Meditation Techniques

The forms of practice and  Meditation Techniques 
are very simple and easy to learn.


In the dharma room, the forms of practice are done together and uniformly. Our practice supports the practice of others:
We go ahead with the same rhythm, sing together and sit quietly until the end of the sitting  time.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what form of practice we do, we are focused on what we are doing at that moment:
When we are early – only early, when we sing – we only sing, when we sit – we just sit. that’s it.

Sitting meditation
Sitting practice is a very specific technique, unique to a small number of meditation schools. In Zen it is the central technique in our practice.

Singing Meditation (Chanting)
When we chant together our mind becomes one. It’s like the sea. When the wind comes there are many waves, when the wind dies down, the waves are small.

Bowing
Our bows eliminate our karma mind, the thinking mind, and help to return to this moment in a very clear way – to find my true mind and save all beings from suffering. Practicing bowing is therefore very important.

Walking meditation
We focus our attention on what we are doing at that moment – that is, only on walking, the movement of our body and what is happening around at that moment.

Kong-An Practice
A Kong-An is an experiential tool that helps us cut through our thinking, to experience reality in a clear and simple way. It is an essential part of our practice.

Zen in everyday life
Since lay people (working and family people) cannot sit in meditation for all hours of the day, the heart of Zen practice has become a form of practice in everyday life.
“Practice Zen in everyday life” means to practice “mind sitting”. “Sitting mind” means a mind that does not move.

Walking meditation
Walking meditation, similar to sitting meditation, we put our attention on what we are doing at that moment – that is, only walking, the movement of our body and what is happening around us at that moment. Everything is natural and free, no effort is needed.

 

 

 

 

Sitting meditation

Originally in China and Korea meditation was the exclusive domain of monks.
When meditation arrived in the West, this situation changed. Nowadays, alongside monks, people who work every day for a living also practice.
Since lay people cannot sit in meditation all hours of the day, the heart of Zen practice is the practice in everyday life.
“Practicing Zen in everyday life” means practicing “mind sitting”.  How do we maintain a mind that does not move?
We put down our opinion, conditions and situation from moment to moment. When we do something, we do only that, we concentrate on doing the same thing one hundred percent.
Sitting practice is a very specific technique, unique to a small number of meditation schools. In Zen it is the central technique in our practice.

A Zen Master was asked about the meditation technique where we breathe into our center which is in the lower abdomen. (‘Dantian’, or ‘dan tian’)
Zm: The literal meaning of “Zen” is meditation. But in our school we don’t really have a meditation technique. We throw the student into the water, there are indeed a few “lifeguards” standing around the pool in case of need, but we trust the original true nature of the student to know what to do…

Basically, what we are trying to do is return to ourselves, to our natural and whole state. We sometimes do this in the beginning by looking at the “Dan Tian,” (our energy center located in the lower abdomen and also sometimes called the “energy garden” ‘tan t’ien’)

Dantian Energy Center Meditation

Each of us has our own way of expressing our “unreal self” in order to survive in the world. It works, we all have our little niche that we have created for ourselves, but it also brings with it a lot of suffering, because of a host of elements that accompany it such as comparison, shame and more.
Our job is to return to something natural, authentic and simple. Bringing attention to dan tian helps us do this, because it helps bring our energy down, to a place through which we are connected to the rest of the universe, not separate.

How to practice sitting meditation

sitting meditation
chanting meditation

Chanting

One evening, after the drama talk at the Zen Center in New York, a student asked Zen Master Zen Master Seung Sahn, “Why do we chant?” Isn’t it enough to sit? Zen Master Zen Master Seung Sahn said “This is a very important matter. We bow together, chant together, eat together, sit together and do many other things together here at the Zen Center. Why do we practice together?” Everyone has different karma. Each person has different situations, conditions, and opinions.

One person is a monk, another person is a student, another works in a factory, one constantly keeps a clear mind, the other is constantly disturbed or dissatisfied, one likes the women’s movement, the other does not. But everyone thinks my opinion is the most correct! Even Zen masters are like that.

For 10 Zen Masters, there will be 10 different teaching methods, and each Zen Master will think that his method is the best. Americans have an American view, Asians have an East Asian view. Different opinions result from different actions that create different karma. So when you hold your opinion, it is very difficult to control your karma and your life will remain difficult.

Your wrong opinion will continue and therefore your bad karma will also continue. But in our Zen Center we live together, practice together, and we all obey the rules of the temple. People come to us with lots of “likes” and “dislikes” and gradually disconnect from all of them. Everyone does 108 bows together at 05:30 in the morning, everyone sits meditating together, everyone eats together, everyone works together. Sometimes you don’t feel like bowing but this is one of the rules of the Zen Center so you bow.

Sometimes you don’t want to chant but you chant. Sometimes you are tired and want to sleep, but you know that if you don’t come to sit and meditate, people will wonder why you didn’t come? So you sit.

When we eat, we eat in a traditional way, with 4 bowls, and when we finish eating, we wash the bowls with tea, and use the thumb to clean them. The first few times we ate it like this, no one liked it. One person from a Zen center in Cambridge came to me very angry, “I can’t stand this way of eating”! The tea is filled with garbage! “I can’t drink it”

I said to him “Do you know the Heart Sutra?” “Yes” Doesn’t it say there that things are not tainted or pure? “Yes.” “Then why can’t you drink the tea? ” “Because it’s dirty” (laughter from the audience) “Why is the tea dirty”? Those crumbs are from food you ate. If you think the tea is dirty, it’s dirty. If you think it’s clean, then it’s clean. He replied, “You’re right. I will drink the tea. “

“So we live together and work together.” Acting together means cutting off all my opinions, disconnecting from my situation, disconnecting from my conditions. So our mind becomes empty. We return to a white page. Then our true views our true situation and our true conditions will appear. When we pray together, and sing together and eat together, our mind becomes one.

