Welcome to week two of the Online Orientation to Zen Course! If you have been following along, you have now sat a bit this past week and have started to get into a rhythm. This week we will continue with the sitting and increase the time you sit by five minutes so you will sit a total of ten minutes. We have provided a 10 minute practice session below for you use to use help time this, if you wish to use it.

There is a new journal for this week. Download it, print it, and make sure to keep a record of your daily sitting practice. Feel free to also record notes about how you felt during the sit, anything that came up for you, and how the sit went. Was it easy? Difficult? Keep a record of your journey onto the path of Zen.

We will also look at chanting and what it is about and why we do it. There is a podcast linked below that you can listen to during this next week to learn a little more about chanting and why we chant in Zen practice.

Watch Videos:

This week there two videos: one is the instructions for week two, and the other is a timed 10 minute practice session that you can use to time your sits, if you wish.

Instructions for Week Two

You’ve practiced zen for a week, great job! In this next week, we will be increasing the time you sit to ten minutes a day. This week you will also get a new exercise to use while you sit and to experience what it is to just breathe. Remember that consistency is very important, so even if you can only sit for a few minutes, make sure that you do so daily — up to a total of ten minutes each day.

Timed 10-minute Practice Session

You should now have an established sitting area and have sat for five minutes a day for the last week. This is a wonderful start.  This next week we will increase the length of the sits to ten minutes. The video below will take you through a short ten minute sit, with bells to indicate when the sit begins and ends. Feel free to use this video for all of your ten minute sits this week, or sit in silence without the video if you prefer.

Chanting:

This podcast will introduce you to the practice chanting. In Zen, we usually chant at the beginning and end of our practice sessions — especially when sitting as a group in the Zendo (the communal practice hall). Chanting is a wonderful way to take your sitting practice and bring it into the simple activity of chanting.

Roshi Philip Kapleau said:

“Mind is unlimited.
Chanting, when performed egolessly,
has the power to penetrate visible and invisible worlds.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Practice Schedule:

Below is your practice schedule for week two. Remember to sit every day. It is important that you sit daily to build a solid practice rhythm. It is far better to sit every day for just a few minutes, if that is all that you can manage, rather than sitting for longer periods more infrequently. So if you cannot manage ten minutes on a given day, just sit for a few minutes to ensure you are sitting daily.

  • Ten minutes of zazen each day
  • Complete “Week Two Training Journal” each day
  • Three ten-minute periods of zazen on day seven with 3 minutes of kinhin or rest kinhin between

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 Material:

Below is a link to the chant book that we use at Zenwest. Feel free to download and print it and use it to follow along with the recordings of our chants linked in the next section.

Remember to update your practice journal each day so you can keep track of your progress through this program. Good luck and happy sitting!

Chanting Practice:

Below are links to two chants that we use in every communal sit. We open the sit by chanting the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra, and we close the sit by chanting the Final Instruction of Daito Kokushi. You can use the chant book linked above to guide you through the words of the chants.