From: email@example.com (Frank San Filippo)
Date: 10 May 1994 09:48:08 -0700
How to Sit (Zazen)
1. Sit on the forward third of a chair or cushion.
2. Arrange your legs in a position you can maintain comfortably. In the
half-lotus position, place your left leg on your right thigh (or vice versa).
In the full-lotus position , put your feet on opposite thighs. You may also
sit simply with your legs tucked in close to your body, but be sure that your
weight is distributed evenly on three points: Both of your knees on the ground
and your buttocks on the round cushion. On a chair, keep your knees apart about
the width of your shoulders, feet firmly planted on the floor.
3. Straighten and extend your spine, keeping it naturally upright, centering
your balance in the lower abdomen. Push your lower back a little forward, open
your chest, and tuck your chin in slightly, keeping the head upright, not
leaning forward, or backward, or to the side. Sway your body gently from left
to right, until you naturally come to a point of stillness on your cushion.
4. Keep your eyes cast on the floor about 3 to 4 feet in front of your body,
eyes neither fully opened nor closed. If the eyes are closed, you might start
to daydream or visualize things.
5. Keep your lips and teeth together with your tongue resting against the roof
of your mouth.
6. Place your hands on your lap with the right palm up and your left hand (palm
up) resting on your right hand, thumb-tips lightly touching, forming a
horizontal oval. This is the mudra of zazen, in which all things are unified.
Place the sides of the little fingers against your abdomen, a few inches below
the navel, harmonizing your center of gravity with the mudra.
7. Take a few breaths, exhaling fully. Let your breath settle into its natural
rhythm. With proper physical posture, your breathing will flow naturally into
your lower abdomen.
8. Sit still and keep your attention on your breath. When your attention
wanders, bring it back to the breath again and again-- as many times as
9. Be fully, vitally present. Simply do your very best. At the end of your
sitting period, gently sway your body from right to left. Stretch out your
legs; be sure they have feeling before standing.
10. Practice every day for ten to fifteen minutes (or more) and you will
discover the treasures of your life.
Quoted from _The_Ten_Directions_, Fall/Winter 1993, Vol. XIV, No. 2. Published
by the Zen Center of Los Angeles and the Kuroda Institute. Redistributed with
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