1. PLACE - If you can, choose a quiet place that is neither too hot nor too cold, not bright or dark. But more importantly, sit wherever you are-don’t wait to find the perfect place.
2. POSTURE – Sit in a way that supports a straight back. Elevate your hips so that your pelvis tilts forward a little. A cushion (zafu) on the floor is traditional, but kneeling or using a chair are both fine.
3. HANDS – In the Zen tradition, we hold our hands in front of our belly buttons, the left hand palm-up on top of the right palm. The thumbs just barely touch to make an oval shape.
4. EYES – Keep your eyes slightly open, taking a wide gaze of what is in front of you, as if you are sitting atop a mountain and taking in the entire valley below.
5. BREATH – Breathe in and out your nose, from your abdomen. Take a few deep breaths at the beginning, but then just let your breathing be what it is.
6. FOCUS – Just stay where you are, not grabbing or pushing away. Thoughts will come up, but you can just notice them and let them fall away. And if you do get caught in them, just notice that and come back to this moment, to your breath, to your posture, to what’s directly in front of you. Some people use breath-counting as an anchor to the present; some try to take in all the sounds happening around them to extend their awareness. Just sit still, as a complete activity in itself.
7. ROUTINE – At first, try sitting just 10 minutes a day, ideally at the same time every day. Let it be and experiment. If 10 minutes pass quickly, try changing your routine to 15, 20, and so on.
Other possible positions for sitting zazen
Zazen Instruction is offered Sundays 8:30 AM
Newcomer’s Night is offered the 1st Tuesday of the month, 7 to 8 pm. It is zazen instruction with an opportunity to ask questions about Buddhist practice.