Ikebana in English 英語でイケバナ

Zen experience at Kenninnji-temple in Kyoto 建仁寺 禅体験

I attended ‘Gyo-ten Zazen and public lecture meeting’ on 9th of July at Kennin-ji temple in Kyoto which is the oldest temple among the Zen temples. Gyo-ten meeting is based on the anecdote that the Buddha achieved the enlightenment at dawn. Various Zen sect temples in Kyoto hold an event on three continuous mornings in July every year, and they offer the ordinary people an opportunity of Zen meditation experience and Buddhism talks by various lecturers. I attended on the third morning at Kennin-ji temple yesterday. It was wonderful and I like to share my amazing experience. I could not take photos from the meditation room, but almost 200 people attended.


I arrived at the temple at 6:00 for 6:30 starting, and found many people already there. Some looked meditating at their seat or facing to the well-kept rock garden. The sun was already in the sky, morning breeze was comfortable to my skin and birds singing to my ears. We breathed deeply and meditated for two courses of 15 minutes each which was very short for me. It was a pity that the venue did not become a real calm and quiet place with snaps of the watching priests hitting shoulders of meditators. When the meditator has difficulty in concentrating and shows a sign gesture, a priest hastens to the person and hits the shoulders of the person by a Zen stick. The hitting sounds particularly ones before my calming deeply were big noise to me.

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After the lecture, all of us were served a porridge breakfast since it was the completion day of the course. It was amazing that red Japanese lacquer containers were arranged very beautifully on low tables. It was porridge simmered with tea, and the lid of the container was also used as a container which contained some pickles. The priests here eat white and thinner porridge every morning, a priest explained. We recited some prayers and started eating. While reciting, a plate was passing around and we put a few grains of rice on it out of our own bowl. I had no idea about it for, but I guessed that it was for not forgetting appreciation of the grain. An interesting thing was that we were said not to eat everything but to leave a radish pickle for the last. After we finished the porridge, a priest with a kettle came over the table and poured lukewarm water in our bowl one after another. Then we cleaned the inside of the bowl with the water using the pickle saved, and ate everything including the water. Next, a priest with a wooden tub, bending their backs round, came to each of us over the table hiding the bottom part of the tub from our eyes, moving to the side. We picked a stone of a plum pickle with our fingers and put it in the tub. Finally another priest with a white cloth, also bending their backs round to small, moved to the side wiping the table. When the priest came to us we were supposed to hold our containers and chopsticks up so the priest can wipe the table where I used. All action was done very quickly without any noise. Beautiful they were!

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Thus a balmy day started. こうして爽やかな一日が始まりました。


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  1. 2017/07/10(月) 15:40:33|
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