Posts by masterpanda72

Zen and health

Zen & health

Zen meditation or zazen is extremely beneficial for us in more ways than one. Besides enhancing spiritual growth, it promotes the physical and mental well-being of an individual.

 

Since a huge number of people all over the world have benefitted immensely from meditation, they can recount their stories and tell you how meditation transformed them totally by lifting them to a different plane spiritually and mentally. And though there is no doubt about the fact that mediation has its spiritual and mental benefits, this is not all that meditation can give you. Besides the gains mentioned above, you get rewarded by way of better physical health as well.

Furthermore, need we say how important it is to have a healthy body before we set forth to have a healthy mind or spirit. How can we aim for mental well being at all when the body is frail and weak?

 

Reduce anxiety & stress

 

Studies and researches conducted on the topic have proved that meditating regularly 'activates the left prefrontal cortex while diminishing activity in the right prefrontal cortex of the brain'. Since the left frontal cortex is associated with positive feelings like calmness, happiness, serenity and peace, meditation acts as a great stress buster. It has also helped many people find a solution to problems like depression.

 

Better sleep & rest periods

Regular Zen meditation also helps you sleep more peacefully and deeply. Sleeping peacefully is vital for the body since it is during this stage of rest that the muscles repair themselves.

 

Improve immune system

Studies conducted in the past have proved that Zen meditation helps improve the immune system of the body. And a better immunity means that you fall sick less often due to minor infections and ailments like common cold, flu, bad throats, etc.

 

Reduces sensitivity to pain

Zen meditation helps reduce pain and also sensitivity to it. It is not that those who meditate do not feel the pain. They do because they are human after all. But Zen meditation teaches them how to cope up with it and they do not dwell on it much due to which they can deal with pain in a more dignified manner.

 

Slows aging process

Zen meditation brings down the body's rate of respiration due to which you consume lesser oxygen if you meditate regularly. The process of aging, which depends upon the rate at which you consume oxygen, helps you take many years off your body simply by regulating your breathing process!

 

Improved blood flow

Practicing Zen meditation also helps lower the heart rate and improve blood circulation, both of which also contribute further towards a younger and healthier looking and glowing skin. Besides making you look and feel younger, improved blood circulation has numerous other health benefits.

 

Mood and behavior

By lowering the stress levels, meditation helps lower the frequency of panic attacks. It also helps increase the production of serotonin, a hormone which can cause depression, insomnia, obesity, headaches, etc. if not secreted in adequate quantities.

 

Lowers blood pressure

Practicing Zen meditation daily also helps lower the heart rate and improve blood circulation, both of which contribute making you look younger and healthier looking. Just think of those old Zen monks with their glowing smiles and happy faces and how young looking they are.

 

Improves posture in daily life

Most of us these days are beset by postural problems, most of them caused by long hours spent in front of the computer screen or driving a car. Zazen helps you improve your posture, as Zen meditation helps you strengthen your back muscles. This helps you while walking as well as while sitting. This makes the body stronger, more flexible and more toned by aligning the muscles of the spine and also those around it. It also helps to fortify the abdominal muscles. A stronger core thus helps protect the back from both pain and strain. Besides this, an improved posture improves the overall strength of the body, making you look more graceful and taller.

 

Addiction and recovery

Zen meditation changes the way you think and can help you get rid of many addictions you wanted to but was unable to, without its help. Buddhism treats addictions as 'extreme forms of attachment- It is the attachment to fear, attachment to loss, and attachment to longing, emptiness, and a lack of a sense of purpose'. Meditation helps you overcome these fears and focus on your purpose in life, thus helping a person get rid of his addictions.

Lexique Zen (french)

B

Bodhisattva : «être éveillé». Dans le bouddhisme mahayana, le bodhisattva est un être de compassion qui se consacre tout entier à mener les autres à l’éveil.

Dans la tradition zen, l’ordination de Bodhisattva correspond à la prise de refuge dans les Trois Trésors et à la cérémonie où le pratiquant reçoit les Préceptes. Les Trois Trésors étant le Bouddha, le Dharma et la Sangha.

D

Dharma : Ce mot peut avoir trois sens, en fonction du contexte.

  • La Loi universelle que suivent tous les êtres.
  • L’enseignement donné par le Bouddha Shakyamuni.
  • Avec un d minuscule, ce mot désigne tout phénomène, quel qu’il soit.

Dokusan : question posée au maître en face à face, sans regard extérieur.

F

Fuse (danâ en sanscrit) : don. Le fuse est la pratique fondamentale du moine. Elle est la première des six paramita.

G

Gaetan : Partie située immédiatement devant le dojo, où il est possible de faire zazen dans certains cas. A Strasbourg, le gaitan est la partie du plancher qui se trouve sous le bois frappé au début de la séance.

Gassho : salutation. Faire gassho consiste à joindre les mains à hauteur des lèvres, les coudes écartés, les avant-bras parallèles au sol et à s’incliner en signe de respect. Dans un dojo zen, gassho indique aussi le début et la fin d’une action, exprimant ainsi l’attention que nous lui portons.

