Maria about to cut the straw mat

Unique experiences with zen and katanas

A large buddha statue at the center of the temple's premises
A large buddha statue at the center of the temple’s premises
We did zen meditation in the pagoda
We did zen meditation in the pagoda

Today after having breakfast with my host family, we met up with the rest of the group in order to go to a buddhist temple where we practiced zen meditation and rang the world’s largest bell.

The first thing we did after getting to the temple was (after a meeting regarding the day) to purify ourselves before going to the floor where zen meditation is practiced. The actual zen meditation was actually really interesting as the monk would slap our shoulders with a stick if we weren’t focused on the meditation.

After the meditation, we were allowed to go to the top of the tower and gaze upon the amazing view from up there.

We then went to ring the bell, but since only six people were allowed to assist in ringing the bell, we had to do rock paper scissors against the monk in order to earn a spot. Luckily, I won on the first try and secured myself a spot.

After having rang the bell seven times, it was time for lunch which had been prepared by a chef specifically for us. He had made curry however me and Martin from the Czech Republic wanted to walk around the place for a bit so we had to finish up quickly.

Next on the agenda was a visit to an authentic katana swordsmith and to try cutting bamboo mats with real katanas. The smith has welcomed us many years in a row and four of us were able to experience the difficulty of actually hammering a piece of heated metal. After that we then moved to try using katana swords, surprisingly every participant managed to cut the mat which somebody fails to do almost every time.

All in all, I enjoyed the day greatly and would love to do zen meditation again if I get the chance.

Isak Odén
Sweden