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Buddhist Training Program

 

Maria kindly wrote a report about the Buddhist Training Program with Monash students. All photos taken by Tomoya.

 

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This October, a few Monash students and 2nd-year HUS students were given the chance to participate in a Buddhist Training Program. We arrived on a Saturday at Gyokuzoin temple around midday. It was drizzling when we got off the bus, but that didn’t dampen our excitement. We stopped in front of otora, a tiger statue and we took a photo all together. We arrived at the temple’s entrance in a few minutes. The rooms were surprisingly spacious, and they came with 4 futons in each room. 
After leaving all our belongings there, we changed our clothes to the working clothes of Japanese Zen Buddhist monks. We then proceeded the day by taking part in  a buddhist training known as Hyakuhachirai, practiced a meditation called Asokukan, and talked and read the Heart Sutra. That afternoon, we all wrote our names, wishes and address on a wooden stick. These would be used in a religious ceremony the next day. Still with our buddhist clothing on, we had a delicious dinner. 

 

The next day, everyone woke up very early to witness the Goma-kito (praying with a sacred fire). We watched the event in silence as the ritual proceeded solemnly, the fire crackling in the background. This interesting event was then followed by a tour of the temple. Under the light rain, we witnessed the singing of the sutra to the deities around us. After breakfast, we all cleaned the tatami. The last even of our trip consisted in tracing an image of a Buddhist image. 

At the temple, we were given “omamoris”. 

The trip was a fantastic learning opportunity where we all got to have a close look at the a Buddhist monk’s activities and the atmosphere of a temple with a history of more than 1000 years.

Putting on a working clothes

Hyakuhachirai, a buddhist training

Shojinryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine

Goma-kito, praying with a sacred fire

Goma-kito, praying with a sacred fire

Temple tour

Breakfast

Tracing a Buddhist image

Tracing a Buddhist image

Tracing a Buddhist image