Monday, August 23, 2010

5 things you didn't know about Zen meditation

This is a guest post by Louise Baker. Louise ranks online degrees for Zen College Life. She most recently wrote about the best colleges online.

After a hard day at work, we need an opportunity to relax and unwind. An excellent way to clear one's mind at the end of the day is through Zen meditation. This Buddhist practice will help relieve the body, calm the mind, and relax the soul. However, many people are unaware of the fantastic benefits that Zen meditation can provide. These five facts regarding Zen meditation will help you bring calmness to your everyday lifestyle.

1. The Traditional Aim of Zen Meditation is to Discover Your 'Buddha-Nature'

The religion of Buddhism states that all living being possess a 'Buddha-Nature,' or a type of unlimited wisdom, which is accessed by experiencing the mind's most natural state. In Zen meditation, you try to achieve this state by tuning out the outside world and focusing on your inner nature. It is believed that by tapping into your 'Buddha-Nature,' you will gain a deeper understanding of the world and its inhabitants.

2. You Don't Have to Be Buddhist to Practice Zen Meditation

Although the practice of Zen meditation is rooted in religious traditions and beliefs, you do not have to practice the religion of Buddhism to enjoy the benefits of meditating. Many people find Zen meditation's search for inner knowledge to be very relieving after a long day. By retreating into your own mind and ignoring the outside world, you can focus on promoting your own well-being, rather than constantly thinking about the issues you must deal with in your day-to-day life. This break from the trials of everyday life has a remarkably soothing effect.

3. You Can Meditate Anytime, Anywhere

There is no 'right' time or place to practice Zen meditation. As long as you can create an atmosphere within yourself that is suitable for fostering a Zen state of mind, you can meditate anywhere and at any time of day. The important part is that you ensure that you are in a place where you can sit comfortably for at least fifteen minutes.

4. Zen Meditation Can Take Practice

Many people have difficulty achieving a Zen state of mind the first few times they try to meditate. It can be difficult to ignore the distractions that are presented both in the outside world and in your own mind. However, you simply need to practice. In time, you will develop the ability to tune out all other sounds but the wisdom of silence.

5. Zen Meditation Provides Universal Understanding

After tapping into one's 'Buddha-Nature,' many people feel endowed with a new sense of knowledge. Meditation enables you to understand yourself and the world around you, adding peace and harmony to the world.

Image : Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC by hermida

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond