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Zenshuuyou-no-Shaka Mudra

What is Zazen?

Zazen is sitting meditation. It is the dimension of thought in which there is no individual consciousness.


                                  While sitting in Zazen, one must:

l Have the legs crossed in Lotus position (right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh with soles        upward) or with both feet underneath or a half Lotus.

l Have the back straight.

l Have the hands cradled on the lap with both thumbs touching or one hand on each knee, palms up        with the thumb and Index fingers touching or palms down with thumb and Index fingers touching.

l Begin deep breathing slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

l Not be contemplating on anything. There is no-thought in Zazen. If one begins to think of something,        they must let it go like a cloud passing by.

Zazen is sometimes practiced with a candle, where students focus on the flame with half closed eyes, seeing the flame as a starburst.

It can also be done by focusing on your deep breathing, counting backwards with every exhale, starting at 99 then 98 and 97.. Just focusing on one thing helps train the mind, assisting a beginner to acheive Mushin (no-mind, no-thought, original mind. a mind not fixed upon anything).

As the Tibetan singing bowl is struck, Zazen begins.. and when you hear the sound of the small Tibetan bell ringing, you know that Zazen is almost over.

At Genshin Ki Dojo Zazen is often practiced for 5 minutes after stretching to help students clear their minds. Looking at it through this perspective will help you see the benifits:

Imagine the mind as a large chalkboard. When you wake up in the morning it has some markings on it, but is somewhat clean. As the day progresses every thought marks the board. Weather it's planning something or doing daily tasks at work, anything and everything puts another mark on the board. Some people have boards that haven't been cleaned in months!

While sitting in Zazen, even for only 5 minutes you begin to take the eraser to your chalkboard. You give the conscious mind a rest and clean it of not most thoughts, but all thoughts. When students are finished with Zazen, since the chalkboards are now clean, the instructor begins teaching. Every technique is written on a fresh clean chalkboard.

You see, by clearing your mind of everything (erasing your chalkboard) you allow new material to easily be remembered and are focusing only on the moment and what is being taught in class. Meditation helps reduce stress and will dramatically increase your awareness level.

It is recommended that students practice Zazen on a daily basis at home. Remember, if you see benifits with only 5 minutes of Zazen, imagine the benifits of practicing 20 minutes a day.. Clean your board every morning or every night - or if you like, clean it morning and night!

Remember, Zazen is a must in the 50/50 training balance.