Zazen in the Heart of Tokyo


If you are tired from the noises of the Tokyo metropolis, there is no need to flee far away. If you want to give your mind a rest, why not try zazen at Chokokuji?

Chokokuji, located in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo, is the Tokyo Betsuin (branch temple) of the Sotozen Eiheiji Temple founded around 500 years ago. The Kannon-do hall houses a Kannon statue about 10m high, known as the Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu Zo, or the Eleven-Faced Bodhisattva. Here people have worshipped the Kannon on its sacred ground since ancient times and it has watched over the people with beauty and nobility as they have repeatedly overcome disasters.

If you look at Chokokuji’s official website you will see that you cannot make reservations for the zazenkai offered to the public on Mondays. However, on an order basis, it is possible to make reservations for zazen on other days. We do recommend that you have an interpreter accompany you to zazen.

You will sit on a zazen zabuton (cushion) known as a “sabu” where you will place one foot on the opposite thigh and tuck your other leg under you. You will sway from left to right using the three points of both knees and your buttocks to stabilize you as you breathe in and out deeply from your abdomen. Open your eyes and look at the floor approximately 1m in front of you. A bell will signal the beginning of zazen.

The Buddhist monks will teach you the basic spirit of ichigyo zanmai (zazen is not for profit, but to sit is to realize enlightenment) and shinjin ichinyo (mind-body unity).

Why not take the opportunity to take part in some quiet zazen in the middle of a hectic city to help you face yourself and your mental concentration.

For more information, please contact us.