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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan for Zazen Meditation

I was introduced to Zazen meditation by a local friend in Kyoto. He suggested I should try zazen meditation at Shisen-do, a temple with a beautiful garden in northeastern Kyoto. I arrived at Shisen-do at 5:45 am on a Sunday Monday. The neighborhood was quiet but early hikers had already started their ascent up the trail. My friend arrived and parked his bike. He then led me into Shisen-do main hall. I chose a seat facing the garden, seating cross-legged and trying to calm myself down before the zazen session started. Participants continued arriving. Each person found a seat and settled in. The zazen session started with the signal of a gong. Trying to think about nothing was difficult. I tried counting 1 to 10 slowly but was interrupted by my grawling stomach. Then I tried something I learned in my yoga class. I concentrated on my breathing and started breathing deeper, expanding my diaphragm with each breath. It worked for a bit until a mosquito came flying around my nose. Just about this time the gong sounded again, signaling a 15-minute break for the first 45-minute zazen session. After everyone used the facilities and stretched, the second session started. I somehow got through the second session. Monks chanted the heart sutra. Tea was served at the session finished.

 

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