What is ZEN?
Zen origins (pre-700 CE)
The Japanese word Zen is derived from the Chinese word Chan, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means "meditation" or "meditative state." ZEN practice is a realization through meditation and dharma practice. Often Zen is used as a short form for Zen Buddhism. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Meditation is used to stop suffering by bringing yourself and awareness to only present moment. By many years of practice we will be good at meditation to free ourselves from pain in life to reach enlightenment.
In short, Be in the present.
"Dwell on the? past, and you rob the present. Ignore the past, and you rob the future." - anonymous
The most popular shitting meditation, ZAZEN (Japanese word) is literally translated as "shitting(ZA) meditation(ZEN)"
I hated doing this when I was living in Japan! Monks were too scary during the ZAZEN. They watch you while you are doing ZAZEN and when they find you sleepy or notice your attention is drifted or physically moving a bit, they will come to you to hit your shoulder with flat long board(Kyosaku). And you have to thank to them hitting you. Here is a sample video which is not scary one. I think it's just showing how to do ZAZEN and it's not seriously conducted in the meditation yet.
I noticed that some AIKIDO studio have ZAZEN in US. And if the owner knows about Kyosaku, they seem to conduct the act in the same scary manner. I attended ZAZEN in AIKIDO studio in Mountain View, CA and it was tense. I couldn't focus on anything but tense feeling and pain from my legs. The leader or teacher would scold at me or yell at me if I move a bit. So I was struggling with pain in my body for whole time, forgetting what's for I am doing this. My body tensed up with pain and anger. After 45 minutes of ZAZEN session, my legs were dead... I couldn't stand up. It was funny. The leader/teacher was smiling with warmth after the severe ZAZEN session. It's the focus. Very serious focus on something..... For me, my focus was pain and try not to be scold at.
Yes, there were more soft type of ZAZEN out there. I attended one of ZAZEN at Japanese Zen temple in San Francisco, CA. The monk didn't care if I moved a bit. I liked this one. Also Zen center in Sunnyvale, CA is not scary to attend for ZAZEN. They won't hit you with Kyosaku.
But hitting by a Kyosaku give you super charge of KI. Refreshing power into your mind and body. So, I guess it's good. It depends on how your body can handle pain in your legs and how serious you want to focus and be trained.
After all it's up to your choice for ZAZEN style. - Aya Kurosawa