Zen Meditation Technique – Practice & Hidded Secret – Free Guided Meditation

Buddha Doing Zen MeditationThe Practice of Zen Meditation – Zazen

The first meditation we will explore in the Free Online Guided Meditation Techniques E-Book is the famous Zen Meditation Technique, also called Zazen or Breath Meditation.  At the end of the meditation script I will reveal the real secret behind this most profound meditation technique.

1

Background of Zen Meditation Technique (Zazen):

This was the meditation technique of Lord Buddha – I should have to say no more in order to motivate you to try this meditation. It is one of the most widely used meditations in the world and is the heart of Zen Buddhist teachings.  If one was to make a short list of the best meditation techniques, Zazen would most certainly make the top 10 list.

Tools required for Zen Meditation Technique (Zazen):

  • Zafu (traditional Zen Buddhist meditation cushion), Smile Cushion or other firm meditation cushion.  I purchased mine from zafu.net. I also purchased a zabuton (meditation mat) from them, a zabuton though is optional.
  • Loose comfortable clothing.
  • An alarm clock, stop watch or other time device.

Benefits of Zen Meditation Technique (Zazen):

Primary Benefits: 

  • Builds Concentration and Focus.
  • Self Knowledge – both, the workings of little self (ego) and awareness of the Big Self (True Divine Nature).
  • Calmness
  • Compassion
  • Spontaneous Joy

Secondary Benefits: 

  • Improves health and wellbeing.
  • Increases willpower and builds character.
  • Bestows psychic powers.

Cautions for Practicing Zen Meditation Technique (Zazen):

There are very few cautions with regard to Zazen practice, but the one I would like to point out has to do with emotional storms. 

There can be periods of time, either during a single sitting or spanning across several weeks, when emotions you may have suppressed rise up to the surface and force you to deal with them.  During these turbulent times, don’t exacerbate the issue by chewing on the emotion laden thoughts that come up.  Traumatizing yourself in this way has no value.  Instead, sit with the emotions and related thoughts without resistance, then let them go and return your awareness to your breath. 

This emotional cleansing is due to the visibility of the subconscious mind once the conscious mind is quieted by the meditation.  In the short term, this can be a difficult time to go though, but in the long term its a necessary and healthy cleansing that will promote greater peace, depth, joy and clarity in your life. 

Basic Zen Meditation Technique:

  • Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable cross legged position.  If using a zafu or similar meditation cushion, sit on the forward third of the cushion.  The objective is for your hips to be raised above your knees and to form a three point base with your knees and buttocks touching the floor/cushion (leave a comment below if want to use a chair or meditation bench and would like me to explain those details).
  • Set your alarm or other time device for 20 minutes.
  • Now elongate your spine upwards and to align it with the back of your head, subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention.  There will be a slight inward arch in your lower back.
  • Now rock gently from side to side in big arcs, making them smaller and smaller till you drift to a stop.  You should find yourself perpendicular to the floor with no tension or pull from either side.
  • Have your eyes half open with an unfocused gaze on the floor in front of you.  You should be looking down at a 45 degree angle about 2 to 3 feet in front of you.  You may also close your eyes if you prefer.
  • Bring your hands to your lap and place them in the cosmic mudra.  To do this rest your right hand on your lap, then rest your left hand on top of it and have your fingers overlap.  Now bring the thumb tips together thus forming an oval frame.
  • Close your mouth, swallow your saliva creating a slight vacuum and place your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  After this point there should be absolutely no more movement of the body.  No fidgeting, scratching, shifting – nothing – be like you are frozen in time.
  • Take 5 deep, slow breaths though the nose.  This will oxygenate your blood and relax you.
  • Now bring you attention to your breath without trying to manipulate it further in any way, just become aware of its flow.  Spend a few minutes just observing it intimately till it starts to become regular and relaxed.
  • At this point begin counting your breath.  Count an inhalation as one, then the exhalation as 2 and continue to count your breaths until you reach 10.  At which point return to 1 with the next inhalation.  If at any point you get caught in a mental story line and loose your count, gently, without passing any judgment, return to 1 and start over.  That’s it, continue for the duration of the meditation.

Intermediate Zen Meditation Technique:

Follow all the steps for the Basic Zen Meditation Technique, except for the last step a complete inhalation and exhalation cycle should be counted as 1.  So you will do 10 full cycles of inhalation and exhalation before returning to 1.  You can also increase the time to 30 – 40 minutes.

Advanced Zen Meditation Technique:

Follow all the steps for the Basic Zen Meditation Technique, except for the last step instead of counting the breaths, just “be the breath”.  Don’t try to jump to this step too soon, first build your concentration and focus.  You can also increase the time to 1 hour.

