Finding Zen

Author Archive: buddso51

Creating Pockets of Stillness Every Day

meditate

Many people seem to be in a constant state of busyness. If you stop long enough to observe closely, chances are you will find a lot of the people around you rushing or multitasking at any given day. And you may even be one of them. Busy may not be a bad thing. But taken to extremes it could take its toll on your wellbeing. Chronic stress and burn out are just some of the end results that those who get trapped in the cycle of busyness often have to deal with. Learning the Zen habit of stillness is a great way to mindfully deal with being busy and avoid getting overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of life.

The Stillness Habit

Staying still and doing nothing is not laziness as how some people perceive it to be. It can be a soothing and therapeutic practice. It is about mindfully taking time to stop, step back, breathe, and immerse in the present moment. Stillness is about disconnecting from the physical, mental, and emotional noise. It is a time to quiet the mind and body. Creating daily pockets of stillness can help in coping with stress more effectively.

Meditation

Meditation is a cornerstone of Zen. It is a way to silence the “monkey mind” or the constant mental activity. Meditating is one way to keep the mind and body still in a short time. It can help purge unnecessary thoughts and ideas that serve as mental clutter. Stillness likewise calms and soothes the body. It can be a time to rest and replenish much-needed energy to accomplish the things you set out to do.

Stillness as a Habit

All habits take time to build. But doing the simple things every day can go a long way in making it stick.

  • Devote a few minutes to stillness before you officially start your day. Meditate, do breathing exercises, or simply be mindful while doing your normal activities.
  • Take breaks and use the time to stay still regardless of how busy things get. Do not let the amount of work you need to do get in the way of stopping briefly to breathe and do nothing.
  • Focus on the present. Another great Zen life stress management technique is to be completely present in the moment. When you are in the now, you tend to focus on what is happening instead of the past or future. It helps in quieting down your mind.

7 of the Most Famous Buddhist Temples in the World

It would be hard to follow the path to Zen without having a close brush with Buddhism. One has always been associated with the other with teachings that intersect or intertwines the other. Many Zen practitioners find their way in Buddhist temples at some point for varied reasons. Whether for a brief visit to worship or stay for a retreat, the temples are centers of spiritual experiences and explorations. Here are some of the world’s most famous Buddhist temples for the bucket list.

Bagan (Myanmar)
Bagan
Bagan, or Pagan, is an ancient temple town that is home to the Bagan Archaeological Zone. Thousands of temples, pagodas, and stupas remain alongside the ruins that date back centuries. The temples of Bagan are among Myanmar’s top attractions and continue to draw thousands of tourists from around the world.

Borobudur (Java, Indonesia)
Borobudur
Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries. It took many years to build. Abandoned at some point for unknown reasons, the temple has survived natural calamities for over a thousand years. The Borobudur Temple Compounds is said to be the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

Boudhanath Stupa (Kathmandu, Nepal)
Boudhanath Stupa
Also known as the Bodnath Stupa, the Boudhanath is the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet dating back to the 14th century. It is steeped with symbolic features like the Buddha eyes painted on all four sides of the square tower.

Jokhang Temple (Lhasa, Tibet)
Jokhang Temple
The Jokhang Temple is the Buddhist spiritual center in Tibet. It dates back to the 7th century and has drawn thousands of pilgrims from around the world each year. The Jokhang Monastery serves as the nerve center of the Gelugpa branch of Tibetan Buddhism.

Mahabodhi Temple (Bodh Gaya, India)
Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple is one of the most sacred sites related to the Lord Buddha. The heart of the temple complex is home to a Bodhi Tree that traces its roots to the original where beneath it Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment. UNESCO declared the Mahabodhi Temple a World Heritage Site in 2002.

Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon, Myanmar)
Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is also often referred to as the Golden Pagoda. Dating back to roughly 2,500 years ago, it is the most sacred site in Myanmar (Burma) and is said to enshrine holy relics including strands Buddha’s hair. The towering main stupa is covered in gold.

Tōdai-ji (Nara, Japan)
Tōdai-ji
Tōdai-ji or the Great Eastern Temple was built in 752. It is one of Nara’s historically significant temples. Its Big Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) is touted as the largest wooden building in the world and houses one of the largest Daibutsu in Japan.