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Walking the Path of Zen: Routines of a Buddhist Practitioner

Earth, Nature, Water, Zen Buddhism

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Introduction

Buddhism is a way of life that is followed by millions of people worldwide. Zen is a major lineage within Buddhism. One of the most important aspects of Zen Buddhism is the practice of Zen meditation. Zen Buddhism is known as the direct path to self-realization as meditation is central to the practice of Zen.  

Zen meditation (zazen) is a way of training the mind to focus on the present moment, without judgment. It is a powerful tool for reducing stress, increasing overall wellbeing. Ultimately, zazen is a self-realization practice. In this article, we will discuss the routines of a Buddhist practitioner and how they incorporate Zen meditation into their daily lives.


The Benefits of Zen Meditation

Before we dive into the routines of a Buddhist practitioner, it’s important to understand the benefits of Zen meditation. Zen meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, increase self-awareness, and improve overall well-being. It is a powerful tool for anyone looking to improve their mental and emotional health. Through the practice of zazen many dedicated practitioners have come to a full awakening. It is through zazen that the Buddha’s enlightenment has been transmitted through the generations to the present day. Zen masters often assert that the practice of zazen is enlightenment.

More reading: The Path of Compassion and Silent Zen Meditation: A Path to Inner Peace and Self-Awareness


The Morning Routine

Buddhist practitioners typically start their day with meditation. This can be done either sitting or walking, depending on the individual’s preference. Morning zazen sets the tone for the day ahead and cultivates a sense of calm and focus.


Sitting Meditation

Sitting meditation is the most common form of Zen meditation. It involves sitting in a stable, comfortable position with the back straight. The practitioner then focuses on their breath, observing each inhalation and exhalation without judgment. Thoughts will inevitably arise, but the practitioner simply observes them and returns their attention to the breath. Working with an experienced teacher can be very insightful and facilitate the developing attunement to the depth of illumination along the way.


Walking Meditation

Walking meditation (kinhin) is another form of Zen meditation that can be done in the morning. It involves walking slowly and mindfully, paying attention to each step and the sensations in the body. This practice can be especially beneficial for those who find it difficult to sit for long periods of time. We walk toward our meditation seat and walk away from the cushion. Walking is how we transition into our day. Kinhin, done in conjunction with zazen, takes your mindfulness practice toward and from the cushion integrating zazen into your daily life – eating, performing chores, driving and working.


Mindful Eating

Another important aspect of Buddhist practice is mindful eating. This involves paying close attention to the food that we eat, savoring each bite and chewing slowly. Mindful eating helps us to become more aware of our bodies and the vast network of our relationship with food.


Daily Chores

Buddhist practitioners also incorporate mindfulness into their daily chores. This means being fully present and aware of the task at hand, whether it’s washing dishes or doing laundry. By practicing mindfulness in everyday activities, we can cultivate a sense of calm and focus throughout the day. Being present in the ‘now’ of our lives we are able to interrupt habitual patterns and open to our creative potential in the moment to generate abundance, compassion and harmony.


Evening Meditation

Just as Zen Buddhist practitioners start their day with zazen, it is also helpful to  end their day with zazen. Evening zazen is a way to let go of the events of the day, cultivate a sense of gratitude and compassion, and prepare the body and mind for a restful sleep.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the routines of a Zen Buddhist practitioner are designed to cultivate mindfulness and focus throughout the day. By incorporating Zen meditation, mindful eating, and mindfulness in daily chores, Buddhist practitioners can reduce stress and increase overall wellbeing of themselves and consequently those around them. These practices can be beneficial for anyone looking to improve their mental and emotional health. For those seeking enlightenment zazen is a very direct path to self-realization.

Born as the Earth School, a Zen School of the Heart, offers several free training programs related to meditation, authentic communication, and Nature Based Wisdom Teachings (NBWT) in support of establishing a tried and tested, sure path to holistic wellbeing and self-realization. 

FAQs

What is Zen meditation (zazen)?

Zen meditation is a practice of training the mind to focus on the present moment, without judgment. It is a powerful tool for reducing stress and increasing overall wellbeing.

What are the benefits of zazen?

Zazen has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, increase self-awareness, and improve overall wellbeing. There are many benefits of practicing zazen regularly. Ultimately zazen pierces one’s conditioning and reveals one’s inherent enlightenment. 

How do Buddhist practitioners incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives?

Buddhist practitioners incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives through practices such as morning and evening meditation, mindful eating, mindfulness in daily chores and in all aspects of work and play.

Can anyone practice Zen meditation?

Yes, anyone can practice zazen. It does not require any specific beliefs or religious affiliations. It is a simple yet powerful practice of training the mind to be present in the moment to all that arises.