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Thread: Timing your Zazen

  1. #1

    Timing your Zazen

    Aside from using the meditation timer on this site or others, I'm curious what method everyone here uses to time themselves.



  2. #2
    Hi John,

    I've used everything from kitchen timers to the time it takes incense to burn down. I don't recommend looking at a clock or your watch. It's way too distracting.

    I don't think it matters much. It is the sitting that is important.

    Good luck



  3. #3
    Hi, John. Welcome to treeleaf. I've used incense in the past, but now I mostly use a cheap timer I bought on Amazon that can be made to sound, vibrate, or flash a light. If I can find the link, I'll post it.

  4. #4
    Just a dollar store kitchen timer for me.

    I also recently found this:
    Its a simple meditation timer programe.

  5. #5
    Modified Treeleaf gong that I posted here( recommended)

    Before that a watch alarm. They have some neat gong alarm clocks kicking around. Don't know if you seen those.


  6. #6
    Thanks for all the input!

    Will....yes I've seen those....I might spring for one down the road...

    Don'tknow....I'm going to search Amazon right now...thanks!

  7. #7
    my cell phone on vibrate mode, left on my desk.

  8. #8
    Good suggestion, Louis. I find most timer alarms rather jarring!

  9. #9
    1. $100 "Digital Zen Alarm Clock" (until I broke it :lol
    2. Incense stick (when I'm where I can burn incense)
    3. Treeleaf timer / virtual zendo (love the graphics too)
    4. Glancing at cell phone / watch nearby (I've sat zazen long enough that I have a visceral enough feel for the passage of time that I don't have to look so often it becomes distracting)

  10. #10
    About half the time I use Jundo's videos, which run for about the length of time I want to sit for.

    The rest of the time I use my cell phone's alarm clock function, which thankfully works even when the ringer is turned off.

    Louis, I didn't even think to check if the alarm can be set to vibrate instead of ringing. Thanks for the idea. The alarm is indeed jarring.


  11. #11

    I just use an inexpensive digital stopwatch with a countdown timer.


  12. #12
    Perfectionist that I am, I edited MP3 tracks using Apple's wonderful Garage Band software and free high fidelity singing bowl chimes. I use separate intro-, silence- and ending tracks which can be stacked to any desired length of sitting without increasing memory consumption. Playback at home is done via a tiny battery-powered speaker console that sits on a shelf right behind my head.

    I have to say: The sound experience almost beats the real thing and though Uchiyama would probably dismiss it as another zazen "toy", it seems to enhance concentration considerably. (Send me a message if you want to try it.)

    When outdoors I simply use my watch.


    (PS: Proper avatar in the works.)

  13. #13

  14. #14
    I use an enso clock by salubrion


    I thought the interval timer feature might come in handy for use with exercise. But I have used that feature on occasion to lengthen my zazen-- set the short chime to go off after the first interval at the normal length of my sitting and then set the second interval to go off 5 or 10 minutes later.

    You can choose various non-jarring sounds for the alarm like wooden blocks, tingsha, or singing bowls.

  15. #15
    Hey Guys,

    Just so everyone knows, if you decide to use the Treeleaf Timers {designed by the great John Simon) they are downloadable for Mp3 players and such ... great for a bit of Zazen when out in the world ...

    And, like the universe, it is FREE!

    Also, Will, please post the link for your extended version (2x 30 minutes with Kinhin in between). I don't think the link posted.

    Gassho, Jundo

  16. #16
    I look at a watch or clock. Distracting? Possibly, although I don't think it's any more distracting than an incense stick. Eventually, "managing" the distraction becomes just another part of the practice.

  17. #17
    Janice....that's one of the nicer ones I've seen.

    Since I'm thrifty (read: cheap), I was hoping to find something I really liked for NOT $100 or

    Carrying my laptop up and down the stairs with me is maybe not such a pain after all.....

  18. #18
    Count down timer on my cheap ,£10, digital watch.

    My wife uses the treeleaf timer downloaded to her mobile phone if doing iton her own.

    I used to find alarms jarring when I did the sort of meditation where you are apt to drift off with eyes closed. With zazen I don't even flinch, I guess I'm here now and it's just something that occurs here now.

  19. #19
    i use my ipod with either of the treeleaf mp3s... or incense. sometimes nothing at all... The cheapest timer i used is my body. It has a pretty good timer too... when the knee starts to twinge its been around 20mins... and the tougher the twinge the longer its been


  20. #20
    Member Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Wherever the next mediation is. Every now and then I make it back to Norfolk, England.
    I use one of the cheapish pyramid shaped timers that you can buy on line. Not as smart as Janice's enso clock! One word of warning though: on these pyramid timers (I don't know about others) there's no warning that the battery is about to give up. It just dies. Which can be after you've started sitting; it does the first gong, then gives up the ghost and the second gong to end the session never happens. So you wouldn't want to be sitting with one of these and a low battery on a morning when there's a really really important meeting you must on no account miss. I speak from (bitter)experience!



  21. #21
    When I'm by my computer, I use a meditation widget (I have a mac) that I found at

    When I'm not by my computer, I use the alarm on my cell phone, set to vibrate.

  22. #22
    Check this out:

    Itís a little wooden timer that uses incense as the timing mechanism. When the incense burns down, it releases a little swivel arm that strikes an adjacent bell!



  23. #23
    Wow not for Buddha on a budget :lol: Clever idea though.

    Gassho, Kev

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