                                               

Gen-maï : soupe de riz et de légumes que les pratiquants prennent tous les matins à la suite de zazen, au cours d’un repas rituel.

Godo : responsable de l’enseignement dans un dojo ou dans un temple.

I

Ino : dans un temple zen, personne responsable du déroulement des cérémonies. Souvent, c’est le Ino qui entonne les sûtras et les autres participants se règlent sur lui pour l’intonation et le rythme.

K

Kusen : enseignement oral donné par le maître pendant zazen.

Kin-hin : marche très lente dans le dojo, au milieu de la séance de zazen. Sur chaque inspiration, on avance d’un demi-pas et pendant l’expiration, on laisse passer tout le poids du corps vers le sol. La main droite entoure le poing gauche à la hauteur du plexus solaire, les avant-bras sont parallèles au sol.

Kyosaku : « bâton d’éveil». Pendant zazen, le pratiquant peut demander à recevoir le kyosaku. Le maître frappe alors une zone précise sur l’épaule, ce qui procure une sensation de détente et aide à la poursuite de la méditation dans de bonnes conditions. Il ne s’agit en aucun cas d’un geste brutal ou d’une punition.

Kesa : grande pièce de tissu que le moine revêt pendant zazen. Le kesa est le vêtement de la Transmission du vrai enseignement depuis le Bouddha. Il est toujours de couleur neutre, évoquant celle de la terre. Traditionnellement, le moine coud lui-même son kesa.

                                               

Karma : ce terme signifie littéralement « action ». Dans le bouddhisme, il désigne aussi le « fruit » bénéfique ou nuisible que l’acte ne manquera pas de produire. On parle du karma du corps, de la parole et de la pensée. Le karma se trouve donc au cœur de l’idée de responsabilité. Le pratiquant peut apprendre à infléchir le cours du karma grâce à l’attention portée à chacune de ses actions.

Kito : rituel d’intercession pour venir en aide à une personne en grande difficulté physique ou morale.

M

Mondo : séance de question au maître à la suite de zazen, en présence des autres pratiquants.

O

Oryoki : bols traditionnels dans lesquels le moine prend tous ses repas. L’ouverture et la fermeture des oryoki donnent lieu à un rituel précis.

                                            

P

Paramita : pratique vertueuse. Les six paramita sont : le don, la pratique des préceptes, la patience, l’effort, la concentration et la sagesse.

R

Rakusu : petit kesa fixé sur des bretelles en tissu, que le moine ou l’ordonné porte autour du cou dans certaines occasions.

                                           

S

Samou : l’ensemble des tâches qui doivent être accomplies pour le bon fonctionnement du dojo et de la communauté.

Sangha : communauté des pratiquants du bouddhisme.

Sanpai : Prosternations. « San » signifie « trois», et « pai» la prosternation proprement dite. « Sanpai» exprime le respect et la gratitude profonde.

Sesshin : période de plusieurs jours de pratique continue dans un temple zen.

Shashu : position des mains lorsque l’on se déplace dans le dojo. On place le pouce gauche dans la main gauche. La main droite enveloppe la main gauche. Le tout est placé à hauteur du sternum, les paumes des mains dirigées vers le corps. Les avant-bras sont horizontaux, parallèles au sol.

Shusso : ce terme signifie « premier moine ». Le shusso est responsable de l’atmosphère de recueillement qui doit régner dans le dojo, en particulier pendant zazen.

Sûtra : ce mot peut avoir des sens différents selon le contexte :

il désigne d’abord les textes qui rapportent les paroles attribuées au Bouddha Shakyamuni.

il peut désigner aussi les textes fondamentaux d’une des grandes Traditions du bouddhisme. Dans le zen, le Sandokai de Maître Sekito ou le Fukanzazengi de Maître Dôgen par exemple.

il désigne enfin les chants de la communauté au cours des cérémonies.

T

Tanto : ce terme signifie « maître des tan », c’est-à-dire des petites estrades où les moines font zazen dans les temples au Japon. Dans un dojo ou un temple zen, le tanto est responsable du bon fonctionnement de toutes les activités. Il veille en particulier au déploiement de « l’esprit juste ». Il peut intervenir auprès des shusso pour donner une indication en vue d’améliorer l’atmosphère du dojo ou du temple.

Teisho : Exposé fait par le maître à propos d’un point important de la doctrine ou de la pratique

Tenzo : Responsable de la cuisine dans un temple. Il doit assumer sa fonction avec un esprit d’éveil et faire du travail dans la cuisine et de la nourriture préparée, une occasion pour lui-même et les autres de s’éveiller.

Z

 

Zafu : coussin de méditation.

Zafuton : tapis sur lequel on pose le zafu.

Zazen : méditation assise. La posture de zazen est très précise. Les jambes sont croisées, le dos est droit, les épaules et le ventre sont relâchés, les doigts de la main gauche recouvrent les doigts de la main droite, les pouces sont horizontaux, les yeux sont mi-clos, La respiration est ample et naturelle. Toute l’attention se porte sur la posture et sur la respiration. L’activité mentale s’apaise, sans disparaître tout à fait ; nous cessons simplement de l’alimenter et de nous identifier à elle. Maître Deshimaru avait coutume de dire : « Pendant zazen, nous retrouvons les conditions normales du corps et de l’esprit ».

