Zazen: 1 definition


Zazen means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Shambala Publications: General

Zazen Jap. (Chin., tso-ch’an), lit., za, “sit­ting” and zen, “absorption”; meditative prac­tice taught in Zen as the most direct way to enlightenment. Zazen is not meditation in the usual sense, since medi­tation includes, at least initially, the focusing of the mind on a “meditation object” (for exam­ple, a mandala or a graphic representation of a bodhisattva) or contemplating abstract proper­ties (for instance, impermanence or compas­sion). Zazen, however, is intended to free the mind from bondage to any thought-form, vi­sion, thing, or representation, however sublime or holy it might be.

Even such aids to zazen practice as kōans are not meditation objects in the usual sense; the essential nature of a kōan is paradox, that which is beyond conception.

In its purest form zazen is dwelling in a state of thought-free, alertly wakeful attention, which, however, is not directed toward any ob­ject and clings to no content. If practiced over a long period of time with persis­tence and devotion, zazen brings the mind of the sitter to a state of totally contentless wakeful­ness, from which, in a sudden breakthrough of enlightenment, the sitter can realize their own true na­ture or buddha-nature, which is identical with the nature of the entire universe.

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