Zazen Talks

Zazen (literally "seated meditation"; Japanese: 座禅; simplified Chinese: 坐禅; traditional Chinese: 坐禪; pinyin: zuò chán; Wade–Giles: tso4-ch'an2, pronounced [tswô ʈʂʰǎn]) is a meditative discipline that is typically the primary practice of the Zen Buddhist tradition.

The generalized Japanese term for meditation is 瞑想 (meisō); however, zazen has been used informally to include all forms of seated Buddhist meditation. The term zuòchán can be found in early Chinese Buddhist sources, such as the Dhyāna sutras. For example, the famous translator Kumārajīva (344-413) translated a work termed Zuòchán sān mēi jīng (A Manual on the Samādhi of Sitting Meditation) and the Chinese Tiantai master Zhiyi (538–597 CE) wrote some very influential works on sitting meditation. The earliest manual on sitting meditation from an author of the Zen tradition is the Zuòchán Yí which dates to the Northern Song dynasty (CE 960 - 1126).

The meaning and method of zazen varies from school to school, but in general it is a quiet type of Buddhist meditation done in a sitting posture like the lotus position. The practice can be done with various methods, such as following the breath (anapanasati), mentally repeating a phrase (which could be a koan, a mantra, a huatou or nianfo) and a kind of open monitoring in which one is aware of whatever comes to our attention (sometimes called shikantaza or silent illumination). Repeating a huatou (a short meditation phrase) is a common method in Chinese Chan and Korean Seon. Meanwhile, the practice of silently reciting the Buddha Amitabha's name is common in the traditions influenced by Pure Land practice, and was also taught by Chan masters like Zongmi.

In the Japanese Buddhist Rinzai school, zazen is usually combined with the study of koans. The Japanese Sōtō School makes less or no use of koans, preferring an approach known as shikantaza where the mind has no object at all.

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Title Speaker

Finding Our Real Seat In Zazen

Serial: SF-03217

One-day sitting

Zazen, Posture, Balance, Vows, Dragons, Observe, Instruction, Avalokiteshvara,...
Nov 18 1995
Green Gulch

Karma and Family Place

Serial: SF-02689A

From the BZC archive

Transmission, Karma, Offering, Lineage, Hindrances, Religion, Gratitude, Zazen,...
Nov 12 1995
Berkeley Zen Center

Buddhism and Science

Serial: SF-02689B

From the BZC archive

Suzuki Roshi, Heart Sutra, Zazen, Tassajara, training, Transmission, Silence, Posture...
Nov 11 1995
Berkeley Zen Center

Sunday Lecture

Serial: SF-03626

Our practice and our efforts that we make towards peace within ourselves and within our lives

Practice Period, Birth-and-Death, Karma, Emptiness, Giving-and-Taking, Zazen,...
Nov 05 1995
Green Gulch


Suzuki Roshi, Daily Life, Big Mind, Letting Go, Zazen Mind, Zazen, Ego, Enthusiasm,...
Nov 01 1995

October 25th, 1995, Serial No. 02702

Hsin Hsin Ming, Composure, Emotions, Suzuki Roshi, Faith, Daily Life, Hate, Zazen,...
Oct 25 1995

Bowing, Sleepiness and Restlessness

Serial: SF-00152

Wednesday dharma talk.

Chanting, Bowing, Heart Sutra, Posture, Ceremony, Zendo, Hindrances, Vows, Suzuki...
Oct 04 1995
Green Gulch Farm

Meanings of the Word Dharma

Serial: SF-03094

Sunday Lecture

Birth-and-Death, Humility, Buddha's Birthday, Soto Zen, Zendo, Zazen, Family...
Sep 24 1995
Green Gulch

Putting Our Effort Into Sitting

Serial: SF-03607

One-day sitting

realization, Posture, Mindfulness, Suzuki Roshi, Zazen, Emptiness, Harmonizing,...
Sep 16 1995
Green Gulch

July 26th, 1995, Serial No. 00919

Emptiness, Suzuki Roshi, Echo, Tassajara, Zazen, Global Warming, Letting Go, Practice...
Jul 26 1995

Emptying Yourself To Receive The Gift To Give It Away Again

Serial: SF-03096

Sunday Lecture

Interview, Humility, Emotions, Concentration, Posture, Soto Zen, Describe, Teacher-...
Jun 25 1995
Green Gulch

Studying Yourself through Zazen and Oryoki

Serial: SF-03672

One-day sitting

Posture, Forgiveness, Zazen, Bell, Letting Go, Zendo, Emotions, Rinzai, Offering,...
Jun 17 1995
Green Gulch