                                                  

Zen : mot dérivé du chinois «chan» lui-même dérivé du sanscrit « dhyana », qui signifie « méditation ».

The Neuropsychological Connection Between Creativity and Meditation by Roy Horan

The Neuropsychological Connection Between Creativity and Meditation

 

Prior investigations into a creativity–meditation connection involving diverse meditation strategies, proficiency levels, and creativity measurement instruments presented mixed results. These results are explained through evidence (primarily from EEG studies) supporting the hypothesis that meditation training variously enhance creative incubation and illumination via transcendence and integration, neuropsychological mechanisms common to both processes. Transcendence surpasses informationallimits; integration transforms informational boundaries. In this respect, increased low-alpha power reflects reduced cortical activity and detached witnessing of multimo-dal information processing; theta indicates an implicit affect-based orientation toward satisfaction and encoding of new information; delta reflects neural silence, signalmatching and surprise, and gamma indicates heightened awareness, temporal-spatial binding, and salience. Cortical intra-interhemispheric synchronization, within these EEG spectral bands, is essential to effective creativity and meditation. The relative impact on creativity of various meditation strategies (mindfulness, concentrative and combined) is discussed.

 

Creativity has been defined as the capacity to generate novel, socially valued products and ideas (Mumford, Reiter-Palmon, & Redmond, 1994), or as the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e., original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e., useful, adaptive concerning task constraints) (Lubart, 1994, cited in Sternberg & Lubart, 1999; see also Ochse, 1990; Sternberg, 1988; Sternberg & Lubart, 1991, 1995, 1996). Whether creativity is perceived as problem solving (Weisberg, 2006), problem finding (Getzels &Czikszentmihalyi, 1976), or simply self expression, it generates new information that is often discrete and domain-specific, and that transcends informational boundaries, yet is integrated with existing information in a manner exhibiting value.

 

The psychological basis of creativity has been described variously as the need to be different (Joy, 2004), the decision to create (Sternberg, 2003), creative attitude (Maslow, 1967), and the intention to transcend informational boundaries (Horan, 2007). In each description, some form of conscious, or subconscious, volition is involved. James (1983) declared that ‘‘volition is nothing but attention’’ (p. 424). Attention appears at all levels of information processing, including consciously directed, sustained attention (Posner, 1994) and subconscious goal-directed attention, which is intertwined with perspectivalness (the sense of being someone with a point of view; Taylor, 2001). The volition, or intention, to transcend informational boundaries and integrate the transcendent experience, valuably, within empirical reality is not exclusive ton creativity. It is also the heart of meditation. The unique aspect of this article is to argue that the practice of meditation, as an attentional mechanism, supports creativity. A theoretical model is presented to explain diverse results arising from previous psychological studies on a creativity–meditation connection and to guide further investigations. Meditation, as the systematic study and practice of managing attention for self development, probably began in pre-Aryan civilizations prior to the Rig-Veda period (1500 BCE; Feuerstein, 1989). In order to better understand meditation, it is important to understand its theoretical, pre-scientific background as well as its modern implementation. Patanjali (second century AD), a renowned meditation master and ancient Indian ‘psychologist,’’ defined meditation in the Yoga Sutras (Iyengar, 1993) as an attentional strategy leading to yoga, or ‘‘the cessation of movements in the consciousness’’ (I.2., p. 46), which allows the practitioner to ‘‘dwell in his own true splendor’’ (I.3., p. 48). Patanjali used the Sanskrit word Cit to represent consciousness devoid of mental fluctuations, a transcendent state that can be imagined by abstracting from empirical consciousness all informational limitations with only pure consciousness remaining (Woodroffe, 1993). In the Zen meditative tradition, pure consciousness is considered ‘‘the very essence of human consciousness’’ (Harai, 1974, p. 113). According to Patanjali (Iyengar,1993), meditation has four primary phases: withdrawal of external sense awareness (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), unbroken concentration (dhyana), and absorption (samadhi).

 

Meditation involves the formulation of a conscious intention that carries into the unconscious, via absorption, until a state of pure consciousness is attained. The ultimate goal of meditation, however, is the psycho-physiological integration of pure consciousness, the transcendent state, with empirical consciousness (e.g., referred to as the union of Atman and jiva, the transcendent and immanent, etc.).Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras (Iyengar, 1993), also described an advanced meditative process called sanyama (i.e., union of concentration–meditation– absorption), in which the transcendent state is integrated into all states of consciousness (i.e., waking, dreaming, and deep sleep) by experiencing various psycho-physiological phenomena at their unfettered source within the mind.

