15-Minute Home Practice

It can be a struggle to make daily meditation practice a part of our busy lives. To help you, we have created a fifteen-minute practice schedule for you to use as a guide to establish a habit of daily practice.

There are five components to practice whether we practice for fifteen minutes or for an hour and fifteen minutes. These components include:

  • The Four Great Vows: These ancient vows confirm our direction to help all beings.
  • Bowing: We bow every day to balance the scales of our accumulated karma.
  • Chanting: Chanting focuses our energy and opens the compassion in our hearts.
  • Sitting: Sitting meditation calms the mind and develops our samadhi nature.
  • Reading: Reading Zen teachings such as those found in Zen Master Seung Sahn’s book,
    Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, sharpens our cognition so that Dharma wisdom might appear.

For many people, the best time to practice is in the morning before we get caught up in our busy lives. Set the alarm clock 20 minutes earlier than usual. Get up, stretch and loosen up your body for a few minutes, then begin the practice.

Here’s a simple schedule that you can do every day to establish your meditation practice at home:

The Four Great Vows (15 seconds)

Sentient beings are numberless, we vow to awaken as one.
Mistaken views are endless, we vow to cut through them all.
The teachings are infinite, we vow to embody them all.
The Buddha way is inconceivable, we vow to attain it.

Bowing (1 minute)

Start with a standing bow. Stand with feet together, hands in hapchang position (placing the palms together at the level of the chest) and then bow at the waist to 90 degrees, lowering the head and bringing the hands to touch the knees. Return to standing position with hands still in hapchang position.

Do nine full bows. With the hands in hapchang, bend at the knees, lowering the body until sitting on the heels, then go forward onto the hands and knees touching the head to the floor. As the head touches the floor, turn the palms of the hands upward, while crossing the toes of the left foot over the toes of the right foot. Lift the head, rock forward on to a kneeling position, and return to standing position. Repeat for nine times and on the last bow, when still on the floor, rise to a kneeling position with the toes still crossed and the hands in hapchang, return the head to the floor, and then return to standing position.

Finish with one standing bow.

Chanting (5 minutes)

Chant The Heart Sutra.

Sitting Meditation (10 minutes)

Reading (3 minutes)

Read a short passage from “Dropping Ashes on the Buddha”, “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind”, “Everyday Zen” 
or another book of Zen teaching.