How to Train Your Mind to Be More Zen

There are many different forms of mind training. In fact, for more information on mind training, see 마음수련. One of those methods, however, is Zen. It is believed, in Buddhist practices, that Zen mind training is necessary to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment, and reaching Nirvana, requires 100% dedication, something that is unachievable for most people. That doesn’t mean, however, that people should stop Zen practices. Rather, by performing Zen techniques, you will be able to achieve peace of mind and to boost your mind. Best of all, you can do it whenever and wherever. Let’s take a look at the main Zen meditation techniques.

The Noble Eightfold Path

There are eight specific practices involved in the Eightfold Path, being:

  1. Right samadhi (union, or meditative absorption).
  2. Right mindfulness.
  3. Right effort.
  4. Right livelihood.
  5. Right conduct.
  6. Right speech.
  7. Right resolve.
  8. Right view.

These practices are depicted on a wheel, with the prajna (insight) standing central to it.

Mindfulness Training

When you start on the path to enlightenment, you begin with mindfulness training. The more you practice, the better you get, and the more advanced your possible practices become. Hence:

  1. You start by improving your understanding of and sympathy towards others. This sets you free from the binds of ideologies and doctrines.
  2. You then start to learn from the different life’s truths. This is about respecting the beliefs of others, even if they are wholly different from your own.
  3. You will then start to care more about those people who have things less good than you. This is about living more simply, and feeling more attuned with the world around you. You should also walk and practice deep breathing exercises, which will allow you to let go of anger. Anger about your personal situation, but also anger about the injustices in the world. Zen mindsets are calm and patient.
  4. Next, you will be ready to resolve conflicts and reconcile adversaries. You will learn to listen without condemnation or judgment. No longer will you engage in gossip or speak criticism.
  5. You will then start to practice Sangha, which means you live free of abuses and injustices. Your goal should be to prevent war and protect life, and this starts with yourself. Giving up harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs is an integral part of this. You will also work towards making sure no one can profit from the suffering of others, such as the weapons industry.

Most people never make it past the first few steps of mindfulness or Zen training. However, by understanding the noble Eightfold Path and having enlightenment as an ultimate goal in mind, even if you will never achieve it, will help you to become a better person overall. The key starting point towards all of this is meditation, enabling you to walk or sit and put your mind at ease, rebalance yourself and make yourself calm again. This is something everybody can benefit from.

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