Zen meditation is an ancient Buddhist tradition that dates back to the Tang Dynasty in 7th century China. From its Chinese origins it spread to Korea, Japan and other Asian lands where it continues to thrive. The Japanese term “Zen” is a derivative of the Chinese word Ch’an, itself a translation of the Indian term dhyana, which means concentration or meditation.
Zen meditation is a traditional discipline which can be practiced by new and seasoned meditators alike. One of the many benefits of Zen meditation is that it provides insight into how the mind works. As with other forms of meditation, your Zen practice can benefit you in many ways, including providing a tool to help cope with depression and anxiety issues. The deepest purpose is personal awareness and spiritual growth. The practice of Zen meditation uncovers the inner clarity and workability of the mind. In Zen, experiencing this original nature of mind is experiencing awakening.
Zen Meditation Benefits
Zen meditation involves observing and letting go of the thoughts and feelings that arise in the mind stream, as well as developing insight into the nature of body and mind. ZEN meditation also focusses on relaxation and stress relief.
Zen meditation can be used to delve much deeper. Zen tackles deep-rooted issues and general life questions that often seem to lack answers, and it does so based on practice and intuition rather than study and logic.
All schools of Zen practice the sitting meditation called ‘zazen’ where one sits upright and follows the breath, especially the movement of the breath within the belly. Some schools of Zen also practice with koans, a type of spiritual riddle that is presented by a Zen meditation master to the student, to help them overcome their rational limitations so as to glimpse the truth beyond rationality.
A popularly quoted and famous koan is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”.
Rather than offering temporary solutions to life’s problems, Zen and other forms of meditation look to address core issues. The practice of meditation brings awareness to the cause of the unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
I believe the true key to happiness and well-being isn’t wealth or fame – it lies within us.
On the everyday level, Zen trains the mind to achieve calmness. those who meditate are also able to reflect with better focus and more creativity. Improved physical health is another benefit: people who practice regularly report lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and stress, better immune systems, more restorative sleep, and other improvements.
I have been meditating since 1976, that is when I learned Transcendental Meditation, now I use ZEN meditation every day.
One of my favourite books about meditation is “Practical Meditation” by Giovanni Dienstmann we will be having ‘How To Meditate” in an upcoming ZEN Way program.
We can use all of our experiences to get in touch with our deeper nature. One of openness, joy, love, oneness.
Here is an interesting article by the BBC