in meditation. It has only happened a few times and they have all been while meditating for 45 minutes or more. These were usually when I set out to do an hour meditation, have binaural beats playing in my headphones, and sometimes around the 45 minute mark something strange would happen.
My mind would run out of things to think about, it was like I had actually tired myself out. My brain got sick of thinking all these thoughts and they started to slow down.
They started to slow down so much that I could watch them come and go and the time in-between these thoughts started to increase.
In Zazen meditation instead of trying to control the breath we simply watch and observe it without judgement. As I started to watch my breath I was able to follow it along every second of the inhale and exhale, hearing the slight ocean sound of my breathing and only feeling my chest and belly rising and falling slowly. Everything else in my body was still, mind, eyes, hands, body, the only thing moving at all was the breath. In that moment it was as if everything else melted away and I was just a floating breath as the universe breathed in and out of me.
It did take me a while in my meditation practice to reach this point. Meditation has always benefitted me mentally, even when I would only do minutes at a time, but something about the time slot of an hour allows me the space to really let go. The more awake you are the more Satori experiences you can have. Here are a few interesting quotes about Satori from some very well respected and enlightened beings: — D.
It does not have any intellectual reasoning or conclusion to it. This concept transcends the barrier of logic. Satori alone though is not enough to be considered enlightenment or Nirvana, it is simply the stepping stone and catalyst to create motion and hints of understanding.
The more Zazen is practiced and Satori is experienced, the more we start to enter Enlightenment.
When enough of these pieces are blown away and the sky is totally blue and sunny, this is when we have reached enlightenment.
The sky is blue and sunny you say!! You look around at the world below you and you see conflict and war, beauty and discovery. You can see the bad and good in other people, in situations but you do not let them effect you. While you can see all these mishappenings and judgements of the outside world, you have a strong enough consciousness to make your own choices and follow your own spirit despite what is going on out there.
You perceive everything with equanimity, seeing the oneness of it all, the yin and the yangs without any judgement or fear but while you see the truth, you still have not moved beyond the physical world. Nirvana: To be in Nirvana is to move past being and non-being, you are neither, you are both. You are past oneness, past birth and dying, and do not even perceive of duality or distinction any longer.
You enter, permanent bliss. Stop considering things with your memory, imagination or reflection. For years there had been no self at all, yet here on this road, everything was myself, and I was driving through me to arrive where I already was.
In essence, I was going nowhere because I was everywhere already. The infinite emptiness I knew myself to be was now apparent as the infinite substance of everything I saw. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians.
I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons.
When this happens our grip on the exterior world loosens as we go inside to reveal that we are apart of everything. We can now choose to create our own happiness as we have complete control over our mind and emotions totally unaffected by the world outside our self. When we are in this state we can intelligently identify when suffering arises and have enough concentration to diminish it upon its arrival.
When these emotional states of suffering or pain come up we can keep these emotions contained in the body while using awareness to keep the choices of the mind unaffected. By letting other people or experiences rock your inner waters you are giving up control over your own life.
Meditation is a form of concentration cultivation to give you enough power to take back control of your state of mind freely. We can test these waters in our everyday interactions with other people and ourself.
How much do you let the words or actions of others affect your mood? Perhaps the Emperor thinks to trap Bodhidharma by identifying a voice of authority, but Bodhidharma says, not Zen. There is no voice of authority in Zen. From these more or less unimpressive exchanges the entire lineage of Zen is born, a lineage of Questions and Answers, a lineage of skeptical and annoying 6 students, a lineage of even more irritating, vague, and disinterested Masters, a lineage of revolution against institutionalized beliefs and rote answers, against wisdom and compassion, against teachings and all that.
Nowadays Zen is rather uncommon despite the wide use of the word by a great many well-meaning religious people who know a great deal about their faiths and beliefs but nonetheless have no Zen. While I havent read everything, it is interesting to note that both Huang Po and Joshu, two of the Masters who will walk along with us in this not Zen conversation, single out Bodhidharma as the beginning of the Zen lineage.
These Masters do not point to Buddha. From the days when Bodhidharma first transmitted naught but the One Mind, there has been no other valid Dharma. Zen is no more Zen Buddhism than it is Zen Bodhidharma-ism.
