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Today, I introduce a historically old temple in Shizuoka.
About 600 years ago, in 1401, a temple named “Toyoken” was opened by a priest in present Fukuroi City. At that time, in Muromachi Era, Ashikaga Shogunate ruled Japan. Soon after the power of Ashikaga family had become weakened, feudal lords around the country began to attack their neighbors to expand their land. The advent of the Age of Civil Wars, the epoch when the most powerful and dignified man could become the absolute monarch of Japan. In a time like that, the 11th priest of Toyoken temple helped a boy, in hostage of Imagawa family of Suruga district, get away from it to his home country, Mikawa, current Aichi prefecture. The Civil War Period was ended in 1603 by the fact that Edo Era was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and he was the very man that the priest had helped.
Now, when Tokugawa Ieyasu reached his home country and became the lord of Hamamatsu Castle, he invited the priest to say thank you. It was when the priest sat right in front of Ieyasu, and while he was listening to his words, the priest fell into a nap in spite of himself. His men got furious about his terrible discourtesy but Ieyasu said, suppressing his men. “You may sleep”, from which word he was called “Priest Kasui” ( Kasui means “You can sleep” in Japanese old word ) and the Toyoken temple was also called “Kasui-sai” since then.
Kasuisai in Fukuroi has such a history. It belongs to Soto Zen which is one of the Buddhist sects, which lay belief on exhorting people to do Zen sitting meditation. Of course, Zen monks are meant to start the day by sitting meditation and also finish the day by it. Zen meditation is, simply explained, to sit and meditate but what should you think of ? Nothing. Nothing in mind, set five senses free and feel what you naturally feel, that is Zen. Maybe like the absent-minded feeling right after you wake up. Zen meditation is a training to renounce yourself, or shut out your thinking, which is believed to be the very image of Buddha.
I, this time, tried Zen meditation. This is the actual Zen room that monks and visitors use for meditation. If you join the overnight program, this is the room for it. I tried 30 min meditation. 30 minutes, having nothing in mind, may sound too long for you but honestly it was not. I felt rather too short. After the meditation, I felt so mind-washed with a sense of accomplishment.
The founder of Soto Zen is Dogen the Buddhist priest, and his mausoleum can be seen in Kasuisai. I found his figure also in Zen meditation in the altar.
If you’d like to experience Zen meditation like a Buddhist monk, please go ahead and try it because Kasuisai is very positive in accepting customers or even group tours from abroad.
So, after Zen meditation, I moved to another room for “Shojin-ryori” the Zen Vegetarian Cuisine.
Next time, I’ll report “Shojin-ryori”.
Access from JR Fukuroi Sta.： 10 minutes by bus from #1 to “Kasui” and 5 minutes on foot.
Admission ： Free （ ※ ￥500 to get inside the temple ）
Open Hours ： 8:00〜16:30 ( 7 days a week )
Shojin Cuisine ： Take ( ordinary course ) ￥2000／Take-jo ( upper ordinary ) ￥2500／Matsu ( deluxe course ) ￥3000／Matsu-jo ( upper deluxe ) ￥3500
＊ Prior booking necessary
Zen Meditation ： Every Saturday Application from 12:30／Zen meditation from 13:30（ 30 min×2 ）＊ No reservation necessary
Zen monk experience ： Overnight course／One-day course Please inquire us for further question
“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ＾＾
Thank you very much for posting your message on our blog ! Shojin Cuisine is really nice and healthy＾＾ I’m now asking about your reservation for Matsu-jo to one of the staff in Kasuisai Temple. Please wait for a couple of days. The phone No of the temple is :
0538 42 2121
I’ll send you e-mail as soon as I get information about Shojin Cuisine.
Have a good day !
I would like to make a reservation for the Shojin Cuisine on 15 or 16 Aug 2011 for 2 persons. We would like to take the Matsu-jo (upper deluxe) cuisine.
Kindly confirm the availability on the above. We will be driving there by using GPS, could you please provide us the map code or telephone nos of the Kasui-sai temple.