Saturday, March 21, 2015

Zen meditation and zhan zhuang

Zhan zhuang is sometimes called standing meditation (and tai chi moving meditation). Meditation has different meanings in different disciplines, in Tibetan and most Hindu traditions, it is at-oneness with a spiritual figure, in most cases one suggested by a student's teacher according to the personality of a student, this is serious meditation. Or meditation can mean the modern mindfulness meditation tailoring to today's busy company executives looking for an easy way to rejuvenate one's tired body and mind. This is a kind of watered-down Zen meditation focusing on the here-and-now however one defines it.

Zhan zhuang is also about internal focusing or mindfulness. It focuses our attention to the internal dynamics of our chi cultivation, growth and balancing. In particular it focuses on our muscles and tendons, and the connectivity of these to deliver power, in tai chi lingo, such power is called Jing 勁。An internal perception of chi is crucial to the activation of Jing because its activation runs a route (chi channel) connecting our core to our peripherals. Delivery of power at peripheral (e.g. fist) is transmitted from the core (e.g. feet and pelvis) through an internally perceivable running route, the chi channel.

Many practitioners of zhan zhuang will have a good mental side-effect. His or her personality will become calmer. Most do not know why and therefore do not know how to manage it to get better results. This aspect actually has been promoted in the tradition of the art. Master Wang XiangZai was said to have conned the term "Martial art and Zen as one" 禪拳合一。

The essence of Zen meditation according to the Six Patriarch Hui Neng is "find one's true self" (明心見性)。How to find one's true self? A self which is not influenced by external events. For example, when  we are frustrated by our spouse, this is not our true self.  What is you? A common question in Zen Buddhism. Answers are very simple: for example, if you got a mirror, your can look at it to see your self; if you got people around looking at you (e.g when you are talking to them), you can infer your self from their facial expressions etc. Finding your self in a meditative state should be logically as simple as the above.

When you are doing Zen meditation, you are not distracted by colors and movements (your close your eyes), not distracted by the weather (you keep not warm and not cold), not distracted by smell (no tasty meals around and certainly you are not eating while doing meditation!) and not distracted by sound (no music and no sweet voice from your wife or whoever).  You are then (forced to be) mindful to your internal sensation. With little meditative experience, your internal sensation will be close to zero and your mind will wonder around (this by the way is a psychological fact), and you fail your mission! With continual practice, say after a period of hourly-sessions, you begin to feel a different internal world.

With zhan zhuang, you have already created a condition ready with lots of internal sensations. In intermediate or advanced level, you have trained to control your breathing muscles, you have trained to open your shoulder joints and pelvic joints and you have trained to connect your muscles and tendons. While doing meditative zhan zhuang, you should forget about everything, including your training together with the fact that you are undergoing training. You breath calmly. And your breathing starts to move internals, a whole new world of internal experience opens. Gradually you can feel the tiniest bits of your internal happenings. In time you become your internals. You are your internal sensation. You are at-one with your self. You are onto true Zen meditation. And you will love it!

Master Yu YongNian

1 comment:

  1. Good sharing, another recommendation will be Vippassana meditation. If you looking for improve wisdom, I do recommed you to learn Vippassana meditation. Vipassana meditation is something very good which help us be mindful all day. I met a guru who practice for over 30years, he is Venerable Vimokkha and did share his teaching in MP3 files in my blog. Feel free download it for free at:


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