Still Sitting Meditation Blog

Moktak and Chukpi: Korean instruments for meditation

The moktak and chukpi are traditional Korean percussive instruments used during meditation. We are pleased to make them available here at Still Sitting.  The moktak is a drum similar in shape and timbre to the Japanese mokugyo, sometimes called a “fish drum.” The chukpi or “bamboo clacker,” is slapped against the hand, emitting a loud… Read more »

Rinzai Gigen and Shogun Zen

According to the Zen tradition, awakening can arise from the most shocking and unexpected places: a terrifying shout or a blow to the shoulder. While hard to imagine today, it was sometimes these unconventional methods that Linji Yixuan, known as Rinzai Gigen in Japan, utilized in his teachings. Rinzai Gigen, an iconoclastic Chinese Zen monk,… Read more »

Zen behind bars with Gendo Allyn Field

Still Sitting is proud of the relationships it forms with organizations and individuals around the world as they engage in meditation and mindfulness practice. Occasionally, we like to share their stories in our Spotlight Series. Gendo Allyn Field is as much at home sitting among the Trappist monks of Saint Joseph’s Abbey as he is… Read more »

What is a zabuton?

In the Zen tradition, seated meditation requires two cushions: a zafu and a zabuton. If you go into almost any meditation center, you’ll see these two cushions paired together, lined up in neat, parallel rows for students. Today, a variety of traditions and practices beyond Zen use these cushions. However, zafus, those puffy, cloud-like seats,… Read more »

Hakuin Ekaku: Brushtrokes of Zen

What is the sound of one hand clapping? You’ve likely heard this enigmatic riddle before, but probably aren’t as familiar with the man behind the words. The Japanese Zen master Hakuin Ekaku, who is credited with that famous koan, is a man whose teachings, art, and influence resonate deeply, even today.  Hakuin’s life, legends, and profound… Read more »

5 Simple Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

Meditation is a pretty simple idea: sit down, breathe, and try not to get too distracted. If you can manage that, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself beginning to relax. Your body and mind will slow down. But that breathing part isn’t always as easy as it seems, so here are 5 simple breathing… Read more »

The Best Meditation Products for Tall People

If you’re tall, the idea of folding your long legs up like a pretzel to sit on a meditation cushion probably sounds intimidating. So, we’ve put together a list of the best meditation products for tall people. From difficulty maintaining proper posture to discomfort due to inadequate joint support, tall people often encounter unique obstacles… Read more »

Kuan Yin Statues and and Iconography

Kuan Yin (also known as Guanyin and Kannon) is the bodhisattva of compassion, a revered figure in East Asian Buddhism known for her boundless mercy. Throughout the centuries, artists across China and Japan have depicted Kuan Yin in various forms, including statues and art, each infused with rich symbolism and spiritual significance. Here we’ll delve… Read more »

Who is Bodhidharma?

In Buddhist lore, few figures loom as large and enigmatic as Bodhidharma, a man whose fierce scowl, framed by deep vermillion robes, is pervasive from East to West.  Revered for transmitting the teachings of Chan Buddhism, the predecessor of Zen Buddhism, from India to China and becoming one of the patriarchs of Zen and Shaolin,… Read more »

What is a zafu?

When you meditate, you must, almost invariably, sit on something. Thus the idea of a meditation cushion was born: an inconspicuous accessory that can not only improve posture, but also offer a modicum of comfort. Whether you practice Buddhism or are merely dipping your toes into meditation, you are likely to encounter a squat, circular… Read more »