Introduction To Zazen

The three elements of zazen
In the words of the sixth patriarch: Outside , to be of pure spirit before making any difference between good and evil, that is called ZA. In it, impassively seeing one’s own nature, that is called ZEN.
In zazen, we adjust our posture, our breathing and our mind. These adjustments of body, breath and spirit are the three elements of zazen.
Before practicing zazen, one must eat in a moderate way and get enough sleep so that the body and mind are fresh and ready. The philosopher Dr. Kitaro Nishida practiced zazen alone in his youth, but zazen is difficult to practice alone. It is recommended to find a serious place where the fon practices zazen and where the fon can receive a good education.

How to sit
To practice zazen, dress in comfortable clothes and sit on a thick cushion, placing your right foot on the left thigh, then your left foot on the right thigh (lotus position), or with only one of your two feet on the thigh (half-lotus position).
Place your right hand, palm up, on the ankles, then your left hand on your right palm. Put your thumbs high above your index fingers.
Straighten your back and stand up straight like a column. Tuck your chin in, keep your eyes half open, and direct your gaze to the ground three feet in front of you. Relax your shoulders and fill your lower abdomen with ki, the energy of life, without straining.

?? i‚S ?? jHokkaijoin: Place the right hand, palm up, on the ankles, then the left hand on the right palm. Join the thumbs high above the index fingers.
Another possibility is to grab the right hand with the left hand.

How to breathe

To adjust your breathing, mentally count your breathing. This method is called “susokukan”. By counting each breath, we manage to regulate the breathing. Count “u – n” as you exhale long and deeply, then breathe in naturally. Count “de-ows” exhaling and inhale. Count “three – is” expiring. Continue in this way until you reach the number ten, then start again from one, and so on, throughout the period of zazen. For the beginner, this method is very effective. It promotes deep concentration.

Breathing is called the fact of exhaling and exhaling. The exhalation is priority and long, the fine exhalation is subordinate and short. Exhalation is therefore dominant and is followed by fine exhalation. The breath does not stay in the mouth, but beyond it takes place in the lower abdomen, called “kikai tanden”, an area four fingers below the navel. It is important that the breath takes place there. Since breathing is the most important condition necessary for life, you should not let it get messy. Be careful to breathe well from the kikai tanden.

Kikai tanden is a Japanese word meaning “sea of ​​lower abdomen ki”. Ki, this is the vital energy. In Japanese, the root ki is used for the words electricity and weather conditions. The same goes for the word good health, literally translated “primordial vital energy”. The ki is born from the kikai tanden. There is the source of life. The lower back is also essential. However, the kikai tanden is very important.

So, concentrating well on each breath, please try to exhale long and deeply. Each time, breathe out through your whole body until the end of the exhalation and until there is no longer any thread in the body. When the fair is exhausted, the fine inhalation kicks in on its own and naturally. Ultimately, breathe c ?? fest live.

Condition the mind

The man cannot stop his breathing for more than five minutes. Even in sleep there is no pause in breathing. If you breathe out each time to the bottom of your lower abdomen, you harmonize your breathing and the mind gradually becomes calm.

It is extremely difficult to calm the mind, but if you practice the zazen method correctly with the right breath, the mind will calm down. And finally you reach a deep concentration, called “zenjo” or “sanmai”. For that, it is necessary that your efforts and your dedication be sincere.

Zen is not something so removed from our daily life. In everyday life, the work of Zen must be done. As we only live one life, we might as well live it fully and give it meaning together.

Clothing for zazen

There are no strict rules on what clothes to wear for zazen, but it is recommended that the threads be comfortable and neutral. Rigid clothes such as a suit and tie do not lend themselves to zazen. Loosen your belt. In general, prefer simple clothes. If you are wearing a Japanese kimono, use a hakama. If you want, you can have clothes made for you that you will only use for zazen, and if you are practicing in a group, it is good to keep the same style for everyone. Thus the appearance of the group will be orderly and pure.
Take off your socks, your watch and, except in special cases, your glasses.

General remarks

To enter the zendo, it is strictly forbidden to use the side where Monjushiri Bosatsu’s foul is located. We use the entrance on the side where the funnel would be. It is a sign of humility not to use the main entrance. As you walk in, put your hands together in a prayer position and bow down. Once inside the zendo, walk silently. The custom is to move forward starting with the left foot, and backward starting with the right foot.

Any unnecessary conversations or greetings are not permitted. When chanting the sutras, please read them in a loud voice from the lower abdomen. Do not chant the sutras at your own pace. We have always said: “Read with your ears”. C ?? fest to say, listen to the chanting of the sutras with your ears wide open and sing along with the group at the funison. It sounds easy, but it is very difficult.

Singing the sutras in chorus is refreshing to the heart, both for those who sing them and for those who feed them. Chanting the sutras is really a good thing.