Meditation CushionA meditation cushion is traditionally known as a Zafu. It is a circular shape with a flat top and bottom. The aim here is not to be esoteric or confusing - it simply is something for you to sit on that is comfortable. You want the cushion to be soft on your bottom, so that you can sit for long periods of time without it hurting.
It's like sitting on a hard wooden chair all day long. Your rear starts to hurt after a while. If, instead, you sit on a soft office chair, you don't feel any pain after working at your desk all day. The proper zazen meditation cushion helps you reach that goal.
There are different types of "insides" that you can have in a cushion. You can have light and fluffy, or beanbaggy small items, or a variety of other styles. Many people go with a buckwheat filling as a good gentle form fitting cushion.
For a cover, it's good to get a zazen with a removable cover. That way you can wash it if it gets stained. So you can buy a "simple" base zazen, and then a variety of covers depending on your mood. I like this embroidered zazen you see in the photo - it comes in a variety of colors and really appeals to me. It is a brocade fabric on a traditional meditation cushion base.
If you want to care even more for your zazen, you can get a zabuton. In essence a zabuton is a square, flat mat that goes beneath your zafu. It helps to keep your feet and the zazen off the floor, in case it is dirty or cold.
The embroidered meditation cushion in the photo comes from a group of Tibetan monks who are in exile.
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