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Experiencing Zazen in Waterfalls

Have you ever heard that you can experience Zazen not only in Japanese traditional rooms, but also under waterfalls?

Zazen, mindfulness and meditation are increasing in popularity. In particular, we received a large response to our previous article about the beginner’s guide to Zazen, underlying its popularity. 

Buddhist priests practice strict self discipline in seeking spiritual enlightenment in various ways, and Zen practiced under waterfalls is one such form of discipline - and it is known as Takigyo. 

This article will present experiencing Zazen in Waterfalls.

Dressed like the deceased, standing under big waterfall

When practicing Takigyo, Buddhist priests stand under big waterfalls with white cloths known as “Shiro-Shozoku” engage in prayer and meditation in order to more deeply recognize themselves as part of nature as well as hope to further their self-development.  Shiro-Shozoku is the cloth which the deceased wear. This notion is deeply connected with the thought of Zazen, meditating by oneself with deep breaths, and in the quiet atmosphere of Japanese traditional rooms.

✨meditation by sitting under a water fall …#zen #takigyo #waterfall #meditation

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Takigyo, forms one part of the practice known as “Yamabushi-shugyo” which takes place in some mountains in Japan including Haguro mountain in Yamagata prefecture, where Shugyo is practised. This practice mainly consists of activities such as walking, running over mountains with a white cloth (which is usually used for the deceased), running over a fiery hot path, being in a room with strong scents, eating simple meals known as Shojin meals, and praying under waterfalls.

The background of these practices

"Soshu Oyama Roben no Taki", Hokusai Katsushika, 1834

The reason for practising such things is to achieve a greater connection and affinity with nature, as well as divine blessing. Throughout history, the Japanese have recognized the inextricable bond between humans and nature in particular when considering the rich bounty that food such as rice and vegetables offer, but also the great disasters that can also be caused by nature.

Waterfalls in Tokyo

Each mountain and its related shrines each have their own way of practising Takigyo. One can experience practice of Takigyo in Yamagata, however, there are some places in which one can be immersed within waterfalls, even in Tokyo.  It is recommended that those with heart issues do not enter the waterfall

There are about 3 places where one can practice Takigyo in Tokyo.

Suiryo Dojo in Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple (高尾山)

Not only climbing, Takao mountain is also famous for its waterfall as there are two types eknown as  Jataki and Biwa taki.  Some priests may teach you how to practice and the Buddhist thoughts behind these practices.  We highly recommend discovering Takigyo as well as having the opportunity to climb a famous mountain.

Suiryo Dojo in Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji

Address: 2177 Takao-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo  193-8686
Access: Take the JR Chuo Line to Takao Sta. and change to the Keio Line for Takaosanguchi Sta., or take the Keio Line directly to Takaosanguchi Sta. From there, ride the cable car (Takao Tozan Dentetsu) from Kiyotaki Sta. to Takaosan Sta., or take the lift from Sanroku Sta. to Sanjo Sta. The temple is a 20-minute walk from either the cable car or the lift.
Home Page: http://takaosan.or.jp/english/asceticism.html#p1

Kuzuryu Waterfall & Ryujin Waterfall in Ensen-ji Temple (檜原村)

There are two big waterfalls whose names are related to dragons. As it is located in Hinohara village, you can be immersed in many rivers and waterfalls where you can immerse yourself in a completely different environment. This temple is also located in Okutama , and it has various Shugyo plans which last from 1 to 3 days.

Kuzuryu Water Fall & Ryujin Water Fall in Ensen-ji Temple

Address: Kazuma 7076, Hinohara Village, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo  190-0221
Access: Taking the Nishi Tokyo Bus from JR Musashiitsukaichi Sta. to Shimotaira Sta.

Home Page: https://www.ensenji.or.jp/contents/category/waterfall/

Tenkoji Temple (檜原村)

This temple is also located in Hinohara village, and it has various Shugyo plans which last from 1 to 3 days.

Tenkoji Temple

Address: 4040-1, Ozawa, Hinohara village, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo  190-0204
Access: Taking the Nishi Tokyo Bus from JR Musashiitsukaichi Sta. to Owadasaka Sta.
Home Page: http://www.tenkouji.jp/#access

Let's try Zazen in Waterfalls!

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If you are busy with work, feeling tired or stressed, the practice of zazen can make you feel relaxed and better. Anywhere, everywhere, zazen is a good way to experience Japanese culture, and we highly recommend you to do it at least once a day!