Hi everyone! This blog post is a continuation of my previous post about my school trip to Yamanashi Prefecture. In the previous post I talked about the first two stops on the trip: Saiko Iyashi no Sato and the peach farm. In this post I will write about third stop: Erinji Temple.
The third and final stop was Erinji, a Buddhist Temple. The Zen gardens were so beautiful, I couldn’t stop taking pictures!!! After roaming around and taking pictures to my heart’s content, we entered the temple and got to do some meditation. The monks had us do a 6-minute meditation session to get us used to it and then a longer meditation session of about thirty minutes. It was kind of hard for me to sit without moving for so long, but it was an interesting experience.
As we meditated, two monks went back and forth between us, each with a long wooden stick in hand. If one wished to be hit, all they had to do is put their hands together in a praying pose and bow their heads when one of the monks passed. Then, the monk would hit the person 6 times on the back, three on the right and three on the left. I found it really strange that a lot of people asked to be hit. (I did not.) The monks explained that hitting people is not a punishment; rather, when one asks to be hit, they are asking the monk to help them clear their minds from invasive thoughts and worries.
Well, personally, I found the sound of hitting people distracting, but I was at peace just looking out the window at all of the greenery. Overall, I didn’t really like the Zen meditation session, but I was happy that I was able to have the experience, since I have always been curious. I definitely wouldn’t recommend anyone to ask a monk to hit them, since it’s pretty painful. Quite a few people cried (silently). At the end of the session, I could tell who got hit just by seeing their red eyes. At any rate, the temple and temple grounds were gorgeous, so, in my book, it was well-worth seeing.
All in all, I think this trip was awesome!!! I would definitely recommend a trip to Yamanashi Prefecture to anyone, especially to Iyashi no Sato! I sure enjoyed getting away from all the concrete in Tokyo and getting to see the beauty of nature! (When you’re living in a city of concrete with no real green and open spaces you really start to appreciate nature, you know?)
In my next blog post, I’ll write about another school field trip, this time to TEPIA, a tech company based in Japan which specializes in making robots! Ja, mina-san, mattane! See you next time!