Zazen – About Meditation at Windhorse

To do zazen, first find a quiet place to sit.  You may sit on a mat and cushion on the ground in any posture that allows the knees to rest on the ground below the hips and the spine to be long.  You may also sit in a chair.  Shoulders, ears and hips should be in one straight line.  Hands should be placed in the lap with the left hand on the right hand, thumbs lightly touching.  Your eyes should be open with a soft gaze.  When you visit Windhorse for the first time, posture will be addressed during your orientation.

It is best to work directly with a teacher when beginning to do zazen.  The most common initial practice is breath counting.  To do zazen in this way, simply count each breath as you exhale.  When you get to “ten,” return to “one.”  When you realize you have counted past “ten” or have stopped counting, return to “one.” There is no need to try to keep up with how many times you’ve made it to “ten,” nor to judge yourself when you become distracted.  As much as possible, fully experience each breath.

You can learn about other Zen practices by visiting Windhorse.  If there is not a Zen center in your area, The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Phillip Kapleau provides clear zazen instructions as well.