The meaning of “hit the bell” is to “deliver that sound.” To whom? This is for Buddha. In this context, Buddha does not refer only to Nyorai, Bodhisattva, etc. enshrined in temples. For example, when poking at the bell in the temple, who would you like to see who is visiting a temple?
Jizo statues are located in various places. We encounter it in shrines, temples, shopping districts, residential areas, road intersections, tombs, mountains, etc. It is common to see a Jizo statue in historic towns and villages. Many of them are still dedicated today as a guide for people even today.
Along with the popularity of meditation and yoga, more and more people are interested in Zen (禅). Recently, the English word “Zen,” which excludes aspects of thought, has become very popular. More and more companies are incorporating it into company training. However, few people can explain the concept and outline of Zen. The word “Zen” is an abbreviation for “Zenna(禅那),” which is a transcription of the Sanskrit Dhyana originally in Chinese. Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language. When we say Zen, we mean Zazen or zen religion.
The originator of Zen is the Indian “Bodhidharma”
The origin of Zen dates back to ancient China. The originator of Zen is an Indian Buddhist monk called Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma in Sanskrit is transcribed, and the name is Bodhidharma, and “Dharma” is a word for “law.” Bodhidharma is a person from the 5th to 6th centuries, who systematically spread “Zenna” as a disciple of Buddha across China. Zen passed down by Dharma eventually split into five Zen Buddhist families, such as the Rinzai school and the Soto school. It was transmitted to Japan, where it had a significant influence. More information about Zen in Japan would be described below. Besides, “Daruma Dall,” which has been famous as a lucky charm in Japan, is derived from the legend that Dharma’s limbs disappeared as he continued Zazen.
Furthermore, Zen is a practice method in Buddhism that is similar to meditation performed by combining Zen meditation, and it was already implemented in around 500 BC. It is a well-known Buddhist anecdote that Buddha gained enlightenment while practicing Zen meditation under the Bodhi tree. A Buddhist scripture called “Dhammapada,” which summarizes Buddha’s actions describes Buddha and disciples performing Zen meditation. Dharma was a disciple delivering Buddha’s teachings and was the twenty-eighth disciple.
The basics of teaching Zen
At the root of the teaching of Zen is the idea of Buddhism called Furyumonji(不立文字) in Japanese. It means that Zen’s essence is to convey the learning through practical training, apart from the teaching by letters and words. It is said that this training is one of the “four scriptures” taught by Master Dharma, and these are connected to reach enlightenment.
The purpose of Zen – opening enlightenment
The aim of Zen is to open up enlightenment by practicing “Furyumonji(不立文字).” Enlightenment is the awareness of the Buddhist character within oneself and the separation of body and mind from any attachment. Dogen, a Buddhist monk, described the situation as “dropping of mind and body.” In Zen Buddhism, in addition to Zazen, there is “Samu,” which refers to work such as cleaning and cooking in daily life, as a practice method for enlightenment.
The beginning of Zen Buddhism in Japan
It is said that the idea of Zen entered Japan in the Asuka era, but it did not spread until after the Kamakura era. Next, it explains about Eisai and Dogen, which spread Zen in Japan during the Kamakura period.
Eisai spread the practice of Kanwazen to Rinzai school
A Japanese monk called Eisai (1141-1215) went to the Song Dynasty and brought back the teachings of Southern Song Zen and opened the Rinzai school. Eisai endeavored to promote Zen Buddhism under the patronage of the Shogunate and the Imperial Court. The characteristic of the Rinzai school is the Kanwazen(看話禅) that makes monks sit down while thinking using the Koan(公案). Koan refers to the problem given by the teacher as a practice to gain enlightenment.
Dogen spread the practice of Shikantaza to Soto school
Dogen (1200~1253) also went to the Song Dynasty and brought back the teachings of Soto Zen from China, and opened Soto school. The Soto school continued to expand after Dogen’s death and expanded nationwide while absorbing the temples of the Tendai school and the Shingon school. The Sodo school’s characteristic is that it is a practice called Shikantaza(只管打坐), which has no purpose, thinks nothing, and just sits down.
