samedi 4 juillet 2009

Overnight stay at a zen buddhist temple!

Omikuji (bad fortune tied to a tree). I thought this was a Shinto tradition, so I don't know why there were some at a buddhist temple...
For an obscure reason, my camera pixelised and pinkyfied most of my pictures! I could save three of them with my friend Photoshop. :P

As many students from China and Korea are coming for a few weeks to YPU, various Japanese culture oriented activities are being organized. Last Friday, YPU's exchange students (the ones staying for a year or half a year) could tag along and go to Hagi, where we could experience life in a Zen Buddhist temple! Although I think most of the Chinese and Korean students found the experience somewhat painful, all four Quebeker folks loved it!
When we arrived to the temple, we had to sit seiza (on our knees) while the priest read sutras (Buddhist preach). It lasted maybe 10 minutes, but it's more then enough when you are not used to sit seiza! Fortunately Marc, Elliott and I had the tea ceremony class last semester and were used to do it.
After being explained various things, we helped with the preparation of diner and ate (in silence!) a vegetarian meal. Technically, you should eat everything. By everything, I mean that when you are done eating, you have to pour some tea in one of your bowls, wash it with a pickle, pour that tea in the next bowl, wash it, ans so on until you washed all 5 little bowls and plates. When you are done, you should drink the tea and eat the pickle! Not eating everything is not respectful to the life that was offered to you.
And although the food was delicious and the portions not so big (just enough, I thought), every single person at my table (we were about 12) except for me and the teacher did not eat everything. O_o

Then, we had a little class about basic principles of Zen Buddhism. It was SO interesting and what was said made a lot of sense to me. But the most interesting thing was to hear the priest talk about respect and principles of non killing, as the girl next to me was lying on the table in evident boredom and incessantly killing mosquitoes!

Buddhist class! I took the picture so I am not in it.

Next was zazen (sited meditation), which I really liked! If you sit correctly, your back naturally becomes straight and it is not tiring. Well, that's what I thought. It lasted at most 15 minutes, and halfway through a girl felt sick and went out of breath! A teacher and a priest took her away and the rest of us kept on going.

Bedtime was at 9h15 and wakeup time at 6h00! My grand-ma side was really happy and I slept every single minute allowed. :D Still, I was the last one in the meditation room at 6h30. I don't know how I did that. -.-"

We then helped with breakfast, ate it silently and helped with the dishes. When we were done, a monk took out buckets of water and rags. Oh yeah, we swiped all the floors running with our rags, like in animes!!

In the afternoon we went sightseeing in Hagi, which is a place rich in historical monuments and famous for its potters. In "hagi-yaki pottery", "yaki" is "to bake" so it means the "baked things of Hagi"!
From left to right: Jin, Seha, Evelyne, Tei and me.
OMG c'est le monde de la forêt!!

I really liked the temple experience, I would do it again for a week long! When you meditate, you are facing outside the room. That temple didn't have actual walls but only shouji (slidding paper doors), so at night you could hear the frogs and the rain like you were sitting in the forest, and in the morning the opened doors let in refreshing sun rays and you could see the gardens around the temple. It was so relaxing and peaceful! :)

2 commentaires:

mi-que a dit…

WoW!!! Amazing!
You seem to had a peacefull experience. Something that gives you the chance to feel transcended. Feeling this way is like feeling freedom itself. I'm glad you experienced that! Hope Dad reads it, he'll probably agree with me :)
LuV U SiS !!! :)

Dominique DP a dit…

I bet Dad would love it! I hope he gets better soon and sometime be able to try it out. ^^