What is Meditation?

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a means to get to know and understand the workings of our minds and become acquainted with ultimate reality, which is beyond personality and self.

All Buddhist traditions practice different forms of meditation. The student studies Dharma (the teachings of Buddha), then uses meditation to deepen the understanding of the teachings and to integrate them into daily life and action.

At Hakubai Temple, we study and meditate in the Zen tradition as developed in Japan. Hui-neng,the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, defines zazen, “Za (sitting) means not to give rise to thoughts (no delusion) under any circumstances. Zen (meditation) means to see your original nature and not become confused.”

Throughout the year, sesshins (silent retreat practices) are offered. These programs last from one to seven days. The word sesshin (pronounced sesh-EEN) literally means collecting the mind-heart. During sesshin we practice sitting and walking meditation, listen to Dharma talks, hold dokusan (private meetings between teacher and students), chant sutras, perform work practice, and eat meals in oryoki style.