When Yang-shan Hui-chi (807-883), as a young monk, paid a visit to the Ch'an master Hsing-k'ung, there was a monk who asked Hsing-k'ung:
-What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West?
Posted on Oct.09.2012 @ 05:14PM EDTbyQuantumZen
Every zazen guide tells to have my eyes opened while meditating. I find it contradictory and always sit with my eyes closed. Can someone explain why should I open my eyes while meditating (I get too much stimulus that way).
Zazen is generally prescribed as sitting with eyes partly open and unfocused, looking downward at a wall or at the floor a few feet in front of you.
There are a number of reasons to keep eyes open while sitting zazen. One reason is that, if you want to continue practicing Zen, you will have to open your eyes at some point. If you can't practice having a sitting mind while just sitting with
eyes open, how will you have a sitting mind while doing other things
with eyes open?
Another reason is that it's easy to fall asleep or go into another non-awake state of consciousness while sitting with eyes closed. This is not good and not bad, but it is not zazen. And third, it is actually easier to watch your breathing and other things that come and go with eyes open, because you will be more aware.
If you feel that there is too much stimulus, that's okay! That just means that you need to keep practicing with eyes open. It's like any exercise...it takes work. No one ever worked their way up to being able to lift 50 pounds by saying, "I can't lift 10 pounds, so I should just use a machine to do it for me." Likewise, if sitting with eyes open is very difficult, do it for short periods of time and then stop. Eventually you'll be able to do it for longer periods, which will be a sign that you have trained your body and mind to be able to handle the stimulus, making your mind quieter.
closing your eyes allows for imagination and thought images which are distracting. slightly open eyes fixes this issue instantly. All you see is what you are looking at !!! not more imagined thin allowing your eyes to go slightly off focus helps to alleviate the focussing on the sight image.