 

Sanyama, depending upon the phenomenon attended to, is said to elicit sidhis, or supranormal powers (SP), including knowledge of past and future, knowledge of other minds, psychic invisibility, and the ability to increase =decrease affects of gravitation on the body, as well as profound insight into the nature of reality (pratibha). Complete psychological integration in meditation is continuous, non-domain specific, and often described as a liberated, or enlightened, state of thought and action. Horan (2007, p.183) referred to this state as vacuous, the boundless source of both creativity and intelligence. In this sense, creative thinking, viewed as a process that overcomes informational limitations in a useful manner, can be construed as a restricted form of meditation.

 

Some Buddha's sayings

"Understanding is the heartwood of well-spoken words."
- Buddha

 

"All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?"
- Buddha

 

"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without."
- Buddha

 

"You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself"
- Buddha

 

"However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?"
- Buddha

 

"You only lose what you cling to."
- Buddha

 

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon.... If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him."
- Buddha

 

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
- Buddha

 

"Doubt everything. Find your own light."
- Buddha

 

"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills."
- Buddha

 

"It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways"
- Buddha

 

"A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise"
- Buddha

 

"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete."
- Buddha

 

"Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again."
- Buddha

 

"The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men."
- Buddha

 

"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
- Buddha

 

"Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except your self."
- Buddha

 

"As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgements but rain your kindness equally on all."
- Buddha

 

"The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There's only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment."
- Buddha

 

"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true."
- Buddha

 

A few Zen quotes

"You should study not only that you become a mother when your child is born, but also that you become a child."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"The one who is good at shooting does not hit the center of the target."
- Anonymous

 

 

"When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man."
- Anonymous

 

 

"Think with your whole body."
- Taisen Deshimaru

 

 

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
- Anonymous

 

 

"If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H-2-O, or even mineral water, or sake. Meditation is Drinking it!"
- Taisen Deshimaru

 

 

"Harmonizing opposites by going back to their source is the distinctive quality of the Zen attitude, the Middle Way: embracing contradictions, making a synthesis of them, achieving balance."
- Taisen Deshimaru

 

 

"To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions. They have not yet discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and stars."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger."
- Buddha

 

 

"If you understand, things are just as they are... If you do not understand, things are just as they are..."
- Anonymous

 

 

"Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine."
- Shunryu Suzuki

 

 

"A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."
- Dogen Zenji

 

 

"One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield."
- Buddha

 

 

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water."
- Buddha

 

Some additional Qi Gong gestures for your Health

Qi gong 1

 

Qi gong 2

 

 

 

Qi gong 3

 

 

Qi gong 4

 

 

 

 

 

Qgong5

 

 

 

Q6

 

 

 

Q7

 

 

Q8

 

 

Q9

 

 

 

Q10

 

 

Q11

 

 

 

Q12

 

 

 

Q13

 

 

 

Q14

8 Basic Qi Gong moves (french)

1 1

 

Le ciel et la terre communiquent !

Ce mouvement permet d’équilibrer l’énergie Yin et Yang du corps avec celles du ciel et de la terre.

Position de départ : Les pieds sont parallèles écartés de la largeur des épaules. Les bras le long du corps

 

Le bon mouvement :


A l’inspiration : les mains se tournent vers l’extérieur et les bras montent vers le ciel, les coudes sont relâchés. Quand les bras arrivent à la hauteur des épaules, le regard se porte légèrement vers le haut. Une fois les bras à la verticale, les deux mains se tournent vers la tête, pour communiquer avec le bai hui, la conscience !

A l’expiration : Les bras descendent doucement devant le corps, les paumes sont dirigées vers le bas jusque devant le nombril (Dan tian, notre réservoir d’énergie vitale), en relâchant les coudes et les poignets. Revenez à la position initiale.

 

 

 

 

 

2 1

 

 

Le feu et l’eau s’harmonisent

Ce mouvement permet d’harmoniser l’énergie du cœur et des reins, et de pallier au stress ! Un plus cardio, version ch’i !

La position de départ : Debout. Les pieds sont parallèles écartés de la largeur des épaules. Les bras forment un cercle devant le nombril (Dian Tian), les paumes tournées vers le ciel.

 

Le mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration, le corps descend légèrement vers le bas, en relâchant le bassin. Les deux mains se lèvent vers la poitrine. Les épaules et les coudes sont relâchés.

A l’expiration : Tournez les paumes de mains vers la terre. Redressez doucement le corps, comme s’il était tiré vers le haut, par un fil. En même temps, les mains redescendent vers le nombril Dian Tian. Revenez à la position initiale.

 

 

 

3

 

 

Le phénix rouge étire ses ailes en avant et en arrière

Ce mouvement fait circuler l’énergie dans les bras, ouvre la poitrine et le dos.

La position de départ : Debout. Les pieds sont parallèles écartés de la largeur des épaules. Les bras le long du corps.

 

Le bon mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration, les mains viennent se croiser en arrière, au niveau de la région lombaire, les paumes des mains tournées vers le dos. Etirez les mains en arrière et en bas, en ouvrant la poitrine vers l’avant. La tête s’incline en arrière, le regard est dirigé vers le ciel.