There is little historical evidence supporting the Indian lineage that links Bodhidharmas teachers to the Buddha himself. People will tell you that there was Zen in India of course, and they believe it. Some Masters refer to this lineage, like Ummon, who uses it as part of a fairytale. There is little historical evidence for the Buddha Flower koan where Buddha transmits Zen by holding up a flower. Does this matter at all to Zen?
All the lineages and the koans are just stories. There is no reason to believe in any of them or take them any more seriously than a runny nose. Some Masters refer to this koan, so clearly what is true is irrelevant to whatever it is that Zen Masters point to.
After the last Patriarch, there followed a succession of Masters that, along with the Patriarchs, I refer to as the old men. The only authority in these old men is their reporting of what they said, that they said it, and that they didnt say something else.
That they said anything doesnt make it true. Nearer the end of a particularly popular period for Zen was a Master named Mumon. He compiled a very short list of Cases, or koans, which are basically fragments of conversations with Zen Masters. Mumon also wrote a brief comment on each Case as instruction to the novices. As added instruction Mumon also wrote a short poem about each Case.
Throughout the history of Zen there seems to have been a great many Masters who liked to compose verses. Mumon was something of a comedian, so there is no reason to take any of what he says seriously even though he was one of the in famous Masters. There is a particularly inspiring map of the Zen lineage from Fergusons Zen Chinese Heritage over at 8 Southmountaintours. Who knows if any of them were Masters? For every Zen Master there have been, there are, ten thousand people who use the title and believe, out of faith, they know what it means.
Mumons book is called Mumonkan, and it is a delightful collection of nonsense. Any discussion of Zen that doesnt include at least one Master from the Mumonkan is likely not a discussion about Zen but a discussion about the Buddhist religion. Generally those who start with Mumonkans Masters and Bodhidharma are talking about Zen and those that start with Buddha or Dogen or Zazen sitting meditation can be broadly described as belonging to the religions of Buddhism, not only because of what they claim, but also because of how they claim it.
The Four Statements of Zen At some point several one liners from various sources were compiled into a starting point, a sort of introduction, to Zen conversations. These so called Four Statements of Zen are not authoritative, they are more like a greeting card version of a koan. Nevertheless there are a great many people who think they are studying Zen but have never heard of these Four Statements, and even more tellingly, these people would not agree at all that these Four Statements summarize what they are studying.
This is one clue that someone is not studying Zen at all, but one of the Buddhisms. Suzuki: 1 A special transmission outside the Scriptures, 2 Not depending upon the letter, 3 But pointing directly to the Mind; and 4 Leading us to see the Nature itself, thereby making us attain Buddhahood. There are different translations, and all of them are interesting in their own way.
For example, not depending on words and sentences is a different interpretation of the second line. When D. Seeing yourself clearly is the idea, not seeing the self when it is doing something like studying scriptures, not seeing the self when you are doing something like pretending to be not doing something like meditation.
Not seeing the self in terms of past or future or dreams or interests or desires or opinions. We are speaking of the self before your parents were born. That self.
Sometimes the fourth statement that ends with attain Buddhahood is translated as A freedom arising from seeing into the self-nature but I forget where I read that.
The problem for most of us is that there is no agreement about what a Buddha is among the many Buddhisms, and of course no one will say among the old men. What the old men said What follows is a taste of the Zen we are talking about here.
If none of these are familiar to you, welcome to Zen! Zen is 10 not whatever it is that you have been taught about.
Sometimes these old men called Zen by other names. Sometimes they talk about it as the Way there are a thousand paths, but only one Way sometimes they talked about it as the only real Dharma there isnt one sometimes they talked about it as the real Buddhism, free of any teaching and beyond any sort of idea.
Zen Masters use Taoist language and Buddhist language because it was the context of the culture. This Zen conversation began long before Dogen taught Zazen meditation, long after Buddha, long before Western Buddhism, just about where Bodhidharma spoke to the Emperor.
Mumon was a Zen Master who, rather unusually, wrote about Zen. Mumon said this about it: For the practical study of Zen, you must pass the barriers set up by the masters of Zen.
