Zen Meditation

It is very interesting to study Japanese Buddhism. Among the subject in Japanese Buddhism, Zen Buddhism is a form of Mahāyāna Buddhism found in China, Korea and Japan. It lays special emphasis on meditation, and direct discovery of the Buddha-nature. Zen emphasizes rigorous meditation-practice, self-control and insight into the nature of things. By practicing Zen meditation, it will eradicate ten defilements. The two main sects of Zen Buddhism are Rinzai and Soto. Whatever differences there are between the practitioners of the two schools in regard to the linguistic articulation of their meditational experience, they arise from an individual practitioner’s personality, disposition and intellectual capacity.The essence of Zen Buddhism is summed up as follows:
“Look into the mind and you will find Buddhahood.”
The meditation practice of Zen is the heart of Zen. Therefore, the basic teaching of Zen Buddhism is the way to attain Enlightenment.

Just Sitting: The Zen Practice of Shikantaza

Once or twice a day, I sit facing a wall in my home. I just sit. I sit for twenty minutes, a half-hour, sometimes more. But I just sit. I sit and think not thinking; I do that by non-thinking.

This is the Zen practice of shikantaza, or “just sitting.” You sit, cross-legged if you can, and let your mind alone. When you stop thinking, you reach a point of non-thinking. It’s one of the typical paradoxes of Zen that makes your brain try and twist around those words, “not,” “non-” and “thinking” to figure out what they mean.

Unlike other forms of meditation, shikantaza doesn’t involve concentrating on an object, such as your breath or a mantra. It is “objectless meditation,” where you focus on everything you experience – thoughts, sounds, feelings – without attaching to any of them. When you get there, you know what it is.

The thing about just sitting is that you can do it anywhere. I do it in trains, planes and busses; in doctors’ offices, dentists’ chairs, and I’ve even done it in MRIs. I do it outside on the patio, or on a couch. You can do it anywhere; all it takes is the intention of just sitting. Don’t worry about the noise around you; you’ll get used to letting that just fade away too.

Even if you don’t want to “meditate,” you can try just sitting as a way of unplugging your mind from the myriad distractions we face during the day. It only takes a few minutes, it doesn’t cost anything, and you really can do it anywhere. The great thing about just sitting is that you can do it no matter what your beliefs are. Whether you’re a Buddhist, Christian, Muslim or atheist, just sitting can fit in your worldview. Even if you don’t want to meditate, you may find that just sitting for a few minutes every day – free of distraction – will clear your mind.