A l’expiration : Redressez doucement la tête en relâchant les épaules et les bras. Laissez les mains  se séparer, et descendre le long du corps, dans un mouvement arrondi de l’arrière sur les côtés. Revenez à la position initiale.

 

4

 

Pousser les stèles à gauche et à droite !

Ce mouvement de rotation fait circuler l’énergie entre le haut et le bas du corps.

La position de départ : Debout. Les pieds sont parallèles écartés de la largeur des épaules. Les poings sont fermés, les paumes tournées vers le haut, posés de chaque côté de la taille.

Le bon mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration, placez votre main droite à hauteur de l’épaule, tournez votre regard vers la droite

A l’expiration : ouvrez votre paume vers l’extérieur, et tendez le bras comme si vous vouliez repousser quelqu’un. Sans tendre complètement le coude. Etendez au maximum le poignet, les doigts dirigés vers le ciel. Puis descendez, le bras la paume vers le bas. Revenez à la position de départ.

 

 

5

 

Déplacement du vide au plein

Ce mouvement développe des jambes puissantes, et souples.

La position de départ : Debout les pieds joints, les mains de chaque côté des hanches. Trouvez l’axe du corps dans sa verticalité, le sommet de la tête étirée vers le haut, par un fil invisible.

Le mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration, relâchez le corps de haut en bas. Fléchissez légèrement les genoux. Soulevez le talon du pied gauche, et enracinez le poids du corps sur le pied droit. En gardant la même hauteur de corps, déplacez le pied gauche, d’un pas à gauche. Posez la pointe puis tout le pied sur le sol.

A l’expiration : Puis déplacez latéralement le poids du corps au centre des deux pieds, redressez-vous en tirant le sommet de la tête vers le haut, et les pieds vers le sol.

Puis à la prochaine inspiration, Déplacez latéralement le corps vers la droite, soulevez le talon du pied gauche, et ramenez-le vers le droit. Quand les deux pieds sont posés côte à côte, Expirez redressez le corps, en commençant par la tête !

 

6

 

Dessiner le soleil et la lune

Ce mouvement développe une meilleure coordination du corps !

La position de départ : Debout les pieds joints, les mains de chaque côté des hanches… Trouvez l’axe du corps dans sa verticalité, le sommet de la tête étirée vers le haut, par un fil invisible.

Le mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration, soulevez les bras en avant au niveau de l’estomac, les épaules sont relâchées, puis « asseyez-vous » dans le bassin en pliant légèrement les genoux. Les mains descendent en appuyant vers le sol, jusqu’au bassin

A l’expiration : déplacez le poids du corps sur le pied gauche et tournez le bassin obliquement à 45° vers la droite. Soulevez la pointe de pieds. Avancez le pied droit obliquement ver l’avant et la droite dans l’axe du corps. Posez le pied totalement au sol et passez le poids du corps sur le pied droit. Vous réalisez la position de l’arc (Gong Bu) 70% du poids est en avant sur la jambe droite fléchie, 30% est en arrière, sur la jambe gauche presque tendue. Revenez à la position initiale. Changez de jambe.

 

7

 

le cavalier Mapu

Ce mouvement permet de vous enraciner, c’est à dire d’être vraiment présent.

La position de départ : Debout, les pieds sont parallèles, écartés de la distance qui vous convient, mais plus largement que les épaules. Les bras sont le long du corps.

Le bon mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration,  fléchissez les jambes et faites monter les bras, bien arrondis jusqu’au  niveau de la poitrine, les paumes tournées vers vous. Ouvrez la région lombaire.

A l’expiration : Tournez les paumes de mains vers le sol. Redressez progressivement le corps en tirant vers le sommet de la tête, pendant que les mains descendent, très doucement, jusqu’au niveau du Dian Tian inférieur. Puis revenez à la position initiale.

 

8

 

 

La grue se pose sur le rocher

Ce mouvement renforce les reins et développe un meilleur équilibre.

Position de départ : Debout, les pieds sont parallèles écartés de la largeur des épaules, les bras le long du corps.

Le bon mouvement :

 

A l’inspiration : le sommet de la tête comme suspendu par le haut, relâchez les épaules et le bassin vers le bas : les genoux fléchissent légèrement et les bras descendent de chaque côté. Déplacez le poids du corps sur le pied droit. Soulevez le talon du pied gauche. La région lombaire se relâche et le corps s’arrondit vers l’avant, le poids du corps en arrière, sur le pied droit.

A l’expiration : redressez progressivement le corps en déliant la région lombaire. Soulevez la jambe gauche en levant le genou. Les bras suivent le mouvement ascendant. Les mains se tournent vers le haut ; elles arrivent au niveau du visage, la main droite en retrait de la gauche. Portez votre regard au delà de celle-ci. Revenez à la position initiale et changez de jambe.

Some selected Koans (french)

 

L'homme regarde la fleur, la fleur sourit.

 

Recherchez la liberté et vous deviendrez esclave de vos désirs. Recherchez la discipline et vous trouverez la liberté.

 

Quand un homme ordinaire atteint le savoir, il est sage. Quand un sage atteint la compréhension, il est un homme ordinaire.

