Watch the first three videos in order before you begin sitting. They will take you through the basics of posture and proper sitting technique and guide you in setting up your own home practice space, and finally walking you though a short five minute sit. Watch the fourth video sometime before the end of the week as we will incorporate a walking meditation (called kinhin) in the long sit on day seven.
Introduction to Zen
This video is an instruction on posture and technique for zen meditation practice (zazen). Learn how to sit properly to ensure a safe and comfortable journey into zen practice. Building a solid foundation of good posture and a stable sitting position is fundamental to zen practice, and it is important to ensure you are sitting properly for the weeks to come.
Setting up your own practice space and establishing a home practice is the goal of this course. Watch the video below to learn about how to set up your own space where you can sit and practice zazen.
Timed 5-Minute Practice Session
When you are ready to sit for the first time, ensure that your practice space is set up and that you are seated on your cushion and ready to begin sitting. This video will take you through a short five minute sit, with bells to indicate when the sit begins and ends. Feel free to use this video for all of your five minute sits this week, or sit in silence without the video if you prefer.
Kinhin is walking or standing meditation. It is not a break or gap in practice or a rest from zazen. Rather, it is an opportunity to take the equanimity and awareness we experience in zazen into motion. The simple practice of walking, placing one foot in front of the other, provides the bridge between seated meditation and engaging in the complex and ever changing activity of our lives with presence, focus and wisdom.
Building a regular sitting practice is the primary goal of this course. You cannot gain any benefits from just watching videos and reading about zen, you need to get on the cushion and sit! When you are ready to begin, the following schedule will take you through your first week of practice.
- Sit five minutes of zazen each day. Feel free to use the timed five minute practice session video above, or use your own timer and sit on your own.
- Complete your “Week One Training Journal” entry each day to keep track of your progress. There is a real benefit to writing things down, so please do not skip this part of the course. You will be glad at the end to be able to look back and see your progress.
- Finally, on day seven, challenge yourself with three five-minute periods of zazen with 2 minutes of kinhin or rest kinhin between each sit.
Remember to update your practice journal each day so you can keep track of your progress through this program. Good luck and happy sitting!
Supplementary Training Videos:
Here are two supplementary videos that describe how to enter the zendo and the roles of Jikijitsu and Shoji, two of the primary officers in the zendo. You can watch these videos at your own pace as they are not required before you begin your actual sitting practice.
Arriving at the zendo, and entering for practice.
Jikijitsu and Shoji
Become familiar with the Jikijitsu and Shoji, two of the main officers in the zendo (main meditation hall).