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07/01/2011 [Fri]

For Buddhist training – Kasuisai – 2 [Fukuroi]

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After Zen meditation, I headed for “Shojin Ryori”, the Zen Vegetarian Cuisine that is very popular here at Kasuisai Temple. Shojin Cuisine is a meal for Buddhist monks with no meat or fish, even in a soup stock. Each flavor might be felt too simple but it can be also regarded at the same time as the ultimate cuisine because it makes the best of its original taste. Each and every vegetable such as carrot, potato, and bamboo shoot is meant to be individually a main dish.

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I saw many visitors enjoying Shojin cuisine in a room despite a weekday. Telling you the truth, I’m not good with vegetables, but once I tasted it, I could tell that the sweet flavor infiltrated into my body that brought me an inexplicable relief.

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After Shojin Cuisine, I walked around the temple. First comes a Hondo main hall. Here, I advise you to look around carefully to find the Tokugawa family crest as in the picture. It can be found everywhere in the temple !

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Tokugawa Family Crest


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Next one is a main hall of Shuyoji Temple that was originally located in Mt.Akiha, allegedly believed to have 1300 year history. It enshrines Akiha Sanjakubo, considered as a god of fire protection, and many people still come all the way from a distance to worship it. A story says that he transformed himself as a figure below by supernatural power gained after the rigorous Zen training.

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Akiha Sanjakubo






This is “the best washroom in Japan” in Kasuisai temple. “Ususama-myo-o”, the god of fire is said to burn out every filthy thing.

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Ususama Myoo in the middle of the washroom

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That is, it’s indicating please keep the washroom clean. I don’t think anyone can get it messy right in front of this beautiful god. By the way, believe it or not, this washroom is for both men and women. Don’t get confused if you see a lady behind you.^^

They say that there are 33 spots to see in the temple. Stamp-rally is held every day and you will have a small gift only if you can collect more than 20 stamps on the reverse side of the map on the right. The washroom above is No18. I’m sorry I could not report all of them here. Go ahead and try !

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Kasui-sai
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 ! ^^



Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 14:45 Permanent Link

06/30/2011 [Thu]

For Buddhist training – Kasuisai – 1 [Fukuroi]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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Shojin Zen Vegitarian Cuisine

Kasui-sai
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 ! ^^



Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 10:05 Permanent Link

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