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Kyoto: Ancient Temple’s Meditation Space Attracts Japanese, Foreigners Alike
15:05 JST, August 12, 2023
KYOTO — Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto features a large Zen meditation space that spans about 200 square meters. On Sunday mornings, the sound of a priest using a stick to strike the shoulders of zazen meditators echoes through the historic facility, counterpointing the tranquil, senko incense-infused atmosphere.
The 14th-century hall is the largest and oldest of its kind existing in the country. Most Sundays, people gather to meditate in the space from 6:30 a.m. With the easing of measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable uptick in the number of tourists and foreign people taking part in recent sessions.
At such gatherings, a priest informs participants about zazen practices. Attendees then sit cross-legged on the floor with their eyes half-closed and meditate until an incense stick burns out.
“I was thinking about so many different things each day, and I craved a moment of clarity,” said 24-year-old Kyoto-based artist who has been taking part in the sessions for five months. “I feel that the time I spend here is important.”
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