Buddhist meditation techniques appear in this website often, because there is so much interest in both Buddhism and meditation.
But there is more to any faith than just meditation techniques, and Soto Zen is no different. This article by Kiera Adams from Chisar.net takes a closer look at some of the other main practices of Soto Zen.
When you meditate according to the Soto style, you face the wall. You sit in this position and let yourself be aware of your thoughts without holding onto them. In the Rinzai tradition, you sit facing the center of the room. This style focuses more on the breath.
Everything you do during the day can be turned into zazen, the name for Zen Buddhist meditation techniques. By focusing your complete attention on each activity at time, and only that activity, it becomes zazen. However, one should still meditate every day, at least for 5 minutes. Regular daily practice is of the utmost importance.
For a practicing monk, much more time will be spent in meditation. Many minutes of meditating, perhaps 40 or 50, will be broken up by walking meditation. This gives the legs a chance to get relief. Sesshins are often offered for lay students which may be from one to seven days in length, sometimes more. The students will meditate for hours each day, as well as attend talks, and do some silent work to help out.
Chanting is not a primary Zen practice, but it is included in the daily activities of many temples. A few main sutras will be chanted, such as the Lotus and the Heart sutras, as well as some mantras. There will usually be altars that have representations of Buddhas. At home, the altar is frequently used to talk to and honor the ancestors.
Meditation on Koans is primarily used by the Rinzai branch of Zen. These are phrases or anecdotes that the practitioner must meditate on to find the hidden meaning. Without a higher level of understanding, it is impossible to know the meaning of the Koan.
All Zen Buddhism practices have as their goal Satori, or enlightenment. When you reach Satori, you will no longer need to be reincarnated into this world, which is viewed as a place of suffering. Although meditation is the most important part of the practice, adding other techniques can help you achieve that goal. Read the original article here
I would love to hear from you about your spiritual practices! Do you do prayer, or chanting, or some form of ritual observances? For many, meditation techniques are NOT their primary form of spiritual observance.
Please share your practice, your opinions, and your experiences with us.
This wonderful package from Jack Kornfield has many Buddhist meditation techniques, and is our most trusted resource for guided meditation for beginners.