 

Quel est le son d’une seule main qui applaudit ?

 
La voie est sous vos pieds.

 

Le bambou existe au-dessus et en dessous de son nœud.

 

 

Maison pauvre, voie riche.

 

L'heure me regarde et je regarde l'heure.

 

La lumière existe dans l'obscurité ; ne voyez pas avec une vision obscure.

 

La haine seule fait des choix.

 
Quel était ton nom avant que ton père ne vienne au monde ?

 

Pour savoir si l'eau d'un bol est chaude ou froide, il faut y mettre le doigt... Il ne sert à rien de discuter.

 

Un de gagné, un de perdu.

 

Jour après jour, c'est un bon jour.

 

À esprit libre, univers libre.

 

 

Non anxieux ici, non anxieux toute la vie.

 

 

J'éteins la lumière, où va-t-elle ?

 

Une journée, une vie.

 

Le courant rapide n'a pas emporté la lune.

 

Une illusion peut-elle exister ?

 

Pour l’homme ordinaire, les rivières sont des rivières et les montagnes sont des montagnes. Lorsque vous pratiquez le zen les rivières ne sont plus des rivières et les montagnes ne sont plus des montagnes. Lorsque vous atteignez l’illumination les rivières redeviennent des rivières et les montagnes redeviennent des montagnes. Au-delà cela n’a plus d’importance.

 

Lorsqu'il n'y a plus rien à faire, que faites-vous ?

 

Ce qui te manque, cherche-le dans ce que tu as.

 

Ne regardez pas les choses ordinaires de manière ordinaire.

 

 

Benefits of Zazen, by Kathrina Jane Tiangco

Zazen in Japanese literally means sitting meditation. It is a meditation discipline and religious practice of Zen Buddhism. At the core of Zazen is having insight into the nature of existence. The aim of zazen is to suspend all judgmental thinking through sitting in silence. It is in this method that ideas, words, images and thoughts pass by without being preoccupied by any of them.

Traditionally, zazen meditation is practiced in a group meditation hall, referred to as the zendo. In the Japanese meditation ritual, a Zazen practitioner must bow before the seat and his fellow practitioners in the beginning and end of the meditation. Sometimes, zazen may alternate with kinhin or the walking meditation.

Types and Methods of Zazen Meditation

There are also different types of zazen in terms of practice. Practitioners from the Rinzai School do zazen by sitting while facing each other with their backs on the wall. In another school, zazen practitioners face the wall or curtain and sit silently. Zazen meditation is taught using three methods. This includes mastery on introspection, concentration and just sitting.

Concentration makes use of counted breathing. Some even uses repeatedly reciting mantras to substitute the counting. This method aims to achieve the one-pointedness of the mind. This allows us to subdue all negative thoughts present in the external world and helps us to remain focused on what is present in front of us. Introspection on the other hand, raises awareness. In this method, the practitioner develops interconnectedness with nature and his internal being. The individual then becomes attuned to his consciousness. This gives him to the intellectual processing of actualizing reality that transcends thought.

 

In the principle of Zazen meditation, concentration and introspection are better achieved with just sitting contentedly and quietly in comfortable space.

Health Benefits of Zazen Meditation

Zazen meditation is more than just sitting and gaining concentration out of it. There are long-term health benefits that we could get out of Zazen. Here are some of them.

  1. Cognitive functioning and moods. Meditation is likened to a brain multivitamins if there is such. Thus, a daily dose of it would be suggested. Since zazen develops mindfulness through concentration, it also latently decreases occurrence of depression. Being akin to your own thoughts and harmoniously processing them with external stimuli increases cognitive alertness and the secretion of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones are called “happy hormones” and are the key players in preventing depressing thoughts and incidences of bipolar disorders.
  2. Reduction of stress and anxiety. Being burnt out from work and other hassles of everyday living could produce stress and anxiety. These two are closely associated with the occurrence of depression and could lead to chronic heart diseases and even diabetes. Internal awareness gained through Zazen reduces the density of grey-matter in the brain which causes stress and anxiety.
  3. Increase psychomotor response. Our psychomotor vigilance may buffer sometimes as a result of exhaustion and lack of sleep. Thus, hand-eye and overall body coordination might lag at times. Doing zazen meditation everyday clears our thoughts with stressors that may seriously affect our psychomotor response. Mindfulness also allows our memory and thoughts to be organized thus, preventing sleeping disorders to be developed.
  4. Gives resilience to pain. MRIs show that people who practice Zazen have higher tolerance to pain than those who do not. As a matter of fact, studies present that practicing Zazen daily is way better than morphine when it comes to pain resilience. This is possible through concentration. Naturally secreted morphine works faster when there is attention to pain. This means that the person has the capacity to route morphine in the pained area. Since Zazen focuses on attention and focus, pain resilience is the immediate effect.
  5. Improves emotional intelligence. Improved emotional intelligence means that as people, we shall have more capacity for good decision-making even under pressure. This also means that we shall be more able to construct the appropriate words even in the midst of anger. We shall also be benefited with greater focus even on repetitive and boring tasks. These are made possible by the breathing exercises and mantra recitation in Zazen meditation.

