Zen meditation originated in China during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century and got spread to Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. It is a technique of ancient Buddhist tradition. The word ‘Zen’ is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese word ‘Ch’an’ that is a translation of the Indian word ‘Dhyan’. Also known as Zazen or Zen meditation, it means concentration and guides you to live a peaceful life.
It is an ancient Buddhist practice that teaches the working and awakening of the mind.
Zen Meditation: Definition and Benefits
Zen meditation teaches you to focus on the present moment by going deep inside your subconscious mind. It purifies and heals the soul at the emotional and physical level, resulting in a complete transformation.
Can anyone practice Zen meditation?
Yes, people of all religions and cultural backgrounds practice this meditation. You do not need any special qualifications to start practicing it.
Benefits of Zen Meditation
Some of the benefits of practicing Zen meditation are that it:
- Reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and improves blood circulation.
- Improves your posture as you sit straight while practicing meditation. Your muscles become strong, toned, and flexible.
- Improve the quality of sleep, and when you sleep peacefully and deeply, the self-healing power of your body increases. With improved immunity, you do not fall sick often.
- Slows down the aging process by reducing the amount of oxygen consumption.
- Increases intuitive power of the mind that guides you on your life path.
- Aid in developing the mindset for personal and professional success.
- Quiets down the self-talking process of your mind that results in inner peace.
- Increase memory, brainpower, creativity, and awareness.
- Heal you at a physical, mental, and emotional level.
- Make you more lovable and calm.
Top 3 Zen Meditation Techniques
Observation of the Breath
Sit in a straight, attentive, and comfortable position, either on a padded mat or on a chair.
In this, you keep your mouth closed, and your eyes are lowered, gazing on the ground. Some people like to close their eyes, some keep them open, and some half-close.
You direct your focus towards an object, mostly your breath. Concentrate the way it moves in and out of the nose or belly.
You may also count your breaths. Count from 10 to 1, and then start again. If you forget the counting in between, then start counting from 10 again. It is challenging in the beginning, and you might get distracted.
Only focus on your breath.
Start practicing it for only 5 to 10 minutes per day, and then gradually increase its duration. It increases your level of presence and alertness.
Shikantaza (just sitting quietly)
This practice style has been termed shikantaza (just sitting) by the Japanese. It is practiced without using any object and does not focus on a particular point, such as the breath. In this, you learn to allow your thoughts to flow through your mind without any judgment. You allow every thought to just flow without accepting or rejecting it. You, as a meditator, sit in a relaxed position and allow your mind to be the way it is.
Sesshin (Intensive group meditation)
Everyone cannot practice meditation alone. Some people prefer to practice it in groups. In this form of Zen meditation, people practice it in groups at the temple or meditation centers. Sometimes it is also accompanied by chanting and group reading of Buddha teachings. The Japanese call this technique sesshin. It is an intensive meditation, and meditators practice it in a sitting position. Every session is of around 30 to 60 minutes. There are short breaks, meals, and walking meditation between every session.
If you want to live a peaceful life and achieve big goals, then use your time wisely and do not let each day slip away doing nothing productive.
Start practicing Zen meditation. Meditate without a goal and try to avoid distractions. You may feel anxious in the beginning, but with practice, it will become easier with time.
You will learn to control your present and the future.
The meditation practiced discussed above is not the only type of meditation that you can practice. You can choose any kind of meditation according to your comfort.
If you practice Zen meditation, then do share what changes you experienced in your life.
And, if you haven’t practiced it till now, do you now want to practice it?
Let me know your views in the comments below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Preeti Shah