Here is something that will benefit everyone who commits to doing this daily. These instructions are from a true Zen Roshi or Master and explain in simple terms how to do Zen meditation or zazen. I do this every day in concert with my Tai Chi and have reaped great benefit and joy from this Practice. Remember that it will take time for you to be able to achieve a state of mental stillness and feel your chi in your Tan Tien(Tanden) but you will get better and feel better with each passing day. Also, Always be kind to yourself when you lose your focus or balance. Even skilled Practitioners have their bad moments too so let go of an frustrations or other negative emotions or thoughts and just relax back into your meditation. Good luck and best wishes in your Practice!
DR. ANDREW SHUGYO DAIJO BONNICI
Humanistic Psychologist & Zen Meditation Roshi
PO BOX 44573 Kamuela, HI 96743
Office: (808) 880-1395 Email: DrB@ZenDoctor.Com
DAILY CHECKLIST FOR PRACTICING THE
ENLIGHTENED WISDOM, COMPASSION AND HEALING
OF APPLIED MEDITATION THERAPY®
DIRECTION AND ENCOURAGEMENT
This checklist was written with the following intentions:
1) to provide beginners with detailed instructions
and guidelines for initiating the healing form of seated meditation, and
2) to help veteran practitioners with the refinement and deepening of their psycho-behavioral postures in meditation life practice. Within the inner and outer postural forms described here is a profound formula for practicing meditation life therapy in all activities and relationships. The checklist, therefore, should be regularly studied, consistently applied, and devotedly translated into the context of everyday life and interpersonal
relationships. This personal study, seated application and engaged behavioral translation is exactly the
endless practice and refinement of meditation life therapy itself.
Remember that all the basic psycho-behavioral postures outlined in this practice checklist represent an
“Ancient Template” for embodying truth, living integrity, nourishing health, and joyously practicing the
wisdom-compassion body that is exactly your everyday life. I urge you to investigate this “Ancient
Template” by practicing and translating these meditation postures with deepening intimacy, gentleness,
devotion, conscientiousness, and beginner’s heartmind. Never assume that you have mastered or
completely understood any aspect or part of this profound and wondrous template. This is called,
“Embracing the Source of not-knowing and returning to the root of simplicity, everyday life is awakened to
the embodiment of faith, healing, vitality, peace, joy, and wonder.
1. Before you begin meditation, make a personal commitment to sit down completely. This means that
your mind/body/heart should be devotedly intent on letting go of all agendas, expectations, and concerns.
This is a time to surrender to just being seated in the precious bodily form of peace, self -compassion,
wakefulness, and breath.
2. You may employ one of several forms for seated meditation: sitting cross-legged on the floor,
kneeling while sitting back on a cushion between your heels, and one using a straight chair. If you sit
cross-legged on the floor, it is suggested that you also use a small sitting cushion or folded pillow, which
will raise your sit, bones about four to six inches from the ground. In the kneeling position, your sit bones
should be raised about the same height. If you are sitting on a chair, sit on the front half of the seat with
both feet placed flat on the ground and about a foot apart. Keep your own posture and do not lean back
on the chair. If you have back pain or are physically unable to maintain your posture, use a support
pillow between your back and the chair.
3. Make sure that your legs are comfortable and free from any tightness or restriction due to clothing
or physical position. Thus, circulation will be unimpeded and tingling and numbness will be less apt to
4. Center your spine by swaying in decreasing arcs, side to side. Scan your body for any muscular
tension or tightness. Breathe into any tension or tightness and release it gently with each exhalation of
your breath. Become as comfortable as you can. As you establish a condition of ease in the body,
remember to passionately arouse and maintain a mental quality of alert wakefulness in This Only
5. Relinquish your mental tendency to keep track of linear time, and recollect your devoted intent to
just sit and wait forever in breath and body without expectation. To wait forever means to surrender or
yield to being in your body just as you are, whether it is difficult or easy, hard or soft, heavy or light, tired
6. Straighten and extend your spine gently according to its normal curvature. Imagine a string attached
to your head and being pulled tautly and gently from heaven. Sensing the weight of your torso on your sit
bones, gently tilt your pelvis slightly backward. Relax your belly muscles so that your abdomen protrudes
forward in a relaxed and comfortable fashion. The small of your back, above your hips, should now be
naturally curved forward toward your belly button. Do not strain this natural forward thrust of your belly
and lower spine as it will create undue tension and muscular tightness in your mid back.
7. Lifting your head toward heaven, align it with its natural resting center on your spine. The head
should not tilt forward or backward, nor lean to either side.
