Get Japanese Experience! Summer Zen Retreat in Soto Zen Buddhism Sojiji Head Monastery ! Part 3

Previous Posts
Summer Zen Retreat in Soto Zen Buddhism Sojiji Head Monastery ! Part 1
Summer Zen Retreat in Soto Zen Buddhism Sojiji Head Monastery ! Part 2

Shojiki 小食(しょうじき)/Tenjin 点心(てんじん)/Yakuseki 薬石(やくせき)

One day's Shojin Ryori
One day’s Shojin Ryori

Shojiki is breakfast, Tenjin is lunch and Yakuseki is dinner. All of them are vegetarian dishes called Shojin Ryori (精進料理).  Healthy and Delicious!!  I wanted eat them, taking time but there was no time.  So, I had to thrust them (Why the eating time is quite short? I guess the reason is because thankfulness for eating meal). 

Besides, chatting is prohibited because eatings are also training.

The paticipants chanted Gokan no Ge (Meal Sutra) on a bag of chopsticks,which temple gave us, before eating.

What is Gokan no Ge?
Please refer the following website.
Teishoin temple Gokan no GE (English)

Gokan no Ge
Gokan no Ge

Choka 朝課(ちょうか)

The morning sutra chanting service.  Sojiji temple carries outit in Daisodo. About 80 monks gather in Daisodo and chant sutra.  It is amazing. Some participants of the retreat was chanting together. Some of them learn it by heart, and the others are reading a text book, etc.  Wow. 

Me? I was just sitting (I don’t know the sutras, don’t have the textbook). Hey, please do not looking down on me! The sitting style called Seiza gets my leg numb very much. I was keeping the style for a hour!!

Seiza正座: Lit., “proper sitting”, is the Japanese term for the traditional formal way of sitting in Japan. A sitting position where one kneels and sits back onto the heels. This is the standard position for chanting during service.
(Reference from “Glossary of Zen Terms

Choka starts at 5AM or so. Mayby, it is later.  You can see it every morning if you can go there on the time.


The inside of Daisodo
The inside of Daisodo

Shakyo (写経)

Tracing the sutras.  They gave us 2 hours or so, but it was enough for me… Almost all participants finished 1 hour or less though.  

Shakyo Set
Shakyo Set


Manual labor in the monastery, a part of training equally important to zazen. In this retreat, Samu was cleaning up a part of the temple.

Basically, it was wiping Zazendo where monks or participants practice Zazen . Or wiping Hyakken Roka which is a 164m quite long corridor.  The only participants who wanna wipe Hyakken Rouka clean it.

I volunteered to wipe Hyakken Roka since the chance is quite rare.  Totally, about 15 participants volunteered. A trainee monk got surprised at the numbers of us.

Wiping a floor with a cloth was difficult while wearing Hakama which was our cloth for the training.  Most of us steped on our own hakama hems. Of course, I got tired due to the length.  The trainee monks in Sojiji clean it up everyday. According to a monk, though their everyday cleaning, the corridor gets dust easily because it opens the outside.   Of course, they have to clean up in other places, so, the time would be shorter than us. Wow. 

Hyakken Rouka
Hyakken Rouka

Guide Tour 

The participants can see Sojiji Temple with a guide. The trainee monk guide offers you a tour with his experience.  It is interesting than I thought.

” (See a building where trainee monks live) Wow. Sleeping space is  only 2m2 or so for each trainee monk…  They cannot roll over in his sleep (*_*)”

A trainee monk
” No, we cannot. But I have stretched out my leg to my next monk’s space when I first came here .  And, there is a stove in winter, but it is far from my space. So, all thing I can do is only seeing the light (´ω`)”

and more.

*They offer English Guide Tour too.

Entire Impression

It was fun!! Zen is very deep philosophy.  I could touched the entry level in this three days.  Well, monks take long, long time to awaken, so, it is understandable.

Before the retreat, I was likely to be worry about things which I cannot control. However, my feeling got positive after the retreat though any situation doesn’t change. 

Summer Zen Retreat in Sojiji is over this year. But they still offer monthly zazen practice or One night zen program. Please take part in it if you are interested. 

I’ve heard Eiheiji Temple in Fukui prefecture is also nice from the other participants. So, I will go there someday.

Related Post

Summer Zen Retreat in Soto Zen Buddhism Sojiji Head Monastery ! Part 1
Summer Zen Retreat in Soto Zen Buddhism Sojiji Head Monastery ! Part 2

Zen Workshop (Zen Experience) in Soto Zen Buddism Sojiji Head Monastery

Reference WEB sites

Click following link if you need further Information for Sojiji Temple
Soto Zen Buddism Sojiji Head Monastery (English)

Click following link if you need to know Zen terms in English
Glossary of Zen Terms

Click following link if you wanna know Soto Zen more


Click folloing link if you are looking for accommodation near from Sojiji Temple

Click the follwoing link if you are looking for your flight from overseas to Japan


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