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Zen Meditation for Spiritual Wellness

Zen Meditation is a very common spiritual practice that was originally based on Mahavana Buddhism. It is also known called Dhyana in India. It is practiced at least twice daily by billions of people in the Far East and millions of other people across the world that have adopted the practice as a way of maintaining physical, spiritual and psychological equilibrium and health.


Zen is deeply rooted in both the teachings of the Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama who is the creator of Mahāyāna Buddhist thought. The Mahayana is very broad collection of Buddhist scriptures that have been around since the first century BCE that are teachings about how to achieve enlightenment through meditation.


The aim of the Mahavana school of Buddhism is of course enlightenment but in a very personal and practical sense. The metaphor used is usually that of “awakening from delusion.” The goal of Zen meditation is similar to the Platonic idea of “know thyself.” There is wisdom of recognizing the truth of one’s own nature and then acting accordingly. The idea is that error and sorrow come into the picture when you do things and make choices that are against your own nature.


Zen meditation is one of the more populist forms of meditation as it less based on theory and the study of religious texts and is more in favor of direct and individual experience.  However the practice still incorporates the Buddha’s fundamental teachings—among them the Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths, the idea of dependent origination, the five precepts, the five aggregates, and the three marks of existence.  It also draws from the oldest form of Buddhism known as “The Way of The Elders” that is also known as Theraveda Buddhist thought.  Most of the practices have the end goal of stripping away delusion so you can live a life that is true to your convictions.


The Zen school of meditation came into existence in China about the seventh century.  By the early 19th century it had spread to Vietnam, Korea and Japan.  By the early twentieth century it was introduced as a discipline into Europe and North America. While “Zen” is the name most commonly known worldwide, it is also known as Chán in China, Seon in Korea, and Thiền in Vietnam.


The very basic tenet behind Zen meditation is the practice of a seated posture known as zazen.  The purpose of zazen is to recall the posture in which the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhi Gaya. Adopting the same posture as the Buddha helps bestow he blessings of mindfulness and concentration upon the meditator.


Getting Fit With Quigong

Quigong, technically know as Tai Chi Quigong is based on animal work just as regular Tai Chi. However, the animals that are imitated in these exercises are “warrior animals” and the positions you do imitate them as they would move in a shamanic warrior dance. Unlike Tai Chi, Quigong is a martial art.


One of its main principles is also to learn how to harness the energy of an enemy and have him do himself in by practicing the Law of No Resistance.


Qui means breath and Gong means “dedicated practice” so of course like ordinary Tai Chi this discipline has to do with breathing.  It is a generic also in the way it aspires to connect the human through the divine through the use of controlled breathing.


Tai Chi Quigong is rumoured to have been around for about 500 years and is based on the impersonation of animal characters during shamanic dances designed to protect warriors who were at war or hunting. About 1800 years ago, a famous Chinese doctor, Hua To, put together “The Five Animal Frolics” which is what Quigong is based on.


The Five Animal Frolics was created to help people gain more flexibility in their bodies as they get older and to move with purpose and deliberation. It was also designed to correct the way the energy flows in the twelve meridians. These are the same energy pathways that are used in the healing art of acupuncture.


When you perform Tai Chi Quigong you are manipulating your energy centers so that they become open, vitalized and work more effectively. Quigong focuses even more on your breathing than ordinary Tai Chi does. Breathing from the abdomen is emphasized to help the lymph system clean itself out.


Quigong also helps wake up parts of the body that may have fallen into disuse. Blood is restored to all of the muscle groups and general body awareness is greatly increased as is flexibility and strength. It is more vigorous than traditional Tai Chi and it raises your heart rate.


It also helps an individual get rid of “monkey mind”. This is the mind that won’t stop inventing, creating delusions and acting on wrongful beliefs..


One of the healthier aspects of Quigong is that it can be described as a communal dance. This is because you will almost always be performing these routines in a class with others. This is very healing in itself as bonding with human beings in rhythm and breath is one of the very oldest spiritual and medicinal rituals in the world.