Choukokuji: The Tokyo, japan Zendo Experience

Choukokuji: The Tokyo, japan Zendo Experience

Choukokuji: The Tokyo Zendo Experience

Dogen Zenji (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) is widely considered to be the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism in Japan. The order that he founded, commonly referred to as the Soto Zen School, is one of the leading Buddhist denominations in Japan today. What distinguishes Soto Zen from other forms of Buddhism is its emphasis on sitting meditation, known as zazen, as the most direct way of obtaining enlightenment. The zazen methods established by Dogen in the 13th century continue to be observed to the present day.

Programs abound in Japan for those interested in practicing zazen according to Dogen’s method. One such program can be found at Choukokuji, a long-established Soto Buddhist temple located in the heart of Tokyo. At Choukokuji, priests and monks-in-training offer instruction in sitting meditation to lay practitioners in the same zendo that the monks use for their own practice.

The Choukokuji experience is so true to its origins that only Japanese is spoken in the zendo. Foreigners are welcome to attend Monday night introductory sessions, but are advised to bring their own interpreter. In keeping with Buddhist tradition, only a token fee is charged. For beginners there exists no better or more authentic introduction to zazen than that provided at Choukokuji.

In his book, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” Soto Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki writes, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” In this passage Suzuki encourages us to do everything as if we were doing it for the first time, so as not to take our experiences for granted.

Similarly, we at Planet Depos are among the world’s most experienced court reporting and video professionals. But rather than take our experience for granted, we prefer to take a more enlightened approach to what we do. Maintaining a beginner’s mind allows us to see the possibilities that others do not, finding solutions that others overlook. In this way, we are able to consistently ensure our clients a Zen-like experience when working in Asia.




  1. Such great events, I look forward to them every year!

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