Sunday Lecture

Practice Period, Ceremony, Religion, Suzuki Roshi, Commitment, Evil, Priest, Right...
Jun 04 1995
Green Gulch

Shuso Talk

Serial: SF-01118


Heart Sutra, Manjushri, Bell, Zazen, Daily Life, Letting Go, Zendo, realization,...
May 24 1995

Shantideva Class

Serial: SF-03203

Practice of Wisdom

Interdependence, Emotions, Attachment, Emptiness, Zazen, Posture, Ego, Describe,...
May 23 1995

Shantideva Class

Serial: SF-03204

Practice of Concentration

Obstacles, Concentration, Faith, Family Practice, Instruction, Absolute-and-Relative...
May 16 1995

Shantideva Class

Anger, Patience, Enthusiasm, Emotions, Letting Go, Right Speech, Happiness, Zazen,...
May 09 1995

Tokubetsu Sesshin

Transmission, Posture, Delusion, Right Effort, Zazen, Daily Life, Observe, Silence,...
Mar 27 1995

January 7th, 1995, Serial No. 02687

New Year, Observe, Rumi, Chanting, training, Echo, Ego, Offering, confusion, Zazen...
Jan 07 1995


Tassajara, Teacher-and-Student, Priest, Practice Period, Ceremony, Zazen,...
Jan 04 1995
City Center

Sunday Lecture

Practice Period, Commitment, Letting Go, Suzuki Roshi, training, Greed, Emotions,...
Nov 27 1994
Green Gulch

Sunday Lecture

Hate, Mindfulness, Letting Go, Happiness, Zazen, Patience, resistance, Commitment,...
Aug 28 1994
Green Gulch

Sunday Lecture

causation, Zazen, Balance, Letting Go, Separation, Liberation, Posture, Precepts,...
Apr 24 1994
Green Gulch

Sunday Lecture

Serial: SF-03675

Includes Q&A and discussion

Big Mind, Emptiness, Bell, Heart Sutra, Four Noble Truths, Instruction, Zazen,...
Mar 13 1994
Green Gulch

Sunday Lecture

Zendo, Posture, Demons, Suzuki Roshi, Delusion, Precepts, Zazen, Conversation, Vows,...
Oct 24 1993
Green Gulch

October 9th, 1993, Serial No. 02688

Freedom, Rumi, Instruction, Zazen, Doubt, Religion, Sanctuary, Funeral, Passions,...
Oct 09 1993

Shakyamuni's Enlightenment as a Guide to Practice

Serial: SF-00075

Saturday Lecture

Fasting, Hate, Chanting, Concentration, Delusion, Vows, confusion, Zazen
Apr 24 1993

Sesshin Talk

Separation, Delusion, Oneness, Posture, Freedom, Practice Period, Six Realms, New...
Apr 01 1993


true dharma, Sangha, Gratitude, Zazen, Letting Go, Vows, Anger, Suzuki Roshi,...
Oct 19 1991

Saturday Lecture

Precepts, Tassajara, Practice Period, Suzuki Roshi, Ceremony, Zendo, confusion, Zazen...
Sep 21 1991


Practice Period, Zendo, Suzuki Roshi, Intimacy, Posture, Aspects of Practice, Zazen,...
Sep 18 1991

World Peace and Health

Serial: SF-04063

Copyright California Diamond Sangha: "2 tape set $12.00"

Peace, realization, Ego, Intimacy, zen meditation, Sangha, Zazen, Soto Zen, Precepts...
Aug 21 1991

World Peace and Health

Serial: SF-04064

Copyright California Diamond Sangha

Right Speech, Mahayana, Attachment, Right Effort, Zazen, Daily Life, Vows, training,...
Aug 21 1991


Mindfulness, Four Foundations, Concentration, Bodhisattva Vow, Zazen, Impermanence,...
Jun 15 1991
City Center

Mumonkan Case 10

Serial: SF-00046

Seizei lonely and destitute.

Enthusiasm, Priest, Sanctuary, Sangha, Buddha Nature, Faith, soto, Balance, Zazen...
Apr 28 1991
Green Gulch Farm

Form and Inanimate Objects Teaching the Dharma

Serial: SF-00947

Sesshin Day 2 #shuso-talk

Ceremony, Bowing, Ordination, Bell, Suzuki Roshi, Zazen, soto, Concentration, Lineage...
Apr 11 1991

Shuso Lecture

Serial: SF-00949


Equanimity, Six Realms, Peace, Balance, Delusion, Happiness, Emotions, Zazen,...
Mar 27 1991


Fundraising, Offering, Suzuki Roshi, Zazen, Mindfulness, Lineage, Tassajara, Describe...
Mar 02 1991