Clear Mind Meditation

It’s like the sea. When the wind comes there are many waves, when the wind dies down, the waves are small. When the wind stops, the water turns into a mirror, in which everything is reflected – mountains, trees, and clouds. Our minds are the same. When we have many passions and many opinions, there are many waves. But after we sit zen and practice together at the same time, our opinions and desires disappear. The waves become smaller and smaller. Then our mind is like a clear mirror, and everything we see, hear, smell, touch or think is the truth. So, it is very simple to understand the mind of other people. Their mind is reflected in our mind.

” So chanting is very important. At first you won’t understand. But after you chant regularly, you will understand. “Ahhhh chanting has a very good feeling! “It is similar to 108 bows. At first people don’t like it. Why do we bow ?… We do we bow to the Buddha, we bow to ourselves. The small “I” bows to the big “I”. Then the small “I” disappears and becomes “I” , that true bowing, so come practice with us and you will understand very quickly, the student bowed and said “thank you”.

Bowing

Why We Bow
By Zen Master Da-Bong.

Bowing practice means that your body and your mind become one very quickly. Also, it is a very good way to take away lazy mind, desire mind and angry mind.

When you’re sleeping, your body’s laying in your bed, but your mind flies around and goes somewhere. Maybe you go to Las Vegas or you go to the ocean or you go to New York, or some monster is chasing you. Your body’s in bed, but your consciousness already went somewhere. When we wake up, many times, our consciousness and our body don’t quickly connect. So you wander around your house, and drink coffee, you bump into things.

Then slowly, slowly your consciousness and your body again come together. So that’s why, first thing in the morning, we do one hundred and eight bows. Through these one hundred and eight bows, your body and your consciousness become one very quickly. In this way, being clear and functioning clearly is possible.

We always bow one hundred and eight times. One hundred and eight is a number from Hinduism and Buddhism. That means there are one hundred and eight defilements in the mind. Or, sometimes they say one hundred and eight compartments in the mind. Each bow takes away one defilement, cleans one compartment in your mind. So our bowing practice is like a repentance ceremony every morning. In the daytime, in our sleep, our consciousness flies around somewhere. Also, we make something, we make many things in our consciousness. Then, we repent! So we do one hundred and eight bows; that’s already repenting our foolish thinking, taking away our foolish thinking.

Some people cannot sit. Sometimes due to health limitations or they have too much thinking, and if they sit, they cannot control their consciousness. Then, bowing is very good. Using your body in this way is very important.

The direction of bowing is very important. I want to put down my small I, see my true nature and help all beings. So, any kind of exercise can help your body and mind become one, but with just exercise, the direction is often not clear. Sometimes it’s for my health, sometimes it’s for my good looks, sometimes it’s to win a competition, but in Buddhism, everything’s direction is the same point – how to perceive my true nature and save all beings from suffering.

Our bowing takes away our karma mind, our thinking mind, and return to this moment very clearly, want to find my true nature and save all beings from suffering. This is why bowing practice is so important. If somebody has much anger, or much desire, or lazy mind, then every day, 300 bows, or 500 bows, even 1,000 bows, every day. Then their center will become very strong, they can control their karma, take away their karma, and become clear. This helps the practitioner and this world.

Kong-An Practice

Kong-An Practice

Kong-ans (Ch.: kung-an, Jap.: koan, meaning “public case”) have their origin in the records of encounters between Zen practitioners in ancient China. An important part of kong-an practice is the private exchange between teacher and student wherein the teacher checks the student’s grasp of the point of the kong-an. Kong-ans are probably best known for the unusual, seemingly non-rational quality of their questions, language and dialogues, and are not meant to be studied, analyzed or approached conceptually. The kong-an is an experiential tool that helps us cut through our thinking so that we can just perceive and function clearly. It is an essential part of Zen practice.

Here’s a famous example:

A monk asked Joju, “Does a dog have Buddha nature?” Joju answered “Mu.”

That’s the kong-an. Then there are questions connected with the kong-an, for example: “Does a dog have Buddha nature?”

Sometimes the kong-an and the question are the same, for example: “The whole universe is on fire; through what kind of samadhi can you escape from being burned?”

Associated with kong-ans are short commentaries, sometimes in the form of poems.

Some kong-ans go back over 1500 years, others are created spontaneously by the teacher right there in the interview room.

Some Zen schools recommend using the kong-an as the single-pointed focus of meditation. This is not our style. Our kong-an practice has two functions: it helps us keep the correct direction of our practice—only don’t know—and it helps our wisdom to grow. The kong-an will often come up naturally during practice and in our life, so there is no need to make a special effort to hold it. Don’t worry about this. If we practice sincerely, the kong-an interview will take care of itself.

There is an interview room etiquette, involving bows and prostrations. The teacher will help you through it your first time, and as many times as you need afterward.

How to start meditating ?

The best way is to join one of our groups and learn these Meditation Techniques , this helps you get motivation, a strong sense of community and guidance through our teachers 

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