The term Zen Buddhists use for meditation is zazen, which simply means “seated meditation.” Zazen is a practice of dis-covering (i.e. literally the opposite of covering up) and a place of refuge where we turn inward for peace, for answers to the deepest questions of life, and to foster wisdom, love, and compassion in our lives.
For twenty-five hundred years the practice of Zen meditation and the essence of Buddhism has been passed from teacher to disciple. The method of this practice is simple and direct. However, like any discipline, knowing of it is not enough; zazen requires time and effort sitting on the cushion, training with mind, and doing the work that leads to transformation.
In Soto Zen, we use the method known as shikantaza, or “serene reflection.” The meditation involves staying alert, aware and still, and “just sitting.” Zazen brings a state of stable, focused concentration by the act of repeatedly bringing the mind back to the present. It is an objectless method of meditation, simple and straightforward, but radical in its acceptance of conditions. This meditation helps us see our minds clearly, for there is nothing to do. We become intimate with our human condition and how our habit patterns effect our present moment.
Through stillness and seeing our mind clearly an awareness of the impermanent nature of our mind arises along with a confidence in how things are. Thoughts, feelings, patterns, ideas, etc. can be noticed as temporal against the limitless ground of mind itself. The practice of Zen is a direct method of finding this place of real truth within ourselves, and learning to function with this wisdom.
Bringing the stillness, curiousity, and awareness to everyday activity.