Zen, an introduction to Zen meditation and Mindfulness
Zazen means sitting in a state of zen. And that is what this training is all about: practicing Zen meditation. Zen emphasizes an open mind. However, often our mind is dominated by bubbles, value judgments, positive or negative, that define the way we look at the world around us. Zen offers a way to see your own bubbles a little better so their grip becomes less dominant.
This course focuses on the meditation posture and right breathing and works towards a silent morning at the end of the week. Other Zen themes and exercises are also discussed, such as kinhin (walking meditation) and koans. In addition, attention is paid to the background and history of Zen, as well as to Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy.
Of course, mindfulness is also discussed. Mindfulness can be seen as an instrumental version of Zen. The main exercise is the contact with the present moment, for which we will use various mindfulness exercises.
Zen and Archery
Zen and Archery is a classic combination in the Zen tradition where it has been practiced for many centuries, mostly in Japan. The traditional form of Japanese Archery (Kyudo) is described in the famous booklet "Zen in the Art of Archery". In it, the writer shows that you do not shoot the arrow, but the arrow shoots itself ...
Of course, a lot of training is required, but this course provides a start by practicing the technique of archery, Because bows come in all sizes of length and strength, archery is independent of age, sex, height or strength.
Archery is an exercise for body and mind, and fits well within the whole range of eastern movement- and meditation techniques.
Zen and YinYoga
YinYoga is a new kind of yoga that is gaining more and more attention. YinYoga was developed by Paul Grilley who connects Taoism, Tantra and Chakra meditation. YinYoga offers space to let the many stimuli of daily life be for a while, and to practice yoga with peace and attention. YinYoga is a slow form of yoga in which improving the Chi, or letting the Chi flow, is central. By stimulating the meridians through which Chi flows, we improve the functioning of our organs, help our immune system and ensure an overall better well-being.
In YinYoga, postures are practiced in a passive but also intensive way and are held for a long time (between 4 and 5 minutes). In this way the connective tissues rather than the muscles, are stretched and stimulated. This makes joints more mobile and active. This stimulates more space and flexibility in our body; especially around the hips, sacrum and entire back area.
The combination of YinYoga with Zen is special, but at the same time it is also very obvious. Taoism is an important source for both YinYoga and Zen. After all, Zen emerged from the cross-over between Buddhism and Taoism. Because you stay in the postures for a long time, you can observe better what you feel and think. This makes YinYoga a good addition to zen meditation or… “sitting in silence”.
Be a philosopher yourself
In this training we look for the philosopher in ourselves; The thinker, the researcher, the questioner… these are all aspects of the philosopher. Today there is a strange use of the word philosopher. A philosopher is someone who knows the work of famous philosophers, someone who has studied Socrates and knows what f.e. Plato has to say. But that is actually a philosophist; comparable to the musician and the musicologist. The musician makes music, the musicologist knows a lot about music.
In this training we try to awaken the philosopher in ourselves. Someone who asks questions and tries to come up with answers ... in short, someone who enters into the philosophical process himself. Two aspects are central: The investigative phase in which the development of your own thoughts is central and the critical phase in which thoughts, propositions and opinions are further investigated.
We will engage in, among other things, logic, argumentation, debating, but above all we will try to develop Thoughts ourselves. No question is avoided: whether it is socially desirable or not, whether it appears to be important or not. Each question can provide compelling thoughts.
This course is provided annually at the Volkshogeschool Terschelling, The Netherlands.