“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”
-Zen Master Dogen
The word Zazen originate in Japan which means za, to sit, and zen, meditation. The term Zen comes from the Chinese word ch’an which in turn is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word dhyana meaning “meditation.” So, Zazen means sitting meditation. Various forms of sitting meditation existed before the birth of Gautama Buddha and mentioned in various ancient scriptures of India.
Zazen is one of the simplest forms of any action. In Zazen, there is no thinking about anything or concentrate on the feelings and perceptions. Just sitting in a simple non-discriminating state where body and mind are in balanced and undivided. However, the state of Zazen is categorized But still, the actual experience of Zazen remain a holistic one.
There are four aspects in the practice of zazen
1. Different from Thinking
2. Making a body right
3. Oneness of body and mind
4. Oneness of the universe.
1.Different from Thinking:
In Zazen, the state is without any intention and different from thinking. But we know that mind is always thinking. In Zezen the practice of meditation is by avoiding the following of birds of thoughts by concentrating on the body posture. As we correct our posture, the thought will disappear and our consciousness will slowly become clear & subtle and we will feel eternal peace. In this eternal peace is so deep that we achieved a state that is different from thinking or perceiving. In this way, by concentrating on the posture, we will return naturally to our original state during our practice.
2.Making the Body Right—a Balanced Autonomic Nervous System:
In Zazen practice, there is a sitting on a soft cushion called Zofu on the floor with both leg crossed and with straight lower spine, upper spine, and head. In this posture, the spine remains erect & straight which effect on the autonomic nervous system that controls many of our body’s functions. Its effects include control of heart rate and force of contraction, constriction, and dilatation of blood vessels, contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle in various organs, the ability to focus the eyes and the size of the pupils, and the secretion of hormones from various glands directly into the bloodstream.
3. Oneness of Body and Mind in the Present Moment:
Generally, we thought that both mind & body are separate entities Usually we think there is something that is called “mind” and although they have a great effect on each other. But in Buddhism, the body & mind both are the two sides of one entity, which called “myself.”. In Zazen practice, we do not concentrate on thoughts or perceptions, our body-and-mind exist undivided in the present moment. When our mind is in the ordinary state and our autonomic nervous system is balanced, we are in the “balanced state of body-and-mind.”
4. Oneness with the Universe:
In Zazen practicing the body-and-mind are one; the sitting state. When we are practicing Zazen, not only can we say that body and mind are one; we are also sitting in the state where there is no distinction between ourselves and the external circumstances—the world around us.It is a simple feeling of oneness with everything. In Zazen practice the Universe and the state include all things and phenomena become one.We cannot describe it completely. We call the state “dharma,” or “truth,” or “reality.”