Questions on Zazen and TM
I have a couple ZenNewbe questions that I would love to hear your insights on. The first is very basic, but one I have yet to find an answer for it.
Why, contrary to most other Buddhist traditions and meditation techniques, does Zen practice sitting meditation with eyes open, rather than closed?
In my small city, the only meditation guidance available is non-denominational Transcendental Meditation (TM), which I have been attending in order to advance my ability to meditate and apply that to my Buddhist practice. There seems to be many similarities between TM and Zazen (from what I can tell), although it is performed with the eyes closed.
This leads me to my second question.
Although TM is founded on Hindu beliefs (and as such doesn’t always parallel my own views) is it still a fair means for a Buddhist to use TM to develop a daily meditative practice, especially when no other guidance is locally available (besides Treeleaf of course)?
I would appreciate any wisdom you may have on the matter.
Comparing Vipassana meditation to Zazen
The form of meditation that I practice is Vipassana, but as far as I know, Vipassana is not about analyzing anything, but about being mindful in the present moment. What goes on during a meditation session, is attention to breath, noting of thoughts, sensations, feelings, images, etc., but NOT an analysis of them. If one is a newbie, one starts with attention on the breath (this helps to develop focus), then moves on to noting and experiencing sensations, thoughts, etc. (this is the mindfulness part), but also using the breath as an "anchor". Sati, mindfulness, is like bare attention. In Vipassana, we witness the sensations, thoughts, feelings arise, change and pass away (hence insight/wisdom into impermanence).
Metta and Gassho,