Some practical tips on how to get to the sacred places of Buddhism scattered around Japan and India. To plan a holiday based on the theme of meditation.
Meditating in peace – for anyone who wants to try this unforgettable experience – means taking time out from your life for a short (or lengthy) sojourn in a Buddhist Monastery. Life in such places is neither easy nor hard: all you need to do is to adjust to the customs of the inhabitants.
Basically, this means early rising, usually at sunrise, when you begin to pray. Normally, (especially if you are Western) you will be staying in the Shukubo, visitors’ quarters which the Buddhist monks place at the disposal of the newcomers. Thus the time you spend there will largely follow the rhythm of daily routine of your hosts.
In Japan, the area with the highest density of Buddhist monasteries (117 of them) is Mount Koya, just south of Osaka. In this vast sacred complex, founded in 816 A.D., there are 55 monasteries willing to offer hospitality to tourists.
The surrounding countryside is breathtaking and the natural wilderness of Kyoto itself give you a sense of peace and relaxation. The teaching of Buddha has never seemed so close.
Another emblematic place of Buddhist tradition is what is known as the Bodhi Tree, an ancient fig tree, sacred because it is the one beneath which Siddharha Gautama, the founding master of Buddhism, thereafter known as Buddha, achieved spiritual englightenment.
This tree is to be found at the Mahabodhi Temple, about a hundred kilometres from Patna in the Indian state of Bibar. It was here that by simply meditating, Buddha reached his nirvana..
The fig tree – sacred to Hindus, Janists and Buddhists – is known as Ashwattha. This word derives from the Sanskrit root shwa which means “tomorrow” and tha which means “that which remains”. According to the Hindu philosopher Shankaracharya, the name therefore means: “That which does not remain the same tomorrow”. Basically, the concept of the universe in constant motion.
Enjoy our tattoos dedicated to the sacred figure of Buddha.