Glossary (Phrase list) >> Zen Meditation

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Zazen 座禅

  I had never done any kind of meditation until last month.  Recently, I began participating in Zazen-Kai which some Rinzai temples in Kamakura regularly open to the general public.  I hope that the following experience-based report would be a good reference for people who are interested in the Zen meditation.

Sep. 30th, 2016

  What is Zazen-Kai  


Zazen-kai: 座禅会, Zen meditation class for the public.

Zazen: 座禅, Meditation in Biddhidst Zen sect manners.


  First of all, I learnt that Zazen-kai was a place where we should complete the meditation until the last of the class instead of just seeing or experiencing it partly.  It was a training at Buddhist temples and did not have the purpose of relaxation.


  Purpose of Zazen  


  We were told to train ourselves to focus our mind just on a feel of the present moment without thinking about any future or past affairs.

  In one example, we are likely to feel sore on the feet while we are siting on the floor for a long time.  We should try to feel just the sore at that moment instead of disturbing mind by thinking like as "Wow, hurt has come, how much more ?...." or "how to ease it ?"


Read all Zazen Steps




  I received the detailed instruction in the beginners class that was the base of this column, and attended one-hour-regular class several times.

  However, beginners were not strictly required to start with the beginners class.  Going to the hall 10 minutes before the starting time, quick guidance was given to the beginners in the regular classes, too. 


   Even though all instruction was done only in Japanese, I thought the non-Japanese-speakers could join in the Zen meditation class.  Reading those Zazen steps beforehand, you would be able to figure out what to do next in a class by seeing the actions of other participants around you.  Actually, I did like that at first even having received the instruction.


  It was not so easy to sit motionless even for 15 to 20 minutes when I first tried Zen meditation, but was not too tough to finish it. (Generally, 15 -20 minute meditation x a few times in one biginners and one hour classes.)  Now, I would like to attend those classes and try the longer Zazen-Kai in the future.

Zen medication class at temples

  Above reports were written based on the beginners class and one hour courses at Engakuji, Kenchoji, and Tokeiji.  Besides those classes, longer session and advanced meditators class such as Sunday Zazen Kai at Engakuji and Houkokuji are regularly opened to the public.


Read Temples' info.








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