The attainment of this mysterious illumination means cutting off the workings of the ordinary mind completely. If you have not done this and passed the barrier, you are a phantom among the undergrowth and weeds.
Now what is this barrier? The old men will give you some medicine for this knowing sickness. Astute students will no doubt notice that I did not faithfully reproduce Blyths quote in the paragraph above, instead translating Mu as No. A conversation about Mu will likely require a special section of its own on account of all the Mu worshipping that goes on here in the West.
While Blyth was not a Zen Master he had a particular fondness for them. He collected many quotes from them in his four volume series titled Zen and Zen Classics. So those who seek the Way must enter it with the suddenness of a knife-thrust. Many religions have enlightenments that are a particular attainment or experience, but these are not Zen. Goso said, "When you meet a man of the Way on the way, do not greet him with words; do not greet him with silence; tell me, how will you greet him?
If you have heard of this Zen, then you cannot help yourself. If you havent, then no doubt this sort of injunction will confuse you.
When Bankei was preaching at Ryumon temple, a Shinshu priest, who believed in salvation through the repetition of the name of the Buddha of Love, wanted to debate with him. Bankei was in the midst of a talk when the priest appeared, but the fellow made such a disturbance that Bankei stopped his discourse and asked about the noise.
Can you do such a thing? My miracle is when I am hungry I eat, and when I am thirsty I drink. They are always quoting each other, such jokers! The part about it being a miracle though, thats serious. If you do not understand this miracle, likely you have been taught to think Zen is something. Now, when it turns out not to be, you find you have confused yourself.
Have some tea, it will pass. Joshu said, Obviously it is great practice. The monk said, Its not yet clear to me; do you practice or not? Joshu said, I wear cloths and eat food. The monk said, Wearing clothes and eating food are ordinary things. Its still not clear to me; do you practice or not? Joshu said, You tell me, what am I doing every day? Even back in Joshus day monks wanted to know about the personal habits of Zen Masters, part of their idea being that if you do what a Zen Master does then you can experience their enlightenment.
Enlightenment doesnt come from doing anything in particular, even if you meditate and pretend that you arent doing anything to confuse everyone. Anything you do every day that is not ordinary is practice, and there is no practice in Zen.
You cant make something ordinary by pretending for long enough, but it might seem like it. Some will argue that their practice has become what they do every day and is therefore not to be distinguished from ordinary. This is a delightful error because it assumes that very thing it is trying to prove The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen. Mu-nan called him into his room.
Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I also have added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable and I am giving it to you to represent your successor ship. I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals.
He had no lust for possessions. Mu-nan who never had been angry before yelled: 'What are you doing? Whenever the teacher distinguishes himself from the students, this is not Zen. Often there was a place for the Master to sit when he received people. Was it a throne? Often there was a podium used by speakers to address the monks, but some Zen Masters never used it.
The same robes, the same food, the same work. Zen Masters were just like everyone else. Nowadays, many Buddhists and Dogen Buddhism followers like to have certificates and badges and all the trappings of organized religions.
This is not Zen. Its not a reason to hate, but its not Zen. Asked by a monk, "What is the doctrine that transcends all Buddhas and Masters? Again Ummon held up the staff, saying, "The doctrine transcending the teachings of all the Buddhas and masters - was not that what you asked me about? When he was asked a question he answered with Zen. Zen has no doctrine, no dogma.
What was Ummon teaching? If anyone wants to explain it to you, slap them soundly. Nansen replied, Yes. What is this truth, asked the monk, which no one has so far taught? Nansen answered, It is not mind; it is not Buddha, it is not things. Mumonkan, Case 27 All the time people go to teachers and ask their questions and the teacher gives them something and the people go about their business, clutching what was given to them. Tell me, what did Nansen give the monk?
Relinquishment of everything is the Dharma, and he who understands this is a Buddha, but the relinquishment of all delusions leaves no Dharma on which to lay hold. Some will say this, but then teach you a dharma anyway. This is called, mouthing the words. If you understand the first word of Zen You understand the last; But these two words Are not one word. A good question! Now, make your bow and depart. Rinzai and Fuke once went to a vegetarian banquet given in their honor by a local supporter.
