The essence of Soto-Zen which goes back to the famous Japanese Zen-master Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253) is at its core the practice of a correct form of meditation: Zazen.
Zazen is to simply sit in an upright position in deep concentration. “Simply” means, the vitality of body and mind is gathered, concentrated, immersed in the Zazen posture. This way, body and mind are wide awake and as if they were one thing, centered in the powerful silence of the present moment. Our individual being will again be anchored in life’s ground. Body and mind can draw from an inner source, can renew themselves, and become independent of having to reach a goal, independent of external confirmation.
The restriction through a consciousness, that has to count and measure everything and which always searches for personal profit, falls off. Life reveals itself in its instantaneous quality.
The Zazen posture consists of sitting on a Zafu with crossed legs (meditation cushion) in an erect, natural position. The attention is concentrated on the tension of the posture and on a long exhalation. Thoughts and pictures appearing in the concentrated mind will neither be rejected nor evaluated nor pursued. Consciousness and unconsciousness may empty themselves. Body and mind return to their primal, unspoilt state.
In its essence, Zen is the experience of a more profound quality of reality. This experience is based on practicing and can neither be anticipated nor substituted by thoughts. Words and ideas cannot truly catch living reality.
The Zen-path is the actualization of a more profound reality through practicing.