Meditation Process in Chan Buddhism
Chan Master Changlu’s The Deportmant for Sitting Meditation (12th century China) is a clear and helpful set of instruction.
1) It begins with the making of a personal vow for great compassion, personal liberation, and samadhi – all for the purpose of delivering sentient beings from their suffering and to their enlightenment. The work includes setting aside all self-centeredness, letting go of all images, forget all affairs and activities, and unite your body and your mind. All this is required to allow the purposeful letting go of ego-mind of the self-centered self in practice.
2) In a quiet place, sit on a cushion while wearing loose clothing and a loose belt. Full or half lotus leg position is recommended.
3) Place your right palm under the left palm with your thumbs touching. Rest your hands on your lap.
4) Relax your shoulders and your neck but keep your head upright and your back straight without straining. Check your posture. You should be straight without muscle tension.
5) Tuck in your chin with lips slightly closed. Allow your teeth to touch lightly, and place the tip of your tongue on your palate.
6) While keeping your head level, gaze with eyes slightly open naturally down about two feet in front of you.
7) Once the body is settled, begin to pay attention to your breath. It may help to hold attention at the tip of the nose and note/count the feeling of breath going in and out for about 15 times. Counting may help.
8) Now focus on relaxing the lower abdomen. Continue to use the breath to calm your body and mind.
9) When thoughts rise, simply continue to let go of passing thoughts. Practice NOT getting into inner dialogue and story-lines or associations within the thoughts.
Refer to Yen, S. (2015). The World of Chan. New York: Dharma Drum Publishing, pp. 25-38.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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