8

My experience with "formal" zazen comes from meditating at a local Korean Zen meditation center, for about two years, twice a week, two hours each time. Plus some meditation at home. In my experience, counting breaths is useful on those days when the mind is very distracted with mental chatter / inner gossip. There seems to be a progression here: from ...


7

Shikantaza means "just sitting" or "single-minded sitting". It is a state of being where you are present here and now, no matter on what you experience, in body or mind. About losing your religion: the Buddha said that there are three marks of existence, one of them is impermanence of all compound things (anicca). In other words, anything that once begins ...


4

In my practice at a Soto Zen center, I was never instructed not to count breaths; it seemed to be well accepted as a valuable beginner's practice. I personally found it very helpful, as I would go from 1 to 10, starting over from 1 if I lost track. You'd think that counting to 10 would be easy, but I've had times when I couldn't even make it past 1. It's ...


3

To sit in zazen is to sit facing emptiness. M H's answer is absolutely correct, but like most things in Zen there is more to the story once your practice deepens. Relaxation and concentration on a focal point have their place, but really what zazen is after is the arousal of mushin or "no-mind". In early Zen, and later in Soto, they sat in pi-...


3

Shikantaza in original usage means ~'only sit', and the term was introduced into fairly standard usage by Dogen Daishi c.1250AD. This is in the context of Original Traditional Authentic Soto Zen, where the term is fairly similar to zazen, which means ~'sit & contemplate' etc, and so, within context, the two terms authentically mean about the same thing: ...


3

Look, there is nothing special about Shikantaza or any other type of meditation. If you ask me honestly, I say that meditation is for fun really. You don't do it to achieve anything. In fact the idea is to let everything be. And NOT achieve anything. No "Nirvana", No "Moksha", No "separation", No "clinging" or whatever labels we like to create. There is ...


2

I'd like to give my view on that topic, even if the question is already old. I started sitting at a martial arts dojo once in a month without any sect or tradition. The second pillar was a book from Sekida ("Zen-Training" in german). He suggested to count your breath and while I was sitting mostly alone at home and had no real training, even at that dojo, I ...


2

That (above comment) said, there are numerous studies of what is called Open Monitoring (OM) vs Focused Attention (FA) meditation within the "mindfulness" category, for example the paper Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation, which first defined OM and FA. FA is pretty clearly related to at least some aspects of shamatha, and OA has sometimes ...


1

For last two years i am practicing Vipasana meditation and by observing the process of breath. I am work-ably become thoughtless during meditation and helpful even any time for few seconds or a minute or two whenever i do it before doing anything even drinking water. After observing a single breath, I do not talk a single word. This practice helped me a lot. ...


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