Learning to practice zazen in akin to learning a musical instrument. People have greater or less natural ability, but the thing that makes the difference is practice. In the sphere of practice, regularity is more important than quantity. If you want to taste the fruits of Zen, rather than just read or think about them, consider establishing a daily practice.
One Hundred Days of Building The Foundation
N ew students with us make a traditional commitment called “One Hundred Days of Building The Foundation”. This is a commitment you make to yourself. You undertake to practice either twenty or thirty minutes a day, every day for one hundred days. You mark off on a calendar each day of practice and if you miss a day, you start again at day one.
Not only does this build a habit of practice which will stand you in good stead, it gives you a sense of where your zazen is leading you. Everyone has warmer and cooler days, but over one hundred continuous days you get a sense of the general trajectory of your work.
Here is a free online calendar you can print off to record your daily practice:
Here is a free online meditation period timer:
After your 100 days
Once you’ve completed your hundred days, make sure you keep right on going! The next milestone is 1000 days!