About Zen (Wikipedia sources)

Zen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation).
 
Bodhidharma and Dazu Huike, the first two Zen patriarchs
Zen
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Thiền
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Japanese name
Kanji
Sanskrit name
Sanskrit dhyāna

Zen (Chinese: ; pinyin: Chán) is a school of Mahayana Buddhism[note 1] that originated in China during the Tang dynasty as Chan Buddhism. It was strongly influenced by Taoism and developed as a distinguished school of Chinese Buddhism. From China, Chan Buddhism spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan, where it became known as Japanese Zen.[2]

Zen emphasizes rigorous self-control, meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others.[3][4] As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine[5][6] and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.[7]

The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahayana thought, especially Yogachara, the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras and the Huayan school, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal.[8][9] The Prajñāpāramitā literature[10] and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential in the shaping of the "paradoxical language" of the Zen-tradition.

 

Contents

 

Etymology

The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 (dʑjen) (pinyin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna (ध्यान ),[1] which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state".[11]

Zen practice

Central to Zen is the practice of dhyana or meditation.

Observing the breath

 
Venerable Hsuan Hua meditating in the Lotus Position. Hong Kong, 1953.

During sitting meditation, practitioners usually assume a position such as the lotus position, half-lotus, Burmese, or seiza postures, using the dhyāna mudrā. To regulate the mind, awareness is directed towards counting or watching the breath or by bringing that awareness to the energy center below the navel (see also ānāpānasati).[web 1] Often, a square or round cushion placed on a padded mat is used to sit on; in some other cases, a chair may be used. This practice may simply be called sitting dhyāna, which is zuòchán (坐禅) in Chinese, and zazen (坐禅) in Japanese.

Observing the mind

In the Sōtō school of Zen, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content, is the primary form of practice. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference. Considerable textual, philosophical, and phenomenological justification of this practice can be found throughout Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, as for example in the "Principles of Zazen"[web 2] and the "Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen".[web 3] In the Japanese language, this practice is called Shikantaza.

Intensive group meditation

Intensive group meditation may be practiced occasionally in some temples. In the Japanese language, this practice is called Sesshin. While the daily routine may require monks to meditate for several hours each day, during the intensive period they devote themselves almost exclusively to the practice of sitting meditation. The numerous 30–50 minute long meditation periods are interwoven with rest breaks, meals, and short periods of work that are performed with the same mindfulness; nightly sleep is kept to seven hours or less. In modern Buddhist practice in Japan, Taiwan, and the West, lay students often attend these intensive practice sessions, which are typically 1, 3, 5, or 7 days in length. These are held at many Zen centers, especially in commemoration of the Buddha's attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. One distinctive aspect of Zen meditation in groups is the use of a kyosaku, a flat, wooden slat used to strike meditators with the intention of keeping them focused and awake.

Insight – Kōan practice

Main article: Kōan
 
Chinese character for "nothing" (Hanyu Pinyin: ; Japanese pronunciation: mu; Korean pronunciation: mu). It figures in the famous Zhaozhou's dog kōan

At the beginning of the Sòng dynasty, practice with the kōan method became popular, whereas others practiced "silent illumination."[12] This became the source of some differences in practice between the Línjì and Cáodòng schools.

A kōan, literally "public case", is a story or dialogue, describing an interaction between a Zen master and a student. These anecdotes give a demonstration of the master's insight. Koans emphasize the non-conceptional insight that the Buddhist teachings are pointing to. Koans can be used to provoke the "great doubt", and test a student's progress in Zen practice.

Kōan-inquiry may be practiced during zazen (sitting meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), and throughout all the activities of daily life. Kōan practice is particularly emphasized by the Japanese Rinzai school, but it also occurs in other schools or branches of Zen depending on the teaching line.[13]

The Zen student's mastery of a given kōan is presented to the teacher in a private interview (referred to in Japanese as dokusan (独参), daisan (代参), or sanzen (参禅)). While there is no unique answer to a kōan, practitioners are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the kōan and of Zen through their responses. The teacher may approve or disapprove of the answer and guide the student in the right direction. The interaction with a Zen-teacher is central in Zen, but makes Zen-practice, at least in the west, also vulnerable to misunderstanding and exploitation.[14]

Zen chanting and liturgy

See also: Buddhist chant

A practice in many Zen monasteries and centers is a daily liturgy service. Practitioners chant major sutras such as the Heart Sutra, chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra (often called the "Avalokiteśvara Sutra"), Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi, the Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī, and other minor mantras.

The butsudan is the altar in a monastery where offerings are made to the images of the Buddha or bodhisattvas. The same term is also used in Japanese homes for the altar where one prays to and communicates with deceased family members. As such, reciting liturgy in Zen can be seen as a means to connect with the Bodhisattvas of the past. Liturgy is often used during funerals, memorials, and other special events as means to invoke the aid of supernatural powers.[citation needed]

Chanting usually centers on major bodhisattvas like Avalokiteśvara (see Guanyin) and Manjushri. According to Mahayana Buddhism, bodhisattvas are beings who have taken vows to remain in saṃsāra to help all beings achieve liberation from it. Since the Zen practitioner's aim is to walk the bodhisattva path, chanting can be used as a means to connect with these beings and realize this ideal within oneself.

