Chan Meditation 101

How to Meditate

Body

  • Cross your legs in half or full lotus, if possible.  For half-lotus, your left leg is on top.  For full lotus, your left leg comes first, and right leg goes on top. You may also sit in the comfortable cross-legged posture or a chair. (Legs don't swtich. Always right leg goes on top in full lotus) 

  • Rest your hands palms upwards on your lap, right hand on top, with your thumbs touching.

  • Curl your tongue up to gently touch the gums behind your upper front teeth.

  • Keep your eyes closed or one-third open.

  • Sit with the small of your back straight.

  • Breath naturally, through your nose.

  • Do not move during meditation. Discomfort from crossing your legs is natural. Patiently endure as much as you can.  Use a timer and sit two minutes longer every day. The pain will increase your concentration power, and also trigger a healing process in your body.

Full lotus Step 1
Full lotus Step 1
Full lotus step 2
Full lotus step 2
Full lotus step 3
Full lotus step 3
Half Lotus (Left leg on top)
Half Lotus (Left leg on top)

Meditating in half lotus will help you to get in full lotus!

Full Lotus  (Right leg on top)
Full Lotus (Right leg on top)

Full lotus provides a stable foundation in meditation.

Vairochana Mundra
Vairochana Mundra

Mundra will close a meridian to aid Qi flow

Mind

 

  • Silently recite the name of a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or your personal source of spiritual strength.  For instance, we recommend reciting “GUAN YIN PU SA” or "AMITABHA"

  • Place your attention at your navel. When a thought arises, do nothing!

  • If you are reciting, then forget about your breathing. Chan is simplification.

  • Alternatively, you may use your breath as the object of your meditation. In that case, instead of reciting, just place your attention at your navel and observe your breath; do not adjust your breathing in any way.

 

 

Extras

 

  • Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Sit facing a wall to reduce visual distractions.

  • Avoid drafts.

  • Keep your legs warm with a blanket or towel, if necessary.

  • Do not wear a hat if your head feels cold.  Bear it until it naturally warms up.

  • Do not wrap a blanket around your upper body when it is cold.  Instead, wear more layers; but it’s best to keep yourself slightly cool. 

  • Most importantly, meditate consistently every day. One hour a day is ideal, but even 15 minutes a day will be very beneficial.

Useful Resources: 

Buy Chan Handbook by Master YongHua on Amazon.

Read Chan Blog: Chan meditation tips, stories, and experiences (FREE).

Watch Master YongHua Youtube channel: Chan Meditation talks (FREE).

The Chan Handbook by Great Master Hsuan Hua (PDF file)