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Japan Day 15 - Night at the Monastery

11/19/14 | by Charlie [mail] | Categories: Travel

Cmon...that's a really great title right? As you might have guessed from the awesome title, tonight was my night staying at a Buddhist monastery. I left Kyoto mid-morning to head up a very long, windy mountain. And as people funneled out stop by stop and the air grew chillier, I sort of wondered what my poor hoodie and I had gotten ourselves into.

It turns out the town of Koyasan (Mt. Koya) is actually not as desolate as I was expecting. It's way deep in a cedar forest such that even after taking a cable car, we still had a 15 minute bus ride in. When I arrived at my temple, I discovered I was the only person staying here tonight. My guess is from wandering around that it could easily house 10-20 people or more, but more tranquility for me then!

I wandered another mile out into the forest to visit a temple there, as I understand it, perhaps the center of this particular sect of Buddhism. It was a nice sunset stroll as once again the cloud cover turned completely clear right around 4pm, illuminating the tops of the trees as the lanterns slowly flickered on along the path.

Dinner was vegetarian, but much to my delight largely dominated by mushrooms which were delicious and went well with the half pound of rice they gave me. Afterwards, I decided to use the large communal bathroom, which surprisingly I had all to myself. I figured if they'd heated up the water and poured the bath, it'd be a shame to let it go to waste.

I've already made it through chapter one of "The Teaching of Buddha" after finishing my own books on the train, so I got that going for me. Another short, commute type day for me. Time to turn in early so I can be spritely at morning services/prayers tomorrow at 6:30am!

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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