Zen, which is familiar to Japanese people, is one of the Buddhist pieces of training systematized in China by Dharma, known for his “Daruma-san,” in Japan. Meditating in Zen has been practiced since the Buddha’s day around 2,500 years ago. In modern times Japan, the Zen practice is held at temples all over the country where ordinary people can easily participate.
In addition, Mindfulness derived from Buddhist meditation was born in the United States and is spreading to Japan. Since the purpose of “mindfulness” is not “to gain enlightenment,” but it’s a great thing to be modified with the different eras and various customs.
The Bon Festival is absolutely indispensable for talking about summer in Japan. Every year when the rainy season is over, people always talk about how to spend the Obon season. Depending on the person, there are various ways to spend this time, such as returning to their old houses or relaxing. Even though the Bon festival becomes a vast topic every summer, the official name of the Bon festival is not widely known.
The grave is a place to fill the bodies and bones of the deceased person. A flat object is called a “grave,” a hilly one is called a “mound,” and a tall one is called a “burial mound.” The ordinary people were buried in graves, and the aristocrats were buried in burial mounds. Both have stones on top.
What do you think when you are asked about mental training? These days, yoga is a huge thing in the whole world to manage our mental balance. During yoga practice, you’ll know what you’re craving and worrying about facing your inner heart. This activity leads to spiritual training. Here are some ways to help you with that. Why not try it once in your life.
Challenge to “Zazen” at a temple
Zazen, which is the sitting and getting rid of wicked thoughts, is a representative of spiritual training at a temple, isn’t it? This training may give the impression that it seems to be strict, but what is the truth? Zazen is one of the Zen practice methods that are performed while sitting. Based on the three underlying principles of management, “body balance,” “breathing,” and “centering.” You can arrange your body, mind, and breathing. There are two ways to assemble your legs in Zazen: Kekka-Huza and Hanka-Huza. Kekka-Huza is the position of the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. If it’s too difficult to keep this posture, you can sit with Hanka-Huza, in the semi-legged position with your left foot on your right leg. For those unfamiliar, it may be a bit of a painful posture. The hands are made up of the position called Houkaijyoin, place your right-hand palm up and on your left foot. On top of that, place your left hand on top of each other and stick them together so that your thumb touches them lightly to form an ellipse.
Effects of Zazen training
This training will make you free from “how you are judged by others.” Zazen is not just about sitting down but also practicing to become under the feeling of nothing. It’s essential to be like stones falling everywhere. This will allow you to see yourself objectively and realize that others’ thoughts around you disappear. It means that you can confront yourself by becoming “nothing.” It also leads to spiritual training.
Other than that, there are many pleasant effects such as relieving annoyance and relieving constipation, preventing low back pain and dieting by training your abdominal muscles. If it is so effective, it’s worth trying it once in a lifetime. There are many temples where you can undergo the training, especially in those ancient cities like Kyoto and Kamakura.
Spiritual training from food
Buddhist Cuisine is a dish prepared using vegetables, seaweed, and grains as ingredients without meat or fish. It is eaten by monks at temples. It is often given at funerals and ceremonies. The meaning is “keeping the Buddha’s teachings seriously.” There is a teaching of killing, which is the teaching of Buddha. Reconsidering “life” in meals is Buddhist Cuisine. Not only eating but eating while thinking about life leads to spiritual training. Now you can easily search for vegetarian recipes that you can make yourself. Why don’t you try mental training through the food called vegetarian cuisine? There are various delicious foods without meat.
Training at a waterfall
This is a practice method that has been practiced since ancient times. Isn’t it an exaggeration to say that spiritual training is the waterfall training? This training may have the most robust image of training. Still, recently many people also experience a waterfall, and it seems to have many advantages.
Effect of a waterfall training
Being hit by a harshly cold waterfall helps you confront yourself, get rid of your worries, and improve your mental strength. You can also expect natural healing power and beauty effects in your body. Although, there is a risk of getting hurt or if you may be exposed to the cold water for a long time, resulting in hypothermia.