ZAZEN MEDITATION TECHNIQUE AND RESEARCH STUDY
ZAZEN TECHNIQUE AND RESEARCH STUDY
A Buddhist tradition that is quite ancient and has its root in the Tang dynasty of China is Zen meditation. Zen root word “ch’an” a Chinese word means “dhyana.” Hence Zen means concentration or meditation. Buddhist master Bodhidharma describes this technique as “unique teachings; not established upon words and letters, but the human heart-mind; seeing nature and becoming a Buddha”. This technique delves much more in-depth and helps one tackle the vasanas; deep-rooted issues and in the day to day situations through intuition by regular practice. Zen practice is part of the curriculum in all the schools, and this zazen practice requires a mutual connection between a dedicated student and the Zen master. Zen emphasises self-control, following Buddha-nature and inculcating them in everyday activities for the benefit of society.
This technique is further divided into three ways:
1. Observation of breath-Zazen-helps one to be alert.
2. Quiet awareness-shikantaza-to just sit-just sitting and allow the mind to be without any judgement of thoughts or anchor to hold.
3. Intensive group meditation-sesshin- Serious meditators practice for about fifty minutes of meditation in sitting postures followed by walking meditation, a brief break for meals and to perform work mindfully.
It’s one of the most practised technique. Researches were keen on studying this technique, and the study read the following results:-
• Electroencephalographic was conducted on priests and disciples from Zen sects of Buddhism who showed a change in consciousness. There was slowing in the EEG pattern as well dishabituation of the alpha-blocking in Zen priests but quick habituation in the control group during repeated click stimuli procedure. The change in consciousness observed was related to that of a “hypnotic trance and sleep” a unique psychological state; the state of “a relaxed awakening with steady responsiveness”.
• Also, the degree of changes in EEG during Zen meditation is proportionate to the proficiency of the Zen meditator.
• These changes in EEG reflect the physiological wellbeing during Zen meditation.
• Study of electrophysiological correlates of the changes in long term regular meditators, research regarding whether trained meditators perceived pain differently than non-meditators (by university de Montreal) resulted that intensity of pain in Zen meditators is 18% less.
• A team of Harvard researchers studied a mind-body relaxation programme and found that the relaxation group had 43% fewer medical services in comparison to their previous year expenses.
Overall Benefits Are:-
• Spiritual, emotional wellbeing
• Treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
• Lower blood pressure and better immune system
• Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety
• Treatment of diseases due to distracting thoughts, e.g. Alzheimer’s
• A better sleep
Thus practising this technique helps one with calm pure and serene mind.
It has a positive effect on both physiological and psychic life.
As said by the master, Zazen is not a means to an end; it is the end.