Antai-ji (Antaiji) Zen Monastery in Japan

Visiting Antai-ji Zen Monastery in Japan, learning sitting meditation (zazen) and working on the rice fields. Travel story with photos.

The temple of the Antai-ji Zen Monastery is called Hondo. The sitting meditation (zazen) is done there as well as the Buddhist rituals such as Monk promotion. In those rituals the main entrance is used, otherwise the side door.

You sit in Hondo on top of the pillow called zafu, preferably in lotus or half-lotus position, facing the wall, looking a bit downward with eyes half open, and thinking no-thing. Every one hour there is ten minutes of walking meditation called Kinhin which allows to stretch legs a bit. There is usually four hours of zazen a day, sometimes even eight.

There was a TV crew from Japan TV. They filmed everyone without asking permission and disturbed even zazen in Hondo with their four cameras and three camera men. It was quite a circus.

We had to leave Antai-ji because the Abbot Muho-San had changed his mind about couples staying in the Temple. In January he agreed that we can come as a couple, but when we arrived we were placed in separate rooms. The Abbot told us that he wants to prevent the formation of subgroups in the community (Sangha) and that's why couples are not welcomed. Guess there is a snake in every paradise. Antai-ji still earned a place in our hearts and we will return if the celibacy requirement is revoked.

For more information, visit Antai-ji Zen Monastery website. All travel photos and videos.

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