The principal training of spiritual development in Shorinji Kempo is through the practice of ‘zazen’, or seated Zen meditation. Understanding of zazen is based on the inseparable union and interaction of body and mind. It is a static practice, unlike the dynamic practice of Shorinji Kempo techniques, and both forms of training are included in every class.
Zazen cultivates correct voluntary breathing and calms the mind, leading to the improved spiritual status and personality of the student. Correct breathing revitalises the body as it circulates the blood and awakens mental awareness and concentration.
To properly meditate, sit with your legs crossed or in the half-lotus position, with your back straight and your chin slightly downwards. Close your eyes lightly, and breathe slowly through the nose. To slow your breathing and focus your mind, concentrate on breathing in for a count of seven, hold for a count of three, and breathe out for a count of ten. Pause for a further three seconds before taking in the next breath.
Try to keep your mind calm, but do not daydream. If a thought comes, acknowledge it, and let it go – always try to return to concentrating on your breathing.
An instructor will usually circulate the room during meditation to help correct your posture. When they tap you on the shoulder, relax and let them guide you to the correct position. Once they have done so, raise your hands in gassho rei; they will also rei you.
Zazen meditation during training is usually ended with a sharp kiai (shout) from an instructor, which all kenshi should immediately join in with.