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SHIN BUDDHIST FELLOWSHIP OF WEST HARTFORD

ZEN ESSENTIALS

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SBF offers free Zen training during our gatherings
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Focus on the present moment. observe and let go. Then you become open to see reality as it is.

 

    "To study the Buddha Dharma is

         to study the self.

      To study the self is

         to forget the self.

      To forget the self is

         to be confirmed by the ten thousand things."

 

                                            --Dogen Zenji

 

 

 

 

                                 What is Meditation?

 

Meditation is a dynamic practice that expands our awareness by touching the present moment, where we can see reality as it is. Meditation is the tool to release ourselves from the controls of our habitual thought patterns that cause endless sufferings, and to develop understanding and compassion.

 

The Buddha taught many forms of meditation, such as Zen and Vispassana. Every Buddhist school has its favorite form. All types of meditation are based on mindfulness, which is the keen awareness of the present moment without holding on to any personal biases, which allows us to realize Nirvana.

 

What Does Zen Mean?

 

Zen means meditation is Japanese. It is an ancient and proven technique to know yourself and manifest your True Nature, which is the nature of enlightenment. Established 2,500 years ago by the historical Buddha, Zen meditation allows you to learn about yourself by observing your life unfolding from moment to moment without biases.

 

 

                 What is Zen Practice?    

 

Soto Zen practice...centers on zazen, sitting meditation.  But zazen is not, as one might imagine, a concentration technique to still the mind and produce religious insight - a particular way of practice that is wholesome and effective.  No, zazen is, at once much simpler, and far more profound than this.  Even, as the reader will soon see, close to ineffable... It is, on the one hand, extremely lofty and difficult, maybe even impossible to do, the most advanced and demanding of all possible spiritual practices; and, at the same time, it is a practice so easy and so accessible that anyone, no matter what his or her beliefs or level of commitment may be, can do - almost can’t avoid doing...zazen is a form of meditation so basic it can’t even be called meditation.  It is simply the practice of being what we are, of allowing, permitting, and opening ourselves fully, to what we are.  In doing that we enter directly the depth of our living-  a depth that goes beyond our individual life and touches all life.

                                      Introduction to Beyond Thinking                                                              Zonketsu Norman Fischer

The Purpose of Zen?

“The true purpose is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes…Zen practice is to open up our small mind. So concentrating is just an aid to help you realize big mind, or the mind that is everything. If you want to discover the true meaning of Zen in your everyday life, you have to understand the meaning of keeping your mind on your breathing and your body in the right posture in sitting meditation.”

 

                          Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,

                          Shunryu Suzuki

 

A Mini-Meditation Exercise

 

This is a beginner’s 10 minute meditation to develop mindfulness and to feel the immediate benefits of a stress relief meditation practice. Enjoy!

 

Sit cross-legged, on a chair or go for a walk. Keep your posture straight. Begin to breathe naturally and gently. Be mindful that you are breathing. Think, “breathing in, I feel calm, breathing out, I smile.” Maintain a half smile. On the fourth set of breaths, you can abbreviate this sentence by saying, “calm” in the in breath, “smile” in the out breath. Keep your attention focused on your breath. When we smile, we release all of our negative feelings. So relax. After 5 minutes, “breathing in, I smile, breathing out, I release all my worries, fears and anxieties.”  Let it go. Then mindfully “breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment, breathing out, I smile.” In this way, you will feel more fully alive and experience true peace.

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Zazen at the BFF in Middletown

SOTZEN.NET is a comprehensive web site that instructs on how to do zazen with useful pictures and offers links other Zen sites.

Click here to enter "SOTZEN.NET."

BEGINNING MEDITATION- A ZEN PRIMER is a simple resourse for the art of Zen practice. Includes suugestions are posture, breathing, etc.

Click here to enter "Beginning Meditation - A Zen Primer"

TALKS ON ZEN PRACTICE. This wonderful site offers insightful talks on zen practice. meditation and Buddhism by American Soto Zen teachers in the lineage of  Shunryu Roshi.

Click here to enter "TALKS ON ZEN PRACTICE."

"In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities, 
but in the expert's there are few."
 
                                                                    ---Shunryu Suzuki