Mirror of Zen Blog

Zen Master Seung Sahn on Breath

For any kind of practice or study, it is important in the beginning to use some form or posture 🧎‍♀️🧎‍♂️. If you want to keep a not-moving mind, at first you must control your body …You learn to slowly breathe in and breathe out 🌬💨 of your tan t'ien, the "energy 💫 center" located just below your navel. Breathe in for a long time, and breathe out for a longer time. Breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out. This is how you control your body and breath. 

If you can control your breath, then you can control your mind.  As you slowly breathe in and slowly breathe out, your thinking slowly goes down, down, down 🧲. Your thinking becomes less complicated as your energy begins to settle out of your mind 🤦‍♀️, into your tan t'ien, your hara or center. In Zen practice, this is where you "keep" your mind -- in your center. This is a very important technique. 

Most people keep their thinking up in their head, or in their chest area. Actually, this is not so good. Your head 🧠 is your intellectual center, and your chest 💓 is your emotional center. Keeping your attention in your head makes your thinking complicated, and your energy goes up. If you keep your thinking and concern in your chest, you will naturally be pulled around by your emotions. Simply let your thinking come down out of your head and out of your chest. Your tan t'ien is your will, your "do-it center." As your thinking naturally settles down in your center, your thinking and your emotions become clear.

The Compass of Zen (1997)

H/T: Kwan Um School of Zen

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