Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Instructions for seated Zen (video)

Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Yokoji Zen Mountain Center (zmc.org/Yokoji Zen Mountain Center/youtube.com); text Abbot Muho Noelke, Antaiji (YouTube), Dogen-ji

Zen meditation instruction from Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, a Zen Buddhist training facility
What is zazen good for?
Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 (1200-1253)
The answer is simple: Zazen isn’t good for anything.

We are always looking for something. Some chase after money, others want love or sex. We study to get a good job, make a career, and become a “success.” But in the end -- what do we really want?

I think what we are really looking for is “happiness.” We miss that feeling of being truly happy and satisfied. The crazy thing is that the more we chase after happiness, the farther away it seems to escape us. Did we not only lose sight of happiness, but also of ourselves long ago?

Zen in the city (mwaltonphoto/flickr)
The harder we try to be happy, the less we understand what happiness actually means. Have we forgotten that we actually have all we need in this moment? Maybe happiness isn’t waiting for us somewhere “on the other side” but is right here and now?

Let’s just stop for a moment. Stop chasing, stop running away. When we practice zazen... More

How to sit
Yokoji ZMC (zmc.org), situated in the mountains of California, has affiliates in Long Beach, Pasadena, and Redlands; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona. The video above contains instructions on seated meditation (zazen) in various positions like full-lotus, half-lotus, Burmese, kneeling, and using a chair with tips on breathing and how to go in to and out of meditation periods.

Zen instructions
Practicing Zen means zazen. A quiet place is most suitable for doing zazen. Place a thick mat on the floor.

Ancient sages sat on the diamond seat or on a large rock. They all laid grass thickly and sat on it. 

Do not allow drafts or mist to enter the room. Do not allow rain or dew to leak in. Protect the place where you sit; keep it in good condition.

Enso (pinteres.com)
Keep the place where you sit well-lit. It should not be dark either during the day or at night. It is essential that it be warm in winter and cool in summer.

Let go of all relations, and set all affairs at rest. Do not think of good; do not think of evil.

Zazen has nothing to do with the function of [discursive thinking] intellect, volition, or consciousness, nor with memory, imagination, or contemplation. Do not seek to become a buddha. More

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change"
- Charles Darwin

Introduction to actual practice
(Ptyica) Zen: Introduction to Zen Practice (full version) with Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi with subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, German, Danish, Italian, and Hungarian (by turning on caption option on lower left of player).

(OneDropZen.org) This is a short film for beginners about Zen Buddhist meditation by Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi, who is the abbot of Sogen-ji Zen monastery in Okayama, Japan.

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