In September, I had a chance to visit and stay at Sogenji Temple in Okayama for two nights. The abbot of the temple is Shodo Harada RoshiThey have international students from all over the world. The atmosphere was somewhat familiar to me, because I started my Zen practice in US. Still, it was my first time to sit formally in a Japanese Zen temple, and I was quite nervous.
The experience showed me that whole-hearted practice is the same everywhere. It seems to me that there was a good balance of joy and formality.
The highlight of the visit was having an informal conversation over tea with Harada Roshi. I had so many questions to ask, and he was there to offer his reflections. Not only the conversation itself, but also just to sit with him was a quite experience. He had such an intense presence.
I want to thank Steve T for making such a wonderful connection, and Daichi-san for her open-mindedness.
Please check out my web album for more photos