Venerable Hsuan Hua meditating in the Lotus Position. The zen doctrine of no mind pdf the Sōtō school of Zen, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content, is the primary form of practice. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference. Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen”.
Intensive group meditation may be practiced occasionally in some temples. While the daily routine may require monks to meditate for several hours each day, during the intensive period they devote themselves almost exclusively to the practice of sitting meditation. West, lay students often attend these intensive practice sessions, which are typically 1, 3, 5, or 7 days in length. A kōan, literally “public case”, is a story or dialogue, describing an interaction between a Zen master and a student.
These anecdotes give a demonstration of the master’s insight. Koans emphasize the non-conceptional insight that the Buddhist teachings are pointing to. Koans can be used to provoke the “great doubt”, and test a student’s progress in Zen practice. Zen depending on the teaching line.
While there is no unique answer to a kōan, practitioners are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the kōan and of Zen through their responses. The teacher may approve or disapprove of the answer and guide the student in the right direction. The interaction with a Zen teacher is central in Zen, but makes Zen practice also vulnerable to misunderstanding and exploitation. A practice in many Zen monasteries and centers is a daily liturgy service.
The same term is also used in Japanese homes for the altar where one prays to and communicates with deceased family members. As such, reciting liturgy in Zen can be seen as a means to connect with the Bodhisattvas of the past. Liturgy is often used during funerals, memorials, and other special events as means to invoke the aid of supernatural powers. Since the Zen practitioner’s aim is to walk the bodhisattva path, chanting can be used as a means to connect with these beings and realize this ideal within oneself. Though in western Zen the emphasis is on zen-meditation, and the application of Zen-teachings in daily life, Japanese Zen also serves a function in public religion.