How to practice Zen

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You can start practicing Zen with Amaia Lauzurika, who will explain step by step what Zazen and Kin Hin consist of.

with this course you will be able to start practicing Zen yourself in your home and after that you can go to one of the dojos from different Zen associations There you will meet monks, nuns and people with a long time of practice who can guide you

These people have lived their learning with teachers or former disciples, for many years

You have to understand the effort that Zen practitioners have made before getting to relax

It takes a lot of effort before you get to the point where you can really relax

And this relaxation does not come from you, it just happens

As all your energy has moved, there is nothing restless behind you and rest is the only thing that can come

Person-to-person transmission is a key element of Zen spirituality; Each place of practice is linked to a teacher, who is a guarantee of that place practice

Most dojos regularly offer sessions for beginners

The principle of Zen is that people who are starting out and people who have been practicing for a while should practice together, it is a spirit of sharing

Zen spirituality emphasizes collective practice, all together

Maybe together is easier to evolve, to dominate your fears, the doubts and wishes

The other becomes the precious mirror of our progress on the Buddha´s way

Furthermore, the collective practice of zazen in the dojos or groups has a very important effect, motivates and encourages

The samu, because of its aspect is one of the great riches of Zen practice

It could also be called "meditation in action

" Indeed, Samu allows you to practice concentration of zazen in daily activities and so, learn to work calmly

It was Bodhidharma who started this tradition of looking at the wall

The story says it took him years to find his first disciple and that he did not do anything else but to look at the wall

They say looking at a wall for a long time, allows you to think

Little by little, just like the wall, the screen of your mind will be totally blank

To practice Zazen, Zen meditation, sit in the center of a round and thick cushion, stand tall, tilts the pelvis forward from the fifth lumbar vertebra and stretch the spine

Cross your legs in the lotus or half lotus posture so that the knees are fully rooted to the ground

Push the sky with your head put your knees in contact with the ground

According to your health you can also sit in other postures: seiza for example, which is on your knees or you can also practice on a chair

The left hand rests on the palm of the right hand, the thumbs are joined in the extension of each other with light pressure and the singing of both hands is in contact with the lower abdomen

Chin tucked, the neck stretched out, the nose in the vertical of the navel, shoulders naturally drop

Mouth is closed The tip of the tongue resting on the palate and jaw relaxed

Eyes half open, the look, relaxed, perched in front of oneself on the ground

Little by little, breathing becomes calm, long, deep

At first attention can be brought to expiration exerting light pressure from the belly down

Inspiration comes naturally, effortless

Then it is simply to observe the breath as it is, without modifying it, being there fully present

In this posture, by paying attention to a muscle tension and to the breath, the flow of thoughts is interrupted

The more we practice zazen, the more we understand, through the fibers of our body, that these thoughts lack real substance, come and go so we discover that there is an intuitive consciousness, original and totally universal, radically different from habitual self-consciousness

If you keep the right posture and let a deep and gentle breath settle in, mind widens and becomes peaceful

The functioning of the brain naturally clears up

It is not a particular state of consciousness, but the return to a normal condition of the mind, no more

We abandon the ego's dualistic thinking mode and the original unity comes true everywhere The intuitive consciousness, hishiryo, think without thinking through the will, appears naturally thanks to concentration on posture and on breathing

Life is rest and movement

If it is immobile, it is dead, and if it has no rest, it will have it soon

Life is a balance between rest and movement and when you strike a balance between these, you reach the center of your life

Rinzai says: "The biggest mistake is that if you take immobility as the correct state, you will mistake the dark for your teacher " In the Sôtô tradition kinhin is made between sittings, as Dôgen teaches and how he himself learned from the Chinese master Nyojô

The Hôkyôki often mentions that ¨Nyojô came and went between the eastern and western parts of the room called Daikômyôzô to explain to Dôgen

" Kinhin is always practiced as a continuation of sitting meditation

We sat for 50 minutes then we do kinhin for 10 minutes

We sit, we walk, we sit

What is grown in sitting, is applied on the go

Those who practice it think that Buddha walked in this way

Since in some scriptures it is mentioned that Buddha walked slowly in the forest

With his spirit collected, after sitting down

It can be equally applied to more complex activities such as cooking, sweeping or cleaning

In the spirit of zazen, what´s done, it is done "Just" (shikan) is an essential word, as in shikantaza, "Just sit down" kinhin is nothing other than "just walking"

Unified in the action one only goes by the fact of walking

Without worrying about a particular object

Most includes many elements such as the feeling of feet on the ground, or orientation in space, postural awareness

As you cannot always remain seated, the Kinhin is a link between the sitting peace of mind and the daily usual movement that allows meditation to emerge in everyday life

Nyojô teaches: "When you get up to walk you should practice the method of one breath for every half step

It is understood by this that when you move your foot this does not over half step, the time of a breath

" "When you get up to walk, don't walk around but on the right line

When you want to go back, after 20 or 30 steps, go back to the right and not to the left and when you move your feet, move your right foot first, then your left foot

" The position of the hands is as important as in sitting

Be careful so that this posture can be maintained

The left hand is clenched into a relaxed fist, and the right hand is covering it

In sitting the left hand rests on the right, but when getting up they are turned over, resting them lightly against the chest

One goes with the space, the ground, the room and the whole world

Walking this is naturally discovered

It is not the result of an effort but a totally natural product from just walking

It is not something you try to do or manufacture, it is a gift of dharma

For this to make sense, it needs to be a gift that comes from practice and not an attempt to manufacture it

For Dôgen, when you sit down, everyone sits down, when one does kinhin, everyone kinhin

On getting up from the cushion we bow twice, we turn to the right and we find our backs straight directed towards the center of the room, in the perpendicular of the position that we had facing the wall

The position of the hands is adopted, you breathe twice, then a breath is started, with one foot, breathing is slow

If you stand calmly, your breathing is relaxed and slow

We breathe and move as if the air fills the soles of our feet

The body is empty like bamboo

walk slowly, with grace and dignity, the foot rises slightly, put heel first, after place up to the toes until you exhale

The foot gradually rests on the ground to be firmly anchored in it

For a brief moment you remain calmly without moving because the expiration continues for a few moments

At the beginning of inspiration the other foot moves, when the bell rings the two feet come together, next to each other, and we bow

We go back to our cushion, we bow twice and we sit down, this is what is called gasshô

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