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How to Practice Zen (ZAZEN)

How to Practice Zen (ZAZEN)

Wie praktiziere ich Zazen  in German
 Translated by Mr.Hermann  Jordan. Danke sehr! 

1.How to Gassho

Hold the palms and fingers of both hands together.
"GASSHO"is an expression of respect,faith and devotion. Become the two hands(duality) are joined together, it express the "One-Mind."

2.How to Shashu

Put the thumb of your left hand in the middle of the palm and make a fist around it. Place the fist in front of your chest. Cover the fist with your elboows away from your body forming a straight line with both forearms.


At first, at your seat,bow in "GASSHO" toward the ZAFU and turn clock wise.


Bow in "GASSHO" toward the opposite side of the hall.


Put your right foot on your left thigh,and your left foot on your right thigh.


If you cannot "Kekka-fuza",put just your left foot on your right thigh.

7.Posture of the trunk

Sit straight,leaning neither to the right,neither forward nor backward.


Place your right hand palm-up on your left foot,and your left hand palm-up on your right palm.The tips of your thumbs should be lightly touching each other.

9.The eyes

Keep your eyes slightly open. Cast them,downward at about a 45 degree angle.
Without focusing on any particular thing have its place in your field of vision.
If your eyes are closed,you will easily drift into drowsiness or daydreaming.


(Exhale completely and take a breath)Quietly make a deep exhalation and inhalation.Slightly open your mouth and exhale smoothly and slowly.
In order to expel all the air from your lungs,exhale from the abdo-men.
Then close your mouth and inhale through your nose naturally.This is called Kanki-issoku.

11.The mouth

Keep your mouth closed,placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth,leaving no air.


Rest the base of your spine in the center of the ZAFU.
Sway the trunk from side to side,decreasing the angle of the movement until you stop in the center, and sit immovably.


  Do not concentrate on any particular object or control your thought.Yet,when you maintain a proper posture and your breathing settles down,your mind will naturally because tranquil as well. When various thoughts arise in your mind,do not become caught up by them or struggle with them;Just leave them alone,allowing them to come up and go away freely. The most essential thing in doing ZAZEN is to awaken(Kakusoku) from distraction(thinking) or dullness(downsiness) and return to the right posture moment by moment.

14.The bell


The bell is rung to signal the beginning and end of ZAZEN. When ZAZEN begins,the bell is rung three times.(Shijyosho) When KINHIN begins,the bell is rung twice.(Kinhinsho) And when KINHIN is finished,the bell is rung once.(Chukaisho) Also,when ZAZEN is finished,the bell is rung once.(Hozensho)
START of ZAZEN (Shijyosho) --- about 50minutes past ---
START of KINHIN (Kinhinsho) --- about 10minutes past ---
Return to START of ZAZEN (repeat several times)
END of ZAZEN (Chukaisho or Kaijyo or Daikaijyo)

Zazen Sounds (Mpeg audio files)
Ko-ten (6:00-6:19)
Ko-ten (8:40-8:59)
Chukai-sho , Hozen-sho (End of Zazen or Kinhin)
Kaijyo (End of zazen)
Dai-Kaijyo (End of Yaza: night zazen)


Signal with GASSHO. Bow when the JIKIDO(leader) sets the KYOSAKU on your shoulder, lean your head to the left keeping GASSHO while being struck.
After the JIKIDO hits your shoulder,straighten your head again and bow.
The JIKIDO also bows to you as he stands behind you,holding the stick with both hands.


Hold your hands in SHASHU,take half a step for every breath.


  When you finish ZAZEN,bow in gasshou. Place your hands palms-up on your fingers,sway your body a few times,first a little,and then more extensively.
Take a deep breath. Unfold your legs. Move slowly,especially when your legs are asleep.Do not stand up abruptly.
Adjust the shape of your ZAFU,leave your seat and walk to the entrance as you entered.

The  source of those illustlations and explanations are by Soto-shumucho's

The list of soto-zen temples foreigners can join to zen meeting(ZAZENKAI).

Fukan Zazen-gi (by Dogen Zenji) Top page

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