Sutra copying, “Syakyou” in Japanese, means making handwritten copy of Buddhist scriptures. It is getting more popular recently for its effect on freeing one’s mind to a state of peace. If you are planning a healing trip to Kyoto, why don’t you consider copying sutra in a quiet temple with a solemn atmosphere?
What is the effect of sutra copying?
Sutra copying is originally one part of the ascetic practices in Buddhism. Then, it is found that by keeping oneself concentrated on copying sutra at a solemn atmosphere, one can feel peaceful in heart, and be free from stress. Therefore, people nowadays practise not only Zen meditation, but also sutra copying, for the purpose of spirit healing.
In Kyoto, there are lots of temples where you can practise sutra copying. In this article, we are going to introduce those temples in Kyoto.
Saihou-ji, a temple with a stunning moss garden
Saihou-ji is commonly referred to as “Koke-dera”, which means “moss temple” literally. As suggested by the name, the moss garden is covered with more than 120 kinds of moss, looking like a green carpet. When you step in the green garden, you will be amazed at the stunning scenery and the air of mystery lingering around.
There is no easy way from the earth to the stars. Reservation is needed in advance to visit Saihou-ji. To see the garden, you will have to finish a copy of Heart Sutra (般若心経), one of the Buddhist scriptures.
Traditionally, people who practise sutra copying have to sit in seiza (literally “proper sitting”), one of the traditional formal ways of sitting in Japan. Here in Saihou-ji, tables and chairs are prepared for those who are not used to sitting in seiza.
Dragons on the ceiling: Kennin-ji
Kennin-ji is a temple well known for the realistic dragon painting on the ceiling. The painting in Chinese ink, which took two years to create, is a must-see.
Kennin-ji takes walk-ins. Reservation is not needed to practice sutra copying, which takes about 45 minutes.
If you visit there in autumn, the garden is painted in red by momijis (red leaves). Isn’t it perfect to enjoy the wonderful view with a peaceful heart after sutra copying?
Enjoy the lovely garden and practice sutra copying in Zuishin-in
In Zuishin-in, you can enjoy the graceful Japanese garden while practising sutra copying. Zuishin-in takes walk-ins too. You don’t need to make reservations for sutra copying. What’s more, you may dedicate the copy of sutra you finished to the temple, or bring it home.
Furthermore, Zuishin-in is famous for plum blossoms. Every year in March, there are crowds of people visiting for the stunning plum blossoms. The temple is quiet and peaceful besides March. Don’t you feel like enjoying the peace there?
Kurama-dera, a temple full of legendary stories
Kurama-dera is famous for its legendary stories, of which Tengu (literally “heavenly dog”) is the best known one. It must be a great experience to practise sutra copying in this mysterious temple. The sutra copying session is open to public twice a month – 7th and 18th of every month. Don’t forget to make a reservation in advance!
Moreover, it is one of the very reputable power spots in Kyoto. You can probably get energized practicing sutra copying in Kurama-dera.
The oldest sutra copying hall in Japan: Unryu-in
Unryu-in is the oldest sutra copying hall in Japan. Japanese sweets and Matcha (one kind of Japanese green tea) are served after sutra copying. It must be fantastic to enjoy traditional Japanese sweets and tea in a traditional temple after having an traditional experience. You can enjoy the beautiful tradition of Japan every moment in Unryu-in.
Every year, the temple lights up at night for various special events. If you are lucky, you may chance to see a different Unryu-in from the one in daytime.
Relax and feel calm in temples in Kyoto
If you are planning a trip to be emancipated from the hustle life, how about sutra copying in the heavenly temples in Kyoto? Each temple has its own style of sutra copying. It is highly recommended to visit several temples to have different experiences.
Book your flight with Giamso Tours, enjoy a temple-visiting trip!
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