Buddhism is considered to be one of the oldest religions in Japan. One of its practices is the meditation which is called “Zen” in Japanese. It is a means of enlightenment which can be seen in the life of Buddha and permeated many people’s everyday life in Japan. For those interested in experiencing zen meditation, you can actually experience it in many places all around the country. Here are 4 great places to try!
Kenchoji number one of the five great temples in Kamakura and is regarded as the first Zen training temple in the area, is located 60 minutes away from Tokyo station. They are open to public service regarding Zen ritual practices on certain schedules. Zen meditation is available on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 6 pm. You will be instructed by monks on the proper posture and breathing during meditation.
Toshoji Temple is actually a branch of Hosshin-ji Temple in Tokyo. It was completely burned down during Word War II but was rebuilt by many of its followers in the later years. If you want to practice Zen meditation for a long time (6 months or longer), you can stay in the temple’s dormitory. Punctuality is very important as well as wearing modest, comfortable clothing (no shorts or running shirts) for sitting.
One of the important Zen Buddhist Temple complexes is the Engaku-ji. It is a huge area where Zen meditation practices can be found. Practices occur on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month as well as on Saturdays. During Sundays, sermon occurs from 9 to 10 am while the meditation proper is from 10 to 11 am. On Saturdays, meditation for beginners occurs from 1:20 to 2:20 pm while second-timers from 2:40 to 3:40 pm. Sessions are usually in Japanese. Though these are free, you have to arrive early or on time as they do not allow late comers.
Seishoji Temple is located in central Tokyo and is considered one of the largest and most prestigious temples in Japan. It is a very popular place to practice zen meditation too! Seishoji’s zazen is now held at 7:00 pm (6:00 pm entrance) on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
So, what do you think? Are you interested in trying out an authentic Zen meditation experience during your travels to Japan? If so, these four places are great for all levels of meditation.
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