The practice of zazen (sitting meditation) is extremely simple and straightforward. You simply sit with a straight posture and maintain awareness of your experience without getting caught up in assessing, comparing, or trying to change it. Basically you start exactly where you are, and in the end you are also just where you are. Along the way, there is no special technique and no pursuit of any special experience.

Zazen is not about imposing calmness, stillness, or any special state of mind. It simply involves moment-by-moment awareness which sets the ground from which calmness and peace of mind eventually develop as natural side-effects. Initially this approach can seem similar to “mindfulness”, except that with zazen there is no object of awareness and none of the self-consciousness commonly associated with “trying to be mindful”.

Zazen relies on regularity and habit much more so than on any special skill. Certainly it is no performance, contest, or forced activity. To sit zazen is really as simple as choosing to do so. If you choose to do so, there is no question that you will be capable of it. So the real issue is not whether or not you will “succeed”, but whether or not you may be willing to start accepting your experience just as it is.

Just sitting is to be one with your present experience. Being one with your present experience is to become one with yourself. And being one with yourself is actually to start losing our ideas about who you are. Whatever benefits that may come from zen practice, they will come not from trying to control or change our lives, but from being wholeheartedly present and letting go.


Sawaki Roshi:”Hey what are you gawking at? Don’t you see it’s about you!”