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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