Silent Illumination

This is the practice of “just sitting” It involves sitting and being aware of what is going on in this moment. It’s where we just see where the mind goes and pay very close attention to it, rather than trying to influence it or take control. Why would this be hard? Because our goal is to just observe what the mind does, not let it take us somewhere. Our training in the other practices is what makes this practice possible. is often simply called Sitting Zen.

This is a practice that doesn’t involve reciting a mantra or visualization. It doesn’t involve focusing on anything. This is the practice of just sitting, just being here now. It’s founded in the belief that Enlightenment is our true nature and we can get there just by being here now.

The first step is counting the breath while seated motionless. Stilling the body, quieting the mind, and training in concentration. Following with the breath with the mind, but just breathing naturally. Our intent is to use the breath in the beginning but then to let it fall away after a few minutes and then to focus on nothing at all, just being here.

This practice is designed to free us from everything; all distractions, thoughts, and imaginings. It can bring us to a state of total Emptiness, which is where we can see our true nature. If we keep engaging in this practice, it’s said that it will transform us. Our rigidity and self-centeredness will become warmth and compassion.

Further Reading:

Just Sitting by Daniel Scharpenburg

Silent Illumination by Sheng Yen

You Are Already Enlightened by Guo Gu

What is Silent Illumination by Simon Child

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