Zen Meditation

A Buddha statue

The term ‘meditation’ manifests into vivid meanings in different traditions. The practice of meditation or ‘dhyana’ originated in India and traveled far and wide with its followers. 

When ‘dhyana’ came to China, it became Ch’an meditation and on traveling far-east to countries like Korea and Japan, it transformed into Zen meditation.

In China, the practice of ‘dhyana’ from India combined with meditative practices of Buddhism and Taoism. Thus, what is today known as “ZEN” is simply a modified pronunciation of the word ‘dhyana’. It is a very simple yet precise method of meditation, where the correct posture is imperative.

ZEN – The Modern Meditation

In Hinduism, the belief says that according to your consciousness, meditation can be used to enhance physical, mental, or spiritual being, as well as to obtain control of the mind.

Buddhists use meditation as a tool to attain NIRVANA. In contrast to the traditional Hindu and Buddhist schools of meditation which use meditation to transcend into a greater being of self, the practice of Zen meditation highlights the need of living in the present.

It enables suspension of all thoughts that bind a person to this world as well as overcome limitations to get a glimpse of the beyond. It is disjoint from religion and focuses on an individual at the core. 

Only about 1200 years old, Zen meditation, often called the meditation for the modern world as the present population around the world uses ZEN as a mean to help coping with depression and anxiety issues.

How to Practice ZEN Meditation

Monks in a monastery

The practice of Zen meditation lays great emphasis on control of breath and correct posture. A pillow or a cushion called ‘zafu’ is used to form a posture for meditation. The practitioner has to form a special posture called the ‘full-lotus position’. However, you can also form a ‘half-lotus position’.

The eyes are kept open and hands placed on thighs with palms turned upwards in ‘Hukkaijoin’ or the cosmic mudra. You can practice Zen meditation while facing a wall or by fixing your gaze on the floor to avoid any distractions. Take care of breathing during practice. Breathing must be calm, long, and natural. 

ZAZEN – The Absolute Nothing

Dogen Zenji, a Buddhist medita­tion master, initiated a special type of ZAZEN meditation. He emphasized on molding the sitting body to act as a container and a meditating mind as its contents. Thus, ZAZEN is simply sitting incorrect ‘full-lotus’ posture and adding absolutely nothing to it. Even the slightest thought of having a ‘NO THOUGHT’ state is non-existent. 

Novice monks by riverside

The Zen meditation focuses on the living holistic body-mind framework. It lays emphasis on the need to maintain the body-mind balance. The mind functions but without any eminence.

Also, the posture of the body and the palms is important. When the practitioner sits in ZAZEN, the desire for ‘enlightenment’ or anything else must be absent. Only then, the creation can experience the creator in the truest form.