Photo by Paul Davis

The marketers of many meditation programs make the claim that their system will allow you to “meditate like a zen monk” or even “meditate deeper that a zen monk”.

Let’s get real.

This is the daily routine of a zen monk at a typical zen monastery:

3:30 – Shinrei (wake up bell)
3:50 – Kyoten zazen (Morning zazen)
5:00 – Choka (Morning service)
7:00 – Shojiki (Breakfast)
8:30 – Samu (Work period)
10:00 – Guchu zazen (Late-morning zazen)
11:00 – Nicchu (Midday service)
12:00 – Chujiki (Lunch)
13:00 – Samu (Work period)
14:00 – Hoji zazen (Afternoon zazen)
16:00 – Banka (Evening service)
17:00 – Yakuseki (Evening meal)
19:00 – Yaza (Evening zazen)
21:00 – Kaichin (Lights out)

This video provides further insight:

As you can see from these examples, meditation for a zen monk is part of a total lifestyle commitment. Every moment of every day is dedicated to the pursuit of enlightenment. Formal meditation (Zazen) is only one part of that commitment. The state of mind of a zen monk is one of complete and constant absorption in the goal. To suggest that an hour a day (or less) listening to an audio entrainment  program can produce the same result is just ludicrous.

Listening to an Audio entrainment program is not meditation. An audio entrainment program cannot “meditate for you”. Only you can meditate. The entrainment program is an aid to meditation. It can help you to reach a state in which meditation is possible, but it is up to you how you use that state. You can use just it to reduce stress and anxiety, to help you relax, or you can make it part of a serious meditation practice. It’s what you do while you listen to the program that makes the difference. You can practice Zazen, as zen monks do. You can practice mantra meditation, such as TM. You can practice Vipassana, as Thai and Burmese monks do. You can practice mindfulness meditation, which is a modern adaptation of Vipassana.

Using audio entrainment is a valuable scientific means of enhancing any meditation practice. It is not meditation per se.

Make meditation a part of your daily life by all means. Use entrainment technology to assist your meditation practice if you wish. But if you want to meditate like a zen monk, there’s really only one way: become a zen monk.


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