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Chan Meditation 101

How to Meditate


  • 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.



  • 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.





  • 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)