ZEN walking mediation: does am equivalent exist in other Buddhist traditions? If so, what is it?

I was thinking about walking meditation (Kinhin) in Zen Buddhism.
Does an equivalent exist in other Buddhist traditions (meditation to be practiced not in a sitting posture)?
If so, which ones?

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture

Walking Meditation in Theravada Practice

Here in Dallas we have (among many others) a Thai (Dhammayut) Temple where the weekly meditation class for Westerners consists of ~20 min sitting, ~15 min walking, ~20 min sitting.

I have found that sitting before my walk, my mind is much less cluttered. Then sitting again, I'm much better able to focus.

When the monks chant with the laity, we also do the Evening Chanting, followed by 30-40 min sitting, followed by a closing chant of dedication of merit. Chanting before I meditate, again I'm less distracted.
Chanting after meditating, same result.

For the times I've gone to both in the same night, that is chanting and meditation with the monks prior to the meditation class for Westerners, the second hour passes much more quickly and effortlessly than the first.

I have the same experience if I do Tai Chi before I sit or sit before I do Tai Chi, one gets me into the frame of the mind for the other better than one form of practice alone.


Cankama Sutta


I know walking meditation is frequently mentioned and taught during meditation courses by teachers of the Theravadin tradition.

It will be interesting to note that the following is from the Cankama Sutta:

"Monks, there are these five benefits of walking up & down. What five?

One is fit for long journeys; one is fit for striving; one has little disease; that which is eaten, drunk, chewed, tasted, goes through proper digestion; the composure attained by walking up & down is long-lasting.

These, monks, are the five benefits of walking up & down."

pspitze's picture

Theravada Walking Meditation


Yes, I believe you will find forms of walking meditation in other Buddhist traditions. I know that this Theravada monk (http://www.youtube.com/user/yuttadhammo) often mentions and talks about how to practice walking meditation.

Personally, I prefer it to sitting meditation, as I find my focus to be stronger when doing a walking meditation. I trust as I practice more, my focus will become just as strong while sitting, but for now walking give me a better result.



Re: Chan (Zen) sect - walking meditation.


I want to share with you all my little experience in a Chan retreat in the Caotung Sect. The pre-requisite is that we have to empty our minds of all the problems in work, family, etc....etc. It last about 7 days. No talking and absolute control of our six senses.

Every morning we get up at 3.00a.m. when the bell strike. We have to quickly brush our teeth and wash our face and go down to the meditation hall to meditate in a sitting position facing the hall (place is allocated one day earlier)Each session is about 45 minutes to an hour and will be notified by a soft bell. At 5.00 a.m. yoga stretching and exercises will be taught(about an hour) then the morning chanting/or prayers. At 6.45 will be the breakfast bell(strike of the wooden fish)At 8.00a.m. the sitting meditation will continue until lunch at 11.45a.m. and in between you can do your own yoga or going to the toilet. Immediately after lunch, everyone will be asked to do chores like mopping the floor,washing toilets,washing and preparing meals and so on. This chores will continue for the whole seven days. At 1.00 noon, the sitting meditation will start again until 3.00p.m. Then the master will gather all of us to form a circle and do slow walking exercise our hands clasp in front of our navel and do concentration on the leg where we are standing (Not on the lifting one)We have to be mindful how the leg move and shift the concentration to the other leg(always on the standing one)After sometime the master will strike his board and we a supposed to walk as normal. With another strike of the board we are supposed to run and the master will shout "faster, faster....." At one stage when running very fast, suddenly the mind becomes free and the legs just continue running very fast without much effort. (I did not experience this yet)The next strike of the board then one will have to walk briskly and with another strike one can rest and do whatever we like. The dinner bell will strike and those wanting dinner will carry on and those who do not take dinner can have hot drinks and have their baths. At 7.00p.m. our master will give dharma talk for an hour. Then sitting meditation until 10.30p.m. and is allowed to go to sleep.

On alternate mornings we are allowed to ask questions from the master and also guide us if we meet problems. I find that our master is very experienced because I sometimes cannot solved but letting him know, he will give instructions and then when we follow, we find that the problem is solved. In-situ! - very good ! Sometimes he give us a "koan" and strike us on the back if we happen to fall asleep!

This is my little experience in a Chan retreat. Thank-you.