Zazen Meditation

Darcy Boyea
English and Japanese major
Doshisha University, Japan
Academic Year 2016-2017

In about a week I’ll finally be done with my fall semester. While the semester here is longer than Western’s fall semester, we do get a two month break in between fall and spring semesters, so that’s something to look forward to.

Today, in my culture class, we learned about, and then did, zazen (坐禅、ざぜん) meditation. I’ve always been interested in meditation, although I was pretty tired today, so it might not have been the best time to start. Zazen translates as “seated meditation”. It’s a way to clear and focus your mind. The position in which you’re supposed to sit is rather painful. Basically you put your left foot over your right leg, and your right foot over your left leg (or vice versa), and you have to sit like that for however long you meditate for. Generally, a teacher is going around and will hit students with a wooden paddle if they start to drift or if they move too much. During the presentation, we had the option to have the teacher hit us if we chose to. I don’t think the presenter hit as hard as he would hit actual students, but it was still an interesting part of the experience (I did chose to have the presenter hit me). The presenter also said that students and teacher would hit each other as a way of encouraging focus.

While I do admit it was kind of boring, I think part of that was due to the fact that I was pretty tired. All things considered, it was quite a refreshing experience. With finals starting, though, I think it’s something I’ll try and take time out of my schedule for, to try and keep myself both focused and relaxed.

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