Following Dogens advice we “just sit” – in Japanese Shikantaza.
It’s the most fundamental Buddhist practice, started by Shakyamuni Gotama himself. Renewing the original inspiration, Bodhidharma, a famous Indian monk, brought this transmission to China, from where it spread also to Japan.
Sitting upright, crossleged, facing a wall, we take a break from the busy “human mode” of existence and from trying to accomplish or fix everything we want to experience in our lives.
Only few further technical details are usually enlisted, like
- keeping the spine straight,
- putting the left fingers on top of the right ones, thumbs touching lightly,
- the tip of the tongue touching the palate behind the upper teeth,
- eyes open, but not wandering around, keeping a relaxed gaze towards the wall,
- the pelvis tilted a bit forward and down, balancing on the sitting bones, legs firmly rooted on the floor, building a solid basis for sitting effortlessly.
A short instruction on sitting by Nishijima Roshi clarifies the important aspects:
A very inspiring view of the neurological effects of Zazen was explained by Nishijima Roshi in the following article:
The practice Shikantaza in a community is crucial part of the Soto tradition.
Nothing’s the same as actually sitting together in the same room. Online ressources should only be a bridge to reach this old skool situation of common deep self inquiry.
Dogen Zazen Vienna will offer this opportunity soon…!
A very useful and accessible tool to manage your Zazen periods is the App from Belfast Zen, the Zazen Timer
Equipped with different bell sounds and the option to practice Kinhin (walking meditation) between two phases of sitting, it really meets all needs for carefree sessions.
Unfortunately it only works on iOS, but there are solutions for Android as well.
For instance the Zazen Meditation Timer