Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

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JMGinPDX
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Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by JMGinPDX » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 pm

Apologies if this is not the correct forum for this question, I humbly defer to the moderators...

My wife and son and I are planning a vacation to Japan in the summer of 2020 (trying to avoid the Olympics timeframe).
I would like to see if there was any way to do a 1-2 day overnight visit to practice at a monastery.

I did already read up on this: https://daihonzan-eiheiji.com/en/guide-sanro.html, the only problem being that our trip will focus on Tokyo, Kyoto, and the Kumano Kodo trail....as fantastic as it would be to visit that site, Eihei-ji is a bit further out than we plan to go. I'm not sure how old that website info is, either, but would be happy to check.

I am aware of longer sesshin-style visits coordinated by some Zen centers in the USA, but my time will be limited for this trip.

HePo
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by HePo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:38 pm

JMGinPDX wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 pm
...
I did already read up on this: https://daihonzan-eiheiji.com/en/guide-sanro.html, the only problem being that our trip will focus on Tokyo, Kyoto, and the Kumano Kodo trail....as fantastic as it would be to visit that site, Eihei-ji is a bit further out than we plan to go. I'm not sure how old that website info is, either, but would be happy to check.
..
if you travel by train...

From Kyoto you can take the JR Thunderbird Ltd Express to Fukui - it takes about 80 or 90 minutes. A bus goes directly (every hour) from Fukui station to Eihei-ji - a 20 minute ride.

crazy-man
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by crazy-man » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm

Soto Zen Temples for Foreigners in Japan
https://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/te ... index.html

TEMPLE ACCOMMODATION FOR FOREIGNERS IN JAPAN
https://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/ ... ation.html

Kyoto Temple Stay (Shukubo)
https://www.japanvisitor.com/kyoto/kyoto-temple-stay

Temple Lodging in Tokyo Prefecture
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotels-g ... otels.html

Shaku Kenshin
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by Shaku Kenshin » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:45 pm

Hi,
I just want to add that shukubo is something different than going on a retreat. In most cases it is not much different from staying at a normal Japanese-style inn. You will probably be able to attend morning service and some temple lodgings might offer short meditation sessions and/or sutra copying, but most don't.

I think for what you have in mind it might be better to stay at a meditation center or temple that explicitly offers short term meditation retreats.

I know someone who stayed for a few days at this temple and he liked it, although it was still quite cold when he was there and the meditation hall was not heated.
http://www.tekishin.org/english/index.htm

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Zhen Li
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by Zhen Li » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:13 pm

It depends on what kind of Zen you are looking for. If Soto, you should probably reconsider your itinerary and go to Eiheiji.

There are a few temples tear Tokyo, in Kamakura, which offer zazen sessions for the public. Kenchoji does do overnight zazen at the start of June. If your son is under high school age, he won't be able to join. Perhaps you can send an email to the address advertised here:
https://www.kenchoji.com/wp-content/upl ... 2cc166.jpg

I heard that the best place for foreigners to train in zen in Japan at the moment is Antaiji. It is remote in Hyogo. https://antaiji.org/en

On the other hand, if you are traveling with your wife and child, the shukubo options might be best. They are quite comfortable and you may not be expected to sit for hours.

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JMGinPDX
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by JMGinPDX » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:44 pm

Thanks for the replies! I have investigated the Eihei-ji a bit more based on HePo's advice - for some reason I was thinking Fukui was further out, I think 90 minutes by JR is more than do-able for our itinerary.

I do a mix of Soto and Rinzai, my main teacher and sangha are Rinzai and I'm on the koan curriculum, but I practice shikantaza and attend retreats at the local Soto monastery and read Dogen and listen to Norman Fischer and and and and......tradition shmadition. :sage:

I wonder if, in your educated opinions, what Eihei-Ji touts as "sanro" is the same as or different from "shukubo?"
I'll investigate the links now, as well.
Eihei-Ji sanro looks like a mini-mini-sesshin with the schedule, wondering how separate and watered-down that practice is from the real deal.
Basically, I'd like something pretty authentic, knowing a typical Japanese experience is likely to kick my butt more than some American experiences, if in no other way than language and custom barrier...but I only have 1-2 days to get away from the wife and kid to do it :)

Thanks for all the input, I'm encouraged by this exploration.

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bokki
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by bokki » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:08 am

My wife and son and I are planning a vacation to Japan in the summer of 2020 (trying to avoid the Olympics timeframe).
I would like to see if there was any way to do a 1-2 day overnight visit to practice at a monastery.
plainly, that would be very difficult, even impossible, to do.
the best you can hope for is a prolonged zazenkai in the Tokyo erea.
honestly, you have set your sights to high, though , i wish you the best of luck.
but, if you are to go that way, you might consider a more serious aproach.
Good luck.

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saraswati
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by saraswati » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:21 pm

Ten years back I joined a weekend session at Sojiji, which is a Soto Zen Head monastery near Yokohama, just outside Tokyo. It started around noon on Saturday and ended about same time on Sunday. The sessions were in group, exactly 12 women and 12 men, and everything was done together - communal bath for the women first and then men, communal meals, zazen, women sleeping in a tight space with futons squeezed together, same for men, calligraphy session, etc. Quite a cultural experience, well worth it, but a problem was that no one spoke any language apart from Japanese and I kept being a bit of a nuisance without understanding protocols while we were rushed from one activity to the next.

I had the help of a member from the Throssel Hole community and his Japanese wife to set it up, and the temple authorities were probably a bit nonplussed that a foreigner showed up. But if there is such a weekend retreat scheduled when you are there, I think it would be a great opportunity.
Let yourself become that space that welcomes any experience without judgement.
- Tsoknyi Rinpoche

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bokki
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Re: Zen monastery stays for a visitor in Japan?

Post by bokki » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:00 pm

oh, yes, saraswati
thank you for a good lead, and a great story.
please undrstand it is Sojiji.
and the new discipline, is really a great thing.
kindly note, the gentelman had an inside help to enrol.
finaly, not to strech it, it is a 1 day zazenkai...ok, i understand

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