Doing away with metaphysics and scriptures, this radical path offers some unconventional, direct ways to shake you out of your blabbering mind to let you see your true nature
Getting started with Za-zen
Choose a quiet place with minimal possibilities for disturbance. This place should be kept clean and, if possible, reserved for your practice. You could have an altar or statue of the Buddha or any other deity. Incense and flowers would also add to the atmosphere. The setting and feel of the room itself would be enough to bring you immediately into the meditative state.
Begin with a session of 10-15 minutes, gradually increasing it to half an hour or even an hour. It is best to sit on a cushion on the floor, but you can use a chair to relieve aching feet.
You can try out the postures and adopt the one that you find most comfortable:
Sitting on a chair with feet on the ground, hold your head upright, keeping a straight back. Resting hands on your lap, right hand under the left, keep the palms open, thumbs touching at tips and parallel to the fingers.
Sit on a mat so that you are resting on your knees, shins and insteps and bottom.
A triangle should be formed by your knees and bottom.
Burmese position: Sitting on the mat, cross your legs so that both feet lie flat on the mat. The bottom should be slightly raised on a cushion. Both knees should rest on the floor.
Half-lotus: Sitting crossed-legged, keep the left foot under the right thigh and right foot on the left thigh or vice versa. It helps to keep alternate leg positions each time.
Full lotus: Here the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot rests on the right thigh. It is difficult to achieve, but if you can, this is the best position as it forms a perfect triangle, producing great stability.
After sitting in a comfortable posture, try to focus on your breathing. Breathe freely and naturally without trying to control it. As you inhale, inaudibly count one and as you exhale count two.
If distracted, when you realise it, begin counting again at one. When you reach 10, go back to one. After some practice you may count only alternate (in or out) breaths. Weeks or even months may pass before you will be able to count to 10 without a distracting thought but patience will pay.
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