The Goal

To continue to read one book each week
To find authors who inspire me
To teach myself discipline
To share my experiences with others

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 35: Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Daishin Buksbazen

I’ve always been fascinated by the ability of Buddhist monks to sit, or meditate. I have a wandering mind and usually incredibly distracted during yoga (or other exercise for that matter). To focus on clearing your mind seems like an oxymoron.

Zen - or Zazen - is a form of meditation that is widely practiced, and not just by Buddhists. The principles within Zazen are universally applicable and acclaimed. Personal growth, better concentration, and enlightenment are the by-products of “sitting” in Zazen meditation.

The author, an ordained Buddhist priest, makes a valiant attempt at simplifying the practices of Zen for the rest of us. He uses metaphors that I was able to understand despite my obvious lack of knowledge and experience. If someone was interested in newly developing Zen practice, this book is a great place to start. Simplicity seems to be the basis for Zen, though the effort it takes is substantial. (Yet another oxymoron.)

Trying Zen meditation is a completely different thing than reading about it. I tried it once while I was in the middle of this book, and I was concentrating so hard on what I was doing right or wrong that I forgot to concentrate. I’ll try it again.

My best advice is to avoid homes with open windows and large populations of crickets.

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