Experiences of Buddhism
Ajikan is a kind of meditations that priests and the laity have practiced for centuries.
The word "A-JI-Kan" literally means "watching a character A."
According to the Shingon Buddhist tradition, Kobo Daishi (Kukai) introduced this meditation on the syllable A into Japan in the 9th century, when he transmitted the doctrine of esoteric Buddhism to Japan from China.
Kukai believed that we could become a Buddha within this very lifetime by means of the Ajikan meditation.
It involves concentration on a drawing. This drawing depicts the Sanskrit syllable 'A' written in an Indian script.
The character 'A' is positioned at the center of a moon disk which sits upon a lotus flower base.
Hand copying sutra is called "Shakyo" in Japanese.
The practitioners just trace each stroke of the Chinese characters on the paper which have already been printed out from the backward.
It is not so difficult to trace them but requires us concentrations.
Just like practicing a meditation, copying sutra also brings us peace of mind.
The Heart Sutra is used here. It contains only 14 lines and it is the shortest, plainest and most popular among so many of Buddhist sutras in Japan.
→ about Heart Sutra (Wikipedia)
The morning Ceremony is one of the Buddhist service you can attend freely when you stay overnight at SHUKUBO, lodging temples.
Depend on SHUKUBO, starting hours and the way of the service are not the same but it usually starts from 6:00 or 6:30 and you are always welcome to participate.
It is worth trying to get up early and have a morning shower of Buddhist chanting with a melodious intonation to start a day.
* As you won't go to church in your pajamas, please refrain from participating the morning ceremony with yukata, the nightgown.