Lay services

Though in western Zen the emphasis is on zen-meditation, and the application of Zen-teachings in daily life, Japanese Zen also serves a function in public religion. Funerals play an important role as a point of contact between the monks and the laity. Statistics published by the Sōtō school state that 80 percent of Sōtō laymen visit their temple only for reasons having to do with funerals and death. Seventeen percent visit for spiritual reasons and 3 percent visit a Zen priest at a time of personal trouble or crisis.[15]

Zen teachings

Though Zen-narrative states that it is a "special transmission outside scriptures" which "did not stand upon words",[16] Zen does have a rich doctrinal background, which is firmly grounded in the Buddhist tradition.[17] It was thoroughly influenced by the Chinese understanding of Yogacara and the Buddha-nature doctrine,[18][19] Zen integrates both Yogacara and Madhyamaka,[20] and the influence of Madhyamaka can be discerned in the stress on non-conceptual insight and the paradoxical language of the koans.[18][web 4][21][note 2] Most essential are "the most fundamental teaching that we are already originally enlightened",[22] and the Bodhisattva ideal, which supplements insight with Karuṇā, compassion with all sentient beings.[23]

To point out 'essential Zen-teachings' is almost impossible, given the variety of schools, the extended history of 1500 years, and the emphasis on suchness, reality just-as-it-is, which has to be expressed in daily life, not in words.[citation needed] But common to most schools and teachings is this emphasis on suchness and Buddha-nature, the Bodhisattva-ideal, and the priority of zazen.[citation needed]

Zen teachings can be likened to "the finger pointing at the moon".[24] Zen teachings point to the moon, awakening, "a realization of the unimpeded interpenetration of the dharmadhatu".[25] But the Zen-tradition also warns against taking its teachings, the pointing finger, to be this insight itself.[26][web 5][web 6][27]

The various traditions lay various emphases in their teachings and practices:

There are two different ways of understanding and actually practicing Zen. These two different ways are termed in Chinese pen chueh and shih-chueh respectively. The term pen chueh refers to the belief that one’s mind is from the beginning of time fully enlightened, while shih-chueh refers to the belief that at some point in time we pass from imprisonment in ignorance and delusion to a true vision of Zen realization: “Our enlightenment is timeless, yet our realization of it occurs in time.” According to this belief experiencing a moment of awakening in this life is of central importance.[28]

Rinzai

Main article: Rinzai school

The Rinzai school is the Japanese lineage of the Chinese Linji school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Linji Yixuan.The Rinzai school emphasizes kensho, insight into one's true nature.[29] This is followed by so-called post-satori practice, further practice to attain Buddhahood.[30][31][32]

Other Zen-teachers have also expressed sudden insight followed by gradual cultivation. Jinul, a 12th-century Korean Seon master, followed Zongmi, and also emphasized that insight into our true nature is sudden, but is to be followed by practice to ripen the insight and attain full buddhahood. This is also the standpoint of the contemporary Sanbo Kyodan, according to whom kenshō is at the start of the path to full enlightenment.[33]

To attain this primary insight and to deepen it, zazen and kōan-study is deemed essential. This trajectory of initial insight followed by a gradual deepening and ripening is expressed by Linji in his Three Mysterious Gates and Hakuin Ekaku's Four Ways of Knowing.[23] Another example of depiction of stages on the path are the Ten Bulls, which detail the steps on the path.

Soto

Main article: Sōtō

Sōtō is the Japanese line of the Chinese Caodong school, which was founded during the Tang Dynasty by Dongshan Liangjie. The Sōtō-school has de-emphasized kōans since Gentō Sokuchū (circa 1800), and instead emphasized shikantaza.[34] Dogen, the founder of Soto in Japan, emphasised that practice and awakening cannot be separated. By practicing shikantaza, attainment and Buddhahood are already being expressed.[35] For Dogen, zazen, or shikantaza, is the essence of Buddhist practice.[36] Gradual cultivation was also recognized by Dongshan Liangjie.[web 7]

Sanbo Kyodan

The Sanbo Kyodan combines Soto and Rinzai teachings.[33][37] It is a Japanese lay organization, which is highly influential in the West through the work of Hakuun Yasutani, Philip Kapleau, Yamada Koun, and Taizan Maezumi. Yasutani mentions three goals of Zen: development of concentration (joriki), awakening (kensho-godo), and realization of Zen in daily life (mujodo no taigen).[33] Kensho is stressed,[37] but also post-satori practice.[38][note 3]

Zen scripture

Main article: Zen and Sutras

The role of scripture in Zen

Contrary to the popular image, literature does play a role in the Zen-training. Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism.[39] Unsui, Zen-monks, "are expected to become familiar with the classics of the Zen canon".