Hints and Tips for Zazen:

  • Do some stretching or Yoga before sitting in zazen.  It will help your body adjust better.
  • Be regular, the benefits of this meditation are vast, but they take time to manifest.
  • Some good internet resources and books on zen meditation and zen teachings are listed below…
    • Charlotte Joko Beck’s Ordinary Mind Zen School and her book Everyday Zen: Love & Work
    • Zen Mountain Monastery – Mountain and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism
    • Shunryu Suzuki’s San Francisco Zen Center and his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Secret of Zazen:

The secret of zazen does not lie in the awareness of the inhalation or the exhalation.  It lies in the gap in between these breaths.  It lies when the breath is spontaneously suspended.  It is in this gap where the mysteries of the Universe are hidden.  This gap and the gap between 2 thoughts are best friends, and in this silence between 2 thoughts the absolute is revealed.  Don’t try to force this pause, just continue with your zazen, it will come about naturally.

More Internet Resources for Zen Meditation

Zen and Zazen Information

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192 replies
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  1. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    The tongue is kept flat against the roof of the mouth, and the suction created by swallowing your spit should hold it in position. Let me know if this is indeed the technique that is causing you trouble.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  2. Tira
    Tira says:

    Dear Anmol,

    Don’t know where to begin, cause it’s a long story and but I’m really in need for some good help! Because of health problems I started to do zazen. Because your site gave me the idea that doing zazen is good for you. but it did not say anything about a kundalini serpent that awakens or that can bite you. at least I did not saw it on your website. So the day I awoke it, I started wondering why I felt so good. My vision and hearings increased very much. And I felt like high in the sky. There was something o so powerfull and big above me. So I wondered why I felt like this. I started to look for information on the web and I read somewhere that in fact it is a snake. So I got really scared!! But to make sure that there is nothing like that I raised my hands above my head and yes it bit me. I’m really very very scared now for my body feels different. to be more precise I feel it move. I stopped meditating and I don’t know what to do more. Can I do something to make this undone. Cause I really did not had bad intentions. Please help me for I’ m really in need!!!

    This is just a sum of all, because there is more to this story so if you can make some time to help me, please do. All advise is more than welcome from just anybody. You can reach me on my e-mail adress:
    bananenrokje@hotmail.com

    Namaste,

    Tira

    Reply
  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    its very hard to keep my tongue in the roof of my mouth, how can i freeze if imy tongue trembles and slides back?

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    when you talk abour psychic powers do u mean
    extrasenzorial perception or u talk apout all the great siddhis like becomin small as an athom or large as a giant or flying or water walking

    Reply
  5. Sonia Gallagher
    Sonia Gallagher says:

    Anmol,
    Great and informative video. Well done. I’ve been meditating for a few months now and I just cannot believe how much it has impacted my life. I am just so much more peaceful and react so much more calmly to outside stressors.

    The benefits of meditation to both the mind and the body are so great that meditation is now being used and recommended by both natural and medical doctors in the United States.

    All the Best,

    Sonia Gallagher

    Reply
  6. anthony
    anthony says:

    hi anmol, i do this meditation 2 times for 20 minutes a day
    when the time is over, i feel the need to do more, but i think ill wait till my mind quiets down more
    ive also increased sat kriya to 5 minutes :)

    Reply
  7. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Me,

    Yes you can do Kriyas with this meditation. You can do Archer Pose and Eagle Pose to enhance your magnetism and personality, and you can do Anuloma Viloma Pranayama as well to help with the anxiety.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  8. me
    me says:

    thx anmol, you recommended me this meditation to help me with anxietyu and opening to others and i was wondering if i can add even a kriya to enchance the benefits.

    Reply
  9. Barre Beacock
    Barre Beacock says:

    Hi Anmol
    Thank you for the help you gave me by answering my email.I am now going to take your course on zazen and Kapalbhati breathing that you recommended.
    Barre

    Reply
  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi David,

    Sitting in the forward 1/3 of the zafu or meditation cushion should help. It is ok, if it does not reach the ground, although in time you would like it to, so you can sit longer.

    Check Appendix 1 of the Silent Mind Meditation Program for a good set to increase your flexibility specifically for meditation.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  11. david
    david says:

    Anmol,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge here. When I follow your guided meditation, I am unable to keep my knees low to the ground, especially my left knee. Is it permissable in order to follow the zen meditative technique correctly to have both knees off the ground, even one knee higher than the other?

    Reply
  12. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Atif,

    Thank you for your good wishes and inspiring feedback. Great to hear you are going to incorporate meditation into your program, am sure you will find it enlightening :-).

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  13. varaahan
    varaahan says:

    When I do Zazen , my back slackens after some time , especially the chest portion and bends forward slightly. Also the breath becomes shallow and minimal , just enough to keep me alive.

    Reply
  14. Atif
    Atif says:

    Hello Anmol, hope you are well. I would like to express thanks for providing the information on this website. I have never really partaken in yogic practice prior to this and the literature as well as the videos are enlightening. Your website is the exact supplement I was looking for in order to accomplish my new year’s resolution of making ammends to my current existence with the tripod of meditation, exercise, and nutrition. Happy new year and may the inherent thought that permeates through our universe be with you always. Thank you.

    Reply

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