8. Your shoulders should be in a relaxed and natural position, neither drooping forward nor thrusting
backward. Your ears should be parallel with your shoulders; the tip of your nose should be directly over
your navel; and your chin should be slightly tucked in.
9. Your eyes should be open in a natural position for “just seeing”, neither strained open nor drooping
closed. Rather than looking straight ahead, they should be lowered toward the floor at a 45-degree
angle, three to four feet in front of you. Do not concentrate them on any particular area, but allow them to
remain in an “alert open gaze”, mirroring and including everything crisply before them without hindrance.
Keeping them in this relaxed, alert, and open position will help minimize blinking and drowsiness.
10. Your hands should be placed in the “cosmic mudra”:
a) Right palm is up, with blade of the little finger against your lower belly just below your navel;
b) Left hand should be placed on top of your right hand with your middle knuckles overlapping each other;
c) Your thumbs should be slightly touching each other directly in front of your navel so that both your hands now form an oval in front of your lower abdomen. If I were to point a finger in the middle of your hand oval and touch your abdomen, I would be touching an area three inches directly below your navel. This bodily location, just under your skin and muscle is called the Tanden in Japanese or Tan Tien in Chinese and refers to your vital spiritual core or cosmic energy center.
11. Once you are comfortably seated in the bodily form of meditation, close your mouth with your lips
gently touching. Your tongue should rest comfortably against the roof of your mouth with the tip gently
against the upper front teeth. Your breathing should now continue only through your nostrils.
12. Become aware of your breathing with each inhalation and exhalation. Once you are aware of your
breathing, begin to slowly breathe into your belly. During belly breathing your chest should stay relatively
motionless while your lower abdomen seems to fill up like a balloon. This belly breathing can be difficult at
first. Don’t force yourself. Just gently, try to encourage each breath into your lower belly without judging
yourself. Be patient and tender with yourself. If you find that you are creating tension in yourself, let go of
the belly breathing for the time being and continue to be aware of your current pattern of breath with each
inhalation and exhalation.
13. Follow the beginning of each inhalation with your awareness. Gently guide the inhalation with your
awareness into the lower abdominal region of the Tanden which your cosmic mudra is emphasizing. Let
your awareness pause as you reach the end point of the inhalation and then allow the exhalation to begin
naturally from the Tanden point in the lower abdomen. Follow the exhalation with your awareness until it
is complete. Then begin again.
14. Constantly recall your mindfulness to the expansion and contraction of your belly and the flow of air
passing in and out of your nostrils. If you find that your thoughts have distracted you, do not judge
yourself. Gently bring your mindfulness to the bodily sensation of just sitting and become aware of your
belly and nostril breathing. Remember, that meditation practice is called “completion without regret” when
you devotedly recall yourself to your breath in several continuos moments or when you sincerely recall
yourself to breath after having been distracted by thoughts or sleepiness. Both are equal in the eyes of
this practice. The embrace of unconditional compassion should extend to both the son/daughter who
remains home or the prodigal son/daughter who returns after being away.
15. With each breath, allow yourself to also embody the immediate experience of your impermanence.
Sense the delicate thread upon which your life hangs with each heartbeat and in each moment of
inhalation and exhalation. This sense of our immediate impermanence sustains a deep appreciation of
our life practice in this Only Moment.
16. Keep as still as possible during zazen meditation, but do so with a caring and attitude toward your
body. If you experience some physical discomfort during zazen, try to make the necessary adjustments
to settle into your “sitting form” comfortably. The adjustments might be very subtle muscular, skeletal, or
attitudinal shifts. If you need to make any gross movements or subtle physical shifts, do so in a slow and
mindful motion while still paying attention to belly breathing. For example, if your lower leg feels like it is
starting to tingle, you might first try tightening and relaxing the calve muscle. If this doesn’t work then
gently and slowly extend your leg outward while still keeping your mirror gaze and belly breath
awareness. After circulation returns, you can slowly and mindfully bring your leg in and return to your
zazen form. Always be aware not to move in a heedless, careless or casual manner. Doing necessary
adjustments in this mindful way, you will not break or loose your embodied wakefulness and effortless
concentration as the wisdoming body of Applied Meditation Therapy.
REGARDING THE SHARED USE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS
You are Welcome to use my Checklist for Educating or Training Others.
However, If If you Share it or use it for Group Instruction,
Please Acknowledge this Author and his Web Site .
All Rights Reserved
By Dr. Bonnici
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APPLIED MEDITATION THERAPY® – Zen Meditation