Lesson
8

Posture

4 of 4

Putting it all together

This is the position of the body in zazen. Let’s review:

  • Legs forming a tripod with the buttocks
  • pelvis rotated slightly to the rear, and lower abdomen extended forward a bit -but no strain involved
  • spine erect --   the top of the head directly over the spine being the highest point on your body
  • mouth closed, tongue touching the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth – breathing through the nose
  • hands in the cosmic mudra, resting on lap or on a small support cushion if that’s more useful

Please remember that although this may seem a bit complicated, with practice you will find yourself naturally settling into a comfortable and balanced position without straining to hold your body upright and straight. 

You may have seen this posture in pictures and statues of the Buddha.

So this is the way you become centered and stable physically. This is the position of the body for sitting in Zen meditation.

. . . merely putting your body in a sitting position isn’t quite enough. Zazen literally means, “sitting Zen.” And that raises the question of what is Zen. Our practice should be real zazen, and we must clarify what this is for ourselves. And yet, zazen can be done by anybody and everybody. In order to do zazen, we don’t need to have anything more than this body. That much is quite sufficient. Maezumi Roshi