In the Triratna Buddhist Community we do a practice that we call Just Sitting. It's described as

Just Sitting is a space of non-action in which anything can emerge. Often the fruit of the previous practice only emerges when you stop ‘doing’ it. And Just Sitting is the non-doing space in which that may (or may not) happen. Just Sitting also allows assimilation of what has just been done, and provides the necessary counterpoise to activity and effort. Just Sitting is a matter of simply ‘being’ with whatever happens in awareness, without attaching to it or rejecting it.

Link to quote is here.

I've always wondered if this is something that we've just kind of invented or adapted or is it common to other Buddhist traditions? Is it the same as zazen practice perhaps?

  • 1
    It just another form of meditation called Bare Attention
    – Samadhi
    May 21, 2015 at 19:05
  • Bare Attention, Choiceless Awareness, Shikantaza. Check out en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikantaza
    – R. Barzell
    May 21, 2015 at 20:52
  • 1
    "zazen" literally means seated meditation. "just sitting" is usually, at least in the circles I'm familiar with, the English rendering of "shikantaza" which is the meditation style usually taught in Soto Zen, particularly the American brand.
    – A.Ellett
    May 21, 2015 at 22:07
  • good question, zen basically means think, and zazen sit & think: the terms are quite basic terms, and can be applied with differing shades of meaning, and in Zen, zazen generally means seated contemplation; just sitting could be simply just sitting, but is more of a nonAsian phrase and is seen with differing meanings ranging from laudatory to neutral to pejorative(which the latter would generally be considered in such context as inappropriate)
    – M H
    Oct 29, 2020 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


The term Zazen (Chinese 坐禪, zuò chán) just means seated meditation. It doesn't itself specify what kind of meditation is being practiced.

Just Sitting refers to Shikantaza, which is the type of meditation taught by Dōgen Zenji, the founder of the Sōtō school of Japanese Zen. He famously explained it in the Fukanzazengi saying :

Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking-what kind of thinking is that? Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

There are similar practices in other schools of Zen in China and Korea, but it is less prominent as Koan practice is more common.

  • Or the Korean Seon version of Koan, hua tou
    – Robin111
    May 22, 2015 at 11:48

Zen Mind Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki might offer you the perspective that goes beyond words to intention. If we aim at beginner's mind, then just sitting or zazen or meditation is aiming at beginner's mind. The intention of the person sitting is the most significant factor.

There are times I have fallen asleep sitting. Perhaps I was tired or my intention was not clear.

Other times when intention is clear the sitting becomes the bow, the awareness the arrow and intention the one drawing the bow. When intention draws the bow, the arrow cannot miss the mark.

Here is a copy of the book. Sip a page or two at a time and report back in a year - me saying words will not draw the bow.


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