My soul was completely refreshed through Zazen

Have you heard of Zen, a practice of Buddhism? It’s also called Zenshu (Zen Buddhism), one of many schools of Buddhism. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., was an active follower of Zen.

One of the Zen training styles is Zazen, or seated meditation, with which trainees try to achieve mental concentration through sitting still with an upright posture.

This time, I had an opportunity to participate in the Monday Public Zazen Class, a Zazen session held every Monday evening in the Zendo (meditation hall) of Hanazono University where I attend.

You need to bow before entering the Zendo.

Concentrate on counting your breathing while doing Zazen.
I was a little nervous at first, but gradually my mind settled down, and eventually, I began to feel comfortable in the tranquil atmosphere of the Zendo.

After about 25 minutes of Zazen, I walked around inside the Zendo quietly with a certain rhythm to loosen my stiffed leg muscles. It is called Kinhin, and this is not a moment to relax. You need to concentrate while walking, just like when doing Zazen.

Then I did Zazen for another 25 minutes. This time, I was able to concentrate immediately.

While doing Zazen, I received Keisaku. It is a form of encouragement given by a Zen monk through striking trainee’s shoulders to keep them awake and focused.

After completing Zazen, each trainee loudly chanted Heart Sutra or Hannyashingyo.

Finally, I received Howa, a sermon on Buddhism matters and religious practices, from Jikihitsu, a monk who led our Zazen. Today’s topic was about how to get a good night’s sleep, which was quite useful to me.

When leaving the Zendo, I bowed again to show my appreciation.

My soul was completely refreshed through Zazen. Zazen in Kyoto is certainly a lifetime experience.

If you are interested, why don’t you try it?

Note: I recommend you accustom yourself to the technical terms of Zazen to some extent before you try since they are rather complicated.

  • Hanazono University Monday Public Zazen Class
    Venue: The Zendo (meditation hall) of Hanazono University
    Time: Every Monday, 6pm to 7pm (the Zendo opens at 5pm)
    TEL: 075-823-0585 (International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism at Hanazono University)
    Address: 8-1, Nishinokyo Tsubonouchi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
    Access: An 8-minute walk from JR Sagano Line’s Enmachi Station.
    A 5-minute walk from Taishimichi bus stop of Kyoto City Buses 26 and 205.
    Entrance fee is not required.

The information is current as of March 2018.

奥谷勇哉/Yuya Okutani
奥谷勇哉/Yuya Okutani

日本/花園大学 社会福祉学部/生まれも育ちも京都なので、大好きな京都の魅力をお伝えします!!ーーーJapan / Hanazono University department of Social welfare / I am very excited to introduce you all the charms of my beloved city as a born and bread in Kyoto.