Zen Buddhism is a form of religion that took root in Japan. It was carried over by Chinese monks. This form of Buddhism stresses the practice of meditation. The word “Zen” was derived from the Chinese Ch’an which in turn was derived from the Sanskrit word Dhyana which means meditation.
What is Zen Buddhism?- It would be impossible to fully encapsulate the philosophy of Zen Buddhism in one paragraph. Putting it simply however Zen practitioners believe that full understanding of reality and the universe is impossible just by using reason alone. Other methods have to be used in order to come to an understanding. They have singled out the practice of meditation as the best of attaining this understanding of the Universe. Because of this they are closely related to the ancient Hindu practitioners in India who consider meditation as one of the three major components for coming to understand reality. Also a great part of the reason why they have picked meditation is because that was the method by which the Gautama Buddha was able to attain his own self-realization.
To the practitioners of Zen Meditation emphasizes it over the study of scriptures, devotional service, good deeds and religious ceremonies as the true path for gaining true knowledge.
How to Practice Zen Meditation?- The practice of Zen meditation should be done under the guidance of a teacher. If you can not undergo classes under a real Zen meditation teacher then here are some steps that you can try in order to start meditating:
1. Wear clothes that are loose and will not restrict your movements in any way.
2. Find a spot in your house where you can not be disturbed. Place your pillow on the ground.
3. Sit down on the pillow and allow your knees to come in contact with the floor. There are various ways that you can sit during meditation but the important thing is that you remain comfortable because you need to hold that for a long period of time.
4. Make sure that your back is straight. This is an important point in almost any form of meditation because it allows the diaphragm to fully function as you breath.
5. Keep your mouth closed and try to push your tongue to your palette which will reduce your need to swallow which can be distracting.
6. Start breathing deeply with a rhythm.
7. Start moving your body in circular motion gently and try to make the circumference of the circle smaller with each pass.
8. Start counting your breathing until you reach ten and when you do start all over again. This will help to keep your mind occupied and will help in preventing it from wandering away.
9. Don’t feel frustrated if thoughts enter your mind. Just let them run its course as you practice more and more the intrusions will lessen and you will be able to concentrate.
As I have mentioned this form of meditation is best done under the guidance of a teacher.So if you are really interested then you should exert some effort in finding one.