Originating from the historical Buddha, transmitted through Bodhidharma, Zen was polished in a long tradition as a wonderful way of human cultivation of the human spirit.
Zen points to a correct way of character building through experiences of enlightenment attained by constant practice. Zen is certainly a religion, yet neither a "belief" nor a philosophy. Moreover, it does not advocate any kind of mysticism or indulgence of superstitions contrary to modern science. For instance, supernatural powers prophecies or the existence of a soul after death are not advocated. The practice of meditation to polish your heart-mind is the main purpose of Zen.
Without depending on scriptures (sutras), meditating as the Buddha, entering samadhi (focusing your mind of one point), attaining Enlightenment cannot be expressed by words. Entering the state of samadhi and the actual experience of satori is the only way. Zazen (sitting in meditation) is based on three important points:
1. Correct posture
2. Correct breathing
3. Correct focusing of the mind
Z en can be practiced by anyone at any age. Yet, it is rather difficult to practice on your own in daily life, using only books as the reference. Visiting your nearest Zen group in order to learn the correct method of Zen meditation is highly recommended.
At first "Susokukan" - the way of counting your breath and focusing your mind on one point is taught. When you are well trained in "Susokukan" and ready for long term authentic practice, we recommend that you participate in"Sesshin"- the intensive Zen retreat, and ask the Zen Master for the initiation.
In a "Sesshin", the daily schedule consists of Zazen meditation and practicing with a "Koan", given from Master for introspection. It is also combined with "Samu", the concentration in motion, for instance doing light work such as gardening or cleaning the meditation hall.
During the "Sesshin", the student has to present his understanding (Kenge) of the Zen "Koan" to the Zen Master, who will judge its correctness. This is called "Sanzen", the private interview with the Zen Master.
"Sesshin" - the intensive Zen retreat Schedule
The power and state of your mind that Zen practitioners acquire in the "Sesshin" can be used in daily life such as in your workplace, family life or volunteer activities, thus you can make very valuable contribution to the society and yourself.