Zazen, which literally means sitting meditation, is a popular aspect of many Japanese spiritual practices. During the practices you “just sit” (shikantaza) and calm your mind so that you gain a deep understanding about the nature of your own mind. But how do you sit in zazen and what do you actually do once you’re there?
These are questions many people ask, so below is a link to a comprehensive explanation on how to practice zazen, including photo’s on how to sit either in seiza or on a chair.
One of the most important elements in zazen is your posture and your breathing.
In many zazen practices you breathe from your hara (belly) – the center of your being – thus creating a feeling of being centered, open and yet grounded. Hara breathing is a major part of many traditional Japanese Reiki practices, like Joshin Kokyu ho and Seshin Toitsu for example.
In Tendai Buddhism certain forms of zazen are also practiced including the Ceasing and Contemplation Meditation called Zazen Shikan Taza. This complete Tendai meditation can be found in the appendix of The Reiki Sourcebook of which the 2009 edition has been entirely revised, updated and expanded.
“The great Master Dogen said, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.” To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things. Upon his own enlightenment, Buddha was in seated meditation; Zen practice returns to the same seated meditation again and again. For two thousand five hundred years that meditation has continued, from generation to generation; it’s the most important thing that has been passed on. It spread from India to China, to Japan, to other parts of Asia, and then finally to the West. It’s a very simple practice. It’s very easy to describe and very easy to follow. But like all other practices, it takes doing in order for it to happen.”
Video of how to practice Zazen by Gudo Nishijima http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsFlrdXVFgo