Beginning Zazen

Welcome to the Instruction Hall, featuring talks on meditation techniques, pitfalls, and encouragement given to students of past masters. These have been taken from the Archives of the Daily Zen Journal and are a suitable starting place for the beginner and the experienced practitioner alike.

As we are creating the Teishos, if we come upon one that will help the beginner, we will place add it here.

Practice of Meditation

Many are just beginning practice, and for those who have practiced for years, Dogen’s piece on meditation has points that even the “advanced” students have not mastered.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Practice of Meditation
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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross-legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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About This Mind

Simplicity and clarity are to be valued in any teacher… The instructions given for watching the breath couldn’t be more simple, and the freedom to adapt the practice leaves us no excuse for not practicing. 

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
About This Mind
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Harmony – Part 1

No matter how many years we have practiced, or how many weeks, it is always refreshing to return to the beginning and look at meditation as if we are just being introduced to it. We can all benefit from a return to beginner’s mind.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony - Part 1
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Harmony – Part 2

This selection takes us into deeper steps of preparation to sit with attention to breathing clearly spelled out. Rather than following the breath into the abdomen and back out, Chih I has us breathe into every pore and out to the periphery of our entire body.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony - Part 2
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Harmony – Part 3

Like so many of the early teachers of Zen and meditation, there is an outline of preparing oneself for meditation, but there is seldom too much direction about what exactly it IS you are entering into.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony - Part 3
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Following the Breath with Mindfulness

No matter how many years we have practiced, or if we are just discovering a way to practice, we can maintain beginner’s mind. Beginner’s mind is that state before we know too much, before we can explain principles to anyone else, where everything is fresh and unexplored and full of wonder.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Following the Breath with Mindfulness
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Mind is the One Vehicle

We have all asked questions of a teacher and kept on asking without pausing to experience the answer.  It is like having a greed for views where there is this insatiable drive to collect answers without discovering anything for oneself.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Mind is the One Vehicle
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Correct Practice

In this chapter on practice, Chih I covers a tremendous amount of territory. With a simple name like stop-look Zen meditation, we are introduced to a short-hand view of this technique. The straightforward reasons for practice are all ones we can relate to, and perhaps a few are a bit surprising to consider as reasons to practice meditation.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Correct Practice
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