The six pillars of daily Zen practice

 I am receiving many questions such as “What does Zen practice mean”? This is a very good, practical down to earth question different from the usual “What is Zen”? which is somewhat more cerebral.

Here are the 6 pillars that define our daily Zen practice. To apply all of them every day is difficult. Hope this reading will help you. For any question please contact me at info@www.meditationandcontemplation.ca.

1) MEDITATION:

The core of Zen. Meditation is a physical & mental focusing practice aiming at relaxing & controlling body & mind.

Schedule: solo daily (20 to 30minutes) + at least weekly group practice as “rebooting”.

2) TO BE MINDFUL MOMENT TO MOMENT TO:

A- What is real:

  • What is received & analyzed through our 5 senses (see, hear, touch, smell, taste).
  • What we are currently doing at the present moment.
  • To “Now” since past & future are “illusions stored in our mind”.
  • To our environment: respecting all living beings and their surroundings.

B- To our thoughts:

All day long we are thinking (~30,000 thoughts/day) without realizing it most of the time.

Zen talks about “Sleep walking mind” or “in mind auto pilot”

3) TO PAY ATTENTION THEN TO LET GO WHAT IS NOT REAL:

Our ego-centered mind is the mean source of our problems: ongoing desires, negative emotions       (anger, fear, frustration, resentment, anxiety, jealousy,), judgment, illusions, concepts,

past ( not much we can do about ) & future ( little we can do about.)

4) TO AQUIRE PROPER UNDERSTANDING:

  • Life, situations, events and facts are what they are: they have no specific agenda for each of us; in fact they do not care about us.
  • Most of our dissatisfactions, suffering, stress come from our ego-centered mind ( see 3) )
  • No living being has a permanent, independent, separate self-entity. (Called no self in Zen).
  • All living beings are interconnected and interrelated.
  • Everything is a transient manifestation submitted to endless changes and part of a “ Global entity” which is beyond our human comprehension. It is called True Nature. Others call it “God”.

5) TO DEMONSTRATE GOOD PERSONAL & SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:

Respecting our own health, showing generosity, compassion, forgiveness, patience,

perseverance, love, ethical conduct, concentration, wisdom (right vs. wrong).

6) TO MANIFEST SOCIAL INTEREST IN YOUR “ZEN MATES”:

Participating in our weekly “get together” is important. Why?

To meditate together as a reboot, listen to the “teaching”, ask questions, exchange opinion  and socialize during tea at the end. After almost 10 years of practice I am still going to my   weekly class. Oakville Zen Meditation has been up for almost one month and yet many   members are still invisible despite our 6 classes/week giving a chance to everyone to fit their  life constraints. One may wonder what “strong interest in Zen” means to these members.