[Récit et croquis d'une cérémonie bouddhiste zen dans un temple de Sapporo]
In July, I attended a buddhist ceremony in Sapporo with two friends.
It was in Chuo-Ji, a temple situated downtown Sapporo, in Susukino.
It was interesting to see, but to be honest we don't know much about what we've been watching.
We've met a French nun who was living in the temple for a few weeks, but as she didn't speak Japanese she could not enlighten us much more. So we just sat and enjoyed (and sometimes tried not to fall asleep ;-).
It started with a lyric concert...
Then arrived a large number of monks in saffron tunics
There was gong, singing and recitation. Then they sat down and recitated some prayers while unfolding leporello-style prayer books. That was a beautiful thing to see.
At some point, all the assembly went to the altar to perform a ritual with incense. We were invited to participate and a monk kindly showed us what to do.
I must confess that we found the last partvery boring : the monk in chief recitated in monotonous tones all the important dates in the temple's story and all the filiation of the temple in the world with all the temples ' dates of creation (many of them were in France). All that we could cacth was an endless serie of dates (it lasted 45 minutes).
Chuo temple proposes initiations to Zazen meditation every Sunday morning for the cost of ¥500 and it's possible to do it in English (you can check their English page for more information). They also have calligraphy and ikenobo (flower arrangement) classes, but only in Japanese. I will surely go back to the temple and try the Zazen, so hopefully I will learn more next time.