Rinzai presented a koan to Fuke while they were eating. Does this happen by means of supernatural powers, or is the whole body like this?
Fuke responded to the koan by kicking over the table. You ruffian! What place is this to speak of rough and refined? Fuke countered. The next day they again went out together to a supporters luncheon, and Rinzai opened the discussion, saying, How does todays meal compare with yesterdays?
Fuke kicked over the table again, and Rinzai said, You certainly understand it, but youre still a ruffian. This time Fuke replied, You blind man; what are you doing preaching roughness and fineness in the Buddha-Dharma!
Rinzai countered by sticking out his tongue, an old Chinese expression of admiration. Rinzai enjoyed lunching with Fuke, but how many others would? Mostly we have people who mouth the words and sit staring vacuously into space in search of purity or compassion or peace. They should invite me to lunch.
Buddhism is not Zen If you accept the Buddha-Vehicle, which is the doctrine transmitted by Bodhidharma, you will not speak of such things [as the Three Vehicles] but merely point to the One Mind which is without identity or difference, without cause and effect. Peacock is a secular Buddhist, which is only slightly more popular than being a Zen Master, although the two are in no way related in contrast Buddhist Masters are very popular.
Peacock discussed the invention of the word Buddhism in the early s, by a travel blogger visiting the East for the first time. The blogger thought that all those who preached "the Dharma" were talking about the same "Dharma". The reality is rather different, Zen Masters never considered themselves "Buddhists" at all, explicitly rejecting other Dharmas.
This is surprisingly easy to confirm, and even more surprisingly completely unacknowledged by most Western Buddhists. Peacock says that his reading of early Buddhist texts suggests that there is no common denominator that binds all of these various Eastern religious ideologies together, other than the name itself.
Not only is Buddhism an English word and a Western idea, but more to the point Zen is not a religion or a philosophy, nor is the group of religions and philosophies called Buddhism definite enough to make a claim on Zen beyond the use of common cultural words and ideas or geographic origins.
On a side note, there is a sort of rule of thumb I use in wandering around investigating people who use the word Zen. Those that say their lineage begins with Bodhidharma, as Joshu and Huang Po did, these might be following some Zen Master.
There was no word for Buddhism back in their time, but collectively many of these Buddhists talked about the same thing: preaching the Dharma.
Those who preach the Dharmas they believe come from the Buddha will claim a lineage to Buddha. Those who preach a Dharma from Bodhidharma say their lineage begins there. Not terribly scientific, but then I do not authenticate, I irritate. The second sort of Buddhism is not Zen is even vaguer. In the West there are a great many people who believe in karma, reincarnation, meditation, compassion, the eightfold path, and these sorts of ideas associated with Buddha.
Zen has nothing to do with any of that. Pick up any book of sayings by an old Master and you will find the old man throwing that business out with both hands.
Zen is not Buddhism. The third sort of Buddhism is not Zen is the Eastern Buddhisms that call themselves Zen Buddhism, arriving here from places like Thailand and Malaysia. These Buddhisms call themselves Zen Buddhism Dogen Buddhism , but there is no mention of the lineage of the old men, no reference to their teachings, no compatibility between this Dogen Buddhism and the 21 Zen lineage from Bodhidharma. These Dogen Buddhism teach loving compassion, not what Huang Po teaches, compassion really means not conceiving of sentient beings to be delivered.
These are the general problems with associating Zen with Buddhism, but there are a few significant points that are useful in illustrating just how much the Buddhisms, in any form, are not Zen. No good and evil in Zen Buddhism is in one way or another concerned with preferring some kinds of intents or behavior over others. Any internet search of Buddhism Good Evil will produce a wide variety of perspectives on the subject in line with the argument that there isnt one Buddhism, but rather a heterogeneous mixture of Buddhisms.
I will deftly sidestep this problem by focusing on the act of differentiation itself, without which notions of good and evil cannot be used, cannot in fact be imagined. To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind16 - 3rd Patriarch aka 3P Good and evil are really, at the end of the day, stuff that somebody said I like this, I dont like that.
Maybe it was God, maybe it was Buddha, maybe it was The Man, who cares?