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Feb. 28, 2019 UPDATE
Zazen Meditation Session - 坐禅体験 -
Traveler Friendly
You can make a reservation online by going to Shorin-ji Temple’s English website and sending an email to the address written there, and you will get a reply in English. The priest at the temple is very friendly so even zazen first-timers can easily join the session.
Information
Japanese and English.
Languages spoken
Only Japanese.
2021 11 6.3 1 reviews
Feb. 28, 2019 UPDATE

Zazen Meditation Session

- 坐禅体験 -
Traveler Friendly
You can make a reservation online by going to Shorin-ji Temple’s English website and sending an email to the address written there, and you will get a reply in English. The priest at the temple is very friendly so even zazen first-timers can easily join the session.
Information
Japanese and English.
Languages spoken
Only Japanese.
2021 11 6.3 1 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Easily experience the deep world of Zen by joining a zazen meditation session at Shorin-ji Temple, which is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji Temple
Zazen is one kind of Buddhist training method, a type of meditation where you try to concentrate your thoughts by sitting on the floor, crossing your arms and legs, and by breathing quietly through your nose. Normally zazen is done by Buddhist monks in training, but in Kyoto many temples offer everyone an opportunity to try zazen. Among these temples, Shorin-ji Temple, a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji, has a zazen session every day, and in a room where the image of Buddha of the temple, Bishamonten, is enshrined. The zazen session takes about an hour, and during this hour you meditate twice for 15 minutes at a time. Even if you have never tried zazen before, the priest of the temple will explain the concepts in an easy to understand manner, though in Japanese, but they also have a printed out paper on which you have the explanations in English. The zazen session at Shorin-ji Temple, which is right by Tofuku-ji, but still a quiet and tranquil place of relaxation, is a chance for you to take a look at yourself, which is also a reason why the session is very popular with foreign visitors. If you come to Kyoto, the home ground of Zen, how about having a real zazen meditation experience?
1Highlight
Proper zazen sitting technique
Proper zazen sitting technique
The priest of the temple will tell you the proper way to sit and the proper hand position, and during the meditation you are supposed to keep this position. You take in slow, big breaths, and also exhale them slowly, and while doing this count from one to ten. You don’t close your eyes but keep them half open and focus your eyes around one meter in front of you. This is the proper way to do zazen.
2Highlight
Listen to the priest’s lesson
Listen to the priest’s lesson
At Shorin-ji Temple both before and after the actual zazen meditation, there is a lesson by the priest in Japanese where he tells about Zen, zazen, and the kind of training priests go through and what kind of a role zazen plays in that.
3Good Experiences
Get hit by the Zen stick
Get hit by the Zen stick
If the person doing zazen gets sleepy or his thoughts wander away, he would normally get hit by the Zen stick. The Zen stick is a tool of encouragement the priest uses by hitting the person doing zazen on both shoulders. In a zazen session of Buddhist practitioners, the priest decides who needs the stick, but during the zazen session he will only hit you if you put your hands together in a praying position when he is passing by.
4Good Experiences
See the beautiful flowers of the garden
See the beautiful flowers of the garden
After the zazen experience, please take a look at the garden. The garden of Shorin-ji Temple is small, but you can see many seasonal flowers and the garden is very pretty. In early summer you can see blooming hydrangeas and lotus flowers. There are many maple trees so the autumn leaves at the temple are also something you have to see.
- Manner & Tips -

Tips - Zazen

At Shorin-ji Temple they have a paper with explanations in English about zazen and how it is done for the foreign visitors. Notice that the oral explanations are not in English. If you want to take part in a zazen session, you have to make a reservation online. 

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