Buddhist Temple Of Zendo Visit Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Zen, Time, Meditation, Religion, Buddhism, Dalai Lama, Concentration, Psychology

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2023/02/22

Zen is one of the best-known Buddhist traditions in the west. Lots of famous people are known to practice Zen and that is the reason it attracts many curious minds. I was also interested in trying their methods and getting a taste of the famous calmness and tranquility of mind that is said to be the aim of their practice. So I was quite thrilled by the opportunity to visit Zen Desert Sangha.
When I arrived there I first took my shoes off, as it was required, and went inside to find six more people from my class. The sangha member greeted us, and asked if it was our first time to attend the Zen Desert Sangha. We explained to him that we were classmates and that it was our first time. The person who met us produced a favorable impression on me. He was really nice and offered to give us a tour to get familiar with the place and the procedure. He said that when we start we should sit in a half lotus seating position holding our hands so that our thumbs are touching (as if we are holding a thin paper between them). Half lotus posture is often used instead of the full lotus variant, which requires special preparation and is not accessible to everyone. In fact, it turned out to be not so important to the meditation itself and there were other options, such as a high pillow or a chair. The only requirement was to sit with a straight back, which, as I later found out, served the purpose of the correct energy flow in the body and helped concentration.
Then the Jiki-jitsu (timekeeper) started ringing the bell at different times with different paces indicating that the meditation is about to start. We all sat at our spots with a mat and a pillow facing the wall. Closed my eyes and was a little bit confused. After about five minutes, a member behind me spoke clearly and told to be really comfortable. He told us to not fully close our eyes and to sit straight looking forward with half closed eyes. He also told us to keep counting to 10 with every breath we took. This breathing is an integral part of all Buddhist meditations. It is aimed at achieving stable concentration and eventually calming one’s mind so that the concentration becomes as effortless as possible. But for me it proved to be not so easy as it sounds. I had hard time keeping us with breathing and counting at the same time. But I heard that concentration could be trained by regular exercise like muscles in the gym. Tibetan Buddhists even have a term for meditation that is translated literary as training. So I decided to keep trying for some more time. I smelled incents and tried to focus the entire time. I felt that my positioning was not perfect as my feet got numb and my back started hurting. After 25 minutes we switched to walking meditation. A member of the sangha explained that if anyone wanted to leave, drink water, rest, or go to the bathroom, it was the time to do so. After the walking meditation I left as I was too tired but I enjoyed the experience. I left the temple in elevated mood with the feeling that I did something meaningful and useful.
Zen Buddhism came to Japan from China. Bodhidharma brought it to China from India. Buddhism is known to assimilate local traditions and rituals so the Japanese added discipline and moderation to the rituals. Meditative practices are crucial for Zen and start from the very beginning, whereas in some schools of Tibetan Buddhism require a lot of studying before meditation is allowed. This is exactly what happened with us when we were invited to meditate after short introduction and explanation of basic rules. Freeing one’s mind from all unnecessary thoughts is possible and I felt it while sitting in front of the wall, though I was constantly distracted. I understand that it is a small part of their practices. There are Zen Koans that are supposed to get you beyond conventional thinking and logic. They are a kind of riddles that students meditate on and take their answers to their master to get further instructions. There are other methods aimed at grasping the truth that is inexpressible and cannot be reached by logic. Knowing all this and having tried the meditation, I feel inspired and would like to learn more sometimes. But there are some things that seem to be missing. The most famous Buddhist in the world is Dalai Lama and there is a huge contrast between his boisterous image and the moderate sangha members I met in the temple. Dalai Lama always speaks about compassion and wisdom, the need of charity, good deeds and other worldly things, while Zen seems to be seclude and somewhat self-centered. At the same time it is clear that both use teachings coming from Buddha Shakyamuni and their essence and goal must be one and the same. Obviously, the two traditions use different methods to reach this goal. That diversity of Buddhism always fascinated me, and my new experience may help me to better understand Buddhism in general.

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WePapers. (2023, February, 22) Buddhist Temple Of Zendo Visit Essay Sample. Retrieved June 01, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/buddhist-temple-of-zendo-visit-essay-sample/
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"Buddhist Temple Of Zendo Visit Essay Sample." WePapers, Feb 22, 2023. Accessed June 01, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/buddhist-temple-of-zendo-visit-essay-sample/
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"Buddhist Temple Of Zendo Visit Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 22-Feb-2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/buddhist-temple-of-zendo-visit-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 01-Jun-2023].
Buddhist Temple Of Zendo Visit Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/buddhist-temple-of-zendo-visit-essay-sample/. Published Feb 22, 2023. Accessed June 01, 2023.

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